We are investigating Noah’s strange prophecy concerning the blessing of the LORD, the God of Shem and Japheth, his older brother dwelling in Shem’s tents (Gen. 9:27). Remember, this “dwelling” means making a spiritual impact, Shem on Japheth and Japheth on Shem. This spiritual influence seems rather benign at first glance, but its tentacles vividly mark the history of the giving and spread of the gospel. For instance, Paul wrote that it was the fulness of time when God sent forth his Son (Gal. 4:4). This fulness of time included Japheth’s dwelling in the tents of Shem. The mighty Roman empire coming from Japheth provided a window of peace to get Joseph and Mary (and their donkey) safely to Bethlehem. The angel’s words marked the success of the trip well: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth and good will toward man” (Lk. 2:14). God had come into the world!
The Romans were also responsible for good roads. They built solid, safe “Roman roads.” These roads all over the empire were made of bricks and rocks in order to move and supply the famous Roman legion. They stood firm under the pounding that they took. They could easily hold up that small donkey and the young woman as Joseph went back home to Bethlehem for the birth of the Christ child. God is amazing!
Then there was the beginning of the Church at Pentecost. It was a time for the birthing of the body of Christ followed by the sowing of Christ’s seed – the gospel – worldwide. There were the disciples-turned-apostles set apart by Christ to spread the message of grace everywhere. The roads were in place, but there was a language barrier. God had changed all the languages at the tower of Babel in order to get the people to spread out. What language does one use to tell people about Jesus Christ – His cross and resurrection? Hellenization is a word describing the cultural impact that Alexander the Great and his troops had on the then known world. He spread his native language – the koine (common) Greek language – along with the Greek culture (food, clothes, and philosophy) everywhere he went. The Grecian influence spread like wildfire all through the land. Even the Jews, who customarily spoke Hebrew, began to use the Greek language and many bought into Grecian modernity. Greek became the obvious language to use to pen the New Testament and also the language to use in spreading the gospel. The Greeks came from Japheth who was then dwelling in the tent of Shem.Amazing!
The church of Jesus Christ and His seed (the gospel), under the influence of Japheth, were changing the world. The gospel was spreading throughout the entire Roman empire. Paul thanked God through Jesus Christ that the faith of the Roman church was spoken of throughout the world (Rom. 1:8). This got Satan’s attention! He had to stop the bleeding. His weapon of choice involved Nimrod and his famous tower of Babel. You remember the incident. After the landing of the ark, God commanded that Noah and his family be fruitful and fill the earth (Gen. 9:1). At first, they were obedient. But the people were being led by Ham’s famous grandson – Nimrod. He was evidently a strong physical specimen with a very dominant personality and intellect. Like Cain, he led the people to defy God (Gen. 10:8-10). He stopped the people at the land of Shinar and built a large city centered by a huge tower called Babel (confusion). His reason? “Let us make ourselves a name!” Pride! Sound familiar. “Lest we be scattered abroad over the entire earth.” That is exactly what God had commanded them to do. Thus Nimrod led the first rebellion against God this side of the flood. The tower was intended to reach into the heavens, to the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 11:1-4). This began man’s rebellious worship of the earth called paganism. Blessings!