“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8)
Noah’s wonderful and striking introduction in the Book of Genesis (6:8), offers to us the truth that he had found favour with the Lord. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen 6:8.) But it would be in the purpose of the destruction of a soiled and sinful earth that Noah would be called upon to perform this lasting final mission.
Noah (the name means to rest) is generally better known in Hebrew but is sometimes referred to in Greek as Noe.
Incidentally, I have only found the mention of the name Noah in English literature once, and that was in the novel The Young Lions. The character of Noah Ackerman, a young Jewish writer, movingly played by Montgomery Clift.
Noah in Biblical descendancy was the son of Lamech, himself the son of the mighty Methuselah. Longevity was certainly in the genes of most of the families in those antediluvian times.
In fact, it could be argued that Enoch, who is still alive in Heaven today, is over 6,000 years old, and of course may be one of the two witnesses as predicted in Revelation 11:3-13.
Both Noah and Enoch would be privileged in that they walked with God (Gen. 5:24; 6:9).
Noah would himself be given the title “a preacher of righteousness.” But after a long hard 120 years of preaching and praying, he had won no converts.
How demoralised he must have felt, in those busy pre-flood years.
When God first gave the command to His chosen architect to begin constructing the Ark (meaning sealed box), I suspect his three sons would also have been used in building it as well as proclaiming the word of God; so we soon begin to see a healthy family enterprise guided by God that would witness to the scoffers and sinners of that day. None would survive the terrible onslaught when the flood would arrive and the great Ark would finally float. If a million people worldwide were drowned, or killed by other means in this antediluvian deluge, what of the children?
Like the children of School Number 1 in Beslan, I suspect they went immediately to Heaven after death. Although in the case of the Russian children and others in that Russian massacre, this has to be classed as murder!
The construction and labour of the Ark took over 120 years for Noah and family to build this great sea ship, and it would be unsinkable. Rather like the lengthy oil tankers of our age that roam the oceans with little or no casualties.
Interestingly we are told the interior and the exterior of the Ark was coated in pitch. Even in today’s maritime world, the pitch is still used as a waterproof firmament. And God said: “Make thee an Ark of gopher wood.” Perhaps from Assyria? No other wood of that era would have been better suited for the purpose of the building of God’s Ark.
Estimates of this great ship’s size vary from 450-650 feel long, with a width of 104 feet and an estimated height of 60-75 feet high. Amazing!
In fact not until 1843, when I.K. Brunel’s ship Great Britain was launched, then measuring 322 feet, had anything of this immensity ever been seen upon the waters of the world, but still short in comparison to the length of the Ark in Genesis.
Finis Dake, in his 1949 book, God’s Plan For Man, says the following: “Only six of the worlds steamships up to 1932 had a greater tonnage than the Ark to more than 600 freight cars which would form a train about four miles long and could handle over 90,000,000 pounds.”
According to my son, himself an amateur military historian, today’s UK aircraft carriers are very similar in length to Noah’s Ark. Interesting, isn’t it?
Mention must be made here that Noah was not a woman! The Noah in Genesis is a man. The Noah written about in the book Numbers is a woman (as confirmed in Num. 27:1.) That should clear up this old chestnut that does seem to surface from time to time when any discussion of Noah is made. And whilst we are in this silly mode where did the expression, “It never rains, but it pours” emerge from? I would love to know.
At the time of researching and writing this article, violent weather storms lashed Cornwall, causing exceptional damage in Boscastle. This made headline news in England, and it does remind people in this secular age how powerful the hand of God can be in causing such havoc, in spite of all the high technology we possess.
Two items from this catastrophe caused me to smile. The first was when Prince Charles, who surprisingly broke off his holiday in Balmoral to visit the area remarked, “Thank God for helicopters.” Also, the heavy damage of the hideous witchcraft museum that had blighted that town for so many years, had been a long time coming.
The Great Ark And Its Inhabitants
By any comparison the sheer measurements of the Ark are breathtaking. A simple comparison could be offered in the exercise of coming out of your front door and pace 400-600 feet in your road (preferably early morning) and then when this is completed, cross the road, add on 30-40 feet, looking at the house opposite your own and calculating its height, add on another 25 feet. You will then be staggered at the measurements as planned for this great sea going boat.
All ancient tribes in their oral history refer to the great cataclysmic event that submerged a dying world. With over 200 flood legends still being recorded, it is rather difficult to dismiss them all as fables.
Some of the exciting archaeological finds that were unearthed in and around the dead sea in 1947 in Palestine, in the Qumran and other regions, were two apocryphal scrolls attributed to Moses and Lamech. Only frail fragments of Lamech’s scroll survived the high temperatures of that region, but in deciphering it, and whole paragraphs of the text still remain obscure. It seems that Lamech, Methusala and Enoch had advance information about the forth-coming flood soon to destroy the world. Soon after this information was offered, Enoch was transported upwards and may be one of the two witnesses that will not return until the final days, as described in the Book of Revelation.
In his 1968 bestseller Chariots of the Gods, the Swiss author Erich Von Daniken also remarked on the saga of the great flood. Quite recently, he wrote a whole Sumerian library of about 60,000 clay tablets was found in the town of Nippur, 95 miles south of Baghdad. We now posses the oldest account of the flood engraved on a tablet in six columns. Five antediluvians (pre flood) cities are named. Two of these cities have yet to be discovered (any further information would be appreciated.)
Mention of the cuneiform tablets of Samaria and of the flood has to lead us to the remarkable story in the New Testament when a tired Jesus sits on the shaded wall of the well in the village of the Samaria (John 4:7-42.) A woman of dubious reputation in the village walks His way, she was, of course, meant to arrive and talk to Jesus at that time. Early Samarian tribes inhabited the Mesopotamian region. Early tribes of the Samarian were perhaps located in and around that prosperous region.
The water story that John records in his Gospel reminds us that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well several times before He leads up to His personal declaration “I am He.” But it is in His striking reference to water that clinches the argument for me.
In verse 13 He states: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall drink again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.”
So the water in Noah’s day destroyed. This living refreshing water of Jesus heals and saves. This Samaritan woman believed by asking, “Is not this the Christ?” I think she did truly believe from that minute on.
One rather unkind historical reference from Josephus concerning the Samaritan has him call them: “A despised people.” In the example of the woman at the well, he was wrong.
The late Barry Smith in his book, Better Than Nostradamus presented a pet scenario that went something like this: When the full number of people and animals were inside, who shut the door? GOD DID!
Why? Noah may have weakened and let some of his ungodly neighbours in.
I think this presents a very human and compassionate side of Noah, who perhaps may have decided at the last critical hour to allow friends or others who may even have helped in the construction of the Ark, to seek refuge from the gathering storm. But the Bible is very clear, in that only eight souls survived the great flood that lashed the fallen earth (1 Pet. 3:20).
Hollywood too has looked into the Ark story (they would, wouldn’t they) and commissioned writers and directors to give their slant to the events as recorded in the Genesis.
One such film was the 1966 epic, The Bible In The Beginning. And with the legendry director, John Huston, playing the pivotal role of Noah and directing the film, the end result has to be favourable. For example watch (if you can get a copy of the video) Noah abseiling down the great wooden frame of the unfinished Ark and getting his left foot stuck in an empty pitch bucket. Huston seems to have enjoyed himself in this role. Although I do have reservations about the shape of the Ark in the film and the disorganised animal living quarters, the sets are exceptional, and only a director of his magnitude could attempt to direct himself whilst listening to God’s Great Commission to go out and assemble the Ark. Watch out for this one if you can.
So what of the role of the animals and their plight, on this journey in the Ark.
Both Noah’s family and the assorted paired animals were in the Ark for one year. Or one year and ten days, seven days before the rain started and one year and ten days. Dake also states controversially, that the time scale of building the Ark was not 120 years:
“It would not take this long (120 years) to build the Ark, especially with the help of the giants that then filled the earth.”
But sadly no giants were to make a reservation on this ship as far as we can tell.
So what of the precious cargo of animals?
Estimates (and they must be approximate as to how many were on the finished Ark) can be broken down rather like this:
With a weight of 20,000 tons or the equivalent view of 20 or so basketball pitches, figures start to add up rather dramatically. Dr. Ernest Mayr, a prominent taxonomist has through his unique system of classification, come up with the figure of one million species of animal in the world today. This seems rather low to me, for I am always suspicious of any estimated figure ending in zero. However, it must be remembered that Captain Noah did not need to offer space to 21,000 species of fish or tunicates, echinoderms, (star fish) sea urchins.10, 000 mussels, clams, oysters, as well as anemones, jelly fish, hydroids, 30-40,000 protozoons, single cell creatures, amphibians, whales, seals, porpoises, lobsters, shrimps, crabs and other creatures of the deep. Water fleas, barnacles, small arthropoda, 40-50,000 species of worms are all water dwellers and did not look for room space on Noah’s mighty Ark. The deep water below the Ark would have offered safety to many of them.
The pre-flood world was, of course, warmer then and many insects, larva, and eggs would find safe shelter on the vast floating rafts of vegetation and other debris immediately after and during the flood. As regards viruses and bacteria, the family would have taken them on board. The sheltering animals would also have carried, gnats, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, and others pests. But God would not have allowed an epidemic to wipe out these selected creatures. These picked animals will be used later to re-populate the new-fashioned earth after the Ark berths successfully on Mt. Ararat in Turkey.
As regards the miraculous gathering of the animals, this was at God’s command. There is no other way they could all have reached the Ark before the devastating flood arrived unless God summoned them at His own convenience. And aren’t animals always able to sense somehow oncoming danger? Just look at recent press report of animals peculiar behaviour long before hurricanes or earthquakes arrive to wreak damage. Animals do seem to sense any impending catastrophe, don’t they?
As regards the number of how many animals, we once again get into the guessing game. The Ark would have been large enough to house 50,000 but that seems rather high to me, so perhaps we can settle on approx 35-40,000 as a safer number. All would have been no larger than a sheep. There would have been no pedigree animals, their fancy breeds did not happen until 150 years ago. So sadly no great Danes, poodles, mastiffs or Persian or Siamese cats, etc.
So what about baby dinosaurs? Did they make it on board or not? Experts claim there were 30 different kinds of dinosaurs. So certainly a pair did make that ocean voyage. Were they T. Rex or Brachiosaurus, or another kind, we just don’t know? What is generally claimed is that after the Ark landed and these strange rather terrifying creatures came ashore, the terrain was somehow not suitable to them for breeding. But many did perish before and during the flood and their assorted remains would have been washed around the world under the water in mud and other natural deposits. This would explain some of the outlandish places their remains have been discovered.
We next need to examine the theory that the animals aboard were perhaps dormant, or in an early form of hibernation. If so this would allow them to eat less and go for greater periods between sleeping and eating. It is a theory like the above on dinosaurs (once called dragons), and I think it does make sense.
And what of the animals’ special diet? Well, the simple answer is they were vegetarian!
This may surprise many people but it is true. During the Garden of Eden, all animals were practising vegetarians including Adam and Eve. After the fall when both Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden by the Cherubs with flaming swords (and that must have been some terrible sight to see, mustn’t it?), they may perhaps have been loath to leave it seems, for death had now come into the world! For women, it would mean sorrow and pain. For man from now on, he would toil for his daily bread and always with the promise that:
“For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).
Special attention now needs to be focused upon the living habitat of the Noah family and of course the animals.
The design of the great Ark was constructed upon three layers of wood. With wide walk ways and descending stairs. On the top area just below the high roof space, where approx 9-10,000 birds would be lodged and rooting on the beams and rafters were below the living quarters of the family Noah. I suspect some form of heavy canvas sheeting would be rigged up to form a temporary ceiling or cover to protect the family from the descending waste, which would mount up in the temporary ceiling. This to be cleared away each day.
Most of the middle space of the second deck would be given over to food supplies and barrels of fresh water. But this could be reinforced when low, from the rainwater collected daily from the verandas that surrounded the Ark. No shortage of water here. The floor would be stacked to the ceiling with oats, straw and grain and bales of grass. Also housed in this seldom quiet area would be animals of a rather nervous disposition i.e., flamingos. I am not sure if the unicorn comes into this category. Interestingly two Church “fathers” Ambrose and Augustine accepted the evidence that these gentle animals lived.
Reference can also be found in the pre-Vatican II Roman Missal, where one of the readings for Palm Sunday reads:
“Deliver me from the lion’s mouth, and my lowliness from the horns of Unicorns.”
The lower ground deck would be the largest area of the floating ship. This would house perhaps 65-75% of the collected animals. An amazing benefaction of God’s planning. For Noah and his family, there would certainly be enough to do in the careful economic feeding of the animals, that each day would be required of them. So what were the dietary laws than for the animals?
We learn that all the animals fed from a meatless diet. Good news then. Bad news for McDonald’s.
So what brought this dramatic diet change in the animals and when did all this happen. We have to return again to Genesis 1:30 where we are informed that:
“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”
Animals were not created to kill and eat each other, and will not do so in the Millennium and the New Earth. This should please “Green Peace” and all assorted animal rights groups and their supporters.
So after the fall, and the decline of man, all animals remained in this healthy non-carnivorous state. This would be good news for the Noah family in its busy day-to-day feeding of the assorted Ark bound animals. However, after the flood and the landing of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 9:3, we read that God says to Noah: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.”
Man would now be permitted to sadly hunt and kill animals for his daily survival. This unnatural state will only be revoked when the Millennium is initiated. Note should also be seen in Genesis 8:20 when God commands Noah to make a sacrifice. Again Dake comments:
“God provided for animal sacrifices by commanding seven of the clean animals to be saved so that they could be offered as a token of faith in the coming blood of Christ.”
It should also be noted that animal sacrifices will be used in the Temple Sanctuary during the Millennium reign, when the Messiah returns with His saints for His thousand-year duration in Jerusalem, reigning visibly and eternally.
These living sacrifices may also be used at the annual feasts of Trumpets or the Tabernacles.
As regards the all important sanitation and hygiene of the Ark, we must accept the credence that God would have prepared for this in His grand design of His Ark.
Man and animal would have been replenished with an exceptional ventilation and state of the art drainage system for the 1 year and 10 days at sea. God would not be amiss in providing this for Noah and the animals. From this lost wicked world hadn’t he saved them for something much better and all future mankind?
Later when that fabled dove failed to return to the boat, Noah put into action the landing of the great Ark (and that must have been something to see, don’t you think.) It would finally be berthed, permanently on Mt. Ararat then in Armenia, now in modern day Turkey.
Interestingly in the last few years, there has been great excitement in the media that the lost Ark will be found and reclaimed. I hope that it will be discovered, and I am sure that it will. But we have to ask in this cynical age that we live in, will its discovery bring many lost souls to Christ at the final count? Will they repent? Sadly, I don’t think it will.
Noah and the account of the Ark have always been controversial. No doubt about it. You either subscribe to the story or you reject it. But you cannot ignore it.
If you’re a card-carrying Darwinist today and many are or claim to be, then its all very simple to understand or explain away. We have all somehow descended from the apes over millions of years. We have inherited their needs and emotional drives. And we all take our chances in today’s savage secular world. Isn’t that simple to understand?!?
Or if millions in history perished in Stalin’s Gulags as they did, or starved to death in Mao Tse Tung’s death camps, as they did, then what’s all the fuss about? We should not get emotional and see them as “human.” Rather we should understand that they and all of us are ape-descended. It’s all in the genes? Isn’t it? Chairman Mao supported this frightening assertion in an interview that he gave to an American journalist in the late 1930s. I seem to recall that his name was Edgar Snow. Please correct me if I am wrong. I find this modern rhetoric depressing and dangerous. After all, I must suggest isn’t each person precious in the sight of God?
However, if that person receives Christ as their Lord and Saviour or refuses that gift is another matter. And most at the final count will have declined it. However, if we use Darwin’s (false) analogy to explain the sufferings in Ethiopia or in the Darfur region in Sudan, it does seem to offer the cruel suggestion that only the fittest of the species have a right to any survival or life. The terrible genocide that was carried out in Rwanda in 1994 is another example. We are all expendable human/apes. This I cannot nor will not accept!
I personally believe and maintain that we are all created in the sight of God.
Yes, I have to bring God into the picture again. Without God, we might as well be as those animals on the Ark bouncing around on the oceans of a lost world, helpless and rather confused. But we are not. We have been bought and purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Each one of us is unique and special in God’s eyes. Take away the unique individuality in each of us and we are down to the level of a disposable animal. After all, would we weep if a cluster of rare apes died from a rare tropical rainforest disease? I doubt it. We expect such cruel things to happen in the animal kingdom and much of it is part of the fallen world. But it’s a different thing when famine pictures are beamed into our living rooms by television, isn’t it? Then a great humanitarian gesture, through giving money and supplies is initiated to bring welcoming aid to that grief-stricken country. And quite rightly so. We are human beings. Each of us is unique. We are not animals nor are we descended from apes. His theory was and is flawed. And remains so.
All Sovereignty and power derives from God. That is God’s unique DNA gift to the human race and we had better accept it. That primary DNA code was there long before Drosnin or Crick stumbled across it.
The parallels of today, with that lost unsaved world as depicted in the flood, is very much a living symbol of what will happen when the Rapture arrives today, next week, or next year. We do not know the time. But of it’s happening we are confident. And we look forward to coming:
“Wherefore comfort one another ” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Then after the Rapture comes the Great Tribulation that will run its final terrible seven-year period.
So where are you dear friend as you read this article today? Concerned or confused?
Are you coasting along, comfortable and secure in your good works? They won’t and can’t save you! Think of all those lost screaming souls begging to be let on to the Ark. They had probably done many good things and kind acts, but they hadn’t repented. God’s patience had expired. They had been warned. In today’s world, many warnings are being given. Most are ignored.
God will never again use water in his plan of destruction.
However, in 2 Peter, we are informed that: “The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
So a final destruction by fire of religious symbols, cities, financial institutions, communications and all military fortifications is in God’s end plan. It’s on the cards!
Yes, it is a frightening picture, but it needn’t be. Just remember if you are saved you will not be here during the tribulation period. The church will have been raptured out of this polluted earth. Praise the Lord!
So where will you be dear friend when the Trumpet is blown, waiting for Christ, or standing here on a dying earth to face the Antichrist? Think about it!
But don’t take too long!
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