The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (Genesis 6:5,11-13)
God regretted that He had even made man (v6) and basically wanted to start again.
Noah was no better than anyone else but it says in verse 8 that He found favour in the eyes of the Lord. This means that God shared His unmerited grace and favour to Noah. It’s important we don’t see Noah as a righteous person in his own right or he would have deserved rescuing. This is important as we parallel what Jesus has done for us.
The building of the Ark is one of my favourite stories in the bible and it has a lot of meaning for what was to come.
It’s also important to note that the ark wasn’t Noah’s idea, but a specific salvation plan of God. He knew what it would later signify and its part of the beautiful salvation plan that God weaved into the whole of scripture.
We live in an evil day, just as bad as at the time of Noah but now God’s full salvation plan has been revealed. God has provided a far better ‘Ark’ than the original. His salvation plan is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The grace that he extended to just Noah and 7 others has now been extended and offered to all of us. There is room in God’s new ark for everyone.
Let’s look at a few similarities of how Noah’s ark shadowed Jesus.
1. The ark and Christ were both graciously provided by God for the salvation of sinners. As I said earlier there is no-one who is righteous, no-one who can stand before a holy God on their own merit. The ark and Christ were both God’s idea and part of His plan from the beginning. They are both as a result of His amazing grace and mercy.
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Ephesians 1:4)
2. Even though it was God’s plan and His idea, to be saved we still have to enter by faith, Noah into the Ark, us into Christ.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)
3. The ark and Christ are both places of safety. Noah was sheltered from the flood of God’s judgement. the ark itself was covered inside and outside with pitch (Genesis 6:14), therefore it would be thoroughly watertight, and as such, a perfect shelter. No matter how hard it rained or how much the world flooded, all inside the ark were secure. Jesus is the place of safety from the flood of God’s wrath. The bible describes it as being ‘in’ Christ and that is a very safe place to be.
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
4. Noah and His family had to enter the ark to experience salvation, so too we must enter into a relationship with Christ to experience His salvation. It would be very easy for people to sit outside the ark and believe that it was capable of saving people in the event of a flood, but unless they entered it they would still drown. Likewise, an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice and salvation plan is not enough to save. We must put our faith in Him and enter into His salvation.
5. The offer to enter the ark to be saved was limited, so too is God’s call for salvation. Once the door to the ark had been shut there was no possibility that anyone could enter after that. Until you die the opportunity to receive Christ’s call to salvation is still possible, however to put off the decision to receive this salvation puts a person in great jeopardy.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
For he says,“In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
6. When the flood started it was unexpected, so too no-one knows when Jesus will come again to bring judgement upon the earth. The people in Noah’s day had fair warning, Noah preached to them for about 100 years while the ark was being built (see 2 Peter 2:5)
Jesus himself compares these two events in Matthew 24
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37-39)
7. There was only one door to the ark. Jesus is the only way to enter into His salvation.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)
I will finish this study with a point I found interesting when researching this subject.
In Genesis 6:14 the word ‘pitch’ is kâphar. Besides meaning to cover something with pitch, this word also means to “make an atonement.” In fact, this word is used for pitch only here, but it is used to mean atonement (and similar words such as: purge, reconciliation, reconcile, cleanse, forgive, pacify, pardon) about one hundred times in the Old Testament. So by covering the ark with pitch, Noah made it a vessel that typified the atonement of Jesus Christ.