If you made a list of the most important dates in the history of the world, what dates would be included on that list? One date that should make everyone’s list is the seventeenth day of the second month of the 1,656th year from the creation of the world. The significant events of that day are recorded in God’s history book in Genesis 7:11-16. Genesis 1-9 gives us the history of the first 1,657 years of this earth. Obviously, in nine chapters, we do not have a detailed account of every day. Many days were ordinary or routine, but there were several days that God wanted us to remember as important days. In Genesis 1, we have a description of the various days of creation week. Genesis 2 provides some specific details about the sixth day of Creation week. Genesis 3 marks a very significant historical event, as mankind sinned for the very first time. Genesis 4-5 outlines for us approximately 1,500 years worth of history. But then God writes four chapters to draw our attention to a significant historical event, the worldwide flood, which began on the seventeenth day of the second month of the 1,656th year of the history of the world. This event made God’s list of the most important dates in the history of the world and it ought to be on our list.
Genesis 7:11 describes what happened on the seventeenth day of the second month of the 1,656th year of the history of the world: “All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” The two verbs, “were broken up” and “were opened” are in the passive or reflexive voice, which means the subjects of the sentence weren’t doing the action. Rather the subjects were being acted upon! This was not just a natural disaster, but rather God caused all the fountains of the deep to burst open and the LORD God caused the windows of heaven to be opened. In Genesis 7:4, the LORD spoke to Noah and said, “I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights.” This day is significant because it teaches us that our Creator God is involved in the affairs of this world. Psalm 29:10 declares that this day shows that the LORD reigns over the earth, serving as a historical reminder that the LORD as King, has and will righteously judge the wickedness of mankind.
Now it is important for us to consider the catastrophic and worldwide ramifications of the events of this day. During the last few weeks in Western New York, we have had several rounds of rain. One weather report warned that an inch of rain could cause flooding in light of the saturated ground. The seventeenth day of the second month of the 1,656th year of the history of the world marked the beginning of 40 days and 40 nights of heavy rain! Imagine the flooding from that much rain. But that day also marked the day that God caused all the fountains of the deep to burst open. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and destructive geysers began to take place all over the world. And these events continued for 40 days so that “all the mountains were covered”(Genesis 7:20) and He destroyed all living things from the earth” (Genesis 7:23).
Today, approximately 5,000 years later, evidence remains all over this world in the fossil records of death and destruction that began on the seventeenth day of the second month of the 1656th year of the history of this world. Every major mountain range includes marine fossils. Some have been found nearly 15,000 feet above sea level. Yet with the overwhelming evidence of the fossil record, some deny or doubt the historic events of that day (2 Peter 3:1-7). What they really reject is the truth that the LORD is the righteous King over all the earth and there is coming another day in history when He will destroy the earth again because of the wickedness of mankind (2 Peter 3:10).
“On that very same day Noah . . . entered the ark . . . and the LORD shut him in.” (Genesis 7:13-16) This important day in history not only teaches that the LORD will judge this world again, but also that the LORD is a merciful King who will save all those that put their faith in His gracious provision of salvation (2 Peter 3:8-9). God, in His goodness, wants His creation to know this important day in history, so that we don’t make the same mistake of history and perish in the judgment to come.