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NOAH’S ARK

(SERMON #81 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 1, 2014

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14).


A few weeks ago Hollywood released a major motion picture called “Noah.” Tens of thousands of young people saw it. I wrote an article titled “The Movie ‘Noah’ is Satanic!” (click here to read it). Yes, the movie had several demonic elements, and I do not recommend it to anyone. And yet the movie did have certain features that were true. It portrayed the Flood very realistically, and it gave a believable picture of the Ark. Up until now many young people have thought that the Ark was a little boat with happy animals in it, and a smiling Noah looking out the window. That’s the cartoon they saw in Sunday School books for children. To me those little children’s books are as Satanic as the movie! They give a completely false view of the Ark and the Flood. I think that preachers should tell their young people that the movie is Satanic. And, preacher, I think you should go into the Sunday School rooms in your church and throw out all those children’s books with cartoons of Noah and the Ark! Throw them out! They turn the very serious message of the Flood into a cartoon! That is equally Satanic! The Ark and the Flood were no joke!

Now, I have been giving several sermons on Noah and the Ark. This evening I will give a sermon titled, “But Noah Found Grace” (click here to read it). But this morning I’m going to speak on the Ark itself. There can be no question that the account of Noah is a type, a picture in the Old Testament that foreshadows something in the New Testament. In Matthew 24:37-39 Christ said that “the days” in which Noah lived are a type of the last days before His Second Coming. In II Peter 2:5 Noah is given as a type of righteous preachers in a time of apostasy and false teaching. In I Peter 3:20-21 the Ark is given as a type of salvation by Christ. In Hebrews 11:7 the Ark is given again as a type of salvation. The people of Noah’s day are the type. The unsaved people in the last days are the antitype, the fulfillment of the type. The preaching of Noah in a time of apostasy is the type. Faithful preachers in the last days are the antitype, the fulfillment of the type. The Ark is the type. Salvation in Christ is the antitype, the fulfillment of the type. I know that typology was greatly misused in the early days of Christianity, where preachers saw almost everything in the Old Testament as a type. But I also know that there are real types in the Old Testament, where there are clear antitypes, fulfilling the types in the New Testament. For instance, the Book of Hebrews is full of antitypes. After Jesus rose from the dead He sat down with two of His followers

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

I have no doubt whatever that Christ told them that Noah’s Ark was a type or picture of Himself as the Saviour of the world. As the Ark saved God’s people from the flood, so Christ saves God’s people from judgment and Hell. The Ark is the type, Jesus Christ is the antitype, the fulfillment of the type! Only a Bible-rejecting liberal like Harry Emerson Fosdick would deny that! Only a modernist at Fuller Theological Seminary or the Chicago Divinity School would deny that! The Bible predicted men like that when it says, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (II Peter 3:3). And the Apostle Jude said,

“But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 17-19).

I learned long ago to reject the teachings of such unbelievers!

So, let us return to our text in the Book of Genesis, to chapter 6, verse 14, for a description of the Ark – and how it pictures our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God said to Noah,

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14).

Please keep your Bible open here. Amen.

Arthur W. Pink said, “The ark...in which [Noah] and his house...found shelter from the storm of God’s wrath, is one of the clearest and most comprehensive types of the believer’s salvation in Christ which is to be found in all the Scriptures” (Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, Moody Press, 1981 edition, p. 103). And I noticed that Dr. John Gill, our great Baptist commentator of the eighteenth century, repeatedly calls the Ark a type of Christ (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, vol. 1, pp. 50-51).

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14).

I. First, the Ark was planned by God.

Noah had some awareness that judgment was coming. But Noah had no thought of building an ark until God revealed it to him.

But God knew what He was going to do. You see, Noah and those with him were chosen by God long before the world was created. The Apostle Paul said, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). God had not only chosen who would be saved in the Ark, God also planned to send Christ to redeem us before the world was created, for the Bible calls Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

As God had planned to send the antitype, Jesus Christ, to save us, so He planned the type, the Ark. God planned to save Noah beforehand.

Every one of you who are Christians should rejoice that God chose to save you in Christ before He created the world – just as He planned to save Noah in the Ark long before the waters of the Flood destroyed the ungodly of this world! If you are in Christ Jesus, you are safe from the storm of judgment!

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past:
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!
   (“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

II. Second, the Ark was built only to save its inhabitants.

It was not a ship. Not at all! The Hebrew word translated “ark” is “taybaw.” It means “a box” (Strong). It is the same Hebrew word used of the little box in which the baby Moses floated in the Nile River. This same Hebrew word is translated as “coffin” in Genesis 50:26. There was no rudder on it. There were no sails. I’m sure it had a flat bottom to give maximum capacity. It was just a box. God said, “Make me a ‘box,’ pitch it within and without with pitch.” The word “pitch” is translated from “kopher” – the verb form of “kaphar.” That is the same word translated “atonement” in about 70 other places in the Old Testament. That’s the way it is translated in Leviticus 17:11, “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Since they are both from the same Hebrew word, we could paraphrase Genesis 6:14 as, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood and cover it within and without with the atonement,” which is the Blood! So, here you have this huge box, covered with black pitch. Dr. Henry M. Morris said, “Kaphar...frequently translated later as ‘atonement.’ In providing a protective covering against the waters of judgment, it thus becomes a beautiful type of Christ” (The New Defender’s Study Bible by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., World Publishing, 2006, p. 34; note on Genesis 6:14).

So, here we have the Ark. It is a huge box made of wood, and covered inside and outside with black pitch, which perfectly sealed it from the waters of the Great Flood. Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

The ark...looked like a huge black coffin. In fact, the same word translated “ark” is also translated “coffin” in Genesis 50:26. The ark was a symbol of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      We can easily imagine with what scorn the people in Noah’s day beheld his labors. How ridiculous, they thought, building a black box that looked like a coffin, and predicting a flood of waters when it had never as yet rained upon the earth (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1971 edition, p. 173).

Many people today laugh and ridicule the Bible. People even call this account of the Flood, “ridiculous.” But what will they do when God’s judgment falls on them? What will you do if you are not safe in Christ Jesus?

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past:
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!

III. Third, the Ark was a refuge from God’s judgment.

The Ark was a safe place. In fact, it was the only place of safety. It was the only place of safety from the judgment of God.

The people of this world say that there are “many ways” to find peace with God. But they are wrong. God provided only one way to escape His wrath in Noah’s time – and the only way to escape judgment was to come into the Ark. Today God has given one way to escape His wrath and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

People say, “That’s not fair!” I never understood how they could say that! It seems perfectly fair to me! Man sinned in the Garden. Man sinned again, very deeply, in the pre-Flood apostasy. God provided a way for them to be saved from judgment for their sin. But they rejected the way to be saved. So, they drowned in the Flood. So what’s unfair? I just don’t see it. Never have and never will! The people in Noah’s day had the preaching of Enoch (Jude 14, 15). They had the preaching of Noah (II Peter 2:5). They had the Holy Spirit striving with them (Genesis 6:3). So they had no excuse. And I ask you this morning, “What will be your excuse if you die without being saved by Jesus?” That’s a good question. What will your excuse be if you are not safe in Christ when God judges this world?

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past:
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!

IV. Fourth, the Ark had room for all.

The Hebrews had a short cubit of 17.5 inches, and a long cubit of 20.4 inches. The measurements of the Ark are given in the Bible in Genesis 6:15. If the shorter cubit were used, the Ark, with its three stories, would have had 95,790 square feet of floor space, or about 2.2 acres. If the longer cubit were used, the Ark had 43,350 square feet on each of the three floors. All three together would have had 130,050 square feet, about three acres in size. The total height was 51 feet, a little less than the height of a five-story house. That would be 2,210,850 cubic feet, over two million cubic feet! That gave ample room for 125,000 animals the size of a sheep. Zoologists estimate that there are less than 100 original species of four footed animals, and less than 170 original species of birds. An Ark with 130,000 square feet of floor space could accommodate many times the number of original animals that entered the Ark. Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

      Since, as we have already seen, the Ark could have carried as many as one hundred and twenty-five thousand sheep, and since the average size of a land animal is surely less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that no more than 60 percent of its capacity would have to be used for animals...Thus, the specified size of the Ark seems ideally appropriate for the animals it had to carry...as well as food for the animals, for living quarters for Noah and his family, and for other necessary purposes (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, p. 185).

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past:
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!

Even though the overall story in the movie “Noah” is quite demonic, yet strangely the Ark itself was quite realistic and true to the Bible. The animals and birds came into the Ark much like the way Dr. Morris described them. They came by instinct and they nestled down into a hibernating state. That part of the film was quite beautiful and true to the Bible. But, again, please don’t see it. The Satanic message could bring harm and confusion. Yet, surely, this great Ark is awe-inspiring to the imagination. It takes my breath away to think of this gigantic black Ark, three stories high, lunging through the waves, so ingeniously designed by God that it could not capsize even if it should be raised to a 90 degree angle by the waves.

There is a frenzied search each summer, in the few days when it is possible, on the high mountain of Ararat in Armenia. Perhaps they will find the fossil of the Ark one summer. I think they very well may before great judgments fall at the close of this age. But whether those archaeologists find it or not, all the old Armenian men at my gym say it’s there. One old man said his grandfather saw a piece of it jutting out of the ice. He said, “It was all black. He didn’t expect that it would be black.”

My family and I went to England several years ago. That’s where my grandfather was born, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We went down to Dover Castle. Perhaps you have heard of the “White Cliffs of Dover.” Many ships have crashed on the rocks beneath those cliffs over the centuries. But when we got there I paid no attention to Dover Castle. If you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all! I saw something in the distance that captured my attention. It was huge. You could tell it was ancient. I ran to get a closer look. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. There it stood, an eighty foot high lighthouse built, they said, in the 1st century! It was a long, black funnel ascending far into the sky. I looked up inside it and saw the black soot of the centuries on its inner wall. The Romans built it while the Apostle John was still alive on the Isle of Patmos! They burned trees inside it to warn ships away from the rocks on the beach head at Dover. My skin tingled with awe at the sheer majesty of that ancient lighthouse, looming up like, I think, the Ark must have loomed up before some gaping boys who came in the dark to look at it and snicker, and throw a rock at it, hear it thud, and run away laughing – the night before the Flood came and swept them all away! Then men wept and screamed, hanging to the trunks of uprooted trees, clinging to the top of rocks and hills, when the gigantic demon Neptune rose from the churning Flood, and frenzied Triton blew his wreathed horn – and God broke open the fountains of the deep, and the windows of heaven were opened,

“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23).

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, Till the storm of life is past:
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!

“And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:23) – and the Ark pictured Christ! If you are in Christ, you are safe from the coming judgment. If you are not in Christ, you’ll be drowned in the Lake of Fire, but not to death! Oh, no – to be dragged up and drowned again and again and again in that burning lake that never ends, that never cools, that burns for ever and ever and ever and ever!

How can you escape? Come into the Ark! The Ark prefigures Christ. The black pitch typifies Christ’s Blood! Come in! Come into the Ark! Come in to Christ before it is everlastingly too late.

Those boys that looked through the bushes at the Ark and laughed the night before the Flood! those boys that pounded on the side of the Ark when water sprang from the ground and from the sky! those boys that cried, “Oh God, let us in! Don’t let us drown!” those boys that scream throughout eternity in that Lake of Fire! those boys would say to you, if they could, “Escape from the wrath of God! Escape from the fury of the Lord! Look not behind you! Think not how to enter! Come! “Venture on Him, venture wholly” – throw yourself on Him completely, “let no other trust intrude.” Throw yourself through the door of the Ark – “venture on Him, venture wholly” – for only Christ can save you from the wrath to come, and cleanse your sin with His holy and eternal Blood!” Amen.

Stand and sing number 7 on your song sheet, “Come, Ye Sinners.”

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched, Weak and wounded, sick and sore,
   Jesus ready stands to save you, Full of pity, love and power;
He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more!
   He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more!
(“Come, Ye Sinners” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

If you want to speak with me and the other counsellors, walk to the back of the auditorium right now. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can talk about your salvation. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Genesis 6:12-17.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).


THE OUTLINE OF

NOAH’S ARK

(SERMON #81 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14).

(Matthew 24:37-39; II Peter 2:5; I Peter 3:20-21; Hebrews 11:7;
Luke 24:27; II Peter 3:3; Jude 17-19)

I.   First, the Ark was planned by God, Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8.

II.  Second, the Ark was built only to save its inhabitants, Genesis 50:26;
Leviticus 17:11.

III. Third, the Ark was a refuge from God’s judgment, Acts 4:12;
Jude 14, 15; II Peter 2:5; Genesis 6:3.

IV. Fourth, the Ark had room for all, Genesis 7:23.