Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3* PART 4* BOOK 2
Noah: The Ark of Security
Genesis 6:1 – 7:7
Again, lets pick up where we left off in Genesis chapter 6. I know it seems like we are making precious little headway. I had one person who has retired complain that he would be dead and gone before we got half way through. But, nevertheless, always remember that once we get through Genesis and Exodus, then we zip along. We will be up in the New Testament before you know it.
I have always felt that Genesis and Exodus are so foundational to everything else. It bears taking the time necessary to get a good understanding of it. From then on we will be able to see history unfold rather rapidly and like I said, we will soon be to the New Testament.
Remember we were talking about the pitch. That Noah was to build this Ark of wood but he was to pitch it with the bitumen, or the tar, that was so prevalent in that area of the world.
I have had the question come up, so I will anticipate it for you since we are limited in our time factor here in the taping studio. The question came up that if there was such amazing technology equal to what we have today, there must have shipyards. Why didn’t Noah just go to a shipyard? Well, I will tell you why Noah couldn’t go to a shipyard. Because that isn’t the way God wanted it done! God wanted this Ark to be built clear out on dry land, somewhere far removed from water so that it would seem all the more absurd to the unbelieving masses.
Again, I would just like you to picture this, if you will. I am sure others have brought this to your mind, your preachers or teachers. Can you imagine the response of the people of Noah’s day when this old gentleman is out there and no doubt he had to hire a lot of people. There were big timbers to be handled.
But, don’t you suppose that the people of that day just ridiculed this crazy old man, building something that he says is going to float in water, when there isn’t water for miles and miles. And, he talks about a flood when it hasn’t even rained an inch or two let alone enough to cover everything.
So, God had His purpose. On top of that, I think God wanted this to carry on for 120 years so that generation would have ample time to wake up and realize that judgment was coming. So there were a lot of reasons.
The technology? Yes, I think Noah could have gone to a shipyard and I think he could have made it from steel or whatever he wanted to but that wasn’t the way God intended it to be done. So He said, make it of gopher wood.
Secondly, remember God is going to have Noah build this thing so that it can withstand tremendous forces. Sitting out there with no destination. All it is going to have to do is survive. Just so it doesn’t sink. And, it will be there for over a year in the water. Let’s go on. Genesis chapter 6 verse 15:
“And this is the fashion (or the pattern) which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits,…”
Now from what reading I have been able to do, there are two lengths to a cubit. The short cubit was what we would call 18 inches. But they also had the long cubit which could be as much as 24 or 25 inches. I usually stick with the short cubit so we don’t look like we are being extravagant or exaggerating.
So if we use the short cubit and it was to be 300 cubits long, then our rectangle would be 450 feet long by 75 feet wide. And, it was to be 45 feet high from top to bottom. Three stories. That would be 15 foot ceilings. That’s a pretty good size room.
In order to bring this into perspective, we have to understand that not until the great battleships of World War II, in fact they used them again in the Persian Gulf the last couple of weeks, the battleships, Wisconsin and the Iowa and one or two others, maybe the New Jersey are 45,000 ton displacement. I will never forget that figure! But you see those ships weren’t quite even 450 feet long. And yet, up until that point in human history that had been the biggest vessel men had constructed.
Now, of course, our great oil super tankers are something a little bit longer than this. I think, about 600 feet. But they are huge! Other than that, the Ark is by far the largest floating vessel that mankind has ever had any reason to construct. Four hundred and fifty feet long. Again to help you picture that, a football field is 300 feet from goal to goal. Here we go another 150 feet beyond that. That’s a pretty long box!
Like I said it must have implied the use of tremendous timbers. Huge timbers. So, Noah and his three sons, even it they were obedient enough to help old Dad, couldn’t have done it alone.
In fact I was reading another book titled THE FLOOD by DR. REHWINKEL. He was a professor of theology at Concordia University in St. Louis. He makes the same statement that evidently Noah had to hire many, many outside people. But he made a tremendous illustration that I had never thought of myself and I was impressed with it.
He said to just think of all the men that helped Noah in the building of that Ark. Day in and day out, they labored with the sweat of their brow to help build that Ark. But, when the flood came, they were not inside and they were lost. And then he made this allusion: Today, how many church members are working in the church. They are busy doing what they think is their duty, but they have never entered into salvation and when judgement comes they are not going to be IN the Ark. They are going to be OUT.
I had never really thought of it that way. Here are these men and these people who had helped Noah build the Ark. They could have enjoyed the safety of it, but instead they mocked this crazy old man building a boat and it has never rained.
He goes on with his instructions in verse 16 and not only was it to be a big rectangular box, remember there were no open decks. There are not great openings or windows or anything like that. There is one window and it’s going to be in the center of the top. I think the top was flat.
Up in the top he was to make a window. It was to be a cubit. In other words, 18 inches by18 inches. Then there is to be one door in the side of it. And only one door. Then there were to be first, second and third stories.
I am sure you have all read descriptions of how much space was in this vessel. All you have to do is just read some good articles on Noah’s Ark, and I am sure you can find them in any good library. But, I read one illustration that certainly made an impression on me because I can remember when I was young, I used to ship cattle from Montana to Iowa in box cars. A box car is pretty good sized vehicle. This Ark, one person alluded to it, would have had as much room as a thousand cattle cars! Now, we can’t imagine that. A one hundred car train is pretty big. In fact, the other night I happened to see a coal train go by and it had 100 box cars of coal. That was a long, long train. But, imagine 1,000 of them! And, that is how much room was in this Ark. It’s just beyond our comprehension.
For this reason, God wasn’t limited by the space in the Ark. Secondly, I like to remind people, no where in Scripture does it say that all the animals were mature. In other words, when Noah brought in a pair of elephants, there is nothing to say that they couldn’t have been a couple of baby elephants.
Because God wasn’t in any hurry to have them reproduce within the next year after they were off the Ark as long as there was a pair coming up. So, I think we can also take this into account, that no doubt a lot of these pairs of the larger animals probably came in real young. And, they wouldn’t demand much space nor did they demand a lot of feed.
So there are a lot of ways to analyze this thing without doing any violence to Scripture or taking away any of the miraculousness of it. And, yet I want people to BELIEVE that it happened just the way the Book says it did! Going on to verse 17.
“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth (God says) shall die. 18. But with thee (with Noah) will I establish my covenant;…”
Now, I haven’t said too much about covenants in these first six chapters. But, when we get to chapter 12, I am going to use the word until it almost drives you crazy. Because, the covenant that we run across in Genesis chapter 12 is again so basic to understanding all the rest of Scripture. I will just be harping on it.
But before we get there, get this understanding: A covenant is something that God makes with man and it is not man making it with God. So, a covenant is without rescinding. It can never be changed or rescinded. Once God makes a covenant, it is secure. And, there are many covenants throughout Scripture. One of them is the one that He is going to give to Noah and we call it the Noahic Covenant. That is that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood. And He used the rainbow as the sign of that covenant.
Remember, God made the covenant not Noah. So we can rest assured that this earth will never be destroyed by a flood. It will be destroyed by fire but not by a flood. Let’s go on. Verse 18 again.
“… and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh…”
That doesn’t mean every species or every sub-species. But it means ONE of the major components of a species. We know there are all kinds of horses for example. You have the Shetland Pony and you have the big draft horse and the race horse, the pleasure horse, the quarter horse. Those are all within the species of the horse. Now, he didn’t have to have every one of those represented. But, there has to be one pair of horses.
From that pair then everything came from it after the flood. The same way with all the other major species, there came a pair of each one. Everything into the Ark. Always, remember, look at the cat family. How many cats are there, all the way from the huge lion down to your little house cat. But they are still all cats. Same way with many of the other things. So, just remember that all of these various sub-species were not necessarily represented. But the major only. Now verse 20:
“Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle (domestic animals) after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, (within that species) two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”
I hope you don’t read that too casually. Two of every sort shall – what does it say? Come! They came to the Ark from every direction. Now, what should that have done to the people of Noah’s day? Well, it should have waked them up, shouldn’t it? Hey, what in the world is going on? All these creatures are finding their way to a central spot on the planet. They were coming to the Ark. It was Providential. Noah didn’t have to go out and trap them. Noah didn’t have to go out and do anything to bring them in. They came under the providential act of God. Read on, verse 21.
“And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.”
That is perfect accord with Genesis chapter 1. Remember? What was the diet of both man and beast? Everything that grew naturally. The herbs, the fruits, the grasses. That was Adam and Eve’s diet, the humans, as well as all fowls and all animals. They all ate the things that grew naturally and so all they had to have was one class of food brought into the Ark and it would be enough for man and beast and fowl and everything else. Now verse 22:
“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”
Noah again is obedient. He does just exactly what God tell him to do. Didn’t he have every right to say, “Now, wait a minute. This is absurd! What in the world is the reason for all of this?” Noah says nothing of the sort. Noah takes God at His Word. Whatever God says to do, ridiculous as it may have seemed at the time, Noah did it!
Now, we are in the same situation, today. A lot of people look at some of the things I teach and they say “Les, that’s ridiculous!” I can’t help it. It is what the Book says!
In fact, I was in a phone conversation with a gentleman this morning from another part of the country. This happened to come up about standing on the Word of God, and I just said “Well, look, I know there are some people that won’t believe anything unless their particular denomination or their particular church says that this is it.” I have run into people like this. They tell me, “Les, my church teaches that THEY are the final authority. That the Bible is secondary. And, that I can’t comprehend it unless the church interprets it for me.”
Now you show me that in Scripture! “Well, I guess it isn’t there,” he said. And I said, “I guess it isn’t!!” Because the Bible constantly encourages us to what? Study! What does Paul write to Timothy?
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
That is given to every individual believer. We don’t have to wait for someone to interpret it for us. That’s why I am always telling my class people, some of you who have been with me a long time, you know I have said it. Don’t just hang on what I say. Don’t go out and say well this is what Les says. That does not hold anything. But, oh, if I can just teach you to go out and tell people: “This is what the Bible says! This is what God’s Word says.” I don’t want any credit for any of it.
That is what Noah did. He did what God said. Now I think we are ready to go into chapter 7.
“And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; (again watch that language. Analyze it. Where is God speaking FROM? IN the Ark. He is speaking from in the Ark. Now it is finished. It is ready and from within the Ark God says, “Come, Noah.” He doesn’t say, go Noah into the Ark. He says, come! You see what a difference that makes?) for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
I like to make that emphasis that God was IN the Ark, because when the flood waters raged, I don’t think that wooden box would have survived, had not God Himself been the gyroscope that maintained that equilibrium.
Remember, when Jesus was here on earth. They were going across the Sea of Galilee and if you know the geographical setting of the Sea of Galilee, it is right at the foot of the Golan Heights. It is a relatively shallow sea. Shallow water has a tendency that when the wind comes, what happens? It gets real rough in a hurry! Now deep water isn’t that easily shook up, but shallow water immediately will have tremendous waves.
So, Jesus and His disciples are going across the Sea of Galilee in a little ship. I think it was more or less a boat. But I think it was a boat large enough that it had a deck and a lower level. But, what happened as they were about half way across the Sea of Galilee? Oh, a tremendous storm!
The disciples got all shook up and fearful. Where was the Lord? Down below, sleeping. Do you think that boat would have ever sunk? Never! Not as long as He was there. But the disciples didn’t know that. They didn’t have faith enough to realize that. But, always remember, that little boat would never have sunk.
It is the same way here with the Ark and it was God the Son, who was implied in God back here as being part and parcel of anything to do with mankind. Remember, I showed you that back in Genesis chapter 4. So, God the Son, invites Noah now to come in to the Ark. He becomes the gyroscope. He’s the stabilizing power that going to hold this little old box throughout all the terrible days of that flood. Now verse 2, He said:
“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by (not twos but by what?) sevens,…”
It is kind of interesting that way back here in Genesis, we are made aware of clean beasts but we don’t know what they are until we get to the law of Moses. There it is stipulated that a clean beast is something that has the split hoof, has the two stomachs and so on. Anything that did not have those qualifications could not be used sacrificially.
Now the clean beasts back here, were the same kind of beasts. I think there were only supposed to be ten of those types of beasts, if I remember correctly. And, they were to bring seven of them. Yes, Exodus lists ten of those clean beasts and they were to bring seven each. So seventy animals were brought on board the Ark to be used later for what? Sacrifice.
There had to be more than two, otherwise, if they sacrificed one, they would have stopped the genealogy of that species. So now they bring seven of the sacrificial species, so that they will have plenty to sacrifice and still leave the pairs to perpetuate that particular species. Reading on in verse 2:
“… the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, (because they are going to also use these for sacrifice) the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days,…”
Remember, everything is all ready. Everything is in the Ark. The animals are in, the birds are in, the provender is in, Noah is in and the LORD is there. But he says, what? I am going to wait seven days.
What is this seven days? Seven days of Grace!
What is God giving the human race an opportunity to do? Oh, they can still come into the Ark. Everything is ready now for the cataclysmic judgment to fall. But, God says I am going to give them seven more days.
You know, too many people think of God as somebody up there who is just some kind of an ogre who is just waiting to zap people. Even a lot of well meaning religious people are scared to death that if they don’t do everything exactly perfectly, that God is just waiting for a chance to zap them!
That’s not God at all. God is the God of Mercy and of Grace. And, even in this horrible society of Noah’s day, what does God want? Oh, He wants people to still come into the Ark. There would have been room. There would have been food enough. But how many came? Not a one. But the door stood open with the gangplank down if you want to picture it that way, for seven days. Then God says:
“… and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 5. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.”
In verse 6 we come to some chronology.
“And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.”
Just use a little simple arithmetic. Adam lived 930 years. The Flood came at about 1600 after Adam was created. But now Noah comes on the scene, goes into the Ark and he is already 600 years old. So how far removed from Adam is Noah? Hardly any at all.
All the way up through this period of time there has always been a godly testimony. They were never without a testimony of who God really was. Then, the amazing thing is when we come out of the Ark after the Flood, Noah lives within just a few years of Abraham.
Probably not quite up until but awfully close. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the three sons of Noah who were much, much younger. So always remember that as you come up through the Old Testament.
There are a lot of good chronological maps available. Just go to a good Christian Book Store. I have had people give me a couple over the years and I have them hanging on my office door. You can just follow the genealogy down and see all these people overlap. And so on down the line, so that there were always godly men on the scene. They were never left without a testimony. So Noah was 600 years old when he goes into the Ark.
“And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”
I have a question that I haven’t been able to answer myself, and I don’t think anyone else is able to. No doubt, we have to feel that Noah’s three sons and their wives must have been believers. And yet, when you see what happens to them after the Flood, what are we prone to wonder? Were they? I don’t know.
On the basis of their going into the Ark, we have to believe that they were. But, oh my, they were mighty poor testimonies on the other side. Because just as soon as civilization takes off again from six young people, from those three sons and their wives, what direction do they go spiritually? Down!
I can’t give you the answer to it. All I know is that Noah was a righteous man. His sons and their wives went into the Ark with him. Their spiritual condition I am in no position to guarantee one way or the other.
So then, we are coming up to the time that the Flood is going to break loose. I am going to show you was something totally, totally different than most people think. It was not just a rain. It was a cataclysmic event. So ferocious that most people can’t comprehend it.