Finding Jesus in Unexpected Places…
The Bible is about Jesus Christ. If we study carefully we can find Him on every page; not just the New Testament, but in the Old Testament, too. “Here I am,” our Lord said, “It is written about me in the scroll” (Hebrews 10:7).
One place we find Jesus in the Old Testament is in “type.” A type is an example or illustration that points to a person or an event. Finding Jesus hidden in type is a most exciting and rewarding study. As it says in Proverbs 25:2: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
So let’s study Noah’s Ark as a type of Christ and see what we discover.
1) THE ARK WAS PROVIDED BY GOD, THROUGH GRACE “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. Make yourself an ark…’” (Genesis 6:13-14).
Before the flood came God provided Noah a way in which he could escape. Why? Because “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). God does not change. He’s still righteous so He must judge sin yet He’s still merciful and “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11).
Through His grace He has provided us a way to escape before judgment comes.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). So our salvation was not a spur of the moment decision. Before you were created God knew what it would cost Him to have you spend eternity with Him. He thought you were worth the price.
2) THE ARK’S DESIGN WAS REVEALED IN ADVANCE: “And this is how you shall make it…” Genesis 6:14-15
God gave Noah very specific instructions as to how the ark was to be built. Through the Old Testament He gave the world very specific details about Jesus’ life and mission. We refer to these details as Messianic prophecies.
For example, the Old Testament tells us that Jesus would be the Son of God (Psalm 2:7), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), He would be an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10), He would be raised from the grave (Psalm 16:10) and there are dozens and dozens more.
3) A SACRIFICE WAS MADE TO BUILD THE ARK “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood…” (Genesis 6:14).
The ark was made of wood and so Noah and his family received life through the sacrifice of the trees. So it is we receive life through the sacrifice of Jesus. And while the trees that were cut down to build the ark had no say in their fate, our Savior willingly gave His life for us:
“No one takes [my life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” (John 10:18) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
4) THE ARK HAD THREE STORIES: “You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks” (Genesis 6:16>
If the ark is a type of Christ then the inside of the ark may point to what we have “in” Christ. With that in mind could it be that the three decks the ark had are a glimpse into the sanctification of our spirit, soul and body? (1 Thessalonians 5:23) And also that Christ has died for all our sins; past, present and future (1 John 1:9)
5) THE ARK HAD A WINDOW ABOVE “You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above…” (Genesis 6:16).
Noah and his family were not to look down or around for their salvation, they were to look up toward heaven. In the same way the believer is to keep his eyes focus on Jesus and not on the world around him or hell below him. Jesus is always taking our eyes off the temporary and refocusing them on the eternal.
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
6) THE ARK HAD ROOMS “make rooms in the ark…” (Genesis 6:16).
Again the inside of the ark should point to what we have in Christ. The ark had rooms and Jesus told us that in His Father’s house “are many mansions” or literally, that the Father’s house has many “dwelling places.” (John 14:2).
When we accept Christ we receive more than just forgiveness for our sins, we become a part of God’s family “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Because of Christ our greatest desire will one day be fulfilled when we “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
7) THE ARK HAD ONLY ONE DOOR “…and set the door of the ark in its side” (Genesis 6:16).
There were two groups of people during the time of the flood: Those who survived and those who didn’t. The ark was the only way means of salvation. Those who survived walk into the ark through the one door.
Although it isn’t a popular teaching there are two types of people in God’s eyes – those who will be judged and those who are forgiven. Jesus is the only way means of salvation and the only door into heaven:
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9).
Is there another way to heaven? The Bible answers clearly: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
“There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
8) THE ARK WAS A REFUGE FROM THE STORM “…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. 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” (Genesis 6:17-19).
The ark was a place of refuge from the storm. Jesus is our refuge from God’s wrath. “Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:9-10
9) MAN WAS INVITED IN “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark…” (Genesis 7:1).
Noah was invited into the ark to rest from the storm. Jesus gives us an invitation to rest from life’s storms. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
10) THEY WERE SECURE IN THE ARK: “So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). The Lord shut Noah in the ark and He kept him secure. In the same way we are not saved by works, but by grace. We have trusted in Christ for our salvation and as a result we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
And who can forget Jesus’ loving words in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
FOR FURTHER STUDY…
If you’d like to do a little studying on your own here are a few starting points:
Jesus and the Mercy Seat
Read about it in Exodus 25:17-22 and compare it to Ephesians 2:18; 3:12, Hebrews 4:16; 10:19 .
Jesus and the scapegoat
Read about it in Leviticus 16:20-22 and compare it to Isaiah 53:6,12, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24.
Jesus and the city of Refuge
Read about it in Numbers 35:9-15 and compare it to Hebrews 6:18.