The account of Noah’s Ark has important lessons for today. What lessons from the flood is God trying to tell us about Himself? What is the parallel between Noah’s day and ours?
Did Jesus Believe in Noah’s Ark?
To ask if Jesus believed in Noah’s Ark may seem ridiculous to believers but many in our day…even among professing Christians…doubt the Old Testament stories like Jonah and the Great Fish, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s Ark. Jesus mentioned that the days before His second coming would be similar to the days of Noah (Matt 24:3). Jesus made mention of Jonah, Adam and Eve, and similar events in the Old Testament as being historical facts (Matt 19:4-6, 13:39-41). If these events were not true then Jesus would be a liar and if He was a liar, He would not be our Savior. Jesus would never have mentioned them as having happened if they were only analogies or fables.
Similarities between Noah’s Day and Ours
Why did Jesus mention that the days before His second coming would be like the days of Noah just prior to the flood? There are several things that those in Noah’s day and our day today have in common. For one thing, Noah warned those who disbelieved that judgment was coming and that they needed to repent. Noah’s Ark was so huge that it had more than enough room to hold anyone who believed, nevertheless no one outside of Noah’s family believed until it was too late (Matt 24:39). This is what is happening today. Many are trying to witness about Christ before it is too late and He returns to judge all who have refused to repent and trust in Christ (Matt 24:29-31). The vast majority of the world remains skeptical about Christ and His soon coming judgment.
Another thing is that people were going on as if nothing would ever change. They were marrying, eating, and drinking (Matt 24:37) and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet 3:4). Just as there were skeptics when Jesus was on the earth and near the end of Peter’s ministry, so too are there skeptics today who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. Sadly, many will not believe until He arrives (2 Pet 3:5) and by then it will be too late (2 Pet 3:7).
God is Longsuffering
We know that God is longsuffering and also that He desires that no one perish outside of Christ (2 Pet 3:9) and this is shown by Noah’s trying to warn others for at least 120 years while he and his family built the Ark (Heb 11:7). We know this because there was at least 100 years between the time Noah had children, began construction of the Ark (Gen 5:32) and the flood (Gen 7:6). There is biblical evidence that Noah was seen as righteous before God and in planning and gathering materials necessary to build such a large vessel, it must have taken him at least 20 years to do so. God is still giving unbelievers plenty of time to repent and trust in Christ and there is no shortage of believers trying to warn the unsaved about God’s impending judgment.
What the Ark Represents
The Ark is very symbolic of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Ark was made of wood…so too was the cross. The Ark was sealed and the door closed by God Himself which is indicative of the fact that salvation is fully a work of God and we only have to believe in Christ by entering in faith (Gen 7:16). The Ark was made waterproof but a special tar-like substance called pitch. The Hebrew word for pitch is actually “atonement.” What a great analogy. The Ark saved Noah’s family from the flood (which is symbolic of God’s judgment) and the waterproof pitch (atonement) saved them from God’s wrath (the flood) and kept his family protected by the means of it which speaks of God’s preserving us in our salvation (Rom 8:29-28). Of course, Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for us. The flood is symbolic of death and judgment, the Ark represents salvation, the wood pictures the cross, and our being saved from the flood of God’s wrath that was literally poured out by God in Noah’s day.
The wood used for the Ark was a very special wood. It was the same wood used for the Ark of the Covenant which held the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod and a piece of the manna bread given during Israel’s wilderness experience. In this sense, it pictures God’s presence among those He redeems. The Mercy Seat also is made of this gopher wood which is the same wood used in building the Ark and represents God’s mercy in saving Noah’s family. The gopher wood was known for its remarkable durability which is symbolic of God’s eternality. Incidentally the word ”gopher” is almost identical to that of the Hebrew word kopher which literally means “the price of a life, a ransom.” Jesus’ life was a ransom for us which was given at Calvary.
Why the Flood?
Even God’s wrath is a type of His grace. If the world was left to itself there would be no end to the abominations of mankind. This is why God kept Adam and Eve from re-entering the Garden. If they had taken from the Tree of Life and had received eternal life in a state of sinfulness, the world would have been so corrupt that there would be no end to what mankind would have done. The depravity of mankind would grow and grow until there would be no shred of decency or morality on the face of the earth. This was the reason that God sent the flood in Noah’s day. God “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. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Gen 6:5-7) and that “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” (Gen 6:11-12). God in His mercy decided to end this massive corruption of mankind because left to himself, mankind would wallow in misery for the rest of time and so He sent the flood as a way to restore the earth through Noah and his family (Gen 6:8, 18). This was the same reason that God scattered mankind at the Tower of Babel and confused their tongues (languages) because when “the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built…the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (Gen 11:5-6).
Once more God is going to pour out His judgment on the earth and all unbelievers will face His wrath (Heb 12:26, 29; Matt 13:30, 40-41; Rev 6:15-17, 20:15). If you have not yet repented for your sins, placed yourself at His mercy and confessed your sinfulness and your need for a Savior and haven’t yet placed your trust in Christ, then you will face a far worse judgment than those in Noah’s day. Jesus said, “it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for” (Matt 10:15) those who reject their only hope of salvation. Even today any person that has rejected Christ stands as already being condemned (John 3:18). I pray that is not you.
For a related article check out: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/noahs-ark-bible-story-summary/
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design