Noah’s Ark: Illustration of Christ’s Mission of Salvation :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Isaiah 53:4-6, John 10:9, Colossians 3:1,1 Peter 3:18-21, Hebrews 7:25, Acts 4:12

Summary: The Ark that God commanded Noah to build serves as a portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He provides to anyone who calls upon Him.

All throughout Scripture, the Lord God Almighty gives us specific guidelines on how to approach and worship Him. Scripture shows us the necessity of repentance and the means by which we must be saved. The act of salvation, or rescue from our sins, is not of our own planning, thought, or actions. Our salvation is from the LORD, and He makes that point clear with every page of Scripture. For the majority of fallen man, the idea that they cannot redeem themselves grates against their thinking and actions, all too often leading to an eternity apart from the saving grace and mercy of God they could have had if only they had swallowed their pride, admitted their sins, and turned to Him for true peace and an eternity with Him, forever safe in the Ark of safety He provides (Isaiah 45:22, 53:4-6, 64:6; John 14:6; Romans 5:6-11, 6:23, 10:9-10, 13; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; 1 Peter 3:18-21).

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, describes how God provided an opportunity for sinful man to repent and come to Him for forgiveness and eternal life. The Ark that Noah built on the commands of God was that opportunity. The sad fact is that only eight people had the faith to enter the Ark. Everyone else mocked, ridiculed, and harassed Noah until the day that God closed the door. When God shuts the door, the day of decision is settled forever. The Ark was the only hope for survival in Noah’s day. Likewise, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the ONLY hope we have for eternal survival and life. The Ark is a symbol of Christ; its structure and purpose reflect what Jesus has done on our behalf.

The Substance and Security of the Ark:

Noah was told by God to build it out of “gopher wood” or cypress, which is almost indestructible, durable, and will not rot. In my home state of Louisiana, cypress trees grow bountifully in the swamps and bayous, often centuries old. When cut down and used in the construction of homes, furniture, and the like, they never show signs of mold, decay, or rot within the structure of the wood.

Wood is a picture of humanity, and more specifically, shows the humanity of Jesus. The trees were cut down to build the Ark. The Lord Jesus had to be “cut down” (Isaiah 53:4-6) on the cross of Calvary in order to provide the place of sanctuary for you and me. After the Ark had been built, God told Noah to cover the interior and exterior with “pitch” (Genesis 6:14). This word is used seventy times in the Old Testament, and each time refers to a “covering” or atonement. Wood alone could not keep the water out. There had to be a covering. The word “atonement” brings to mind the shedding of blood as a cover for sin (Leviticus 17:11). The shedding of the blood of Christ provides full atonement for our sins and keeps us safe from the wrath of God (Mark 10:45; Romans 5:9).

The Size, Shape, and Structure of the Ark:

The Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It could contain 3,000,000 cubic feet. It was plenty big enough to hold all who would desire to enter. This is a picture of the sufficiency of Jesus. He is able to save all who will come to Him (Hebrews 7:25). There is room for you as well.

The shape of the Ark was that of a floating coffin. This speaks to us of the fact that Jesus died for us, and when we receive Him, we die to the world. When Noah entered his Ark, he was identifying with death. When we come to Jesus, we are identifying with His death upon the cross and our own death to sin (Colossians 3:1).

The Ark had one door, one window, and three stories. The one door was set low so that all could enter (John 10:9). The window was high so that all would have to look up (Colossians 3:2). The three stories remind us that salvation is a work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also reminds us that when a person is saved, the whole person – body, soul, and spirit – is changed (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The Sustenance, Schedule, and Supply of the Ark:

Noah was saved by the ship, and he was also satisfied in the ship. He had everything in the Ark that he and his family would need to survive the flood. In Jesus, the believer will find satisfaction for the soul. He is bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Those who come to Him will find that He is all they need to be satisfied.

The Ark came to rest on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Why is that important? The seventh month is when Passover (Exodus 12) takes place. Jesus died as they were offering the sacrifice on the fourteenth day of the month. He was raised three days later – the seventeenth day of the month. The Ark rested on the same day that Jesus would rise again from the dead. The name Noah means “rest.” When he and his family entered the Ark, he found rest, safety, and salvation. Being in the Ark saved his life, and believing in Almighty God saved his soul (Genesis 6:21, 8:4; John 6:35).

You can see that the ancient ark pictures Jesus. Please understand what I am about to tell you: the wrath of God IS about to be poured out on this world. There is only ONE place of where safety and salvation can be found. We do not have an Ark, but we do have a Savior, and His name is Jesus. He died for your sins on the cross, rose from the dead, and is calling you to come to Him for salvation. You can reject what I have written and adopt any religion you choose; you can follow any plan you wish and believe any kind of guru, shaman, teacher, or your own sense of inspiration, but if you are ever going to be saved, you MUST receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Yes, it sounds “narrow-minded,” but it is the ONLY way that God provides us to have true peace and eternal life. It is only through Jesus that you or I will ever be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12, 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 5:12).

Have you entered the Ark of Sanctuary? Time is running out (2 Corinthians 6:2). There is only one place of safety. Jesus Christ is our Ark of safety from the coming wrath of God upon this world, period.

(Adapted from an outline by Pastor Alan Carr and The Sermon Notebook)