Intro to the Table of Nations

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, July 5, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Today I was hoping to take an introductory look at the famed Table of Nations found in Genesis 10. The Table of Nations stands today as an enormous testament to the truth of the Bible. If you're unfamiliar with this piece of history, read on, and hopefully I can explain a bit. Thanks for reading.

Genesis 10 is amazing; here's the background. God determined that man's thoughts were evil all the time and He was sorry He made him. He decided to destroy all mankind in a worldwide Flood about 4400 years ago (give or take). In all the earth, God found but one man's family that He felt was worth saving to repopulate the earth. The Flood waters rose, but Noah and his wife along with his three sons and their wives survived because their father had received orders from God to build an Ark. I'm sure you know the story. It rained a lot and the entire earth was engulfed in water, killing everything on land and likely rearranging the planet's surface. All (land dwelling animals) that survived were on the Ark—Noah's family and 2 of each kind of land animal. After the waters receded, the Ark rested on the Mountains of Ararat. As the animals and men exited the Ark, God told them to “ fruitful and multiple and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). He said this twice in a short period of time (again in Genesis 9:7), emphasizing its importance, blessing them, and establishing His covenant with them.

However, rather than fulfill this command of God, the descendants of Noah decided to join together and stay in one place, making a great name for themselves. This is the historical account of the Tower of Babel. I'll get into that later, perhaps, but God was not happy with the people and confused their languages so the different families couldn't understand each other. This drove them apart and the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Noah's sons) went their separate ways, filling the earth and establishing the nations. The Table of Nations gives us a look at who these descendants were and what people groups they became. Let's take a look further.

The first verse of Genesis 10 says, “This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the Flood.” It goes on from there to give us a detailed look at the offspring of these men, and their offspring, and so on. At that time, the time of the dispersion where everyone went their own way, there were 70 different families accounted for in the genealogies listed for us. The heads of these families literally became the founders of all the major people groups in the world today. Of course, over time, some of these groups have been extinguished—either killed altogether or assimilated into another people group, or they've mixed with other groups making a new group, in a sense. But every people group on earth can trace its origins back to these 70 families and, eventually, back to Noah through his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I think that's remarkable.

Archaeology and anthropology both seem to confirm what is written in these pages for the most part. I'll delve into that in future blog posts, but I say “for the most part” because there are peoples mentioned in the Table that we have no knowledge of. That's okay, of course. As I stated, there have been groups that have been lost through history due to war, wide scale tragedy, or assimilation. But for some of these groups, a great deal of them were unknown to us at all except in the Table of Nations only to have evidence unearthed thousands of years later. I find that strong evidence for the veracity of the text and also for the Bible in general. This is recorded history. It confirms that the Bible is true and also confirms without question the account of the Flood. If it confirms the Flood and the lineages outlined are to be trusted, it then confirms the creation of man—Adam and Eve—and gives us a pretty good look at when this might have happened. And if Adam and Eve were real people, it stands to reason that the previous 5 days of creation are historically accurate as well.

In other words, if the Table of Nations is accurate and true, then the Flood was a real event that was global in its extent. If the Flood was a real event, then all of geology testifies to this and leaves no room for 1) evolution and 2) billions of years. If this is true, then the creation week must have been a real event and we have no excuse for suggesting it's some sort of poetic literature or metaphor or anything else other than an historical account of something that, according to the family histories outlined in the Bible, occurred about 6000 years ago (give or take).

Over the next couple of weeks, I intend to review what the Table of Nations says. I want to explore the origins of the major people groups around the world as well as look at languages and their origins. Have you ever thought about where a language comes from? How is it developed? It's been a bit of a mystery for us if we fail to recognize the truth of Scripture. But if we accept it, we know where language came from as well as where all these groups of people came from. From these groups, we would eventually develop what some (incorrectly I feel) call races of people. A “race” is a subgroup within a species. I feel that immediately builds walls of separation and disunity. We are all members of one race—that being the human race. We have a variety of skin shades, eyes shapes, hair and eye colors, etc. But we are all descended from the same family—from Noah's sons and their wives. We can actually limit the number of our ancestors to 5. That is one man and 4 women. All of the sons of Noah were just that—sons of Noah. So all the children born of his daughters-in-law were his grandchildren. And his sons' mother was Noah's wife. So... 4 women and one man. From there, it is reasonable to believe that all the genetic variety we see around the globe within mankind is from this family.

I hope you'll stick with me as we explore this topic. The Table of Nations is a wonderful proof for the truth of Scripture, especially for the truth of Genesis. It means the Flood happened and was global, and it means the creation week happened about 1600 years previously (give or take). This eliminates the need for deep time or evolution and, in fact, makes them necessarily false. Thanks for reading. I know I've made some big claims in this blog post. I will be supporting those claims over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned, faithful reader.

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