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Noah is said to have been righteous in his generation but his faith somehow did not help or stand as a hedge to save his generation

Genesis7:1 NASB

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this generation.

Later God went on to destroy the people of that generation regardless of Noah's righteousness

Genesis 7:21-22 NASB

So all [q]creatures that moved on the earth perished: birds, livestock, animals, and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died.

But years later during the time of Abraham God promises that if there were some righteous persons he would not destroy the cities of Sodom and Gommorrah

Genesis 18:32 NASB

Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once: suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”

Further on during the time of Ezekiel God reiterates even one person was able to turn away his wrath

Ezekiel 22:30 NASB

I searched for a man among them who would build up a wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found [k]no one.

why didn't Noah's righteousness save that generation?

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  • Abraham didn't ask for Sodom to be saved for less than 9 people, since Noah and his sons and their wives were 8 and not enough to save the world. Clearly you need at least 9.
    – user50180
    May 12 at 16:02

3 Answers 3

9

First, regarding Abraham. Note that it would not be the righteousness of Abraham that could potentially secure the saving of all the inhabitants in the Sodom and Gomorrah region. That would require finding 10 righteous men who inhabited the towns. Abraham pleaded on their behalf, but not on the basis of his own good standing before God.

Alas, God could not find even 10 righteous men in the whole region. There was only Lot (who was called 'righteous' later on in the New Testament - 2 Peter 2:7) so Lot had to flee for his life, and that of his family. So much for faithful Abraham's plea, "Will you sweep away the righteous with the unrighteous?" (Gen. 18:23) The only righteous person had to be dragged out by angels, at the last gasp, because there were only unrighteous people all around.

Abraham could only plead on the basis of God being the righteous judge of all the earth (vs.25), and it became clear that God's judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah was entirely righteous, because only one righteous man was there, who was rescued from the wicked unrighteousness all around him.

Second, regarding Ezekiel. The build-up to God's judgment of that nation is detailed in the preceding verses. All their princes were evil, the prophets were lying, all the people were unholy, profaning God, murdering for unjust gain, oppressing the poor, ill-treating the alien residents and denying them justice. Ch.13 details no-one "building up the wall" or, standing in the breach, therefore God gave ample warning through faithful Ezekiel that the violent thunder-storm of his judgment would suddenly break. How that resonates with Revelation's warnings, and the judgmental plagues God pours on an increasingly godless world after Christ's ascension!

Third, regarding Noah who found grace (favour) with God due to his faith. Note how the only other righteous man mentioned was Enoch, but God had taken him away. That meant that in Noah's day, "Every inclination of the thoughts of [man's] heart was only evil all the time" (Gen. 6:5). They were given ample warning of God's coming judgment but they scoffed and ignored it, continuing in their godlessness. "They took no note until the flood came, and swept them all away" Jesus said, adding that it would be just the same prior to him returning suddenly to bring in the Day of Judgment (Matthew 24:37-44).

Also note how Noah, a preacher of righteousness (Heb.11:5-7) condemned the world (as did Ezekiel re. the nation of Israel). God is righteous and sends his servants to warn of his coming wrath so that nobody will be able to claim they didn't know. Even before Jesus spectacularly returns there will be angelic warning of the beginning of the gospel, to the whole world, to fear God and worship him, and to repent of their evil (Rev. 14:6-7) but they won't. Only what Christ did can save anyone; the righteousness of God was publicly displayed at Golgotha and the empty tomb, but nobody at the time saw it like that.

There's no excuse now, for God's word has explained the full gospel. All those who will be judged by Christ will not be able to say that they weren't warned - just as at the time of the Flood - and only the righteousness of God, through Christ, is the righteousness that saves any individual in any generation.

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    I would have up-voted just for the words God gave ample warning through faithful Ezekiel that the violent thunder-storm of his judgment would suddenly break. . But all is worthy of +1.
    – Nigel J
    May 11 at 15:18
  • Fantastic answer, Anne!!
    – Gremosa
    May 11 at 16:31
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God executes judgment or chooses to delay judgment due to many factors, some unknown to us. Two that He has revealed are mixing and separation.

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.

27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’

29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

In the above parable, the judgment must await the time when it is practical to separate the wicked from the just, during the harvest. In the time of Noah, God arranged the separation. Noah entered the ark and the world remained outside the ark. Likewise with Lot. Lot was compelled to leave the city while the other residents remained behind. SO it was in Egypt. Some plagues struck all people, but some did not strike the land of Goshen where the Hebrews lived. Then for the passover, a ritual separation occurred with the blood on the door posts. Hebrew children were spared, but not Egyptian.

God has established the times for spiritual harvests. If a given harvest is not ripe yet, substantial large scale judgment is deferred so as not to ruin the crop. The final harvest will include the most spectacular separation - the rapture of the church. Once the church is safely removed, God may pour out the last of his judgments.

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Based on [Genesis 6-9] the existence of a צַדִּיק Tsadiq on earth cannot save humanity from their חָמָס (lawlessness).

YHVH tells us in [Ezekiel 14:14] that the morality of a God-fearing Pacifist Veterinarian (Noach, נֹחַ) cannot save other humans from judgement of their own immoral behavior : " והָיוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָֽאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵ֙לֶּה בְּתוֹכָהּ נֹחַ דָּֽנִאֵל וְאִיוֹב הֵמָּה בְצִדְקָתָם יְנַצְּלוּ נַפְשָׁם נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִֽה ".

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