Noah and the Flood

Posted: March 1, 2018 in Genesis, Uncategorized

Genesis 6-7, “Noah and the Flood”

When most people think of Noah’s Ark, typically what comes to mind are murals painted in nurseries or pictures in Bible storybooks about floating zoos. There’s a fun little boat, a bunch of happy animals, and (sometimes) Noah as a cheery old man with a beard. As fun as it is for kids to think about a floating petting zoo, the real history of Noah’s ark is far different. The boat itself plays a small (though important!) role – the real story is that of the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth and the destruction of all human life with the exception of one family. A far more accurate depiction of the flood is not one of a floating zoo, but one of floating bodies in the water. Untold numbers of people died in the flood…literally every human on the planet, excepting the eight members of Noah’s family. The flood is not a fun fairy tale; it is an account of the righteous wrath of God due towards sin.

That said, it is also an account of grace. All life was destroyed…all but eight. Eight people were saved, solely by the grace of God. God preserved alive a remnant of humanity in order to honor His own promise of a Savior, and the remnant He preserved was one to which He demonstrated the free gift of grace, personally saving them from the judgment to come. God acted out the very gospel that Noah was destined to preserve, and God’s goodness shone brightly on that dark day of His wrath.

Contextually, we’re still at the very beginning of the Biblical record. God had created all things in the universe, declaring them good – especially mankind, who originally enjoyed unrestrained relationship with God. The original man and woman (Adam and Eve) soon fell into sin, being tempted by Satan (the serpent), and God mercifully ejected them from the Garden of Eden before they had a chance to eat of the tree of life and remain eternally in sin, separated from God.

Things soon got worse, as sin took hold among the sons of Adam and Eve, and the elder son Cain became jealous of his younger brother Abel, murdering him. Cain was without remorse when he was confronted by God, and he received a curse that was multiplied on top of the one received by his father. Cain’s descendants fell further into sin, even as their numbers and technology increased upon the earth. By this point, the state of mankind was dark, and even among the more God-honoring descendants of Adam (through a third son, Seth), their legacy was one of death. Over and over again through Genesis 5, the account is “he died…he died…he died.”

This can only continue for so long, and God eventually did something about it in the days of Noah. He sent the flood as an instrument of His righteous judgment due to the corruption of mankind. God basically wiped the slate clean, starting over with Noah. Why Noah? Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” There is grace in the midst of God’s judgment. We see it in the Ark, and we see it in the Cross. God always gives the opportunity for grace.

Genesis 6

  • The Need for Judgment (1-12)

1 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

  1. Who are the “sons of God”? Subject of much debate! Some claim that this is the lineage of Seth, being the godly line (as opposed to Cain) – yet that seems to contradict with the idea that these “sons of God” were inherently sinful. In Genesis 5, the sons of Seth are by no means depicted as perfect (after all, they all died except Enoch), but it was the lineage of Cain that was highlighted as sinful; not Seth. Seth’s line was to continue until the Messiah (the Seed of the woman). 
  2. On the other hand, there is another Biblical reference to the “sons of God,” found in a near contemporary time to many of the events of Genesis: the book of Job. Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.” Job 2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.” Here, it’s plain that the “sons of God” refer to angelic beings – including both angels loyal to God as well as the devil and his demons. And it isn’t just the Old Testament that gives this idea. The New Testament tells us that various angels sinned at the time of Noah: 2 Peter 2:4–5, “(4) For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; (5) and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;”  Put it together, and the evidence is strong that somehow these angelic beings (demons) somehow interacted with human women, marrying them.
  3. As to the exact details, this is something which is unknown. Jesus was clear that angels do not marry nor are given in marriage (Mt 22:30). Perhaps they possessed certain humans to engage in this – or perhaps some other scenario took place. Either way, the overall idea here is that the very institution of marriage was corrupted. It is one more thing that was originally given by God as good that turned into something totally different.
  4. This is when God declared His action. 3…

3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

  1. The idea of “strive” is one of legal argument. Sometimes the word is translated “judge,” or “quarrel.” The Lord God had pleaded His case with mankind, but had been ignored. Although God is incredibly patient, there comes a time when even His patience runs out. Keep in mind that God has no reason to be patient with anyone at all! After all, He’s God & we’re not. We are but flesh. Who are we to argue & strive with God? That God would give us even the opportunity to say “no” to Him at all is an example of grace. He didn’t have to give us freewill – He didn’t have to give us an opportunity to rebel, but He did. God doesn’t have to give anyone a first breath, much less a second breath after we’ve sinned against Him…but He does. He is a gracious God! Every day He allows us to live is another day of grace & mercy!
  2. Even so, God’s longsuffering is limited. For the people of Genesis 6, it was limited to 120 years. Some people assume that Genesis 6:3 is a reference to God cutting down the lifespan of men from several centuries to only 120 years – but that is clearly not the case. Abraham lived 175 years (Gen 25:7). Jacob lived 147 years (Gen 47:28). Even Moses lived 120 years, several centuries after the flood (Dt 34:7). No doubt the lifespans of people decreased over time, but that seems to have been the result of many things that came with the flood; not a specific decree of God prior to the flood. The idea here seems to be that whenever God made the final decision to destroy the earth, He gave people a time of 120 years to repent. (God always gives opportunities to repent!)

4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

  1. Other Bible translations simply transliterate the Hebrew word used for giants: Nephilim. Just as with the “sons of God,” the identity of the Nephilim is highly debated. The Biblical reason for translating the word as giants comes from the LXX translation choice (γίγαντες), as well as the only other Biblical use of the word in Numbers 13:32-33, when “giants” (Nephilim) were seen in the Promised Land, and this is what caused the 12 spies of Israel to fear and not enter it. Otherwise the word is obscure and unknown, seemingly referring to “fallen ones,” which would lend more support to the idea that they are somehow angelically/demonically related. This would make the most sense of the fact that the Nephilim were the result of the sexual union between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men,” though we cannot be certain what these Nephilim actually looked like.
    1. Beyond this, we cannot be certain. Whatever view we take on the Nephilim, we need to limit it to Biblical revelation. Theories regarding aliens & various other unidentified creatures are irrelevant from a Biblical point of view.
  2. The only other description we have of these creatures is that they accomplished many mighty things. These were warriors, “men of renown.” That doesn’t mean that they were good; it just means they were skilled & strong. Evil warriors can still be mighty warriors. Evil warriors can still be famous. Hitler is infamous, renown both during his lifetime and in history classes ever since…it doesn’t make him good. We need to be careful of reading more into the Hebrew text what is there. The Nephilim were mighty men, famous in their time, but the whole context is one of a sinful and corrupted world. These were people lost in their sin, rebellious against the will of the perfect God. 5 makes it clear…

5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

  1. How sad! When the Creator God looked at the pinnacle of His creation, He saw that mankind was wholly wicked. Every intent of the heart, every act, every word – all of it was always evil, all the time. How far things had fallen in such a short amount of time! Remember this is only Chapter Six of Genesis. It didn’t take long for everything to fall to pot. Once sin gets involves, it ruins everything it touches.
  2. It’s not only sad; it’s current! This is the state of mankind today! Although there are brief shining examples of love in the world (and that, by the grace of God!), the vast majority of it is pure wickedness. A quick look at any roundup of news headlines verifies it. Between the murders that take place in our schools to the routine but far more numerous murders that take place in abortion centers, our own nation is filled with violence. If it isn’t acted out in person, then it is voiced through social media – it is portrayed through our entertainment – it is taught in our institutions. Wickedness pervades every aspect of our society, and we are ripe for the judgment of God.
  3. What’s the only thing that stops God from engaging in this judgment again? His promise! (8:21) He’s already flooded the world once, and promised never to do it again. But that’s not to say that God won’t judge the world again. He will; only He will do it in light of Jesus’ return to rule and reign upon the earth.
  4. BTW – before we point our fingers at too many other people, we need to remember that their evil is our evil. All of that is us without Jesus! Apart from His grace & His transforming power, we are all utterly evil. We can never forget who we were before we were saved & forgiven – we can never take Jesus for granted or lose sight of our dependence upon Him.

6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

  1. Those are truly amazing words. YHWH God “was sorry” regarding man. Can God be sorry? Apparently, yes. God is not sorry in the same way that we are, but He can still experience regret and grief in His spirit. When we’re sorry, we’re sorry over our sin – we regret the actions we’ve taken – we repent from evil that we’ve done & for which we’re guilty. Sometimes we’re just sorry over the consequences we’re experiencing, but it still comes down to regret over our own actions. That’s not God. God “was sorry that He had made man on the earth,” but it wasn’t because man existed; it’s that man existed in sin. When God first created humans, He declared them to be good – and looking around at the whole of His creation, He declared it to be “very good,” (Gen 1:31). That was God’s determination, and His word does not change. What did change was the actions of men & women, and now they were no longer acting like God’s original creation. Thus, when the Bible speaks of God’s sorrow here, it’s not sorrow over Himself; it’s sorrow over us. Mankind brought grief to the heart of God, and something needed to be done.
  2. What was the solution? God’s creation had become irretrievably tainted, and it needed to be wiped out. Like a painting that had an unwanted color spilled all across it, there was nothing left to do except start over. It was the only act of justice that could be done. The wages of sin is death, so death needed to come.
  3. This is exactly what all of us deserve. Why don’t we get it? Grace! The same grace received by Noah. vs. 8…

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

  1. Grace! The Hebrew word (חֵן) can also be translated as “favor, charm,” and Genesis 6:8 is the first time it is found in the Bible. When Moses writes that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD,” he isn’t saying that Noah located grace or discovered somehow for himself. Instead, the idea is that God looked upon Noah with favor – that the grace Noah “found” was the gift that God gave.
  2. That’s always the way grace works. (If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be called “grace”!) Grace is always a gift; never earned. Thus, Noah was saved the same way any of us are saved: by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Noah looked to the Lord God in light of the revelation he had, Noah trusted in the Lord (unlike the rest of his culture around him), and God sovereignly chose to give favor/kindness/grace to Noah. Noah did nothing to earn salvation – he was still living with the same fallen nature passed down to him from Adam. The only reason Noah was saved was because of the gift of God’s grace.
  3. That’s not to say Noah didn’t live differently…he did! 9…

9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

  1. Noah was indeed different from the rest of the world around him. Like Enoch before him, “Noah walked with God.” Noah lived his life in righteousness, and the Bible declares him to be a “just man, perfect in his generations.” Question: if Noah was saved because God chose to give him grace, then why wasn’t Noah’s salvation earned due to him being perfect? Or (looking at it from another angle), if Noah still had the sinful nature passed to him from Adam, how can the Bible say that Noah was “perfect”? This is an instance in which a better translation choice could have been used by the editors of the KJV & NKJV (and Latin Vulgate). The Hebrew word translated “perfect” (תָּמִים) can also be translated as “whole, complete” – or as the NASB, ESV & others, “blameless.” The usual meaning for the word in the Old Testament is in reference to sacrifices that were “without blemish” – things that were well-pleasing to God. IOW, the Bible never proclaims Noah to be utterly sinless; it simply says that sin didn’t stick to him. He consistently lived his life above reproach.
    1. Such is to be the testimony of all God’s people! It is a specific character trait included in qualifications for pastoral ministry (1 Tim 3:2), but it is ultimately a mark of Christian maturity. All of us are to be “blameless” in this way – to live our lives among the rest of the world so that they do not see the sin of the world in us.
  2. Note the “genealogy of Noah” listed here. This signifies one of the several narrative breaks in the book of Genesis. Ch 5:1 gave us the genealogy of Adam; Ch 6 begins with the genealogy of Noah – the next break will come in Ch 10 with the genealogy of Noah’s sons.
  3. FYI – we tend to forget how close Noah was to Adam. When we consider how it was Noah would have known the promises of God, and learned how to trust in God by faith, it’s possibly because he had the models of his ancestors. According to the Biblical genealogies (provided no generations were skipped), it’s quite possible that Noah had met Seth before Seth died. That put Noah in contact with only one generation removed from the Garden of Eden, even though Adam died a couple of hundred years before Noah’s birth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

  1. The final determination of the state of mankind is declared: God saw it as utterly “” Again, what God once saw as “good” was now ruined & spoilt. The only thing to be done was to start over.
  2. Yet here’s the challenge: How could God start over without violating His promise to Adam & Eve? Remember the first glimpse of the gospel in the Garden of Eden, spoken to the serpent in the presence of the humans: Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” The seed/offspring of Eve was to bruise the head of the serpent (crush him / destroy him). For God’s word to be true, humankind could not be destroyed to the extent of God reforming a new Adam from the dust – after all, Eve’s Seed was promised victory over the serpent. Mankind needed to be both saved and Thus, the ark. The ark allows for a righteous remnant while still providing righteous judgment. The ark allows for God’s grace to be preserved while still judging the corruption of the earth.
    1. Thus, the cross! The cross allows the fullness of God’s wrath to be poured out on sin. The cross allows every sin of every human to be totally judged in light of God’s righteousness. At the same time, it allows for men and women to be saved. The cross allows us to be sheltered from God’s wrath by living in God’s grace. We were the corrupt ones, but because of the cross of Jesus, now we have been made the righteous remnant of God.
  3. All of that is the determination & reason for judgment. How would it come? That’s what Genesis 6 goes on to describe…
  • The Preparation for Judgment (13-22)

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

  1. Of course God’s plans had not been made in haste. He had known of these things from before the foundation of the world (which speaks of His mercy and grace in creating mankind in the first place!); this was simply the moment He informed Noah of what was going to happen. To say “the end of all flesh has come before Me” is to basically say that mankind had reached its limit. This was the border – the finality – the farthest God would allow things to continue as they were. God is rich in patience and longsuffering, but even He has a limit. Eventually the patience of God runs out, and His judgment swiftly comes. It was now that moment for the earth.
  2. Sadly, notice how the entire earth is caught up in the sin of mankind. The same point was made in vs. 12, and is repeated here in vs. 13. Had the animals (apart from the Satanically-possessed serpent) sinned? Bears and lions and bugs simply acted like bears and lions and bugs. Yet all the earth would pay the price of God’s wrath and judgment. Sin always brings casualties – it always affects others…always.
    1. Some people claim to engage in “victimless” sin. There is no such thing. Someone who sins in the corner of his/her bedroom still has an effect on someone else. There was another person involved in making the tool of sin (be it pornography, booze, drugs, etc.). There are the people with whom we later interact, after our minds and hearts have been affected. Sin always has a ripple effect; there’s no getting around it. (There is only stopping it & cleansing from it in Christ!)

14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

  1. Though the earth was to be destroyed, the existence of life was to be preserved. God’s method for doing so was to have Noah build an “ark.” What’s an ark? Interestingly, this particular word is used only a handful of times in Scripture, usually in reference to Noah’s ark, or the basket that contained the baby Moses. The word used for the ark of the covenant is a totally different Hebrew word, though perhaps overlapping a bit in meaning. The best scholars can determine for this particular word is that it refers to a box or container of some sort, and considering that every time the word is used in the Old Testament it refers to water transport (the flood or the Nile river), it needs to be considered as a type of boat or water-craft. The ark of the covenant, on the other hand, is a box or money-chest, or the word could even be used to refer to a coffin. This ark was meant to preserve life; not bury it. This was God’s plan to ensure life did not completely vanish from His creation.
  2. First things first: what the heck is “gopherwood”? In all likelihood, it’s a reference to cypress or cedar (which means that the ark would have smelled pretty good for the days they were on it – perhaps even cutting down on the stench of the livestock!). “Gopher” is not a reference to the rodent; it’s a transliteration of the Hebrew: “עֲצֵי־גֹ֔פֶר” = “tree/wood of gofer.” It is possibly a reference to finished timber, rather than a specific type/species of tree. Whatever the wood was, it was covered with “pitch,” to waterproof it both from the rain and floods on the outside, as well as any liquid on the inside. The general idea is that it was safe, and seaworthy.
  3. The physical dimensions commanded by God actually affirm the seaworthiness of the vessel. Depending how one counts the cubit (18 or 20 inches), the ark was 450’x75’x45’ or 500’x83’x50’. Either way, it was huge! Not only was it the first ship in recorded history, but it remains one of the largest (if not the largest) wooden sea-vessel in history. But again, its dimensions demonstrate its seaworthiness. The ark was not unlike modern cargo ships today in appearance, thus able to withstand the waters that surrounded it.
    1. This description alone sets apart the Biblical narrative from other pagan narratives regarding their global floods. For instance, in the Babylonian story of Gilgamesh, “the ark is a perfect cube of about 197 feet; such a vessel would capsize and sink in turbulent water,” (Apologetics Study Bible).

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

  1. Notice the emphasis in vs. 17: “I Myself am bringing floodwaters…” By no means is the flood to be considered the result of natural disaster or catastrophe; this was a Divine destruction. God got personally involved in His judgment of the world. (Likewise with the cross. God was personally involved not only in the piercing of His Son, but in the person of Jesus as He received the piercing & wrath!)
  2. What would be the result? “Everything that is on the earth shall die.” With the exception of Noah, his sons, their wives, and the animals on the ark, everything would die. Again, this is no children’s story! This is global annihilation. This was a world-ending event – the kind of thing imagined in so many Hollywood movies today. The difference is that it actually happened.
  3. Even with all of the death and destruction, there was one saving grace: God made a “covenant” with Noah. As with the word for “grace,” this is also the first time the Hebrew word for “covenant” (בְּרִית) is used in the Bible. A covenant is an agreement or contract – in some cases, it is the legal basis of a relationship between a king and his people, like a pact. Here, God tells Noah that Noah will have certain legal protections and guarantees going forward. What’s the guarantee? Life – the promise of the eventual Messiah/Seed of the woman. Noah and his sons will live, and they would see that the gospel promise of God remains true.
    1. BTW – we also have a covenant with God, the new covenant of Christ, celebrated every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor 11:25) Likewise, God’s covenant with us also guarantees life!
  4. God goes on to describe the life that will remain…

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

  1. Generally speaking, there were to be “two of every sort” of animal. Chapter 7 will bring clarification to that regarding clean animals, looking ahead to worship sacrifices yet to come. Otherwise, two are all that were required, as this would be enough to procreate and repopulate the kind of animal upon the earth.
  2. Note that God’s instructions are in general, broad categories, as opposed to the specific individual species of which we would think of in modern terms. Technically, the Hebrew doesn’t even say “two of every sort,” as the English “sort” is assumed by the translators. Literally, the Hebrew says “And from every living, from all flesh, two of all you shall bring into the ark.” Thus you don’t need two of every single breed of domesticated cat, or every variation of sparrow, etc. The various “kinds” of animals would themselves come to Noah, supernaturally brought to him by God in order to be preserved. From those initial kinds, the various individual breeds would come forth.
    1. Although the Bible never at all teaches the concept of macro-evolution (from a single-celled organism all the way to modern humans; from goo-to-you), it does allow for micro-evolution, or better-termed “adaptation” on a small scale. Adaptation can be (and has been) observed by naturalists and other scientists for a very long time. We can see it ourselves simply in the size of human skeletons from centuries ago in comparison with today. But adaptation is not the same thing as Darwinian macro-evolution. Adaptation is observable and fits with Biblical teaching; Darwinian evolution can only be theorized, and is opposed to the Bible.
  3. Interestingly, in the preservation of the animals, there is a parallel with the preservation of Noah. Just as Noah and his family were a remnant of humanity, God also provided a remnant of the animal kingdom.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

  1. Practical! Not everything God declared was regarding judgment. Some of what God instructed Noah was valuable for simple survival. Animals weren’t the only things required on the ark – so was basic supplies like food and other provisions. Noah would have to bring everything he needed for several months. After all, there wasn’t exactly a floating Walmart for him to visit. 😊

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

  1. Noah was fully obedient – something that will be described in Chapter 7.
  2. Notice how God’s grace and man’s obedience go hand-in-hand. Noah did not work to earn his salvation, but he certainly did good works. He lived his life in righteousness, and obeyed the commands of God. These were things that flowed out from his relationship with God & the grace he had received; they were not the cause of his relationship with God.
    1. Be careful not to get those things reversed! We are saved by grace through faith, for the purpose of good works (Eph 2:8-10). Our works are the result of the grace we have received; grace can never be earned.
    2. If your relationship with God does not start from the basis of His grace, then you have no relationship with God. It starts there, or not at all!

At this point, with the reason for judgment established, and God’s plan of judgment declared, the execution of that judgment goes fairly quick.

Genesis 7 – The Execution of Judgment

  • Final commands (1-5)

1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

  1. This is basically a repetition of what God earlier declared – a reiteration that Noah was seen as “righteous” by God. Again, had Noah been absolutely sinless his entire life? Not at all. But God gave him grace, and when God declared Noah to be righteous, so he was.
    1. We experience the same thing in our own relationship with Christ. The righteousness we have is what has been imputed to us (put upon us) by God through His sovereign declaration. What God declares to be, is. God said “Let there be light,” and there was. Likewise, when God declares your sin to be forgiven, it is – when He declares you to have been cleansed & made righteous in His sight, you are – when He determines that you have been adopted into His family & born-again as a child of God, that is exactly what has taken place. God said it, and it is so.
  2. As for Noah, he was the only one declared by God to be righteous, which is why he was the only one (he & his family) to be saved. It would be the remnant of Noah & the remnant of animals which would alone be saved. vs. 2…

2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.

  1. Here’s the clarification on the “two animal” rule. Generally speaking, two of every kind of animal would come to Noah, but when it came to the clean animals (animals appropriate for both eating and sacrifice), there would be seven. Obviously seven is one animal more than what is required to have procreating pairs, so there is a use for these animals beyond procreation. The number of these animals were necessary in order for the various kinds to remain alive, but that seems to be (in part) due to the fact that some of these animals would very soon be killed – either for food or for sacrifice. At this point in Genesis, Noah (and all humans) were still vegetarian (if not vegan), and it is not until Chapter 9 that God gives permission for Noah and his sons to eat animals.
  2. As to how Noah would know the difference between the clean & unclean animals, this is left unsaid. As the compiler of Genesis (and thus chief editor & author), Moses would have known, but it is not until the time of Moses that a specific list of clean/unclean animals is provided. It’s possible that Noah would have had a tradition passed from Adam as to which animals were clean & which were unclean, but that knowledge wasn’t absolutely necessary. After all, the animals would be brought to Noah by God Himself. God would bring the right numbers to Noah, and Noah would know which was which simply by doing an inventory count.

4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” 5 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.

  1. Back in 6:7, God declared that He would “destroy” (wipe out/blot out) man; the same word and idea is used here. Rainwaters would come like they had never come before, and “all living things” not on board the ark would be killed. And once more, the Bible affirms that Noah was obedient.
  2. Can you imagine Noah’s thoughts when he heard all of this? How his mind must have reeled! How his heart must have broken. Surely he had friends who were among those who would be killed. He certainly had other family members – at the very least, it seems that Methuselah & Lamech (Gen 5:25, 28) also perished in the flood. Noah alone would be saved, even though he pled for others to repent, being a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5). Yet still, Noah was obedient. He did what needed to be done, and proclaimed what needed to be proclaimed. Knowing that all men and women were bound to perish, Noah obeyed anyway.
    1. Why is it we preach the gospel, knowing that it will often be rejected? Why is it we tell others of Jesus, knowing that most will not believe? Because God tells us too! And unlike Noah, some will believe and be saved! Noah preached, knowing that all would perish. We preach, with the hope that some will be saved. We have far more reason to be faithful to God’s call & commission…may we be just as obedient as Noah!
  • Boarding the ark (6-16)

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

  1. Although the Scripture doesn’t tell us precisely when Noah began building the ark, the previous mention of his age was 5:32, nothing he was 500 years old. Presumably, that’s when he received his instructions from God. Thus the construction took roughly 100 years – not an unreasonable number considering it was Noah and his sons alone that did the work. It is doubtful he had much help from the people around him.

7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

  1. Notice “they went into the ark to Noah.” Noah didn’t have to go out & round up the livestock; God supernaturally brought them to him. God called Noah to certain work; He didn’t call Noah to do all the work. What God wanted done, God would empower to be done. (Just as He always does! He calls us to be faithful; He’s the one who supplies the power.)

10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

  1. Notice the specific dating. One week after boarding, the waters arrived, and that specific date was written down in history according to the only calendar Noah had. Year 600, on the 2nd month, on the 17th If Noah would have had access to a wristwatch, no doubt he would have noted the hour, as well!
  2. Why does this matter? Why is this included in our Bibles even if we can’t match the specific date to our modern calendars? Because it underscores the fact that this was a historic event. This was not a fairy tale – it’s not a myth designed to scare people into obedience. This is the account of the very real event of the flood. Keep in mind, flood myths do Every ancient culture around the world has its own version of the flood. The fact that they do, indicates that something happened. Atheistic historians and archaeologists might not like that fact, but something had to have happened to embed itself into the conscience of human culture. The question should not be whether or not there was a flood; rather, the question is which account of the flood is correct. The only version attached to a historical document that has been proven true time & time again is that of the Bible. The Biblical version is the version that must be given the benefit of the doubt.
  3. There’s no question that there are aspects of the flood that are supernatural, unable to be explained through any other cause apart from the miraculous. But that’s no reason for disqualification. God works. He routinely intervenes in His creation, and when He does, it is supernatural by definition. What’s so striking about the Biblical account is that beyond the supernatural events are very specific details – details that would make no sense whatsoever unless they were historical records. What the Bible has written, is true.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.

  1. Basic reiteration of all that entered the ark. These are what God commanded to be there, and these are what entered. According to the Lord’s word, so it was.
  2. In all of this description, don’t miss the final words of vs. 16: “and the LORD shut him in.” It was not Noah that raised the drawbridge or locked the door; it was YHWH God Himself. God personally sealed Noah & the others inside the ark, guaranteeing their safety and salvation.
    1. When we are saved, we also are personally sealed by God. God the Holy Spirit not only gives us our new birth (Jn 3:6), but He becomes our seal – our guarantee of salvation (Eph 1:13). There’s not an aspect about our eternal salvation that is not dependent on the personal involvement of God!
  • Extent of the flood (17-24)

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.

  1. Forty days of water upon the earth would have been utterly devastating. 11 spoke of both rain falling from the “windows of heaven,” as well as the “fountains of the great deep” opening up. Waters from both over the earth and under the earth came in torrential deluge, flooding every part of the earth in which there was life.
    1. It was only August 2017 when torrential rains fell in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, and the massive floods that resulted were just from a few days’ worth of rain. Imagine exponentially more rainfall & flooding that lasts for well over a month! This was absolutely devastating.
  2. Question: considering the Bible tells us that the “mountains were covered,” does that mean that waters prevailed over the top of Mount Everest (over 29,000 feet)? Not necessarily. (1) We don’t know everything about the Earth’s geography prior to the flood. Considering the massive tectonic shifts that would have taken place in order for the fountains of the deep to open, it’s possible that some of what we know today on the Earth is there because of the flood. (2) What the Bible records is what the original authors witnessed. Mount Olivet is only 2710 feet, and those are the sorts of mountains in the ancient near east. Technically the word for “mountain” is often translated as “high hill,” depending on the context. The point is that we don’t want to let our modern understanding cloud the original intent of what the author wrote. We don’t hold him accountable to our vocabulary; we need to understand what was in his. He wrote of a global flood, and the mountains which he witnessed were covered, and all life on earth was destroyed. That’s all the Bible says, and that’s what we need to keep in mind.
  3. Theologians might debate the extent of the water on earth, but there is zero doubt as to the extent of its destruction. vs. 21…

21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.

  1. Everything died. This catastrophe was global, in extent. Just as God said, it was done. God had reached the end of His patience, and He poured out the fullness of His wrath. The scene would have been horrendous and devastating.
  2. Why so much death? Because there was so much sin. The wages of sin is death, and the proof to Noah was all of the corpses floating around him.

23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

  1. It rained for only 40 days; the floodwaters remained for 150 days. There was zero chance of survival other than being safely on the ark.

Conclusion:

So much death – so much destruction – all on account of sin. There comes a point where the righteous God must bring judgment upon sin, and when He does, there is no way of avoiding it. No way, save one: we must be found in His grace…we must be found in the ark of Christ! Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord, and God personally ensured Noah’s salvation. Likewise with us. God freely offers us grace and forgiveness in Christ – and if we would but believe, we would be saved. He forever seals us in His safety, and He promises us life for all eternity.

Have you found refuge in the Ark? Have you found the grace of God to protect you from judgment? Jesus took your judgment, so that you might receive His protection. Be certain you find yourself in Him!

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