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Even As the Days of Noah

As it was in the days of Noah, so it is now. They were eating for pleasure, not for sustenance; they were drinking to drunkenness and not for necessity. They were marrying for lust and subsequently divorcing. They were being given in marriage for money, and not to be submissive. They were buying things they did not need. They were selling at a high price, hoping to make a profit. They were destroying the natural environment and planting large fields of grain. They were building a civilization, without God, imagining that they could pursue pleasure on earth forever.

The sons of Cain built cities. The sons of Seth were living as nomads with their tents and flocks on the grassy plains, but they at last succumbed to the temptation of city life: the wealth, the conveniences, the wide array of goods and services, markets for wares from far away. The sons of God migrated to the cities, dazzled by their splendor, and they went in to the daughters of men.

They made advances in technology, the wisdom that comes from a lifetime that was many centuries long. They crafted wood and mined metal. They built ships and traveled to faraway places. The world existed for their dominion and enjoyment. No place was free of their proud conquest. Beautiful scenery in various climes delighted their senses, but they did not lift up their mind to the Maker of all these things.

Their mind was continually meditating on evil. Their thoughts were only for material things, for providing a comfortable existence for themselves in this life. Conflicts and social problems arose. Committees were formed of elders and prominent men, all the wise ones of the earth. They formed factions and debated all the pressing issues of their time. They gave judgments and managed the affairs in the cities, keeping economic ventures running smoothly. They were men of renown, and they looked upon the prosperity all around them and congratulated each other, but they forgot God.

They made art and sang music, as all sentient creatures bearing the image of God. Schools were built and teachers were recruited for all topics of natural science and physical phenomena. The characteristics of plants and animals were documented. Every year medical knowledge advanced as reality was investigated with close scrutiny. They exulted in breakthroughs and contemplated that one day, no secret of nature would remain hidden from their wisdom.

In the days of Noah, all manner of philosophical systems emerged. The knowledge of the true God had been corrupted, shattered into a thousand different religious ideas. Some worshipped the sun or the moon, the trees and water. Others paid devotion to a multitude of deities of their own conception. Temples were built, altars constructed to the great power dwelling in the sky. Sacrifices were carried out, but to whom, they knew not. One declared that there was no creator god, but that rather all the physical world is divine. Another said, to the great delight of the multitude, that life is cyclical and that the soul after death enters a new body and returns to live on the earth perpetually. With great conviction some began to preach that, according to a set of philosophical propositions, it was demonstrably provable that there is no punishment in the afterlife and that the souls of all men will enjoy a peaceful rest. Another group proclaimed that all religions are valid, and like various climbers situated at the perimeter of the base of a mountain, all those who spiritually ascend toward God through their various religious traditions will ultimately end up all united at the peak. Perhaps most people still understood that there was one true God, Who made the heavens and the earth, but they worshipped Him according to their own fashion, in accordance with their own passions. And in the sight of God, they were all flesh, and His Spirit did not remain with them. And all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.

Of the great multitude of humanity in the earth at that time, when men began to be numerous upon the earth, there was only one man who was found righteous in the sight of God. Just one. It is not written of Noah’s wife or of his sons that they found grace before the Lord God, or that they were found perfect in their generation, well-pleasing to God, or that they were seen righteous before God in that generation. These things were written only of Noah. Out of all the millions of men who were alive at the time of the Flood, only one was found pleasing to God. Only one man had preserved the truth. Only one had both the correct faith and an upright way of life.

Do you suppose that the whole population of the world at that time were thieves and robbers, murderers and fornicators, perjurers and rapists? By no means. For such things are abhorrent to the majority of men. The Savior Himself says that those people preserved the institution of marriage. They practiced monogamy, which is according to natural law. Everyone considered himself to be a good person.

What, then, was it that made them so evil in the sight of God? Was it not because “they did not approve to have God in full knowledge” (Rom. 1:28), and every man lived by his own laws?

In our times, the Ecumenist World Orthodox expect us to believe that there are hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians around the world who belong to the Church of Christ. Is this consistent with the unprecedentedly wicked times in which we live? The proliferation of evil deeds has become so great as to literally lead many to madness. No, but rather the history of the Church shows us a perennial pattern of apostasy and the gradual shrinking of the boundaries of the Church, interspersed occasionally with a period of growth or expansion. First the Church was found throughout the Roman Empire and Europe. Then the Nestorians of the East fell away. Then the Monophysites of Egypt, Armenia, and what was left of the East fell away. Then the entirety of Western Europe fell away. Then, with the victory of the Turks in the 15th C., a great many fell into Islam. Then the Russian people betrayed the tsar and fell into atheism. The Church, thus, has continually been shrinking because of the introduction of heresies, becoming increasingly isolated due to the multiplication of sects. The heresy of Ecumenism, then, is only the latest trial to separate the sheep from the goats, to separate those who are zealous for the laws of God from those who are indifferent.

Our Savior Jesus Christ was asked, “Lord, are they few who are being saved?” (Lk. 13:23). He would not answer the question directly.

For one hundred years, Noah built the ark. Sometimes people asked him why he carried out such a strange work. But when he told them, when he explained what was in store for the world, they did not listen. They mocked him. They called him a fanatic. “So, you are the only one who will be saved, and everyone else is going to hell?” They told him, “You have no love. I worship the one true God just like you. We have the same faith. How can you be so bigoted?” They screamed at him that he was full of hate. Noah did not try to argue with them. He continued building. He continued being obedient to the command of God. As the seasons came and went, as the natural world continued even as it had from the beginning, he did not lose faith. He did not succumb to the temptation that he was a proud man because he believed that everyone else would perish. He simply believed the words of God, Who had said Himself that He would destroy all men who were not on the ark.

The Church today, thankfully, has not reached the point of being limited to only one man, or even eight souls. Yet if the trends continue, as most of the Old Calendarists have now also fallen away from the Church, it is not inconceivable that our small Church, our “little flock,” could become even smaller in the future. Indeed, rather, it seems inevitable. The judgment begins in the house of God, and God is purifying His flock from all the worldly dross that has plagued it for so long. Like a gemstone becomes diminished in size as it is shaped and polished into a beautiful geometric shape, thus as all the unworthy hierarchs are removed from the Church, it shines with ever greater splendor. The gates of Hades will never prevail over the Church, no matter how small she becomes.

After Noah and his family entered the ark, the door was left open for seven days. There was one final chance for anyone else to enter, but no one did. Then God closed the door of the ark, and when it started to rain, it was already too late.

Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
Contact: Archbishop Gregory
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