Christ is the Ark
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
The story of Noah’s ark is one of the strongest stories in the Old Testament of the coming of the Messiah and salvation to God’s chosen people. When you view the entire Scripture reference to the ark that God commanded Noah to build, it becomes a powerful prophetic type of the Person of Jesus Christ and the protection and hope which His people are invited to enjoy in Him. The ark is a beautiful picture of the Son of God as Redeemer and Deliverer to his people in every generation.
The story of Noah’s ark is a familiar story. Children learn it in Sunday School and in Bible School. It can be found in every book of children’s Bible stories. The emphasis is always on God’s promise to Noah evidenced in a beautiful rainbow. But Noah’s story is more than a story of God’s promise. It is a perfect picture of God’s salvation and redemption of His people. It is the story of God’s wrath carried out on the wickedness of men. It exalts God in every way. It’s about God, his hatred of sin, his bestowing grace on those he has chosen, his designing a plan—a means—of delivering those he chose to love from the foundation of the world, and his keeping them secure until the last day.
It didn’t take man long after the fall to become utterly wicked. From the beginning, God knew he would have to provide a way to bring his chosen back to Him. Peter says in 1 Peter 1:19-20, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” From the foundation of the world, God chose his children and planned a way to bring them home. And no story better exemplifies this fact than the story of Noah’s ark.
Beginning in the sixth chapter of Genesis, several things are obvious. First, we see sin increasing. Nine generations have passed since Adam, and sin is rampant on the earth. We have no way of knowing how many millions of people there were upon the earth; but there were so many that they covered the face of the earth. And wherever men and women were found, sin was evident. The one thing all men had in common in those days, as now, was sin. Genesis 6:1-2 says, “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” The sons of God, the sons of the line of Seth-the righteous son of Adam, married the daughters of men, daughters of the line of Cain, Adam’s unrighteous son. They took wives of all they chose-- Polygamy, which began with Lamech in Genesis 4 was now commonly practiced. The number of wives men took was limited only by the lusts they could fulfill. Those who professed to be and had a name to be the sons of God, sacrificed their principles upon the altar of their lusts and married beautiful, but godless, daughters of Cain. And verse 4 says, "there were giants in the earth in those days." The word "giants" simply means "violent, oppressive, fallen men." They had the name of Seth, but the nature of Cain. They laid claim to God's name and his promises, because their fathers were "the sons of God." But they were the sons of Cain, fallen, cursed, violent, wicked men. Godless religious men have always been the most violent, cruel, and wicked of all men.
Throughout the Old Testament, God warns Israel not to intermarry or have dealings with the Godless, idol worshiping pagans they encountered in the land of Canaan. Paul tells the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Paul isn’t just talking about marriage, but about all relationships. The wickedness that led to the destruction of the world came from the sons of God entering into relationships with the daughters of unrighteous men. The children of God have no business intermingling with the children of the devil.
Genesis 6:5 says, "God saw that...every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually." Sin had reached its utmost depths. Sin was everywhere. Sin was the only appetite, desire, and work of the entire human race, until it "repented the Lord that he had made man." Man, who was created in the image and likeness of God, who had lost his spiritual nature in the fall, had become repugnant to his Holy Creator.
Second, we see the Holy Spirit striving with men. Genesis 6:3 says, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” The Apostle Peter helps us to understand the meaning of this verse. He says in 1 Peter 3:20, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” The Spirit's striving with men is the longsuffering of God, calling sinners to repentance by the preaching of the gospel and granting them space for repentance. What mercy! God calls sinners who deserve his immediate wrath to repentance. God gives sinners opportunity to repent. But he will not always call. The day is coming when God will shut the door of mercy. When that happens, when God leaves men and women to themselves, they cannot be saved. God is not talking about the Holy Spirit drawing sinners to salvation. He is talking about legal repentance. All of the wicked are exhorted to repent of their evil ways. Jesus said in Luke 13:24-25 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.”
God said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” God gave them 120 years to repent of their wickedness. While Noah built the ark, he preached repentance to a wicked human race. How many millions of people heard Noah’s call to repent over a period of 120 years? There must have been several million because the human race covered the face of the earth. And how many repented of their wicked ways? Not one. Not a single one. Do you see what David is saying in Psalms 14:2-3: The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God? They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. And what Paul is saying in Romans 3:10-12, “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Noah preached 120 years and not one came to repentance. Why? Because it is man’s nature and it will always be man’s nature to love sin and hate God unless God intervenes.
Third, we see justice threatening. Genesis 6:7 says, “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” "The soul that sinneth, it must die!" Justice demands it. A holy, righteous and just God must punish sin. Just as God once flooded this world in a storm of wrath, he will one day consume this world and all who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in vengeful, flaming fire. He will punish the wicked with everlasting destruction. Psalms 11:5-6 says, “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” God put a limit on his striving with men before the flood and he will not continue to strive with men forever. Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Fourth, we see grace intervening. Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” This is the first time grace is mentioned in the Bible. "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord!" Salvation is by grace alone. The cause of Noah's salvation was God's free and sovereign grace. Our text does not say, "God found grace in the eyes of Noah." It says, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord!" It is never the other way around. Salvation does not begin with man. It begins with God. Grace is not the result of something man does. Grace is God's work. Grace is God's gift. Grace is God's intervention. Because God from eternity had set his heart upon Noah, and was determined to be gracious to him, the Lord found a way to save him, though he was resolved to destroy the world. It was grace in God, not goodness in Noah that saved this man from the flood of God's wrath. Grace is here mentioned for the first time by divine purpose. Grace first appears when the sin of man had reached its climax, as if to teach us from the beginning that there is nothing in man which causes God to bestow his grace. Grace is free. Grace is sovereign. Grace is unconditional. The world was lost; "but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." The world was condemned; "but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." The world perished; "but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
The story of Noah’s ark and the flood is a beautiful story of God’s redemption of His people. The ark is Christ. God spoke to Noah from within the ark, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark." The Lord invited his chosen into His glorious presence for safety. He did not say, “Go in” he said “Come in.” Christ beckons to His sheep, “Come follow me.” Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Christ is our ark of safety; He is our rest.
.Noah's ark had God for its designer. God instructed Noah as to the length and width and height of the ark, and its windows and door and decks. The ark was designed by God, and built according to His specifications. It was designed to withstand the wrath He would bring upon the world. It was also designed from the beginning to preserve Noah and his family. God did not start out with a small ark and make it bigger as people came to repentance. It was designed from the beginning to hold those God chose to bring into the ark, not one more or one less. Likewise, salvation in Jesus Christ is by God's design. Jonah 2:9 says, "Salvation is of the LORD" and Paul said in Ephesians 1:9 "according to His good purpose which He purposed in Himself." Salvation in Jesus Christ was designed to preserve those God chose from the wrath He purpose to bring upon the world. Denominations and religious sects design their own means of salvation: law-observance, baptism, sabbath-keeping, church membership, good deeds, moral reformation. But all such means of salvation designed by man are futile. Man can not design his own salvation, nor can man pick out verses in the Bible for someone else to follow that will lead him to salvation.
Noah's ark contained only one door. God told Noah in Genesis 6:16, "set the door of the ark in its side." This door was the only means of access into the ark. Likewise, Jesus Christ Himself is the only door to salvation. In John 10:9, Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved." Paul says in Ephesians 2:18, "For through Him we ... have access by one Spirit to the Father." Genesis 7:19-20 tells about the flood: And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. For those who were not in the ark there was no hope. Neither is there hope for those who are not in Christ.
Noah's ark had no means for him to propel or steer it. God was in complete control of every movement of the ark, and Noah was at His mercy. The ark moved according to the sovereign will of God, not the will of Noah. Likewise, all who are in Christ are moved by the sovereign will of God, not according to their own dictates. Philippians 2:13 says, "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." "God is my co-pilot" is a heathenistic concept completely foreign to those who are in Christ.
Noah's ark was a place of unfailing security. Genesis 7:16 says, "Then those that entered ... went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in." God having shut the door of the ark, nothing could enter to harm those therein, and those within could not fall out. Every living creature which entered the ark was preserved by God until the deluge was over, none suffering His wrath. Likewise, all who are in Jesus Christ are eternally secure. 1 Peter 1:5 says we are "kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Modern preachers say, “Just as all were invited to enter into the ark, all are invited to come to Christ for rest.” All were NOT invited to enter the ark. Genesis 7:1 says, “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.” Noah was chosen by God and called into the ark. God did not make the ark large enough to hold all of mankind. He made it big enough to hold those he chose to put in it. Its determined size from the beginning indicates God had a plan. God still has a plan for the salvation of his chosen people. He will save those he purposed to save from the foundation of the world. God has designed the ark and he has made only one door. That ark is Christ.