GENESIS - CHAPTER 7
A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
Copyright 2000 James Melough
7:1. “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the Ark: for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
In obedience to God’s command Noah had built the Ark, and it stood as the visible evidence of his faith, “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an Ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb 11:7).
A significant order is to be observed in relation to Noah’s salvation. He was warned of coming judgment; the warning produced fear; fear produced obedience, and obedience produced his salvation. And it all began and ended with faith. He had the simple, childlike faith not only to believe the warning, but to trust himself completely to the divinely prescribed place of safety.
Two steps in the chain are conspicuously absent in much of today’s “gospel.” Warning is either omitted entirely, or is so watered down as to be rendered ineffective. There is nothing in it to produce fear, and the reason is that the Gospel messenger is far more afraid of offending the hearer than he is of offending
God by failing to present the full Gospel. In this, as in everything, “The fear of man bringeth a snare” (Pr 29:25), and the snare is one of Satan’s implements,
see 1 Tim 3:7, and 2 Tim 2:26. By use of it he succe-eds in robbing the Gospel of an essential element; and the sinner, of salvation, for the fear of hell is part of salvation. What results from a Gospel expunged of warning is a profession of faith divorced from fear. All too often what results is mere moral reformation masquerading as true conversion.
Judgment, destruction and death are the theme of chapter 6. Noah was left in no doubt that his very life depended on his obedience, nor is anyone saved who has never come face to face with the same reality.
“Come thou and all thy house into the Ark,” refutes the Calvinistic error of predestination in regard to salvation. God has predestinated that unbelievers will be in the lake of fire eternally, and that believers will be in heaven eternally, but He has not predestinated some to be believers and others unbelievers: that He leaves to man’s choice. Noah was invited, “Come ... into the Ark.” He was free to choose whether he would accept or reject God’s invitation, just as men today are free to accept or reject God’s gift of eternal life.
He chose to obey and enter because of faith and fear. Because he had faith to believe that judgment was coming he was afraid to remain outside, and he had faith also to believe that the only place of safety was in the Ark. This is God’s miniature of salvation. Faith to believe in coming judgment, and fear of coming under that judgment are the two things that cause sinners to enter into Christ.
“... and all thy house,” together with Ac 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” are words which have been used to advance another error: that of the salvation of a household because of the faith of one or both parents.
Scripture teaches that salvation is received by each man’s personal acceptance of Christ as Savior. Responsibility is an individual matter. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son....” (Eze 18: 20). “None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Ps 49:7).
“... for thee have I seen righteous before me....” As has been noted already, Noah’s righteousness was not the result of sinless living, but of faith to believe every word uttered by God.
7:2. “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.”
The clean beasts were taken in in pairs of seven, whereas the unclean were taken in only as single pairs. One obvious reason, of course, is that only the clean were acceptable for presentation to God in sacrifice.
Before examining the teaching of this verse it may be well to ask how Noah was able to distinguish clean from unclean, since the divine distinction isn’t found recorded until the time of Moses, Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Clearly, many things that have not been recorded were revealed to the antediluvians, and the implication of such revelation is apparent throughout Genesis, e.g., in the case of Cain and Abel, there is the clear implication of divine direction as to the need to present not only an offering, but also what that offering was to be.
The perfection of the clean is indicated, not only in their condition, but in their number, for seven is the Biblical number of perfection or completeness.
Another interesting truth emerges from recognizing that they were to be used for sacrifice. Again, it is not until the time of Moses that we find the written record of there being four distinct categories of animal or blood offerings: trespass, sin, peace and burnt. (The meal offering appears to have been a necessary accompaniment of each of the others rather than a separate offering in itself). Each of the four blood offerings involved the animal’s death, and pointed, of course, to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 4:7 reference is made to the sin offering, and in Genesis 8:20, to the burnt offering, and again the implication is that the four great offerings prescribed in the days of Moses had been prescribed also for the antediluvians.
The presentation of these four offerings would, therefore, leave alive only three pairs of the clean creatures; but three is the number of resurrection, while four is the number of earthly testing.
Another way in which four of these clean animals may have been used sacrificially would have been for Noah and each of his sons to present a separate offering.
In regard to there being three pairs of clean beasts left for reproduction, as compared with only one of the unclean, the obvious spiritual truth being taught is that men, made clean through faith in Christ, have life “more abundantly.”
The primary application of the perfection of these clean beasts is to Christ, but since His perfection clothes all who are His, these animals are representative also of believers. The practical lesson therefore, of their being divided into a four for sacrifice, and a three for reproduction, is that these things are to characterize the lives of all who profess faith in Christ, Ro 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (spiritual worship).” And in regard to reproduction, we are to be fruitful, not only in producing the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, but in begetting spiritual sons and daughters, that is, in leading men and women to the Savior, each man thus won for Christ becoming a spiritual son; and each woman, a spiritual daughter.
Believers are the “clean beasts” who have found refuge from judgment in “the Ark”, the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in Him cleansing us from all sin. Our lives are to be the daily revelation of the truth that, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Ga 2:20).
The significance of their being “male and female” has already been discussed and need only be reiterated briefly. Since the female represents the expression of the new spiritual life, the typological truth is that these pairs portrayed those who have new life in Christ. We should note, incidentally, that the female represents not only the expression of a man’s spiritual life, but also the passivity of the will, whereas the male portrays the activity of the will. It is to be noted further that the godly woman represents the expression of the spiritual life of the believer; but the ungodly woman, what passes with the unbeliever for spiritual life: his religion.
A difficulty then, perhaps even an apparent contradiction, presents itself in connection with the unclean beasts. They also went in “male and female,” and were as safe as were the clean. If the female portrays the expression of spiritual life, and a place in the Ark represents salvation for the clean animals, sound exegesis demands consistent interpretation of the types: but how can that which applies to the clean apply also to the unclean?
The difficulty is resolved when we recognize that the unclean animals represent the believer as he is in his earthly body, but the clean beasts represent him as he is spiritually. With the former is connected the imperfection resulting from the activity of the old nature still in the believer; with the latter is connected all the spotless perfection of the new nature, which is the nature of Christ Himself.
The unclean also went in to safety, male and female; and following the flood, were reproduced to endless generations. That reproduction speaks of the truth that Christ’s redemption applies to the believer’s body as well as to his soul and spirit. Even the body will enjoy eternal life in a glorified state, 1 Co 15:42-44.
The clean and unclean, therefore, represent believers. Body as well as soul has been redeemed, and is also safe beyond the reach of death, for out of the graves where believers’ bodies may “sleep,” God will raise up to eternal life bodies which are incorruptible, glorious, powerful, spiritual, “fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Php 3:21).
7:3. “Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.”
Since fowls also were divided into clean and unclean, it is reasonable to assume that they also went in as did the animals - a single pair of unclean, and, as stated, seven of the clean. If this assumption is correct - that there was only a single pair of each of the unclean birds - then this verse becomes the demonstration of the fact that we are to learn from what is omitted, as well as from what is written in Scripture.
The list of unclean birds given in Leviticus chapter 11 indicates that there are very few clean birds. The dove, a clean bird, is used in Scripture to portray the Holy Spirit, and in Matthew 13:4,19 fowls are used to portray Satan. This would teach us, then, why here in Genesis 7:3 all the emphasis is upon the preservation of the clean birds (they went in by sevens), though it is clear that the unclean, e.g., the raven, were also preserved, without that fact being stated explicitly. In the explicit mention of only the clean, God would teach that only that which is of the Holy Spirit will endure for ever.
The lack of mention of the unclean birds (representative of evil), would teach us that when believers stand at the Bema, only that in our earthly lives which proceeded from the Holy Spirit, will survive the fire of divine testing.
Just in passing, in connection with fowls it is instructive to note that in Leviticus chapter 11 God, without mentioning what could be eaten, lists those birds which were not to be eaten. It is a clear warning to believers to “eat” only that which comes from the Holy Spirit. Satan’s evil spirits are many, and because they are, we are warned, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
“... to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth,” refers of course, to everything preserved in the Ark, and points to the continuation of that preserved life to endless generations beyond judgment. It is a figure of the eternal life to be found only in Christ.
At this point it is necessary to interrupt our study so that we may be clear as to the dispensational significance of this section. While there is nothing to preclude our seeing in Noah’s entering the Ark a picture of a sinner finding salvation in Christ, dispensational harmony is preserved only when we recognize the significance of the chronological order in this whole section.
Enoch represents the Church, the rapture of which is typologically shown in his translation. The Rapture is to be followed by the judgments of the seven year Tribulation period during which the remnant of Israel, as well as many Gentiles, will find salvation in Christ. Those in the Ark, preserved through the terrible judgment of the flood, and brought out on to a renewed earth, represent those converts of the Tribulation period, still living when Christ returns to inaugurate the Millennium. They will be invited to enjoy the blessings of the millennial earth, as Noah was to enjoy those of the post-diluvian earth.
In regard to prophecy, the law of double reference must be recognized. This law has been succinctly stated by Dr. Dwight Pentecost in his excellent work on prophecy Things to Come. He writes, “Two events, widely separated as to the time of their fulfillment, may be brought together into the scope of one prophecy. This was done because the prophet had a message for his own day as well as for a future time. By bringing two widely separated events into the scope of the prophecy both purposes could be fulfilled.”
This same law applies also to many of Scripture’s typological pictures, and certainly it must be considered in relation to our present study. Keeping before us then, the law of double reference both in regard to prophecy and to typology, we will resume our study.
7:4. “For yet seven days, 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.”
The seven-day interval between Noah’s entering the Ark, and the coming of the deluge, foreshadows the brief pause that will come between the Rapture of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation, the beginning of that era being marked by the signing of the seven-year covenant between Israel and the Roman beast ruler.
In that seven-day interval following Noah’s going into the Ark, those outside were as surely doomed as though the flood had already come, in spite of their having been warned by Noah, see 2 Pe 2:5, and so will it be following the Rapture of the Church. Those who will have heard the Gospel, but refused or just neglected to believe, will be as surely doomed as though they were already in hell, see 2 Th 2.
As Noah and his family disappeared into the Ark, so will the Church-age believers disappear from earth at the Rapture, leaving behind them a world as ripe for judgment as was the world of Noah’s day, “For as in the days that were before the flood ... until the day that Noah entered into the Ark ... they (the antediluvians) knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Mt 24:38-40).
This portion of Matthew refers to the Lord’s return at the end of the Tribulation, but there is a vast difference, however, in regard to the two in the field, or the two grinding at the mill, depending on whether that return is to rapture His Church to heaven, or to His coming seven years later to end the Tribulation and establish His Millennial kingdom. At the Rapture, the one taken goes up to heaven, while the one left remains to experience the Tribulation judgments. At the end of the Tribulation, the one taken goes down to hell, while the one left remains on earth to enjoy the blessings of Christ’s millennial reign.
The forty days and nights of rain would point forward dispensationally to the judgments of the Tribulation era, those inside the Ark representing the Tribulation-age believers safe in Christ; and those outside, unbelievers exposed to judgment.
In addition to the dispensational truth, however, another beautiful typical picture is presented. The Ark is a type of Christ as the place of refuge, and the flood waters, gushing up from the earth and pouring down from above, represent the terrible judgment He endured at Calvary.
The rain from above is regarded by many as typical of divine wrath poured upon Him, while the waters from beneath are viewed as being typical of what He endured at the hands of men. The aptness of the figure is the more apparent in view of the frequency with which His death is anticipated in the Psalms under the figure of overwhelming waters.
Forty, being but the multiple of four, the number of testing, points to another aspect of the deluge. It tested, and revealed the worthlessness of every refuge save the Ark. So will God’s judgment, yet future, reveal the worthlessness of every refuge save Christ.
7:5. “And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.”
It was disobedience that brought man’s ruin, and nothing but obedience will undo that ruin and bring man out of death into eternal life. As has been noted earlier, it was Noah’s faith, expressed in obedience to God’s command, that saved him. Similar obedient faith saves men still.
7:6. “And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.”
Six is the number of man, whose brief life draws to an end when he has used up his allotted three score years. In regard to what follows, God says, “... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the Judgment” (Heb 9:27). Whether, therefore, it was six hundred in the pre-deluge age, or sixty in this age, the fact remains that the number of weakness and incompleteness is imprinted upon man’s life. Without Christ, he can never attain to seven, God’s number of perfection.
As judgment followed the completion of Noah’s six hundredth year, so will the far more terrible judgment of the great white throne (Re 20:11) follow completion of the life of the man who dies without having found in Christ a place of refuge.
There is here also a dispensational truth which should not be overlooked. It is related to the divine view of time which sees a thousand years as one day, and a day as a thousand years, see 2 Pe 3:8. Many have already noticed that the six days of Genesis 1 and 2, while being literal, are also symbolic and prophetic, being in themselves a miniature of God’s greater week of seven thousand years, the seventh of which will be the Millennium, earth’s great “sabbath.”
While avoiding - and warning against - the folly of applying this in such a way as to make the year two thousand the beginning of the Millennium, we cannot but recognize, in the light of Scripture, that we are fast approaching the end of this present age of Grace, which will be followed by the terrible Tribulation judgments. That being so, it would be equal folly not to recognize that we are fast approaching the end of six thousand years of human history, counting time from Adam. By divine reckoning those six thousand years are only six days. (We would emphasize that since the exact terminals are unknown, date setting for any event is foolish). The judgment of the flood that followed six hundred years of Noah’s life would appear, then, to be a miniature of something greater, but marked also by six. The six thousand years of human wickedness, fast coming to a close, will be just as surely followed by the Tribulation judgments, as the six hundred years of wickedness witnessed by Noah, were followed by the flood.
7:7. “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.”
This verse declares symbolically what belongs to spiritual life. It is characterized first by what is connected with the meaning of Noah’s name. It is rest. All who are “born again” enjoy this rest, “For we which have believed do enter into rest....” (Heb 4:3).
The wife we have already seen to be the expression of the new life of the Spirit, received by faith. Noah’s wife went in with him. Nothing can separate the believer from that new life. Salvation can never be lost.
Since the male represents the activity rather than the passivity of the individual’s will, and since children represent the fruit of the new life, Noah’s sons would speak of spiritual fruit resulting from actively in doing God’s will. The three sons would speak also of resurrection; and their having wives indicates also spiritual life, so that the typical picture is of the abundant life found only in Christ.
“... because of the waters of the flood.” This emphasizes what has already been considered. It was fear that motivated Noah’s obedience. The man who has never feared hell and the lake of fire would do well to examine the reality of his professed faith in Christ. Accepting Christ as the panacea for life’s troubles falls far short of accepting Him as Savior. He died, not to deliver from earthly woe, but to save men from hell and the lake of fire. The truth is that conversion tends to increase rather than decrease life’s troubles, for the believer has to also contend with the strife of two natures, something unknown to the natural man.
7:8. “Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth,”
7:9. “There went in two and two unto Noah into the Ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.”
Further comment on these two verses seems unnecessary since we have already discussed the significance of safety for the clean and unclean alike, as well as the fact that they went in male and female. The omission of explicit reference to unclean fowls points, of course, to the truth that only what the clean bird represents (the life of the Spirit) will enter heaven.
7:10. “And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.”
As already noted, those seven days between Noah’s entering the Ark, and the coming of the flood, may foreshadow the little interval that will elapse between the Rapture, and the beginning of the Tribulation. They were the calm before the storm, and so will it be in the brief interval following the Rapture. As the one period was followed by the judgment of the flood, so will the other be followed by the terrible Tribulation judgments.
7:11. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
The significance of the six hundredth year having been discussed already, it is necessary to examine only the lesson of the second month and seventeenth day.
The month, being one twelfth of the year, would direct our attention to the number twelve, which is the number of the manifestation of divine government. Two is the number of witness or testimony, and that second month was to bear witness to the terrible consequences of transgressing God’s laws and refusing His Grace. Judgment must follow such rebellion. But its being the second month would remind us that there had been a first month, in which a patient, gracious God beheld man’s abounding wickedness, yet waited to pardon, if only man would repent.
That first twelfth of the year was the manifestation of God’s government mocked. The second twelfth was to be the manifestation of His wrath. The man who will not glorify God by accepting His salvation will be compelled to do so by accepting His eternal punishment.
As that second month pointed to one which had preceded, it pointed also to ten which would follow; and ten is the number, not of divine government manifested, but of God as the One whose right it is to govern. Those following ten months would point to eternity future whose endless ages will be subject to the sovereign will of the Creator. Throughout those ages God will be glorified in the salvation of saints; but no less so in the eternal punishment of sinners who refused His mercy.
“... the seventeenth day of the month,” would remind us that sixteen days had preceded it; and as with the month, so with the days - men who had spent them in defying God, must now accept the results.
Sixteen factorizes to 24, and speaks of a witness to testing. Unknown to the godless antediluvians was the fact that their time of freedom to choose to do good or evil was also a time of testing. And as those days ended they must drink the cup they themselves had filled. Having chosen to fill that cup with wickedness, they must drink judgment and death.
As the first sixteen days of that month finally gave place to the seventeenth, so do the brief days of man’s life give place to that day when he must drink what he himself has put into the cup. Each man goes into eternity with a full cup: the believer, with a cup full of God’s goodness and mercy, filled by God and accepted by sinners as His gracious gift; the unbeliever, with the cup he himself has filled with sin; and in passing from time to eternity that sin is transmuted into everlasting punishment.
The references to the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, and the opening of the windows of heaven, emphasize again the use of water, symbol of God’s Word, as the element of judgment. Those springs and fountains, which had formerly sustained man’s life by supplying his drinking water, were made instead to gush out as raging torrents of death that swallowed him up. The windows of heaven, which had furnished the life-giving dew essential to the growing things that were man’s food, now poured down in unrestrained death-dealing fury. (It should be noted that until the flood there had never been rain: the earth was watered by dew, Ge 2:6).
As has been noted already, the Word accepted gives life, but rejected, deals death. Furnished and measured to meet man’s need, like the springs and the dew, the rejected Word will become the overwhelming element of unrepentant man’s final terrible judgment.
Many have drawn attention to the fact that as the Ark in the midst of the waters was assaulted, not only by those falling from above, but also by those gushing up from beneath, so Christ, at Calvary, suffered wrath from below, that of man and Satan; and from above, that of God.
7:12. “And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”
Having noticed already the numerical significance of forty as simply a multiple of four, the number of testing, we need not dwell on it here again.
One point though, is worth consideration, that is, the order of nights following days. It is in contrast with the order we have in Genesis chapter 1 where it is recorded that evenings were followed by mornings. There the emphasis was upon God’s desire for men to pass from spiritual darkness to spiritual light: here the emphasis is upon what follows rejection of God’s will: unrepentant man goes out to an eternity where the brief day of earthly testing is followed by eternal night.
7:13. “In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the Ark.”
It seems unnecessary to comment further on this verse since we have already considered the significance of the persons mentioned.
Reverting briefly to the application made of Noah’s entering the Ark as being a type of the Rapture, we might just notice the emphasis laid again upon the fact that his entering the Ark was followed seven days later with the beginning of the flood. The Rapture will have terrible consequences for those who had heard the Gospel, but had rejected it. The very event that translates believers to heaven, will mark for the Gospel-rejector, the beginning of an eternity without hope.
7:14. “They, and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind, and every fowl after its kind, every bird of every sort.”
The variety of life representatively sheltered in the Ark points to the all-embracing scope of Christ’s redemptive work. It is not just believing man who will be redeemed, it is the whole creation, and the Millennium will be the manifestation of the scope of that redemption.
7:15. “And they went in unto Noah into the Ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.”
Here the emphasis is upon their going in first unto Noah and then into the Ark. Redemption is available in a perfectly completed work, but transcending the work is the One Who performed it. Salvation is in a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom Noah is clearly a type.
“Two and two ...” is, of course, male and female. Their going into the Ark in such pairs pointed to the preservation of the life of each species. The life of each pair thus preserved in their offspring is typical of the eternal life possessed by those who are in Christ.
“... the breath of life.” The word here translated breath is ruach meaning not only air or wind, but also spirit. It is different from the breath neshamah used in Genesis 2:7. Ruach means also the breath of God, and the wind is one of the Biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit. It seems therefore, that what is being emphasized is that those preserved in the Ark had life in a different sense from those outside. Man in the Ark by choice, and the animal creation by divine sovereignty, were to live while the others died. (It is to be hoped that the reader will recognize that the application is typological. There is no suggestion that these animals had spiritual life. We trust that enough has been said in earlier studies to preclude the thought of animals having spirit or spiritual life). The overall lesson is of the character of the life possessed by the man in Christ. It is the life of God Himself.
7:16. “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.”
It is unnecessary to dwell further on the significance of their going in “male and female”; and we have already noticed that their going in was in response to a direct command from God. The implication of that was that those who remained outside and perished, did so as the result of failure to obey God. It is similar disobedience that brings unconverted man into eternal judgment and death.
“... and the Lord shut him in.” This presents a glimpse of the believer’s eternal security. Nothing could remove from the safety of the Ark those shut in by God, nor can anything remove those in Christ from the eternal security they have found in Him.
The idea that a believer can lose his salvation is entertained only by those who fail to comprehend the nature of salvation. The new birth can no more be undone than can the natural birth. Having been “born again” of the Spirit, the “new creature” possesses divine life, and it is as impossible for him to lose it as it is for God Himself to die. The impossibility of such loss is affirmed by the Lord Himself in Jn 10:28, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Additional confirmation of eternal security is found in such passages as 1 Co 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” That a member of Christ’s body could die is impossible.
It is emphasized again, however, that the very act that seals the believer’s safety seals also with equal certainty, the unbeliever’s doom. That door, shut by the hand of God, to keep Noah in the safety of the Ark, barred the unbelievers outside from ever entering, Lk 13:24-28, “Strive to enter in ... for many ... will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master ... hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand outside ... saying Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer ... I know you not ... depart from Me. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
7:17. “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the Ark, and it was lifted up above the earth.”
The contrast between those on either side of that closed door continues to be emphasized. The very element upon which the Ark floated in safety, brought destruction to everything outside the shelter of its pitched timbers.
7:18. “And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the Ark went upon the face of the waters.”
The irresistible might, and the all embracing extent of the waters, continue to increase, but, “the Ark went upon the face of the waters.” The waters that destroyed everything else were powerless to harm what God had provided as a shelter for faith.
The waters of judgment and death were equally powerless to destroy Christ when He submitted Himself to their fury at Calvary. When their fury was completely expended it was a victorious Christ Who proclaimed, “It is finished.” It was He Who dismissed His Spirit to the Father, not Death that carried His Spirit into the eternal darkness as a prize gained in the conflict.
As the Ark rode victoriously on top of the waters, so rode Christ in glory and majesty over the waters of death. His Own words were fulfilled on the resurrection morning when a living Christ was the evidence of Death’s defeat, “I lay down my life for the sheep.... No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (Jn lO:l5-18).
7:19. “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.”
As well as being literal in regard to the hills, there may be the additional allusion to the destruction of earthly rulers, since a hill is a frequently used symbol of a king or kingdom.
7:20. “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”
The fifteen cubits would indicate more than the magnitude of the flood. Factorized, fifteen becomes three, the number of resurrection, multiplied by five, the number of responsibility. It was man’s dereliction of his responsibility to God that brought the flood. That being so, the corresponding resurrection can only be that of death or damnation spoken of by the Lord in Jn 5:28,29, “Marvel not at this ... all that are in the graves shall ... come forth; they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Terrible as was the flood that engulfed the bodies of the antediluvians, more terrible still will be that final awful judgment that will consign the transgressor to the eternal torment of the lake of fire.
7:21. “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man.”
Having directed attention to the eternal result of disobedience, the Holy Spirit returns to focus attention again on the nearer physical result, “... all flesh died ... and every man.”
The day of grace will not continue for ever. It must inevitably give place to the day when each man receives the result of his choice made in regard to that grace. For Noah and his obedient family, the day of judgment saw his obedience rewarded with God’s gift of life. The others, having chosen to disbelieve and disobey, received also their reward - death.
Noah’s reward was more than deliverance from physical death, however. It was also his assurance that the faith that had saved him from the flood would save him also from physical death when it came his time to die. It assured him that the same God Who had delivered him from the waters, would deliver him also from the grave at the resurrection of life, and lift him higher - to heaven.
The same eternal results attached also to the rebels. Their destruction under the flood waters was their assurance that the results of disobedience were also eternal. The God they had mocked, and Who had delivered them to the deadly power of the flood, would deliver them to a still more terrible fate - the eternal punishment of the lake of fire.
These things have been written for the warning of the succeeding generations. It is impossible to imagine the eternal bitter remorse of the man, who having been thus warned, finds too late that he has by disbelief prepared himself for the same fate.
One point should perhaps be noticed in connection with the accompanying destruction of animal life. In the sovereignty of the Creator, the lesser creatures must suffer the effects of the disobedience of man, their lord and master, but God undoubtedly had also a practical end in view. With the human population reduced to eight, there must be a corresponding reduction in the animal kingdom to prevent man’s being destroyed by them.
7:22. “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.”
This verse in a few brief words declares the fragility of natural life. It hangs by a thread more delicate than gossamer - a breath. James asks the question, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas 4:l4). The only life that will endure eternally is that which comes through the second birth, for it is spiritual, the very life of God.
7:23. “And every living thing 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.”
Destroyed, in this verse, means “to be blotted out or wiped away.” As far as the brute creation was concerned, every creature was wiped out of existence; but not so with man. He, too, was blotted out or wiped away from the earth; but he was not wiped out of existence. The earthly body returned to dust to await the resurrection of damnation, and the soul went down to hell, where it still continues to exist in conscious torment, awaiting also that same dreadful resurrection that will see the whole man consigned to the eternal torment of the lake of fire.
In contrast, all in the Ark lived: the animals, in their descendants, would live upon the earth while that earth endured. Noah, too, would continue to live upon the earth for his allotted time. Then his body, like those of his fellows who died in the flood, would return to dust, but with a vastly better expectation: resurrection at the resurrection of life a thousand years before the resurrection of damnation. His soul, too, from the bliss of paradise, awaits that same joyous resurrection which will furnish it with a glorious immortal spiritual body in which it will enjoy the blessing of heaven eternally.
7:24 “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”
Prevailed means “to become mighty,” and the end of the hundred and fifty days revealed just how mighty those waters were. Everything outside the Ark was dead.
The fact that they did not prevail against the Ark reveals that it was mightier than they. Christ is almighty because He is the Almighty - He is God.
For a hundred and fifty days the Ark floated upon the waters, and on the one hundred and fiftieth day it came to rest on Ararat (Ge 8:4). Ararat means the curse reversed.
150 factorizes to 2 X 3 X 52, and since the largest factor is five, the emphasis is symbolically on responsibility in relation to resurrection (3) and testimony (2). Those 150 days were the testimony to the fact that responsibility fulfilled in obedience, brought life; and unfulfilled by disobedience, brought death. The full extent of both the life and the death will be revealed at the corresponding resurrections: that of life at the resurrection of life, and that of death at the resurrection of death a thousand years later.