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Last week, we began looking at the third topic in Genesis – the Noahic Flood. The Flood is not just a children’s story. It actually happened. It is written as history. Genesis 7:11-12 says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”
It does not say, “once upon a time, a long time ago.” It is written as history. Moses tells us the exact day, the exact month and the exact year the Flood took place. He is very specific. If Moses used the Hebrew Calendar, this means that that the Flood took place in the Spring.
The second month on the Jewish calendar is April/May. He spoke of the Flood in Noah’s day as an actual event (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:27). Jesus believed the whole world was covered with water in the days of Noah. He not only believed in creation (Mark 10:6-8), He believed in the Flood.
Genesis has three chapters on the Flood (Genesis 6-8). We looked at Genesis 6 last week. Many said that they learned some new things last week. They learned some things they have never heard before. This topic is important enough to go over a second time. The topic of the Flood is big. I want to start with a little review of Genesis 6. I want to start with a summary of that chapter.
Most people, including most Christian have no idea exactly what was going on in the pre-Flood world. The first part of the chapter deals with the days of Noah. It describes what life in his day was like. It was characterized by extreme wickedness on both the part of angels and of man. Fallen angels tried to corrupt the line of the Messiah by marrying human women. The result of those marriages produces nephilim (giants). Demonic depravity characterized the world.
The whole earth was full of violence. The wickedness of man extended not only to actions but to thoughts and was constant. It happened all of the time. God’s response to the wickedness on earth was twofold. He saw everything that was going on and it grieved His heart. In the second part of the chapter, God speaks to Noah. He tells Noah three things. God gave Noah a prediction, a promise and a project.
He gave Noah some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that everyone in his world was going to die by drowning. The whole human race was going to be destroyed, not an entire group of people (holocaust), as bad as that would be but the entire race itself. Everyone on the planet would be killed. Noah would never again see his friends, neighbors, acquaintances and relatives.
Everyone would be killed. They were going to be killed in the worst storm in history. It took place around 3000 BC. We have seen some killer storms that have ravaged our country. This was different. They would not just be killed by an act of nature. This was not just another Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1800 people in 2005. This was an act of God. That raises an important question to think about.
A Natural Disaster or Act of God?
Is there a difference between a natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, tsunamis) and an act of God? Was Hurricane Katrina a judgment on homosexuals? Are all natural disasters acts of God? Are they always judgment on people? No. Natural disasters are caused by natural forces. They have natural explanations. They can be explained scientifically. They are a result of the Fall. God allows them to happen. They happen by divine permission and God is sovereign over them. We see that in the life of Job.
In other cases, God does not just allow the forces of nature to operate; He uses them as an instrument of judgment on the wicked. The Flood was in this category. He didn’t just allow it, He planned it. God predicted it would happen over a hundred years in advance and said why it would happen, so no one would get the impression that this was an accident of nature or just some natural disaster.
Natural disasters fall on the righteous and the wicked indiscriminately. Acts of God fall primarily on the wicked. Occasionally, God has to move the righteous out of the area to judge the wicked, as in the case of Lot.
Three times in the passage God said that He was the one who was bringing the Flood on the earth. Genesis 6:13 says, “So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” Genesis 6:17 says, “I am going to bring flood waters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.”
God gives the divine sentence for a wicked world – death. This was not an accident. It was intentional. This was an execution. It was a judgment by a holy God on a sinful humanity. Noah condemned the world (Hebrews 11:7) but God judged the world. It doesn’t seem fair to some people for God to do this but God created the world and He can destroy it any time. The potter can do what he wants with his clay. In addition, we are told that the world was wicked. All sin is a capital offense. “The wages of sin is death.” Sinners deserve to die.
In fact, in one sense it was poetic justice. The world in Noah’s day was drowning in sin before it drowned in water. It was characterized by a flood of wickedness. It was given a flood of water as punishment. The world before the Flood was extremely violent. It received a violent death.
Noah deserved to die as well. He was a sinner too but the Bible says that God gave Noah grace. Grace means unmerited favor. God gave him something he did not deserve. Noah was a righteous man. In fact, he was the only righteous man on the planet. Everyone else sickened God but Noah pleased God. However, Noah was not perfect. The KJV rendering of Genesis 6:9 is a mistranslation. Noah was not sinless and he was NOT saved by his works. In fact, the NT says that Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is BY FAITH” (Hebrews 11:7).
Most Christians have gotten the Flood story completely wrong. They miss the whole point of the story. Some preachers speak of it as if it were some kind of a family cruise. Others make it a children’s story about a floating zoo. This is not a Carnival Cruise Ship. It is one of the most terrible pictures in the entire Bible, as people and animals are buried alive in the rain, swirling sediment and debris. Mothers are weeping as their children are drowned. The Bible says, “It is a fearful thing for sinners to fall into the hands of a holy God.” This is a picture of total destruction.
It was also a picture of total desperation. There was no way to escape it, even if you climbed to the highest mountain. All of the highest mountains were covered. It is also a picture of complete regret. Once the rain began to fall, everyone knew that Noah was right and they were wrong. They mocked and laughed at him and now they realized that he was right and they are going to all die. When the rain began to fall, it was no laughing matter.
Critics say if there really were all of these people who loved before the Flood and were destroyed in a real flood, where are their remains? It is very difficult to find human remains under water, as some have pointed out. They are eaten by fish. In 1912, when the Titanic went down, 1522 people died. The ship was found in seventy-three years later.
The remains of the Titanic were found in 1985 by Robert Ballard, a professor of oceanography, but no human remains were ever found. That ship sank a hundred years ago, not five thousand years ago. The same man who found the Titanic also believes there is archaeological evidence for the Flood in Noah’s day.
In the midst of all the bad news, God had some good news for Noah. The good news was that everyone in his family was going to live. Genesis 6:18 says, “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”
Noah found grace in the eyes of God. The rest of humanity experienced God’s wrath for their sin. Noah experienced God’s grace and favor. This was grace on God’s part because while the race was completely wicked and depraved, God is giving man another chance.
He also gave Noah a job to do. He gave him an assignment. He told him to build the ark. It was a command: “make an ark” (6:14). Our pastor often says that the Bible is not just God’s Word; it is God’s Word to us. That is true but God never told us to build an ark. He did tell Noah to do that.
What was Noah’s reaction to this project? He probably had two reactions. His first reaction was probably SHOCK. You want me to build what? Why would Noah have been shocked? He might have been shocked for three reasons.
• It was very costly.
It would have cost a lot of money. Noah must have been wealthy. Johan’s Ark cost over a million dollars to make. The ark was big. That is why it took so long to build. It was measured in cubits but if you work out the dimensions, it would have been 450 feet long, 75 feet high and 45 feet wide with one million, four hundred thousand cubic feet. It was bigger than a football field and was to be three stories tall. A football field is 360 feet long if you include the end zone.
• Noah had never done anything like this before
He had never done anything like this before. We have no evidence that he was even a shipbuilder. He probably had some mechanical ability. Fortunately, he did not have to come up with the blueprints himself. God gave him the blueprints. Jesus the carpenter gave him the design. All he had to do was build it.
• This was not an easy job.
Noah was an old man. This would have required a lot of hard work. It took Noah over a hundred years to build. There is a gap of one hundred and twenty years between Genesis 6 and Genesis 7. Recently, a man in the Netherlands built a replica of the ark. If you go to Holland today, you can see it. He did it by himself. He did it in less than two years.
It took Noah over a hundred years to build the ark. It is pretty hard to stick to a project for 120 years. Many of us would give up but Noah kept working on the ark. He was not lazy. He worked hard. Noah worked hard but he lived five thousand years ago. There wasn’t any Home Depot in Noah’s day. He had no power tools, although there were tools available, such as iron tools (4:22). Noah took advantage of Cainite technology to make the ark. He could do it. It would just take much longer than it would today.
His three sons probably helped him. The text does not say this but it is a reasonable deduction but when God first told Noah to build the ark, he didn’t have any kids. God first spoke to Noah when he was 480 years old. God gave man 120 years and then the Flood came. Noah’s kids were not born until he was 500 years old (5:32).
While Noah’s sons may have helped him, he did not have angels helping him. In the recent Noah movie, angels helped Noah build the ark. Not only does the Noah movie have angels helping him build the ark, it has fallen angels helping him. God didn’t ask angels to build the ark. He asked Noah to do this. If angels built the ark, it wouldn’t have taken a hundred years to build, especially if modern may can do it in two years.
Noah’s second reaction was FEAR. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” Noah did this because he believed what God told him. He believed that God was going to destroy the world.
Why did Noah do it? He did it to save himself and his family. If he didn’t do it, he would have died, along with everyone else. It took at act of faith for Noah to build the ark. His faith led to actions. He believed. Then he built. The Bible says that “faith without works is dead.” Noah built the ark because he believed God was going to do what He said that He was going to do.
• He believed God, even if he did not understand it.
We do not even know if Noah knew what rain was. Many believe that it had not rained yet. We do not know for sure. We do not know if he had ever seen a boat before. He believed God even though there was no evidence that a worldwide flood was imminent.
He believed something that he had never seen or experienced. Years went by. A whole century went by without any fulfillment but he still believed it would happen. All he had was God’s Word that it would take place. It was just as crazy for Noah to believe a flood would take place as it was for Abraham to believe that his wife would have a child in her old age.
• Noah believed God even if he was the object of ridicule.
They must have thought he was completely crazy. What he said sounded crazy. The whole world was going to be drowned in a Flood. What we say to the lost today sounds just as crazy to unbelievers. Salvation comes through a crucified man who was rejected by his own people. Those who reject him are cast in a lake of fire.
That seems just as ridiculous to some. Noah became the joke of the town. They mocked this 500 year old grey-bearded antediluvian and called him “Nutty Noah.” They laughed at him. He seemed more concerned about what God thought of him that what people thought of him.
Can you imagine how embarrassed Noah would have been if no flood ever came? He would have spent over a hundred years building a boat to protect against a Flood which never came. Noah staked everything on this boat, because He believed God.
That is why he is in the Faith Hall of Fame. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We sometimes use the word faith for things that we believe are true but do not know for sure. Faith is being certain of what we do not see.
Myths about Noah
There are many false ideas about Noah. You can see them in the Noah movie. In the Noah movie, Noah is not really any different from his contemporaries. He is wicked like they are. He is violent and a terrible father. Darren Aronofsky, who produced the recent Noah movie, called Noah the “first environmentalist.” That is a myth. You can imagine how many trees Noah cut down to make the ark.
Many Christians have myths about Noah as well. A common view about Noah is that he was the first evangelist. God told him to build a big boat, preach to people and invite them into the boat but they all rejected his message and died in the Flood. That is a very common viewpoint, even among many creationists. It is almost universal. Everyone seems to believe this but it is completely unbiblical.
There is a big problem with that view. God did NOT tell Noah to build the ark to save the world, just his family. He told him to take his wife, his three sons and their wives on the ark. He didn’t tell him to invite other people on the ark. God only made a covenant with Noah (6:18), not with anyone else. God did NOT say that he was going to save the Pre-Flood world. He said that He was going to destroy it. He said that he was going to put an end to all people on the earth (6:13). He said that He was going to destroy them and the earth (6:13).
We are not even told that Noah prayed for God to change His mind. Noah walked with God. He was perfectly in line with His will. He said that he was going to destroy all life under the heavens (6:17). Noah did not have a message of salvation. He had a message of judgment. His only message was judgment is coming. He did preach against sin and told men to repent. He was the OT John the Baptist. The ark that he was building was a visual sermon.
As we move into chapter seven, God speaks to Noah again. The last time God spoke to Noah was in Genesis 6. That was over five hundred years ago. He told Noah He was going to destroy the world. “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made” (7:4 NIV).
Now God gave Noah told Noah that the Flood would come within a week and He told Noah to start loading the ark. The countdown begins for Noah. He knew the exact day the Flood would start. Amos 3:7 says “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
God gave Noah the one week warning. It took a whole week to get over seventeen thousand animals on the ark. In chapter six, Noah builds the ark. In chapter seven, he boards the ark, along with a lot of animals. The chapter begins with the words, The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation” (7:1).
If Noah did not obey that command, he would have died along with everyone else. It was not enough to build the ark; he had to get in it. It is not enough to know about Jesus. It is not enough to know that He is a Savior for sinners. You have to personally trust him and ask him to save you. You have to get in the boat.
The Symbolism of the Ark
The ark is a beautiful picture of salvation. That boat was what saved Noah physically from the flood water. All who were in it were saved. All who were outside it were destroyed. It was a picture of total safety. No matter how much it rained or how long it rained or how high the waters rose, everyone was safe. The only way to be saved from the flood was to be on the ark. There was no other way.
There was only one ark and only one door to the ark. God is building another ark today. It is a spiritual ark and there is only one door to it. Jesus said, “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). Noah had one door to the ark and we have only one way to God.
If you do not go through Jesus, you cannot be saved. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). Many think that they do not need a Savior, just as many in Noah’s day did not think that they needed to be on the ark. They did not think that judgment was coming. They thought they were perfectly safe until the Flood came.
The Bible says that once Noah and his family entered the ark with all of the animals, the door was shut. The Bible says that God shut the door (7:16). Noah didn’t shut it. The opportunity for salvation is limited. Once the door was shut, no one else could get in. Noah was shut in. That shows eternal security.
Once you are saved, you are always saved. God keeps those He saved. The problem today is that many think they are saved when they are not. God shut Noah and his family in and everyone else was shut out. The door of salvation right now is open but one day it will be shut and no one will be able to enter.