Some say Noah’s Ark and the Genesis flood are just Old Testament legends. However, Noah is mentioned eight times in the New Testament. Even Jesus referred to the flood as a literal event. In fact, He prophesied, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mt. 24:37-39).
History often repeats itself. What we learn from history is we don’t learn much from history. Humanity has fallen into the same spiritual state which caused God to send the flood. Observe seven parallels between Noah’s day and our day:
1. Population Explosion: “When men began to multiply on the face of the earth . . .” (Gen. 6:1). There are an estimated 7.9 billion people alive on this planet now. Globally, about 385,000 babies are born daily or 140 million per year.
2. Ungodly Marriages: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men . . . and they took wives for themselves” (Gen. 6:2). Marriage is honorable since God instituted it (Heb. 13:4) but these were polygamous and/or ungodly unions which grieved God. Same sex marriages do the same today, and just because they are legal, doesn’t make them right in God’s sight. True marriage has always been traditionally, Biblically, and historically a union between one man and one woman.
3. Reduced Lifespans: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever . . . yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Gen. 6:3). In Genesis 5, people lived over 900 years. Due to man’s tendency for evil, God drastically shortened his lifespan. While life expectancy in America is about 78 years, many lives are cut short due to sickness, accidents, violence, or self-destructive behavior.
4. Widespread Wickedness: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5). No new sins are being committed today, there are just more sinners alive at one time. Plus, technology has made sin convenient. Sins that used to hide in the shadows on back streets now parade proudly down main street. Jesus predicted, “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt. 24:12).
5. Rampant Violence: The antediluvian world was “filled with violence” (Gen. 6.11-13). Today, a tsunami of violence floods the news, TV shows, movies, video games, and society. Murder and violent crime rates are escalating in our angry, cruel culture.
6. Mass Deception: Noah’s peers were spiritually blind to looming judgment even though they were warned repeatedly. They carried on business-as-usual right until the deluge drowned them all. Many today are oblivious to spiritual danger, consumed with the cares of life, and ignore God’s call to repent and be saved.
7. God had a righteous remnant: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound! It was a small minority, but God found favor and started over with eight people. God always has a faithful few—“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5).
The main takeaway from this true story is simply—don’t miss the boat! The ark is a symbol of salvation. If you’re not safely in the ark of salvation, you will drown in sin. Noah’s generation was indifferent, indulgent, and ignorant. They ignored God’s warnings and were suddenly doomed. Unrepentant sinners are like a man who jumps from a 50th floor window. Halfway down, someone asks, “How are you doing?” He answers, “I’m doing fine so faaarrrr!” You may be doing fine now, but it won’t end well if you’re not saved. It pays to serve God. It pays to serve the devil too but you won’t like the paycheck (Rom. 6:23).
Noah was 500 years old when God told him to build the ark; he was 600 when the flood came (Gen. 5:32; 7:6). As “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pt. 2:5), he spent 100 years building the ark and warning the wicked. Some wonder, how could a loving God drown all those “innocent” people? First, they weren’t so innocent as noted above. Second, God warned them by Noah giving them ample opportunity to repent and be saved. People still reject God’s offer of salvation today and pay a terrible price. Hell is not full of people who God rejected; hell is full of people who rejected God (Jn. 1:10-12; 6:37). It’s not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pt. 3:9). There’s a universal invitation to salvation—“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
Even in judgment, God showed mercy. How? Methuselah was Noah’s grandfather. His name means “flood at my death” or “it shall be sent (a deluge).” Some scholars believe he died the very year of the flood. God revealed to Enoch that judgment was coming and so he named his son “Methuselah.” His lifespan was the longest of any person in recorded history (969 years—Gen. 5:27). Even in judgment, God was extending mercy by giving mankind the maximum amount of time to repent.
God was the ARKitech (pun intended) of this floating zoo. He gave Noah the blueprint and every detail is significant. Noah’s ark was one big ship with three levels. This speaks of the Trinity—one God who expresses Himself in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The ark was pitched inside and outside for waterproofing. We also have a double seal—the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Amazingly, this huge ark only had one small window in the top. God didn’t want Noah looking down at all the suffering, He wanted him to look up to his source. Jesus reminded us, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Lk. 21:28).
The ark only had one door. God gave Noah specific measurements for the ark and the window, but not for the door. Why? Because the door represents JESUS and there is no limit to His power to save (Is. 59:1, Heb. 7:25). Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (Jn. 10:9). Jesus is the one and only door to salvation (Jn. 14:6; Ac. 4:12, 1 Tim. 2:5). Then God shut the door (Gen. 7:16). The door of grace is still wide open now but the time will soon come when God will close it suddenly.
Noah didn’t hunt down and trap all the animals. God drew them sovereignly at the right time. Likewise, His Spirit is drawing people into the ark of salvation in these last days. Yes, we must witness and preach, but unless God draws people, they won’t respond (Jn. 6:44). Remember, the ark started in the plain but landed on Mount Ararat (modern Turkey—Gen. 8:4). All the storms in our lives will only take us higher if God is the captain of our ship. Also, the ark did not have a rudder or steering wheel because God guided it by His own hand. If God is our pilot, He will lead us safely to our destiny (Ps. 37:23). Notice only one family was saved from the flood (Noah’s). One family was saved from Sodom (Lot’s). One family was saved from Jericho (Rahab’s). When judgment falls in these last days, only one family will be saved again—the blood-washed, born-again family of God (1 Th. 5:9).
Remarkably, baptizing the whole world in water didn’t cure the sin problem. Later, Noah’s descendants did the same sinful things. God painted a rainbow in the sky, a token of His promise to never again destroy the earth by water. Next time, it will be with fire (2 Pt. 3:10-13). Water cleanses; fire purifies! Water baptism is important but it is not a cure all. John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He . . . will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt. 3:11). John used the waterworks; Jesus brought the fireworks! All believers need water baptism plus the fire baptism of the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out (Ac. 1:4-5, 8). Are you saved? Are you ready to meet God? If you miss God’s provision of salvation, you’ll miss everything. “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8:36). The door of grace is still wide open. Friend, whatever you do, don’t miss the boat!