In the last chapter we reviewed some of the features of the ark itself (how it was built) and more importantly, how the ark was a model or type for the church. We made comparisons between the ark and the church:
- Men could only be saved in the ark and we can only be saved in the church.
- There was only one ark and there is only one church.
- There was only one door on the ark and there is only one door in the church.
I have another comparison not mentioned yet. Everyone was invited to come into the ark but only a few came in. It is the same with the church.
We also examined the idea of covenants. These were promises God made to man about what He was going to do. God made a covenant with Noah concerning the ark. The promise was that those who entered it would be saved from the disaster about to happen.
Let us now look at the flood and its consequences.
God Breaks His Silence – 7:1-10
In chapter seven we see the final preparations for entering the ark before the flood comes.
1Then the Lord said to Noah, "Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.
There has been silence for 120 years since God warned Noah about the judgment to come. Since that time Noah has obeyed God's command without wavering and has continued to preach to his generation.
Now the silence is broken as the time for judgment is at hand. The animals are assembled, the last of the patriarchs have died, and the ark is ready.
Note that God brings the animals to the ark (no free will) but invites Noah into the ark (free will) with Him. God will be with him in the ark to sustain and protect. This is another similarity between the ark and the church.
The words of God to Noah ("I have found thee righteous") also sound the same as Jesus' words ("good and faithful servant") when He talks about God's welcome to those who have been faithful in a faithless generation.
2You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.
Here God gives instructions concerning the division and use of the animals Noah is to take aboard the ark.
- Noah was to make a distinction between clean and unclean, probably animals suitable for domestication from the wild.
- Domesticated animals were to outnumber wild to provide for food, etc.
- Also, the seventh pair of clean were to be used for sacrificial purposes.
- The overall purpose was to keep the animal kingdom alive.
Later, during Moses' time, God will make further distinctions between clean and unclean.
4For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made." 5Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.
A final warning about the specifics of what will take place. Note that God provides a final week for last minute preparations and a final call to repentance for those who are still unbelieving. They might have scoffed at the beginning of the building but now that the animals are boarding, the ark is complete and Noah is making a final appeal, the signs were clearly evident that something was going to happen and yet, no one responded.
The Hebrew words "KOL YEYUM" (every living thing) can also be translated "all existence". This is significant because it refers not only to breathing animals but to everything that has sentient life… birds, insects, animals, plants, trees, etc.
Everything would be destroyed and buried in sediment where thousands of years later scientists would formulate all kinds of fantastic theories about billions of years and evolution. The Bible says that Noah did not hesitate in the face of this but continued to trust God and obey Him.
Another parallel with the church is that Jesus promises that the world will be destroyed completely and the only way to be saved is to be in the church, and the only way to enter is through the one door of repentance and baptism.
6Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. 7Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood. 8Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, 9there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.
This is a summary comment of all that had taken place according to God's plan. Noah's age is given as a historical marker. The order of entry: Noah first, his sons next as heads of family, wife of Noah and the sons' wives. Then the clean and unclean animals followed by the creeping things.
This is the end of the antediluvian age because once they are in the ark the judgment comes upon the earth.
When Jesus comes, the dead in Christ and the faithful are caught up with Him in the air, then the wicked and world are destroyed.
This marks the end of the preparations for the flood, the 120 years of grace period, which corresponds to the 1000 years in Revelation which refers to the time the church is preaching and reaching the lost. When the time is over, judgment comes.
The Flood – 7:10-24
10It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. 11aIn the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month,
We do not know the dating or calendar system used then, only that there was one and the exact time when the flood came was recorded (why not? We record other important historical dates).
11bon the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.
It is amazing how God can reduce an infinitely complicated thing to an understandable bite, without losing the essential meaning. In one and a half verses God explains the incredible natural phenomena that produced the flood.
Fountains of the great deep
In the beginning I explained that the earth was irrigated by underground waterways that provided moisture (Genesis 1:10; Genesis 2:5). These tremendous reservoirs burst through the earth's crust to cover the earth.
Windows of heaven
I also explained that the "waters above the heavens" mentioned in Genesis 1:7 formed a water vapor canopy around the earth which provided even temperature, moisture and protection from harmful rays. This water canopy is now dissolved and poured out on the earth as a torrent of rain for 40 days and nights.
Scientists tell us that if all the water in the clouds presently over the earth were to suddenly dissolve into rain, the earth would be covered with 1 ½ foot of water, not enough to cause a worldwide catastrophe.
But if all the water of the world in the earth and a water canopy in the sky were to simultaneously dissolve and cover the earth, this could (and did) cause the flood that destroyed all.
What caused the flood?
Some say meteor crash; some say the earth tilted on its axis, others say aliens.
The Bible only describes the natural functions that were released that created the flood but does not describe the natural "trigger" that set these in motion.
- Theologically it was sin.
- Realistically it was God's will.
- Naturally, we do not know what God did or allowed to happen to cause this result.
13On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, 14they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. 15So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. 16Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.
This is a final "snapshot" and confirmation of those who went in and the time, not before or after but exactly when they were supposed to enter. Note that God is the one who shuts them in. He is the one who seals them into the boat.
Another similarity with the church is that God is the one who:
- Cleanses our sins – Acts 2:38
- Adds us to the church – Acts 2:47
- Seals us with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 1:13
Verses 17 to 24 give a description of the flood as being a worldwide catastrophic event. In the last century science has been in love with the theory of evolution and its position that the earth evolved over billions of years. This leaves no room for the sudden disaster of a worldwide flood. The flood of the Bible has been explained as a myth or a local flood mythologized into a worldwide event by Bible writers. But the Bible says it was a worldwide event in its description.
17Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.
It would require at least twenty feet of water to lift up a boat the size of the ark. That is not some local river overflow. The terms "above the earth", "upon the earth" refer to the scope of the water. A local flood would be receding after 40 days, not just starting as stated here.
19The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.
All the hills and mountains that were there were covered. They were at least twenty feet above the highest peak (Mt. Ararat, 17,000 ft.) These people were eye witnesses and were recording their experience in detail. Wouldn't you?
21All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.
The Bible is very specific: everything was destroyed: vegetation, insects, birds, animals, all mankind. A local flood would not do this damage. Only Noah had those with him survived. This also tells us that the ride in the ark did not cause the death of anyone inside.
24The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.
This does not mean that after 150 days there was no more water (it would be a year before enough land would be exposed to allow Noah to leave the ark). There was only water that covered everything for 150 days (5 months). Can you imagine the damage caused by such a condition? No wonder everything died. (Katrina was a small disaster in comparison).
In addition to the destruction, the rapid destruction and sedification of bones and vegetation are what created the geological records which are found today but misinterpreted by evolutionary scientists.
For now we have learned not only the details of the flood and the range of its destruction, but the important fact that the Biblical flood was a worldwide flood, not a local one.
1. God keeps His promises
He said He would do it and He did. Whether it is good or bad, we need to be careful as well as optimistic when we consider God's promises to bless or punish us.
2. God requires exact obedience
We have the misconception that obedience in the Old Testament was very important but in the New Testament God is more laid back about obedience. Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11 that what was written in the Old Testament was for our instruction so we could take note and learn. The command to repent and be baptized or to live holy lives, etc. must be exactly obeyed today as His commands were then.
3. God is with us
For those on the ark as for those in the church, God is with us to help and guard us during our journey. Jesus was called, "Emmanuel", which means God with us. He will be on board until the end. We, therefore, must never be afraid of whatever flood comes into our lives.
- Why did God wait 120 years between the pronouncement of His judgment and instructions to Noah and the actual flood? What are the implications for us?
- Why did God make the distinctions between clean and unclean animals to enter the Ark?
- Summarize Genesis 7:10-24 and describe how God brought about the flood.
- What were the root causes of the flood?
- Compare the 40 days of the flood to the 40 years of wandering by Israel (Numbers 13:30-37; 32:13).
- How can you use this lesson to grow spiritually and help others come into a relationship with Jesus?