Sunday, June 12, 2011

Seeing Jesus in Noah's Ark

When I was young and in Sunday School I used to think that reading the Old Testament was a waste of time because Jesus was only in the New Testament. How wrong I was. Jesus is all over the Bible and there are pictures of Jesus through out. Moses was a picture of Jesus. Joseph was a picture of Jesus. Perhaps the neatest picture of Jesus though, and not many associate with Jesus, is Noah's Ark. I'd like us to take a closer look at Noah's ark and the symbolism that is in Noah's Ark as it relates to Jesus.

The scripture references will be from Genesis chapters 6 - 8

Genesis 6:8 "but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

I would like to mention 3 things that God's Amazing Grace does for us.

I) Grace provides a Savior

Noah needed to be saved. God was about to judge the world. God told Noah to build an ark. That ark is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The account of the flood and Noah's Ark is a perfect picture of how we today are saved. We are saved today the same as anyone has ever been saved on the face of the earth... by God's Amazing Grace.

Let's look at the details on how Noah was saved.

Pick up the scripture in Genesis 6:14 "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."

I would like to show 4 aspects of Noah's ark for us to think about and, once again, to make things easier to remember I will let each thought begin with the letter "S".

1) The Security of the Ark

Look in Genesis 6:14 "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."

What is Gopher wood? It is literally cypress which means it is incorruptible, it won't rot or decay. Then God told Noah to pitch it inside and out with pitch. What is pitch? It is gooey resin, tar. So God told Noah to take the ark, make it of incorruptible wood and get a big brush and cover the ark inside and out with this gooey tar called pitch. The Hebrew word used here for pitch is "Kaphar" and it literally means atonement. So we could read this verse just as easily (and more clearly) if it had said "thou shalt pitch it inside and out with atonement." So God has Noah cover that ark with pitch or atonement. What was the pitch for ? to keep the water out. What did the water represent? God's judgment. And not one drop of that judgment water could get into the ark through that atoning pitch. How does this translate to us? Our pitch, our Kaphar, our atonement is the blood of Jesus Christ. When we are surrounded by the blood of Christ not one drop of God's judgment will be able to get to us.

2) The Sufficiency of the Ark.

15 And this is the way you are to make it: the length of the ark shall be 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits [that is, 450 ft. x 75 ft. x 45 ft.].
16 You shall make a roof or window for the ark and finish it to a cubit [at least 18 inches] above--and the door of the ark you shall put in the side of it; and you shall make it with lower, second, and third stories.

That's a BIG ark. God made the ark sufficient for all who were willing to come aboard. If you want another symbolic piece to this, look no further than the ark itself.. it is made of wood. It came from trees. Christ died on a cross that came from trees. The Bible says Christ bore the curse for us by the Cross. See these scriptures.
Acts 10:39 "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree."
Galatians 3:13 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree."

3) The Sustenance of the Ark

We have always been told that Noah took every animal onto the ark in pairs, 1 male and 1 female. However, of some animals (the clean animals) he took in sevens. This was for food. Not only did Noah have security in the ark but he had sufficiency. God made sure Noah was well taken care of.

4) The Schedule of the Ark

Genesis 8:4 "And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat."

Most of us will read a passage like this in the Bible and think nothing special of it, but look more carefully. What is the 1st month of the Jewish Calendar? October. What is the seventh month? April. SO the ark rested on April 17th. What is significant about that? Passover is on April 14th. The ark rested 3 days after Passover which is exactly when Jesus arose from the grave. That ark sat on the mountain of Ararat stong and secure after the flood the same way Jesus Christ stood strong and secure after enduring the judgment waters of God's wrath on the cross.

Not only does Grace provide a a Savior but ...

II) Grace provides salvation

So, how was Noah saved and how are we saved?

The best salvation verse I know of is found in Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them."

There are 3 prepositions in this passage that explain salvation and if we can understand these, we have salvation down pat... they are "by", "through" and "unto".

We are saved "by" Grace, but not just Grace but "through" the avenue of faith. Noah had to make the decision to get on board. Grace is available for anyone, but only those who step out in faith will be saved. Think of Grace as God reaching His hand down to us, think of faith as us reaching our hand up to God. It's just that plain and just that simple. It's gloriously simple and simply glorious.

Hebrews 7:11 "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." So Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8) and how did he respond? By Faith

God is so patient and He wants everyone saved that He withholds judgment for as long as He possibly can. Do you know why Methusela lived to be 960 years old? Because he had good genes? No, because God said that the flood would come when Methuselah died and God kept giving the people opportunity after opportunity to come to Him and they rejected Him. Let's look at this in scripture:

Methuselah fathered Lamech when he was 187. (Gen 5:25)

Lamech fathered Noah when he was 182. (Gen 5:28)

The flood came when Noah was 600. (Gen 7:11)

Methuselah lived to be 969 (Gen 5:27)

187+182+600 = 969

Flood came when Methuselah died.

Methuselah’s name means = His death shall bring or send forth i.e. the flood

Look at Genesis 7:1 and again the NIV is horribly inaccurate and borderline blashpemous on this.

"And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Notice the word, "come".. very important. The NIV reads this verse The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.".... Go, not Come. Now you may think, David, you are being a bit too nitpicky here but just think about it. Suppose you are at the door to a classroom and someone says "come in". That someone would be already in the room waiting for you to join them. However, if that same person said to you, "go in" that would mean they are telling you to enter the classroom they are not in. So with the ark, God is telling Noah to come into the ark. He says come because God was already in the ark.

Now the last preposition.. "unto" or unto good works. We are not saved "by" good works, we are saved "unto" or to do good works. Good works are not the root of our salvation, they are the fruit of our salvation. We are not saved by faith and works, but by a faith that works.



III) Grace provides security
Do you think that Noah was safe in the ark? Go back to Genesis 7:1 where God told Noah to come into the ark. God was in the ark with Noah. God is in Christ. Christ is the ark of safety. You want to know when I am going down? If Jesus goes down.. and He never will. You want to know when I will lose my relationship with God the Father? If Jesus loses His.. He can't. We are IN Christ.

Remember 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Look at Genesis 7:16 "And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in."

Noah went into the ark and God shut the door behind him and no one could open that door but God. Much like in Ephesians 1:13 "In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"

Not only did God shut the water out through the pitch (atonement) but God shut Noah in. You know, Noah may have fell down several times in the ark, but he could never fall out of the ark. As believers, we may fall down many times and cause a break in our fellowship with God, but just like Noah, we can never fall out of relationship with God.

Let's re-write the Bible for a few minutes to suit what some people believe salvation is like.. those who just can't get around not working for their salvation. The scene is the ark, the rains are coming, the water is rising and God tells Noah to make 8 pegs and place them on the outside of the ark. One for Noah, one for Mrs. Noah, one each for his 3 sons and their wives. Then God tells Noah, "Noah, theres a big flood upon you. If you can endure until the end, you will be saved." So Noah gets a good grip, looks over at his wife and says "honey, pray for me that I can hold out faithful until the end." Sadly, this is the kind of salvation many think is the way it is. What a tragic ending it would have been for poor Noah if this was the way it was written. We are not secure in our salvation because we are holding onto to Christ, we are secure because Christ is holding onto us.

John 10:29-30 "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

You think I have been kept these last 15 years because I have been a good boy? NO... it's because I have a great Savior and so do you if you have trusted Christ.

So wrapping it up..

Grace provides a Savior, Grace provides Salvation, and Grace provides Security. That is why we refer to it as "Amazing Grace".


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