Throughout the Old Testament, God uses prophetic symbols to foreshadow the people and events of the New Testament. These symbols reveal who God is and paint pictures of His divine plan of salvation. The ark that Noah built is one of these prophetic symbols.
Last time in “Sunk in Sin,” we examined the faith of Noah and how God showed him grace in a world immersed in sin. Now we will look at the flood story as an image of God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
Jesus is Our Ark of Salvation
God’s purpose in sending the flood was not the destruction of His creation but the regeneration of it. Only 8 or 9 generations had passed between Adam and Noah, yet sin had ravaged God’s beautiful creation so completely that when God looked at it, He saw that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). So, what did God do? As a just God, He had every right to destroy the entire human race. But instead, He provided a way out, an ark.
Because Noah found favor with God, God gave Noah a way to escape the wrath He was about to rain down. Through Noah, He also offered the world the same means of escape (2 Peter 2:5), but the world declined His invitation.
The ark paints a beautiful picture of God’s plan to redeem His creation by way of a future Messiah. God revealed the ark’s design and purpose in detail before He sent the flood. Likewise, God outlined in the Old Testament through prophecies, the coming of a Messiah who would save humanity; this Messiah was none other than Jesus Christ.
There are many ways the ark is a shadow of Jesus. Here we will examine a few of them:
Only One Way In
God told Noah to put one door in the ark (Genesis 6). This door was the only way into the ark; it was the only way Noah could save himself and his family. In the same way, Jesus is the only door to the Father, our salvation (John 14:16). Jesus himself said, “I am the door; if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9).
Refuge from Storm
The ark was Noah’s refuge from the storm (Genesis 6:17-19), just as Jesus is our refuge from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9).
God did not command Noah onto the ark but invited Noah to “come” on the ark instead (Genesis 7:1). Noah’s work was over, and now he could rest. Jesus also invites us to come to Him where we can find rest (Matthew 11:28). The choice is ours: do we go to Him and be saved or do we run from Him and be condemned?
Once Noah was in the ark, he was secure. The Lord shut him in (Genesis 6:17). We can also be confident that we are secure in Christ. God, through the Holy Spirit, has sealed us as His own guaranteeing our salvation to come (Ephesians 1:13).
The ark was a gift given to Noah by God. Without the ark, Noah would have perished just like the rest of the world. God also gave us Jesus, His only Son, so that if we believe in Him, we will not perish (John 3:16).
Brandon D. Smith in “The Better Version of Noah’s Ark” portrayed Jesus’ work on the cross perfectly when he said, ” While a wooden ark delivered Noah from physical death, a wooden cross delivers us from spiritual death. Just as Noah obeyed God by climbing onto a boat to save a few, Jesus obeyed his Father by climbing onto a cross to save many.”
God Doesn’t Forget Us
As the waters rose above the mountains, so did the ark. It continued to float on the water’s surface until it rested on Mount Ararat. The ark’s work was done, and Noah emerged from it to a world washed clean with new possibilities.
God blessed Noah and gave him dominion over the new earth as He did Adam and Eve ten generations earlier. He told Noah and his family to be fruitful and increase in number across the earth (Genesis 9:7). God then made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with water (Genesis 9:8-11).
God remembered Noah, and He remembers us too. Noah didn’t deserve to be on the ark, and we don’t deserve Jesus either. Despite our unworthiness, God offers us a way to salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.
When the rains of life pour down, when the waters begin to rise, Jesus offers us refuge and rest. We need not fear the rising waters because we are secure in Him. We have a better version of the ark of salvation; we have Jesus!