Abridged from a work by: Rev. Msgr. Donald C. Hamburger
Model Two: Noah’s Altar, Ark and Rainbow – Genesis 5:28-7:28 – Prehistory
The rainbow is a sign of the eternal covenant God made with mankind: that He would never again destroy the world’s creatures by flood as He did in the days of Noah.
A Sketch of Noah’s Life: God looked down from the heavenly heights and saw how evil the people had become. This predates Moses who includes the story in the first book of the Bible about 1200 years before Jesus was born.
In Genesis 5:28 we read how Lamech became the father of a son and called him, Noah. The people of the world had become so wicked that God repented of having created them, so He decided to drown them with a great flood. But God found Noah to be a just man, so He told Noah to build a large ark and to take his wife, his three sons, and their wives into the ark as well as pairs of all the living animals and seven pairs of the “clean animals.”
God promised that He would establish a covenant with Noah. So Noah did all that God commanded him. Rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights and all flesh on the earth died. The waters rose over the mountain tops but finally the rain subsided and the ark settled upon the earth.
Noah sent a raven out, then a dove. When the dove returned she had a green olive branch in her beak and the second time she was sent out, she did not return. So Noah, his family and all the animals went out of the ark.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered sacrifices in thanksgiving; sacrifices of all the “clean” animals which he had taken into the ark. God then established His covenant with Noah, as mentioned earlier, using the Rainbow as an everlasting sign of His promise.
Pertaining to the Lamb of God theme, I perceive a development in two ways: 1) Noah built the first altar described in the Bible and 2) he specified that the sacrifice is offered in “thanksgiving.”
Hints: Since Noah used “every clean animal” for his sacrifice, he would have included the offspring of sheep and goats both of which were referred to as “lambs.”
After the waters of the flood subsided, Noah offered the sacrifice of “thanksgiving.” After experiencing the waters of baptism, a follower of the “second Adam” is able to offer the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist. It is noteworthy that the Greek word from which “Eucharist” is derived also gives us the word “thanksgiving.”
With Noah’s safe deliverance from the floodwaters, there is a certain renewal of the human race; a second beginning. God repeats, almost word for word, the blessing given to our first parents: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . .”
Noah as a Prototype of Jesus: Because the flood destroyed all mankind except Noah and his family, the human race received a new beginning from him. Through Noah’s ark the family is saved from the floodwaters just as by our baptism by water we enter into the barque of Peter and the hope of our salvation; for mankind was redeemed by Jesus, the second Adam who shed His Blood on the Cross. Thus we are washed by the blood of the Lamb, the “cleanest of all God’s creatures,” speaking only of His human nature.
The waters of baptism had just been poured over Jesus by John the Baptist when at the Jordan he announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
So today, Baptism by water precedes the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist, the Lamb of God’s sacramental Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
St. Peter alluded to Noah: “It was in the spirit also that (Jesus) went to the spirits in prison (hell, in the Apostle’s Creed). They had disobeyed as long ago as Noah’s day, while God patiently waited until the ark was built. At that time, a few persons, eight in all, escaped in the ark through the water. You are now saved through a baptismal bath which corresponds to this exactly . . .” (I Peter 3:18 ff.)
Because of God’s blessing to Noah and his family, they gave birth to a new generation of human beings. God repeated the blessing almost verbatim which He gave to Adam and Eve. Therefore, Noah is likened to a “new Adam.” So too, does Jesus, through the water of Baptism (spiritual rebirth), beget a new generation and Whom St. Paul calls a “new Adam.”
God cleansed the world of evil and sin by washing humanity in His great flood. This should remind us of the spiritual effects of our own Baptism. God accepted Noah’s sacrifice and used the rainbow as a sign of His new and everlasting covenant. Let the rainbow also remind us of God’s other covenants and especially the new and everlasting covenant which was made at the Last Supper; Holy Eucharist.
The CCC (71) says of God’s covenant with Noah:
“God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (Cf. Gen. 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts.”
Finally, it is interesting to discuss whether the story of the flood and Noah’s ark is concerning a universal flood over the whole earth or only covering that part of the world known by Noah and his contemporaries. Galileo later quoted by Pope John Paul II, gives us a good piece of advice: “The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
During my ventures blogging, I have come across a blog or two created by Evangelicals looking to inform others about the horrors of Catholicism. In fact, one in particular often tags his post as “Catholic” for those to stumble upon the dribble searching out Catholic posts. What is most absurd and peculiar about this particular gentleman is mind-numbing contradictions. For example, the gentleman will either misrepresent scripture to fit his motif of slander and if someone objects and provides refutation against his novice theology he simply censors their comments from the site, all while attempting to make known about Catholics Index of Forbidden Books. Ha!
Of course, as a cradle Catholic it would be assumed that I haven’t had much experience with Evangelicals, but in my particular case, I have spent some time in their company. It was during my time as a youth of about sixteen years of age. I was dating a Evangelical girl during those days–who sadly has fallen for secular world hook line and sinker since those days. The girl’s parents were very strict and any night that was considered a school night–which would include Sunday—we were not allowed to spend any time together. Of course, She determined a way to get around this because Sunday night is when her Church had youth group for her Church. She convinced me to go for at that time I thought, “Well, we believe in the same God, what could it hurt?” Oh how a fool I was at the time!
Every Sunday I would show up at the youth minister’s house, it was during a period of construction for their new gigantic Morton shed church, and it was nice to be able to talk about the Gospel in what appeared to be generally innocent conversations. However, after some time had passed and I developed a friendly relationship with the youth minister; here came his need to “convert” me from the evils of Catholicism. I didn’t notice it at first, it has been subtle, but he did have disdain for Catholicism, even so much so, that a girl—who was friends with a Catholic that I knew from school—asked him if disliked Catholics. The minister went on and on during a session at his house, unfortunately I don’t remember the particulars, how he didn’t dislike Catholics, it was a misunderstanding. All the while mostly looking at me when he spoke on the topic.
It wasn’t long after that time that a kid at my school committed suicide. Our community was a small community, so it had been a pretty shocking tragedy. Again, I found myself at the youth minister’s house as he discussed the event. The minister addressed the topic whether the teenager committing suicide was now in Hell. Although even upon looking back to realize that is analogy was a false equivalent, it also appears that the youth minister had a lack of understanding between mortal and venial sins. Nonetheless, he began to describe how if he was in the act of committing adultery and suddenly died, he would not be in Hell because there are no such sins that disconnect us from God. He spoke these words as he made eye contract with me, I said nothing being but a child.
One of the most shocking occurrence during my time amongst the Evangelicals was when I found myself again at the youth minister’s house, but this time, it was different. He told us that we needed to take a look at something at the almost complete Morton shed Church. When we arrived at the facility, we entered the building in complete darkness. The minister led us up to a top floor around a spiraling ramp of sorts. When the group arrived to the top of floor what set before us still disturbs me to this day. The room was filled with burning candles, maybe even some torches, I remember that it was dark and the only light was that of a warm glow of flame. I figure in a white hooded robe sat in front of us at a Judge’s bench with his face veiled. We were told to sit and await our turn. The youth minister then called each person’s name to sit on what more or less would have been the witness stand, and a figure who was portraying Satan read to us all of the sins that the youth minister thought or had heard each person committed. Personally, when it was my turn, my sins listed were not intimate but generic due to the youth minister not knowing me that well coming from the Catholic faith. However, some were so detailed that it left children in tears as this man dressed them down in front of all of our eyes. At the end of the mock trial, a figure who portrayed Jesus came in and said none of these sins matter, feel better. When the mock trial ended the Youth Minister told us how sorry he was for putting us through this ordeal, and gave us free pizza…
A couple years went by and at this time I must have been a senior in highschool because I do not remember the girlfriend being at these events. At the time the Morton shed church was complete and the Church started to have bonfires after football games. The community, again so small, of course all the kids went for the smores, pizza, and to hang out with their friends. Of course, this enticed us to come to other events at the church like lock-ins, but there’s always a catch. At this time the Youth Minister was finally going to make his play at me. He told me, “You need to be baptized.”
I replied, “I have already been baptized.”
The response he gave me was puzzling to me at the time, “Being baptized as an infant doesn’t count, you have to be submerged for it to count.”
Thankfully, during this period of time, my family had finally gotten a computer with the internet, so I began to research what this guy was telling me. I was finally older and more confident, so much to his surprise, I defended my faith when for so long I had been sitting quietly just there to spend time with the girlfriend. My research at the time led me to illustrate how the early Church Father’s practiced infant baptism, and that Christ in the Gospel of Matthew declared his followers to baptize in the name of the trinity: “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Unfortunately, we kept going around in a circular debate on the topic.
In many ways, the Grace of God and the challenges of this minister led me to a deeper belief in other facets of my faith, for example, transubstantiation. As we continued to discuss theology I questioned his church’s position on the discourse of the Bread of Life found in the Gospel of John chapter Six. I explained that if he fundamentally believed that the Bible to be the infallible word of God, why didn’t he follow Christ’s commands:
“54 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 55 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
After successfully refuting his challenges to my own faith, it was most unfortunate but the Youth Minister ostracized me and withdrew his friendship. Eventually, I no longer attended these after school events at this Church. Some time after, I came home from college and stopped to help at an ecumenical summer Bible School within the community—my friend’s mom was the director—and my ole’ priest was giving a talk, but I noticed something. I asked my friend’s mom where some of the community’s kids were and she said very sad, “Oh, that particular church didn’t want to send their kids where there were Catholics.”
Remember when the Youth Minister insisted on not disliking Catholics? It appears the Church only liked ones they felt they could convert. I do value the time spent with Youth Minister, he made me a better Catholic.
 Mt. 28:19 RSV
 Jn. 6:54-56 DRA
The ‘pooper-scooper’ [Scoop] has been trying to make some scatological sense out of the filth that we now live in. Heaven only knows that we are literally up to our eyeballs in specimens that more properly belong in a society that has a strange obsession with coprophilia. But what is trash [or waste] for some, has always been a treasure to others I suppose. Or, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
It seems a quiet revolution occurred during my lifetime which was punctuated every now and then by a few uprisings or notable tectonic societal shifts. These usually died down though the inevitable aftershocks reverberated within our societies for decades.
We all know how to desensitize a frog to boiling them alive [by raising the temperature degree by degree] so that they scarcely realize that they are not enjoying a nice warm bath . . . until it is too late of course. Or perhaps it is similar to those born into a life that is filled with filth and yet are not aware that life is not ‘normal.’ After all, it is normal for them . . . a new normal; like these children perhaps?
Something similar has happened in the political, ideological and religious arena that can only be viewed as a complete disaster and deconstruction of a positive, values-based society. I should say, the ‘new normal’ has values but not the positive ones that we began with. They have been remade and reconstituted according to a perceived higher ideological end.
Take, for instance, the moment when Barack Obama made his infamous statement that small town folks, “cling to guns or religion” which made it more than obvious that our new President didn’t think too highly of our rights to own guns or our penchant for a society based on Christian values. Then last year, Hillary who has a very good chance of becoming our next president said: “religious beliefs have to be changed.” Why? because religions are opposed to her unassailable belief in a woman’s right to an abortion. So Hillary claims preeminence over God in such things. And in the Catholic arena, Pope Francis has taken mercy to the point where his version is better than Christ’s or the teachings of the Church he is leading. For where Christ was clear regarding adultery, our Pope has now made illusory . . . hidden in a fog of mumbo jumbo.
What is to be made of this new one-world-order crowd or one-world-church crowd? We have compromised away our positive values for expediency. We have ‘grown’ in our acceptance of transgenders, homosexuality, abortions, adultery, illegal border crossings [a borderless world in the vision of Soros is now acceptable to most]. Pragmatism and utilitarianism has beat down our God-given constitutional rights and back-shelved our moral beliefs and even our common sense. We are only months away from our Pope celebrating the reformation and the life of Martin Luther . . . how does that speak to the heroes of our faith during those times?
My friend Steve recently asked me if I could ever be friends with a liberal. I did not even hesitate: the answer is no. They are my enemies and they wish to extinguish my rights, expunge my beliefs and take my money and redistribute it in the name of ‘fairness’ and ‘mercy’. How can you call someone who wishes you ill, your friend? It seems impossible to me.
I think it’s becoming a little warm in this pot of water that we are now sitting in. Perhaps we ought to think more about this whole societal remake before we are too weak to jump out of the pot.
I’m not sure what answer you would give Steve but I think there may be another post in the offing regarding his question.