The Ark Is About To Sail!

by Joseph R. Chambers, D.D.


The world of Noah was barely different from the world around you and me. Men and women were pursuing their diverse interests, commerce was exploding, sex was a preoccupation, and the world of spirits was intermingling with the daughters of men. Every trend of our day was evident in Noah's day. Jesus Christ was careful to draw a comparison of these two generations over 4,000 years removed from each other. He stated, "But as the days of Noah 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 Noah 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." (Matthew 24:37-39).

It's exciting to study the ark in Genesis chapter seven and then note the numerous times that Bible writers refer to this historic occasion. Nothing establishes a truth in Scripture more clearly than when other inspired writers relate that truth to other truths. The Bible interprets itself when we will simply allow the unity of truth to emerge. 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 we are invited to enjoy in Him. The ark is a beautiful picture of the Son of God as Redeemer and Deliverer to every generation. Its final fulfillment is the Rapture of the Bride of Jesus Christ just before the final judgment.

Jesus Christ And The Ark Of Noah

The entire First Testament is written with a concealed presence of the coming Messiah. Every great truth in this Hebrew book is a prophetic preparation and foundation for the entrance of the Son of God into the human stream. Jesus stated in the Gospel of John, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39).

The Scriptures they were to search was the First Testament. Nothing else was available at this moment of Christ's ministry. We will never know the full power of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis to Malachi) until we have eyes for Jesus alone.

Apostle Paul made reference to this in writing to the Corinthians. He spoke of the Jewish blindness, but I find the church world is not much different, except for a few clear passages. Listen to Paul speak of this blindness, "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away." (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). One primary purpose exists in the revelations of the First Testament and it was the coming of the Prince of Peace.

The ark of Noah was one of the strongest revelations of the coming Prince in this great First Testament. The text itself is saturated with His living presence in this ark. "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." "And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." "And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." (Genesis 7:1; 7:16; 8:4).

Three great expressions in the text reveals the presence of the Lord in a personal way. First, He spoke from within the ark, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark." This ark may have looked massive sitting upon the ground beside Noah's home, but when it was afloat upon a world covered with water, it would have been but a shadow. When we see that it was more than a physical ark; the dwelling place of the Divine Redeemer; it becomes breathtakingly miraculous. The Lord invited them into His glorious presence for safety. He didn't say, "Go in." He said, "Come in."

Second, it was the Lord that shut them in. They were not at the mercy of those that would seek to enter by force once the storm was raging. The God of the universe was manifest in His presence as Lord to be the Shepherd of those sheep inside His provision. The words, "and the Lord shut them in," indicates more than slamming the door from the outside. He did not become the door of the sheep in St. John chapter ten. He was the door of the sheep in Genesis chapter seven. He has always been the door of His sheep and always will be. This ark was more than a tossing ship out on a lonely sea. It was the hiding place of those chosen to escape the rages of the storm. The language reveals the Great Shepherd of the sheep riding with them in the storm and taking all fear from their hearts.

Third, the ark rested on Nissan the seventeenth, the very day that Jesus would be resurrected centuries down the road. It was also the eighth day or the day after the Sabbath. The number eight is "New Beginning" and carries the power of incredible promises from the Creator. The children of Jesus would cross the Red Sea as they left Egypt on the eighth day and on Nissan the seventeenth. The Holy Ghost would be poured upon the church on the eighth day. It is clear that nothing relating to this ark was done by chance. The God that orders His universe certainly was in control of His chosen servants and of his family and the Messiah-type was being perfectly shaped for the day of fulfillment. It�s incredible to see the living presence of this God-man as His powers are manifest in this First Testament revelation.

The Ark Represents "Rescue" From Danger

The Second Testament writers made it clear that the ark was a Biblical type of "rescue" from the impending danger of that hour. The historic truth of this event was unquestionable to these Holy Ghost inspired writers. Peter stated, "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." (1 Peter 3:20).

The word that Peter used in his original Greek language suggested "rescue" and "escape." Noah and his family were about to perish with the horde of godless men and women that populated the earth. The Heavenly Father expressed grace or unmerited favor toward Noah and spoke to him to build the vessel of that grace for his deliverance. The grace and the ark were inseparable.

Again, Peter spoke of this ark, saying, "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." (II Peter 2:5).

In this instance, Peter moves beyond simply escaping from the storm and gives the prophetic picture of a prophetic meaning. He stated that God "spared not the old work, but saved Noah." Peter then moved to the type of the Rapture where the ungodly will be left to perish and the righteous will be delivered to His presence. Peter showed that the coming hope of the church is to be delivered from God�s judgment of the wicked. Peter proceeds to state, after noting that Noah and his family were saved (delivered), that God brought "the flood upon the world of the ungodly." It has never fit the nature of God to judge the wicked and the righteous together. To consider such an idea is to completely miss the nature of our Father and His eternal relationship with His chosen family.

Apostle Paul Gives An Equally Beautiful Picture

The ark of God and the flood certainly played a beautiful part with the New Testament writers. It always appears to loom large in their minds as they considered the grace of God, the coming judgment, and the promise of escape by the Rapture. As Paul wrote to the Hebrews, he stated, "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." (Hebrews 11:7).

Paul mentions several points that we should consider. "Being warned of God of things not seen as yet" certainly suggests that this preacher of hope was viewing the total picture. No writer described the Rapture more pointedly than Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians. Can we easily believe that he was thinking of the coming Rapture when he spoke of things "not seen as yet"? The words "moved with fear" are no less powerful. Then he declared that this ark was the "saving of his household" and the condemnation of "the world." (These remarks do not fit the present day interpretations of Matthew chapter 24.)

Even so, I believe that the faithful saints of this generation that refuse to give up the expectation of His return to deliver from "judgment to come" are equally condemning this godless and hopeless world. No wonder many persons get angry when we will not cease to preach the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the saints. Much of this church generation that have lost this Biblical truth are not even civil toward those who still hold to this "hope." No subject that I discuss on radio causes the reaction, condemnation, and attack that does this wonderful subject.

Jesus Establishes The Credibility Of Noah

As Jesus taught His great Olivet Discourse, He places the story of Noah and the ark right in the middle of these transcending truths. There can be no question that the ark was established by the Lord as a type and picture of both the mood of the generation in which He would appear and the method He would use to separate the Godly from the ungodly. The very day of Noah becomes a descriptive picture of His day when He would begin the process of the end.

Jesus stated, "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. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." (Matthew 24:37-42).

The setting of this great statement has confused a host of the enemies of the Rapture as well as some who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. He was certainly speaking to the Jewish people and warning of their Day of Trouble. Some of this Olivet Discourse deals with Israel and the Roman destruction in AD 70. Some of it deals with the Seven-year Tribulation as Israel shall certainly experience; but I�m convinced it also deals with the church and, especially, the hope of both born-again Jews and Gentiles in the beginning of the end. Just before Jesus speaks of Noah and the parallel of his day and type of the Ark, he states, "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36).

This sets those verses concerning "one taken and the other left" apart as a parenthetical statement to describe our hope to miss the sorrows He had previously described. Hallelujah!

Let�s Analyze These Incredible Words Of Hope

Again, remember He has described a day of coming sorrow and great tribulation. The judgments He describes are catastrophic and terrible. The earth will experience great consternation and multitudes will be swept away in the flood of deception and destruction. But, there is hope for the watchful.

"But as the day of Noah was," Jesus warned, so would the days of this coming hour be. We are to discern the time of this hour by the signs that we read in the seventh chapter of Genesis or in Noah's generation. It is not too hard to see the perfect parallel. Every day our world becomes more like Noah's world, if not worse. It is a time of fullness of bread, ample time for fun and frolic, an unprecedented preoccupation with sex, and an intermingling of the spirits of men with the spirits of the fallen gods (angels). There is also an incredible power and organization against truth as Noah preached and as His faithful servants are preaching today.

Two In The Field, One Taken And The Other Left

When you study this great text, together with the words of Paul in the book of Hebrews and Peter in I and II Peter, the truth springs to the front. Those eight in the ark were rescued, while the world was destroyed in judgment. Peter said, "saved Noah, . . . bringing in the flood upon the world." Paul said that Noah "condemned the world and saved his own house." There is no way to interpret this text and leave the righteous on the earth, while removing the wicked in judgment. It does not fit one other passage in Scripture that relates to the subject of the ark.

"Watch Therefore"

The closing statement of this great parenthetical teaching fully supports the escape of the righteous, "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." The wicked certainly are not watching. He is speaking to the righteous for He continues saying, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:44). We are to be watching and ready for the ark to sail again. Just before the storm shakes this earth, the Lord will appear to rescue His chosen that have found "grace in His sight."

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