Probably one of the most beloved stories in our memories from our childhood is the story of Noah’s Ark. It is a popular story for children because it is simple, understandable and has a great message. By itself it is a great story. It becomes even more exciting and meaningful when seen as a picture of the promised Redeemer in the Bible.
Circumstances Surrounding Noah – Genesis 6:1-8
The Bible says that the time of Noah was a wicked time. God saw the evil thoughts of man’s heart were steering him away from God. The times were so evil that God said He would destroy man from the earth. But then God thought about Noah. Because Noah loved God and sought to obey Him, God knew that Noah could be used to preach repentance to the people and to build an ark (a large ship) to save those who would trust God. In Genesis 6:8 the Bible says that Noah found grace in the sight of God.
Noah’s Family – Genesis 6:9-13
Noah had three sons with three daughters-in-law. Along with his wife they were a family of eight people. In the end of the story we find that these eight people are all that were saved and were called upon to replenish the earth. Noah’s three sons were named Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Instructions For The Ark – Genesis 6:14-7:6
God instructed Noah to build a large boat which He would use to preserve life on the earth. God brought the animals to Noah. The clean animals would come into the ark in groups of seven (Genesis 7:2) and the unclean animals would come two at a time (Genesis 6:20).
The structure of the boat was explained by God. He told Noah what type of wood to use and how large the ark would be. This was given in a measurement called a “cubit.” Though there are various lengths called a cubit, it is about 18” (about 45 centimeters) in length. That means the ark was about 450 feet long (135 meters) and 45 feet wide (22.5 meters). The height of the ark was 45 feet (13.5 meters) and it was divided into three levels.
The Flood – Genesis 7:7-24
We don’t know exactly how many years it took Noah to build the ark, but piecing together some of the ages and dates given between Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, it seems that Noah built the ark and preached for at least 55 years to as many as 120 years before the flood started. The popular number of 120 years comes from Genesis 6:3 when God said that man’s days would be 120 years. He was 600 years old when he entered the ark.
Noah and his family entered the ark alone as there was no one else who joined them. They waited in the ark 7 days before the flood began. The Bible says in Genesis 7:12 and 17 that it rained actively for 40 days. The earth was flooded 150 days, or almost 6 months.
After the Flood – Genesis 8
The flood stopped and the waters began to recede. After 150 days at sea the ark settled onto Mount Ararat.
Noah released a couple of different birds to help him know if it was possible to leave the ark. The first was a raven that left and returned continuously until the waters receded. Then he released a dove. The dove, which he sent out three times, did not have any place to rest the first time it was released. It returned to the ark.
Seven days later he sent the dove again, but this time it brought back an olive branch. Another week later Noah sent out that dove again, but it never returned. This told Noah that it was time to leave the ark since there was proof of vegetation and dry ground.
Noah and his children released the animals from the ark. When they exited the ark they built an alter to the Lord (Genesis 8:20).
The Rainbow – Genesis 9:8-17
God promised to Noah that He would never destroy the earth again with a flood. As a token of His promise He made the rainbow. Even though the rainbow is a natural phenomenon today, it must be remembered that it had never rained before this event. God watered the earth with water from beneath. There was never a chance before the flood for there to have ever been a rainbow.
The Picture of the Savior
It is easy to see the comparison with Jesus Christ as the Redeemer. In Noah’s day people were called to turn from their sins and return to God. When they refused to enter the ark (a sign of trusting God’s Word), they were destroyed in the flood. Today, we are called to repent of our sins and accept Christ as our Savior. Those who have not accepted the Lord will be lost to a Christ-less eternity.
Have you accepted the salvation available in Christ?
King James Version Bible, (KJV)