SECURE by Dr. Abidan Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: Recently, I went to a theme park with some family members. Those who know me, know this – I used to ride roller coasters, but I don’t anymore. I’m just as content to walk around and hold everybody’s bags and drinks as they ride the rides. Well…they really wanted me to ride this one roller coaster. I looked at it and it looked relatively mild. I’m not sure, but I think that one of them even assured me that it was for kids. So, I agreed to ride it. As I got in, the attendant came and checked my harness, and then asked me for my hat. I told him that it’s okay; it’s not that bad. He insisted that I give him the hat. That should’ve been clue enough for me to realize that this was not a kids’ ride. I realized soon enough when the roller coaster started climbing straight up. Needless to say, I survived. In today’s message titled SECURE, we will look at the wildest ride in history; and I’m referring to the ark during Noah’s flood. Main point: Just like Noah’s ark was the only hope to survive the Great Flood; Jesus is also our only hope to survive God’s judgment to come. The invitation to enter the ark was a limited time offer, just like the call to salvation today. Finally, just like those in the ark, once we are in Christ, nothing and no one can snatch us away from him. We are secure in him.
Genesis 7 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.”
Context: You may be aware of it or maybe not, but, over the years, there have been lots of attacks against the account of the Great Flood and the Ark that Noah built:
- How could Noah build such a big vessel that could hold all those animals during the greatest rainstorm and tsunami in the world?
- How did the animals survive on the ark? How were they fed?
- If the estimates are correct, how could 8 people take care of 16,000 animals?
In the limited time we have, I want to answer first some of the basic questions regarding the specifics and security of the Ark. Then, I want to focus on how the whole account was a type of Christ, our salvation, and the judgment to come.
Let’s begin with the technical first – Genesis 6 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. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood…” As I mentioned last time, we don’t know for sure what is gopherwood. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “gopher,” which has nothing to do with the animal that burrows in your yard. Some suggest that this could be teak, which does not rot easily because of the oil in it. Others think that it refers to the process that makes wood very hard. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the translation for “gopher” is “xulon tetragonon,” which means “squared wood.” About 10 years ago, some engineers/professors studied wood that was dipped in both fresh and salt water for over a year, especially teak. They found that the wood was stable with only 30% reduction maximum.
14 “…make rooms in the ark…” The word for rooms is “qinnim,” which means “nests.” This means that compartments were designed for each size animal. Different animals that could get along with each other could be corralled together. Also, food distribution and waste management could be set up in a way that the animals could be kept clean and have plenty of food. By the way, having animals kept pent up for a year is not really an issue. Talk to farmers and they will explain how they do that safely and cleanly.
14 “…and cover it inside and outside with pitch.” The word for pitch is “kepher,” which is “cover” or “covering.” Two reasons for this: #1 Waterproofing the vessel; #2 Impact resistance. Very interestingly, it is not the usual word “zephet.” In fact, it is “Kephereth…kepher,” which is “cover it with a covering.” That is also the word for atonement in Exodus 30:10 “And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.” Leviticus 23 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. This is where we get the name of the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur.
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. According to the best estimates, 300 cubits x 50 cubits x 30 cubits equals to 450 feet x 75 feet x 45 feet (the following information is summarized from “The Genesis Account” by Jonathan Sarfati). A semi-trailer is 40 feet long x 8.5 feet wide x 13 feet high. In other words, the ark could hold 340 semis. Furthermore, if you go by weightage, the average semi can carry 22 tons. Taking water displacement into consideration, the ark could hold about 14,800 tons. That could be as many as 102,000 sheep sized animals. Looking at the size of the ark, the deck area could fit about 22 basketball courts.
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.” People often ask if someone like Noah could have built something so big and advanced. Keep in mind that Noah had about 75 years to make it happen. Furthermore, they were very intelligent people. He could have hired people to work for him.
I can go on and on and talk about how the shape of the ark, how animals could fit into the ark, heating, ventilation, and lighting in the ark, and so many other questions; but I want to switch gears here and focus on the deeper spiritual meaning behind this event. Quick introduction to Typology: God has ordained certain individuals, events, things, and institutions “to come in clusters and repeat themselves over and over in the process of revelation” (Kaiser, “The Use of the Old Testament in the New”).
- The type (unlike allegory) must be historical.
- The type is heightened in the antitype.
- God superintended the type-antitype connection.
Why is typology important? Without it, the Bible would be a flat book, a repository of what has happened in each stage of history. Instead, like a musical performance, it moves towards a crescendo. Unlike prophecy (which are simply words), types are events that foreshadow the greater fulfilment to come. It also affirms to us the character of God and his divine plan for us.
1 Peter 3 18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
If we rip out of its context, we will walk away thinking that this means that baptism saves us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peter was not talking about baptismal regeneration. He is reminding believers who are facing persecution to remember that they are standing in line with Noah.
1. Wrath of God
2. Grace of God
3. Only Plan of God
4. Invitation of God
5. Limited Time offer of God
6. Judgment is Inevitable
7. Secure in God
Romans 8 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 10 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
Invitation: Are you in Christ? Are you aware of the judgment of God that is coming? If you are saved, are you living in doubt and fear? Colossians 3:3 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”