The story of Noah portraits a sure salvation through Jesus and His church. Regarding the ark itself, there was a specific design given in Genesis 6:14-16, a specific reason stated in verse 17, a specific promise given in verse 18, and some specific passengers listed in verses 19-20, along with some specific cargo in verse 21. Rather than go into detail, I will simply point out that there is nothing mystical here at all. The text reads like a sober historical account of what actually happened. This is not a fantasy story made up simply to teach a moral.
I. The ark Noah built
If we take Genesis 6 seriously, then we must conclude that God really did speak to Noah and tell him to build the ark because a great flood was coming. And God really did tell him to bring the land animals into the ark to keep them alive until the flood was over.
The Hebrew word translated “ark” is used in only two places in the Old Testament. In both places, the word basically means “box” or “container.” This is significant when you consider that the other occurrence of this particular Hebrew word is found in Exodus 2, where it refers to the basket in which the infant Moses was placed when his mother hid him in the bulrushes. It is not a coincidence that the “basket” of Exodus 2 is coated with “pitch,” the same resinous material used on the ark Noah built.
The point here is that Noah’s ark was not like a motorboat. It was essentially an enormous container designed to keep Noah, his family, and the animals afloat during the flood. The ark had no rudder because Noah didn’t need to steer it. He just needed a boat that would float, which is exactly what God told him to build.
II. Jesus Christ, the Ark of our salvation
After considering the nature of the ark itself, we must also recall the spiritual lessons in this story. Three obvious lessons come to mind:
A. God judges sin. From the standpoint of those who perished, this is the central message. Although God is patient even in the face of outright rebellion and repeated blasphemy, His patience must eventually come to an end. God will not always strive with men (Gen. 6:3).
B. Even in judgment, God displays grace. Though the world perished, one man and his family were saved. God never leaves Himself without a witness in the world. This truth saves us from despair when we see evil people rising to power and sin being praised openly; instead, it gives us great hope as we spread the gospel. Until the day the flood came, the ark’s door was open. Anyone could have entered.
C. Judgment will come when Jesus returns to the earth. This is the point Jesus makes in Matthew 24 when He compares the “days of Noah” to the days before His return to the earth. As Noah was building the ark, the people were totally unconcerned about even the remote possibility of divine judgment. In the last days, the world will have little concern about Jesus’ soon return and His judgment on the earth. People will be too busy eating, drinking, playing, navigating the Internet, sending e-mail, buying, selling, building, dreaming, singing—doing anything but getting ready for the Lord’s return. But make no mistake: that day is coming. Just as certainly as the flood came to Noah’s generation, the Day of Judgment will come to the entire earth. And it may come sooner than anyone thinks.
D. The ark points to Jesus. Ellen G. White says, “It was Christ who kept the ark safe amid the roaring, seething billows, because its inmates had faith in His power to preserve them” (RH March 12, 1901 as quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, page 1091). That leads me to the all-important final point. He is the “ark of salvation” to everyone who believes in Him. Consider these points of comparison:
1. Just as the ark was provided by God, Christ was sent from heaven as a gracious provision for our salvation.
2. There was only one ark, and it had only one door. God never said, “Make four or five arks and let the people make their choice.” He never offered more than one door to the ark. Only one ark! Only one door! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) See also John 10:7-9.
3. The ark saved everyone who entered. And everyone who comes to Christ is saved. No one who comes to Him in faith will be turned away (John 6:37).
4. Once God shut the door, no one else
could enter. This is a sad and solemn thought.
When the door was open, anyone could enter
and be saved from the coming flood; once the
door was shut, it would not be opened again
until the flood was over. Today is the day of
grace. The door of salvation is open to all who
care to enter.
Consider this final thought. When the
flood finally arrived, everyone inside the ark
was saved while everyone outside perished
in the rising waters. Perhaps some people
banged on the door and cried, “Let us in!”
When the floodwaters rose, the skeptics at
last knew that Noah wasn’t so crazy after all.
But it was too late. The same thing will happen
when Christ returns to the earth. There
will be a final separation between the saved
and the lost.
Only one question remains: Are you in
the ark of safety? I am not asking about your
religion or your tithing or your good works or
your religious background. I am not inquiring
about your baptism or your church membership
or even about your Sabbath School attendance.
Those things are of small value when it
comes to the issue of eternal destiny. If Christ
is the Ark, are you “in” Christ by faith? Or are
you “outside” Christ because you have never
trusted in Him?
Run to the ark! Run to the ark of salvation!
Put your trust in Jesus Christ. May you
and your family be found safe in the ark of