Well, tonight’s message may be a bit unique for us as we look together at the seventh chapter of Genesis in our Sunday night Bible study together. You can open your Bible to the seventh chapter. We are continuing, as you well know, to look at waves of judgment as the theme of this chapter, waves of judgment.
Let me read the opening portion of the chapter. “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time. You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female, and of the animals that are not clean, two, a male and his female. Also the birds of the sky by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth, forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.’ And Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.”
Now, Noah was six hundred years old when the Flood of water came upon the earth. Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the Flood. Of clean animals and animals that are not clean, and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, there went into the ark to Noah by twos, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came about after the seven days that the water of the Flood came upon the earth.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, and the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the sky were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day, Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark - they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds.
“So they went into the ark to Noah by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.”
One of the most aggressive and popular heresies finding its way into evangelicalism today is known as inclusivism. It is the notion that salvation is not limited to Christians, it is not limited to those who believe the Bible, it is not limited to those who know the gospel and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Inclusivism says that God will save people who do not know about the Bible, have never heard of Jesus Christ, or if they have heard of Jesus Christ, have not believed in Him.
To say that God only saves those who know about the Bible, therefore, know about the gospel, know about Jesus Christ and believe in Jesus Christ, is too narrow. God would never condemn so many people to hell. He is too loving. He would never condemn all of the people of the earth to hell because they did not have a Bible or because they did not hear and believe the gospel. They say there is a wideness in God’s mercy. In fact, as I told you a few weeks ago, it is even called the wideness-of-mercy view by some.
And, in fact, these people would tell us that it is virtually deadly to effective evangelism to give unbelievers the idea that God is so narrow, that God is this just judge who damns everybody who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ.
Well, this is a rapidly moving notion, finding hearing throughout the evangelical world. I suppose there are many biblical answers we could give to these kinds of heresies, but none of them would be as dramatic as the Flood because in the Flood, you have God looking at the world and finding eight righteous people and drowning all the rest and catapulting them into perdition.
If you believe that God somehow has a benign attitude toward sin and a benign attitude toward Scripture and a benign attitude toward the gospel and a benign attitude toward believing in Jesus Christ and it really doesn’t matter whether you do or not as long as you’re sincere or religious or live up to whatever standard that is purported to you through your own personal religion, if you believe that God is going to save those people, then you have to explain how it is that when it came to destroying the entire population of the world, which some have estimated the number at as much as eight to ten billion people by the time you get to Noah’s day, how do you explain that God drowned them all as unrighteous, identifying only eight out of all the human race who were righteous?
These same people seem to want to get God off the hook so that God doesn’t appear to be the bad guy, God doesn’t appear to be the one causing all of this havoc in the world, all of this apparent judgment in the world, and yet God Himself takes complete and total responsibility for the Flood. In verse 7, “I will send” - verse 4, rather - “I will send rain on the earth. I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” God has never wanted man to get Him off the hook for judgment.
The Genesis Flood has massive implications with regard to understanding the narrowness of the gospel, the exclusivity of salvation. I suppose we could also apply the Flood to another movement today called the openness of God movement. The openness of God means that God doesn’t know the future, He doesn’t control the future, He doesn’t determine the future, He doesn’t pre-write the future because He doesn’t even know the future. You have to ask the question, then, how could He possibly say to Noah that “I’m going to drown the entire world a hundred and twenty years from now” and then do it if He didn’t know the future and control the future?
We could go on to other theological matters, some of which I’ve already addressed in prior messages from chapter 6, and I won’t beg the issue. But as I said last week, the Flood account is profound in its implications about the nature of God and the nature of judgment and the nature of righteousness from God’s perspective. On the planet, He only found eight people that were righteous. The Flood account, as I just read it to you, is given in very simple, very precise, and very repeated detail. In fact, you were probably hearing, as I read, a repetition.
Three times we cycle back through in those sixteen verses the same essential facts, enriched a little bit each time but nonetheless repeated facts. This is to be sure that we have here an unmistakable historical record of judgment. And nobody need be mistaken, it is repeated. It is precise. It is simple, and it is designed to show us how God deals with sin. And as I’ve been saying to you, it is previews of the coming judgment.
It is the perfect example of what God will do in the end of the age when He destroys the world the next time, not by water, as Peter says in 2 Peter, but by fire. He destroyed the world once, He will destroy it again. And we’ve already been here forty-five hundred years or so. He has been far more gracious to us than He was to the antediluvian civilization.
Let’s return, then, to the narrative. The Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.” There had been others in prior times. There was Enoch and there were others before him who were righteous, certainly Adam had his sin covered and, we believe, Eve as well. And there was Seth and there were those also who were righteous, but they had gone on to be in the presence of the Lord and at the time of Noah, there were only eight.
The hundred and twenty years that God had mentioned in verse 3 is now up. A hundred and twenty-three years of building this rectangular box that’s going to float above the waters of judgment, one hundred and twenty years of Noah being a preacher of righteousness, having to explain, “Why are you building a box in a place where there is no water?” And so he preached about judgment to come. And if you preach about judgment, you have to preach about sin. And he told people that God was a forgiving God, and he called on them to repent and come to God for forgiveness, and nobody listened but his own family.
And the time had come to enter the ark, the hundred and twenty years was up. So in verse 2, He says, “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female, and of the animals that are not clean, two, a male and his female.” I told you last time that apparently the clean animals were those used for sacrifices and there were more of them because they were going to be sacrificed. And if Noah had come off the ark and started immediately to offer sacrifices and all he had was pairs of animals to start with, he would have been obliterating species and kinds that God wanted to populate the earth again.
And so they were instructed to take the clean animals. They were called clean - not in a Mosaic sense, that’s further defined later on in the Mosaic law, but in the sense that they were set apart for sacrifice. And He says, “You’re the only ones that are righteous.” And we know they were righteous because God says they were. We know they were righteous because God declared them righteous. They were righteous not on their own merit, but because they had repented and believed, and God had covered them with His own righteousness by virtue of the provision that Christ would make a lot later at the cross.
But we know they were righteous, not only because God says it, because of one hundred and twenty years of what I call long obedience in the same direction. Every time there’s a comment made about Noah - until you get in to chapter 9 and his sin, every time you have a comment about Noah, it’s a good comment. He was a righteous man, according to chapter 6, verse 9. He was blameless in his time. He walked with God. And then repeatedly it says this, verse 22, “Noah did according to all that God had commanded him.”
Verse 5 of chapter 7, “Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.” And that just keeps being repeated and repeated and repeated. His obedience evidences his transformation, long obedience in the same direction.
Verse 3 indicates the birds of the sky, some by sevens, male and female, and those would be birds also designated for offerings as they later were in the Mosaic law. And all of these animals were taken on board in order, and here’s the reason, at the end of verse 3, “To keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth,” which again is an indication of a universal worldwide flood; otherwise, there wouldn’t be any of these creatures on the face of the earth. So you have all of the future of humanity and all of the future of the animal creation under one roof, all those animals and those eight souls on the ark.
And as I told you last time and tried to show you, you had in those pairs, whether they were just one pair or seven pairs, and the family of Noah, all the genetic data for all the variations of life that have come from those few. The best estimates, perhaps the largest estimates, would have been that you wouldn’t have needed more than thirty to forty thousand species of animals. That would have covered all the species, and out of the pairs of those species could come all of the variations, both extinct and still alive, on our planet.
And you remember that I showed you the capacity of the ark would have been large enough to contain a hundred and twenty-five thousand sheep, and sheep, according to their size, would have been larger than the average animal they took on the ark. There was plenty of capacity on the ark, not only capacity for all those animals but genetic capacity for the reproduction of those animals. And if you question that, then you have to go back to Noah and his wife having all the genetic material to produce all of humanity in all of its variables and variations.
We all originally came from Adam, and I pointed out that the difference in genetics between any two people is 0.2. But that doesn’t really include the racial or what we call racial or physical features. The difference in physical features is six percent of the .2 or .012. That’s why in the book of Acts, it’s a very important Word that the apostle Paul gave in chapter 16. Talking to the philosophers in verse 26, he said, “He made from one every nation of mankind.” The genius of God was in the genetic material.
I was talking to a humanistic atheist this week, had an interesting conversation with him, lasted for a long time. And he was telling me how that he didn’t believe in God and he was telling me how everything evolved and all of this, and I was trying to get him to understand what kind of genius is it, what kind of genius is it that can produce - if you believe in evolution, you’ve got a lot of things to explain, but what kind of genius is it that can produce in whatever was evolving all of the genetic material for everything that ever evolved out of it? Well, it’s an incomprehensible thought. It’s something they can’t even answer.
And I said the Bible teaches clearly that there was a couple, Adam and Eve, and out of them came all humanity. All humanity was destroyed except for a couple and their three sons and their wives, and out of them came all the races of the planet. So if it can happen in the human realm, with all of this amazing diversity, it can also happen in the animal realm the same way. So we have no problem understanding that. We went into more detail, I just remind you of it tonight.
Now, He says the reason you’ve got to get all this together and get on in the ark is in verse 4. “After seven more days, I will send rain on the earth.” Now, this is interesting. Rain, what’s that? Go back to Genesis 2:5 and 6 and it says, “God watered the earth from beneath.” In the original creation, there wasn’t any rain. It says that back in Genesis 2:5 and 6. It hadn’t rained on the earth. There was just this mist rising from the ground, watering the surface. There was water underground. And the word “mist” there in the NAS is actually spring.
Water was just springing up and it was feeding the plants from underneath the ground, an underground watering system, as well as bubbling up and creating rivers that are described, of course, in the description of the garden of Eden. It was watered from below, not from above. And we looked at that. That hydrological pattern would be very different from the hydrological pattern today where water is evaporated out of oceans into clouds, carried across land, dumped down on the land, runs into streams, rivers, and then back into the ocean. The cycle goes on and on.
The hydrological cycle was dramatically changed when rain came. And God used rain, the first time it rained, to destroy the entire human race and since then, He’s used it predominantly to bless the human race. And so in verse 4, He says, “I am going to send rain.”
The word for rain, as I mentioned last time in our conclusion, is in Hebrew matar. It means normal rain, normal rain like perhaps is falling now. It doesn’t mean a torrential downpour, just the normal word for rain. But if you have it for forty days and forty nights all over the planet, then it becomes something far greater than normal rain. And that’s why in verse 12, it says, “And the rain,” and it uses a completely different word, geshem, meaning a torrential downpour.
If you look at it when it starts, it’s just rain. If you look at it twenty, thirty days into the thing, it has become a torrential downpour, a word used for a mighty rushing torrent in other places in the Old Testament. Forty days and forty nights, it rains. Such a rain covering the entire earth is completely impossible under current conditions. The water available above the earth could never create the kind of rain that it created in Noah’s day. That’s why we know that the hydrology of Noah’s day was very different than today. It couldn’t rain all over the earth for forty days and forty nights now because there’s not enough moisture in the clouds to rain.
But prior to the Flood, the conditions were very different. Go back to Genesis chapter 1 for a moment, let me see if I can show you the conditions. “Then God said” - in verse 6 - “let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse” - or the firmament - “and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and God called the expanse heaven, and there was evening and there was morning the second day.” So on the second day of creation, God took the water and separated it.
Some of the water was below the heaven that we see above us, the firmament, the space above us, and some of it was above that. This was the separation of the waters. In the original creation, then, there was moisture above the sky into which we look as well as water on the earth. I don’t know how - what terminology to use, and I certainly am not here to explain the scientific reality of what that was because all I know is what it says in Genesis. All I really want to do is explain the passage and not try to manufacture some scientific scenario. The best I can say is there was water above the firmament; that is, above the atmosphere.
There was a vast blanket of water, and it had to be vast in order to rain for forty days and forty nights. There had to be a lot more water up there than there is now up there. If all the water currently in all the clouds surrounding the earth were dumped on the earth, at the maximum, it could only cover the earth less than an inch in depth.
So the water that was up there at this time - which literally covered the mountains, was above Mount Ararat, for example, where the ark finally settled, and that’s seventeen thousand feet high - was a greater amount of water than anything we ever see in our skies. Some kind of a moisture canopy, most people believe.
And I understand, I’ve read all the scientific problems, people say if there’s a moisture canopy up there, you’ve got problems with hyperbaric pressure. If there’s a moisture canopy up there, you’ve got problems with the sunlight cooking us inside like you would cook somebody in a pressure cooker or a steam cooker or something like that. I don’t know how to argue all of those things. All I can say is there was water above and whatever it was up there doing, God designed it to do what He wanted it to do to create a perfect environment.
We also know that whatever water that was up there didn’t obscure the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars. It must have been transparent, it must have been possible to see through it the light and, of course, we understand that water is transparent. So there are all kinds of long articles you can read about - well, if you have a canopy above the earth, if you have moisture above the earth, you have all these problems, and we’re going to get cooked, and it’s going to be 220 degrees all over the planet. Whatever mitigating circumstances might have had to have been dealt with by God, I’m sure He was able to deal with.
It’s very reasonable to assume that one thing the vapor did that was surrounding the globe was that it filtered out some of the killing effects of ultraviolet because people lived so long, they lived almost a thousand years, and animals lived so long as well. Also, if there was kind of a greenhouse effect from this vapor, there would be no variation in temperature. And if there’s no variation in temperature, there’s no wind, so you had this common sort of stillness, this perfect environment.
Air movements would be minimized, inhibited, and windstorms would be unknown. There was no global air circulation. It was a very different kind of environment. One might assume some kind of a perfect temperature, warm, tropical with adequate moisture everywhere, conducive to lush vegetation, and more water watering it from beneath.
And then that was changed. Go back to the seventh chapter. God says, “I’m going to send rain, I’m going to send rain.” What that means is that God had held that water up there for just such a time as this. And in the second epistle of Peter, in the third chapter, Peter tells us that God is going to destroy the earth next time this way: The elements shall melt with what? Fervent heat. And do you know what all the elements of the earth are made of? They’re made of atomic energy. You’ve seen atomic energy released both for good in creating energy which turns on our lights as well as bombs, which can destroy in devastating fashion.
Just as in the antediluvian world, the pre-Flood world, the instrument of destruction was built into the fabric of that creation. So the instrument of our destruction is built into the atomic fabric of this universe. And God says, “I’m going to make it rain. And in that rain, I will blot out” - verse 4 - “from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” I will blot out all that exists, all that has life, all that grows. The earth would be stripped of all animals, stripped of vegetation, plants, trees.
Whole forests would be uprooted in the cataclysmic floods that would come about. Whole forests literally uprooted and carried away by the floods and buried deep in sediment to become coal beds or left on the surface to decay and turn to dust. This judgment will mark the end of the first creation. The greatest judgment in history and, as I said, a preview of the greater judgment to come.
So God said, “Noah, time’s up. Seven more days and it’s going to rain.” And as always, verse 5, “Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him.” That’s always the way he’s described. Seven times, God spoke to Noah, and always Noah obeyed. That’s why Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah,” he believed God. He believed what God said to be true and right, and he obeyed. He turned his back on what he could see, turned his back on his life, turned his back on his friends, turned his back on his career, his possessions.
He must have been a very wealthy man to build such a massive, massive ship. He let go of the world he had in his hand for a world he couldn’t see and couldn’t know. Isn’t he like us in that? We don’t love the world or the things that are in the world, do we? We gladly let go of this world for the world that we’ve never seen. He was a man who believed God. He was a man who was declared righteous. He was a man who let go of the world he could see for a world he couldn’t see. He was six hundred years old when this finally came, and he had accumulated a lot. Imagine what a retirement plan he would have had, putting into it for six hundred years.
Verses 6 to 9 detail his obedience. “Now, Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth.” He was six hundred and one when he got out of the ark. According to chapter 8, verses 14 to 16, he was in the ark for one year and ten days. It rained for forty days and forty nights, but it took a lot longer than that for the water to subside and the ark to land and for them to leave.
The author of Genesis does something very important here, folks. You say, “Why all these details? Does it matter that he was six hundred years old?” Yes, it matters. If you’re a historian, it matters. And Moses, who is the inspired writer of the Pentateuch, including Genesis, fixes the event in time and history. I’m always appalled and deeply grieved when I read some commentator who says, “This mythical flood is a metaphor of judgment. It is symbolic of judgment.” It is not symbolic of judgment, it is judgment and it is history.
And the writer lets us know it’s history by saying it happened in the six hundredth year of a man’s life, not when he was five hundred and eighty or six hundred and twenty but when he was six hundred, a real man living a real life in a real year. And his son, his oldest son, was a hundred at the time because in chapter 5, verse 32, he was five hundred years old when he became a father. That would be an adjustment. And then he became a father, and then he became a father, and then he became a father. Having a baby when you’re 500, just imagine that.
He lived to be 900, so when he came out of the ark, he had 300 years left in his life. Chapter 9, verses 28 and 29, tell us that. So this is all fixed in history. This is not myth, this is not legend, this is not symbolic.
Now, such dating is normal in any historical record. Ancient historical records are dated generally by some point in a significant person’s life, in particular a king or a ruler. For example, Ezekiel chapter 40, verse 1. Isaiah chapter 6, verse 1, identifies the point as in the life of Uzziah or at the death of Uzziah. Amos 1:1, Amos identifies his prophecy at the time of the earthquake, and that’s the second way the historians date events. One is by the time of some significant person’s life, and the other is by the time of some significant event.
This is true in ancient writing, it’s true in modern writing, and it’s true in Scripture. History is marked by notable people and notable events. Those become the signposts of history. And at the time of the Flood, there was only one king in the world, and that was Noah, and he was the king of the new humanity. He only had seven folks in his kingdom, but that was all there was. And he was really ruler over the whole world. So Noah took his small kingdom of seven and did what God said. In verse 7, “Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood.”
I think that Noah went in the ark first. I read a commentator this week who said, “Noah, in order to get all the animals there, had developed a very sophisticated method of trapping.” Sure, thirty thousand animals, two of each kind and seven of the clean ones, he trapped. That is a very sophisticated method of trapping. And this writer went on to say, “Of course, we have declined and mutated downward since that time, so it wouldn’t be possible for us to invent such a trapping method.”
It tells me here that Noah got on the ark and just waited. He got on and waited. Verse 8, “Of clean animals and animals that are not clean and birds and everything that creeps on the ground, there went into the ark” - what’s the next phrase? - “to Noah.” Noah was just the welcoming committee - they just showed up. I read a commentary this week where the guy said, “There were some vibrations in the ground and they were magnetized at the point of the ark, and all the animals were following the vibrations.” I don’t think there’s a physical explanation.
And there are some commentators who’ve said, “It cannot possibly be a universal flood because the idea that all these animals, two by two, come marching up a ramp to some folks sitting in there, welcoming them and putting them in their little stalls on the three floors of the ark, is ridiculous. We can’t accept the fact that the animals could be brought there that way.” Then you’re going to have to answer another question for me because earlier in the book of Genesis, in the second chapter, we were told that God brought to Adam all the animals for him to name. And if God could bring them all for Adam to name, He could certainly bring them all to the ark.
This is one of the great miracles of the Old Testament. Undoubtedly, in terms of volume, it’s the greatest. Gets overlooked. It all looks so easy to us because we see all these pretty little kids’ books with all these smiling giraffes and hippopotamuses and they’re all just walking up and the music is playing and Noah’s up there waving them in. But this is a remarkable miracle. This is an expression of the power of God. I don’t know why people who believe God could create them all don’t believe that the One who could make them out of nothing could also make them do whatever He wanted them to do.
Now, I imagine that some of the things Noah was saying began to be questioned by the people who were watching the animal parade, the people on the outside, because Noah had told them this was going to happen and here it was happening. What were they thinking as the parade of animals was coming in during those seven days? God brought them all in, and they went in to Noah, verse 9, just as God had commanded Noah. Plenty of room for them all, and the Lord just brought them exactly at the time they needed to be brought. They all went in. They were all put in their special compartment.
No doubt there were thousands of them on the three floors. And people have said, “Well, this is ridiculous. How did the kangaroos get from Australia? They can’t swim.” But remember now, we have an earth before the Flood that is not configured as the present earth is configured. There weren’t the great ocean basins and there weren’t the high mountains, as we will see. And it’s also true that when God originally created all the animals, they were all in the garden, weren’t they? Because they all came to be named. They must have all been readily available in that area, and since the climate of the earth was uniform, they weren’t in varying climates. They were all everywhere and certainly they were all there.
And some people have posed another question, “Well, but after the Flood, after the Flood when the animals came out of the ark in Mount Ararat, how did the kangaroos get to Australia?” It’s a fair question, and I don’t know the answer. They got there, we know that. Two of them got there, that’s all it would take. Boy, they’re rabbits, you know, big rabbits is what they are. Did you know that? They’re in the rabbit family, big, big rabbits. Just two of them would populate all of Australia, as you well know, over a period of time. But a couple of them got there.
You say, “How did they get there?” Well, one of the things that we know about that followed the time of the Flood, and history has marked it out well, study of geology, was that ice piled up on the poles and we had the polar ice caps, which developed after the Flood, the great Ice Age, and with the water that was concentrated there before it all melted, the continents were not as fully submerged.
And there are some interesting land bridges. I did a little bit of research on this, land bridges that stretched from the Middle East and very shallow water could take you very near to Australia. But I don’t need to explain all of that, it happened. It’s enough to know that God can do what God wants to do. Sea levels were much shallower then than they are today because of the pileup of those polar ice caps where much of the water was before the Ice Age, the movement of glaciers, the melting that continued to fill up the ocean beds of the world.
All the animals needed to be there. And the question always - I don’t know why people ask this - “What about dinosaurs? Did he take dinosaurs there?” Well, dinosaurs are reptiles, and I’ve told you before, reptiles are the only creatures - essentially, the only creatures that grow as long as they live. They grow as long as they live. Most all animals stop growing at a certain point in time, but reptiles grow as long as they live.
And if you put them in a pre-Flood environment and you’ve got a reptile that just keeps growing and growing and growing and growing because everything lives longer in that protected environment, then you’re going to have reptiles that are big and huge such as the skeletal remains we find in the dinosaur beds of those great, massive dinosaurs.
Now, you can be sure that when it came time for the ark, he took some reptiles on the ark. He took a few lizards or a few other reptiles. They were on the ark. None of those creatures lives long enough today to become as large as they did before the Flood. Dinosaurs are just a form of lizard and like reptiles, grow all their lives. They don’t grow so much to so much size anymore because they don’t live that long.
Another interesting question that has been addressed and is being addressed quite a bit today is the discovery of mammoths. Have you seen any of that? Read about any of it? Mammoths are an example of large animals that were literally wiped out in the Flood. An estimated five million mammoths whose remains are buried all across the coastline of northern Siberia and Alaska were frozen and buried in the ground. And scientists say they were buried not many thousands of years ago. They don’t know how to explain it.
One article says, “The Siberian deposits have been worked for centuries, and the store of mammoth bones appears to be as inexhaustible as a coal field. Some think that a day may come when the spread of civilization may cause the utter disappearance of the elephant in Africa, and it will be to these deposits that we may have to turn as the only source of animal ivory.” That was from Encyclopedia Britannica. I mean there are literally millions of pieces of mammoths that are found down deep in the tundra, up near the pole.
One mine in Siberia reportedly yielded twenty thousand tusks. When Vitus Bering, the Danish explorer of the Arctic, visited Bering Island north of Siberia in the Arctic Ocean, he reported it was composed of two ingredients, mammoth remains and sand, but the predominant ingredient was mammoth bones found in frozen states.
Bob Provost goes up there to minister to people. There are people living up there, herding reindeers, living a nomad life, the same way they did in the time of Christ, following the reindeer around. Their clothes are made out of reindeer hide. They eat reindeer, they drink reindeer milk, and that’s how they live on the tundra up there. And they find tusks everywhere. There’s a little man up there that Bob found, I don’t know how he finds these people up there in the very, very cold, where on a warm day it’s thirty below and nothing grows there.
He found a man up in that area who carves mammoth tusks and he carves them into mammoths, little mammoths, and he brought me one. So I have a mammoth carved into a mammoth tusk that’s five thousand years old. It’s the oldest thing by far in my house. But to hold in your hand a tooth from an animal buried in the Flood is pretty amazing - pretty amazing. But there must have been a couple of elephants on the ark, cause they’re here - they’re here.
We do have some Komodo dragons, you’ve seen those, alligators. This is a little bit of sort of throwaway, but it’s kind of interesting. A hundred years ago, National Geographic reported twenty-foot alligators as somewhat common. Now the largest they ever find is twelve feet. They don’t live very long.
Five hundred years ago, according to a National Geographic article, five hundred years ago there’s a record of a ten-foot tall dinosaur bird weighing a ton living in Madagascar. And as the earth deteriorates, the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy, matter breaking down, life getting shorter and shorter for animals - if not for us because we have so many medications and style of life - we don’t see these animals reaching these sizes.
So they were all there on the ark, and then the Flood came. Verse 10, “It came about after the seven days that the water of the flood came upon the earth.” You know, this to me - this is so obvious. God says, “I’m going to do it,” He says, “I’ll do it in a hundred and twenty years.” A hundred and twenty years, He does it.
How do people who believe this ridiculous openness theology - this is a flood coming in in itself into the evangelical world that God doesn’t know what’s happening, He hasn’t got a clue what’s happening, He can’t know the future because you can’t know what hasn’t happened, and He is literally in the same situation we are, kind of looking ahead and wondering what’s going to happen, He has no control over the future, He has no idea what’s going to happen. This is the openness theology that’s being rabidly espoused today, even in evangelicalism.
How in the world can you believe that when you have God saying something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen in a hundred and twenty years, and it happens exactly the way He said it was going to happen? And that’s just one illustration. God said, “I’m going to destroy the whole human race,” and He did it.
And again, in verse 10, this thing is fixed with a chronology. A hundred and twenty years, seven days, the six hundredth year, the kids are a hundred years old. This is not myth, this is not allegory, this is history. Unless we miss it, verse 11, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life,” again comes back, and then we get even more particulars, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month. Why that? We don’t even know what the calendar was like. Was this Moses putting the Jewish calendar back into Genesis? Or was this Moses simply commenting on whatever kind of calendar they had then? We don’t know.
So for us, we don’t know what the second month is. If you followed the Jewish calendar of Moses’ day, it would be our May. But we don’t know what the first month and the second month was in Noah’s day. We don’t know what calendar they used. Although it’s pretty consistently a 30-day calendar making one unit or one month. And the point here is not so that you can say, “Well, the Flood came in May.” That doesn’t mean anything.
The point here is to make it clear that this is history and that it really happened at a point in time that can be identified. The six hundredth year of Noah, second month, tenth day. Six hundredth year of Noah, second month, seventeenth day. Tenth day they go in, seventeenth day, Flood comes. Flood lasts for a prescribed amount of time. It rains forty days, forty nights, but the water floods the earth for a hundred and fifty days or five months of thirty days. And we’ll see that chronology as we go along.
The water later recedes to the point that the ark rests on Ararat in the six hundredth year of Noah, the seventh month, the seventeenth day. And it goes on. Forty days later this happens, in his six hundred and first year, he comes out. He waits one month, twenty-six days before disembarking in the second month, the twenty-seventh day. I mean all that is here and it indicates the historicity of this event.
Now, let’s look at the event itself. It says, the middle of verse 11, “On the same day.” Everything happened on that one day. The second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the six hundredth year of the life of Noah. “On the same day,” that is a phrase you will see a number of times in the Old Testament, “On that day, Israel entered into Sinai.” “On that very day, Abraham was circumcised.” “On that very day, the Passover exodus occurred.” “On that day, Moses died.” You will see that phrase attached with those monumental events. Well, on this day, this very specific day in history, the world began to be drowned.
And the incredible judgment is described in two facets. Verse 11, the first thing that happened is the - all the fountains of the great deep burst open. All the fountains of the great deep burst open. Now, what exactly does that mean? Fountains of the deep, tehōm rabah, the springs of the great abyss. I told you that Genesis 1 tells us there was water below the earth and water above the earth.
The water below the earth here is described as being springs in a great cavern, fountains in a great deep, springs in the great abyss, subterranean reservoirs where the water was contained and from which it rose up to water the roots and come out on the surface and water the earth. This is the great deep. This is some kind of complex interconnected series of channels from which this massive amount of water down inside the earth flowed to the earth - and it burst open. The Hebrew baqa is the word. It’s used fifty-one times in the Old Testament. It literally means to divide or, really, to burst is a great translation.
What happened was the earth has this tremendous amount of water contained in it. It also has, at its core, fire. Does it not? We see that fire coming out of volcanic eruptions. And what happened was those volcanic eruptions apparently started to happen all over the planet that very same day as the fire in the middle of the earth began to heat the water, and by God’s design, that water which had once watered the entire planet was heated up.
And as it became heated and heated and heated hotter and hotter and hotter, there was pressure built up that literally blew the surface of the earth open, creating the continents, moving the ground, pushing the mountains up and causing the sea beds to drop into the chasms where the water was vacated. The word baqa, used fifty-one times in the Old Testament, is used most often with water - with water.
So in the core of the earth is this marvelous heat engine and God in the right timing made that heat the water and create the internal pressure, and all those reservoirs and conduits of water became heated and began to explode in volcanic eruptions, which ripped and tore the surface of the earth as the subterranean sub-oceanic masses of water sprung out. Explosions of subterranean magma and steam like a million volcanos, accompanied by rising mountains and sinking continents, changed the face of the earth and set the water - fiery water loose.
This cleaving open, this dividing, this bursting is mentioned first because it’s what triggers the next, the rapid buildup of heat, the explosion sends this water along with dust and particles of magma far into the sky. This incredible, seismic, volcanic, literal explosion of the earth sends all of this matter into the sky. And the best (probably) understanding of it is that as volcanic explosions and eruptions go way into the sky - even Mount St. Helens, you remember, was up - what, 50,000 feet into the sky?
As it goes into the sky, creating turbulence with its combination of material and gasses, it bursts loose the canopy, it heats it, and it falls in a torrential downpour. And so it says the same day that all of the fountains of the great deep burst open, the floodgates of the sky were opened. It all happened in a day. Can you imagine what a day that was? Second month, seventeenth day, it all happened in one day. The floodgates of the sky were opened, literally the windows.
It’s a word used for sluice gates. They just threw the sluice gates of the dam open, the heavenly dam was opened and all the water dumped. And it took six weeks for that water up there to dump on the earth.
So you had all the subterranean water pushing up, forming the continents as we know them now. The canopy is broken up, which changes the protective greenhouse environment in which the earth has existed. For forty days and forty nights, this pours down and the water from below pours up, filling up the sunken places, which we now know as oceans, and rising high enough to cover the - Mount Ararat and other mountains that are close to 20,000 feet in elevation.
Mountains rose, valleys fell, polar ice caps were created, quick-freezing animals. From all of the science that I can expose myself to, strata as we know, we look at the Grand Canyon, or you look at any stratification, some people have the idea well, strata is created, you put this, you put this, you put this, you put this. Science has proven there’s only one way you can produce stratification, and that is by a massive torrent going this way. That’s what creates strata.
Engineers will tell you that. It just wipes out everything and just piles it on top of it as it goes. That is the only way to create strata - this way. It’s not created by a little bit of water going like this; it’s created by a massive torrent going along the face of the surface of the earth.
So there goes the thermal vapor blanket that surrounded the earth, broken up by volcanic eruptions, changes the planet into the form that we know it now, creates the mountains, the ocean basins and the continents.
To show you that, turn to Psalm 104, and we’ll wrap up in a minute here. Psalm 104, verse - let’s see, we’ll start with verse 5. “He established the earth upon its foundations so that it will not totter forever and ever.” It’s not going to tip or get out of sync in its rotation. “Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment.”
Now follow this. That was when the waters were standing where? Above the mountains, “At thy rebuke, they fled. At the sound of thy thunder, they hurried away. And then the mountains rose. The valleys sank down to the place which thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.” And what that’s saying is God made the mountains and the sea beds and set a boundary where the sea beds could go and go no further.
So when Noah got on the boat, he left one kind of planet. When he got off the boat, it was a whole different one. I don’t know if any of you ever saw Mount St. Helens before the volcano erupted and then after. Totally different world.
This divine judgment without equal became the standard figure, by the way, in prophetic language for future divine judgment. And it wasn’t just Peter who picked up on that. Let me share with you Isaiah 24 - Isaiah 24. “Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste,” verse 1, “devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants.” Isaiah is reckoning back to the Flood when the surface of the earth was distorted. Down in verse 18, “Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare, for the windows above” - and here’s this speaking of this picture of the Flood judgment.
“The windows above are opened and the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken asunder, the earth is split through, the earth is shaken violently, the earth reels to and fro like a drunkard, and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, so it will fall, never to rise again. And so it will happen in that day that the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high and the kings of the earth on earth. They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon.” And now he’s moving ahead to the final judgment from which the earth will not recover.
The earth as we know it, and the universe, will be utterly destroyed. But the imagery reaches back to what God did at the Flood as the picture of what will come in the future. Jeremiah also borrows the imagery of the Flood in his prophecy in chapter 4, verse 23, “I looked on the earth; behold, it was formless and void, and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked and behold, there was no man.” God was shaking the earth, and there weren’t any people on it. This is a desolation and a destruction, he says in verse 27.
And so, God brought the promised destruction. Back to Genesis chapter 27, God brought the promised destruction. And the destruction, you remember, matched the iniquity. Back in chapter 6, God says in verse 5, “The wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually,” and that’s what it takes for judgment to come. Verse 12, “Then the rain fell for forty days and forty nights.” The earth had received its new shape in that first day and the rain kept coming - kept coming.
In - I have to tell you this - Psalm 36 - just thought of it, don’t want to leave it out. Psalm 36, verse 5, “Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens. Thy faithfulness reaches to the skies. Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God. Thy judgments are like a great deep. O Lord” - listen to this - “thou preservest man and beast. How precious is thy lovingkindness, O God, and the children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of thy house, and thou dost give them to drink of the river of thy delights; for with these, the fountain of life, in thy light we see light.”
Isn’t that marvelous? The same God who brings destruction brings comfort - the same God who brings destruction brings comfort. As if we might miss it, verse 13 reminds us, “On the very same day,” this is history, “Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark. They and every beast after its kind and all the cattle after their kind and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds.
“So they went into the ark to Noah” - again indicating that Noah was in there waiting - “by twos of all flesh by which was the breath of life.” That’s all land-breathing, air-breathing animals. The fish, most fish were destroyed by the Flood. We know that because there are massive fish fossil beds. Did you know one of the largest ones in North America is in the city of Los Angeles? And they discovered it a couple of years ago, building the subway, according to the L.A. Times. You can get the article from them.
But it’s the air-breathing animals that were destroyed on the face of the earth and “those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him. And the Lord closed it behind him.” The Lord closed it behind him. Wow. The Lord brought the animals and the Lord closed the door. Remember? There was only one door on the side in the original instruction, and the Lord shut it and sealed it up.
You know, you could advocate monogamy from this passage, couldn’t you? They were righteous people. One man, one wife. Noah, his wife, three sons, their wives. You say, “Yeah, but why don’t they name the women? I mean, don’t women deserve a name? Well, we’re still a little bit like that. When you address somebody formally, it is Mr. and Mrs. Noah, and Mr. and Mrs. Shem, Mr. and Mrs. Ham, and Mr. and Mrs. Japheth. This is not intended to be demeaning, this is intended to identify them in the customary way.
I love the fact that the Lord shut them in. God closed the door and He sealed it from the outside miraculously. Without human hands, they were sealed in the ark. The whole world was behind them, never to be seen again as they had known it. The world was soon to be below them, and they were embarking on the most incredible journey of faith ever. Nobody had ever or before or since taken such an incredible journey as this. You talk about an adventure. The biggest floating structure ever built, up to that time, rain they had never seen, the destruction of the entire planet.
They’re floating along in a zoo, guided only by God, and living in the hope of a better world and a new life. And all the future of the world is huddled under that one roof. And Peter (in 1 Peter 3:20 and 21, I think) sees the ark as a picture of Jesus, doesn’t he? Because it’s when we come into Christ that we rise above the judgment waters, isn’t it? He is our ark of safety.
As the eight were brought safely through the waters of judgment by being sealed in the ark, so believers are brought safely through judgment by being sealed by the Spirit in the ark who is Jesus Christ. Sinner, come into the ark of safety and rise above the judgment. What grace, amen? For us.
Father, thank you for our time in the Word tonight. And we thank you for the clarity with which the Word speaks to us. We bless your holy name. We praise you for our salvation. We are stunned increasingly as we grow older in the faith at your goodness and your mercy to us, who are so utterly undeserving. How we praise you, how we thank you. We thank you for the ark who is Jesus Christ, in whom we have found our safety. Amen.
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