Christian Churches of God
Noah and the Flood
(Edition 2.0 20030825-20070122)
Noah was a righteous man and he walked with God, but the earth was corrupt and full of violence at that time and God told Noah that He would destroy both the people and the earth. This paper has been adapted from chapters 3 and 4 of The Bible Story Volume 1 by Basil Wolverton, published by Ambassador College Press.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2003, 2007 Christian Churches of God, ed. Wade Cox)
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Noah and the Flood
We have already learnt from previous studies that Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden as part of their punishment. Two sons were born to them and Cain killed his brother Abel. As punishment, Cain was marked and sent away from his family to become a lone wanderer. Then Adam and Eve had another son called Seth, and over time they also had other sons and daughters.
As time went on we find that the generations of the sons of Adam had been corrupted by the fallen Host and they had to be destroyed (Gen. 6:1-7). See the paper Cain and Abel (No. CB7) regarding the Nephilim. However, the generations of Seth "called on the name of the Lord" (Gen. 4:25-26). This means that they were righteous and obedient to the Laws of God.
In the year 810 of Adam’s life, God declared that the life span of man would be limited to 120 years (Gen. 6:3). The decision was made regarding man and the way our bodies would operate in the long term after the death of Noah. The fall of man due to the interference of the demons was behind God’s decision. Adam died at 930 years of age, 120 years after the declaration of God. The date of 810 of Adam was the year 3194 BCE.
The Lord God saw how great man’s wickedness was on Earth and He was sorry that he had made man. And the Lord said: "I will wipe mankind from the face of the Earth – men and animals" (Gen. 6:5-7). God knew all these things would happen before He created man, just as He also knew His spiritual sons would sin. Because of man’s wickedness God would cause a huge flood to clean and restore the planet once again.
God knew that if human beings were to continue in their evil ways, they would destroy themselves more painfully. His way would be more merciful. Then He would bring them back to life thousands of years later when Jesus Christ would be ruling the Earth. This is referred to as the Second Resurrection. See the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22) for more details on the Second Resurrection. People would then realise how much wiser it would be to obey their Creator. During the Second Resurrection all negative concepts will be gone and it will be easier for people to obey God’s Law.
At that time God saw only one man who was willing to live according to His Laws. His name was Noah (Gen. 6:8). Noah’s name means "rest" from Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary 5146. His father, Lemach, foresaw that through Noah God would bring some rest to the race of men from the cursed Earth (Gen. 5:28-29). Noah was a just man and "pure in his generations". This meant that he had not corrupted his lineage with the Nephilim who were denied the resurrection, and who were to be destroyed by the flood. Noah was also obedient and followed the Laws of God, as did his father and grandfather and so on back. Noah was a righteous man (Ezek.14:14, 20).
In the 500th year of Noah after he had fathered his three sons (Gen. 5:32) – Shem the youngest, Ham the second, and Japheth the eldest (Gen. 10:21) – Noah was warned by God that He would destroy the corruption of mankind and remove the violence from the Earth by flood. Noah was told to build an ark and warn the world of this impending destruction. The Earth was given two Jubilees of 50 years each (100 years) to repent. The people did not listen to Noah. In the 600th year of Noah, and on the death of Methuselah, the oldest man who ever lived, and the last of the righteous patriarchs up until the government of Noah, God brought the flood on the Earth.
Noah builds an Ark
God gave Noah very specific instructions as to how to build the ark (Gen. 6:14-22). Noah did not complain and tell God he could not do it. He was obedient and followed the instructions given to him (Gen. 6:22). He had great faith and trusted God even though he could not see the end result at this time. In obeying God Noah saved his family while the rest of the world perished (Heb. 11:7). His faith moved him to build the ark in a dry area where it was not likely that there would be enough water to float it.
As Noah’s sons grew up they too would have helped in building the ark and getting provisions for the people and animals that were to go on board. When people heard what they were doing, they came for many miles to stare and laugh at what was going on. They made fun of Noah and probably thought he was crazy.
As the years passed, the ark grew larger. The closer it came to being finished, the more onlookers ridiculed the patient Noah and his three sons. But they carefully carried on for nearly 100 years. All the while Noah continued reminding his scoffers that the flood would come in due time because of their disobedience, but that those who would repent and obey God could be spared. No one outside Noah's family believed what he said.
The Ark is finished
Onlookers jeered at the sight of a mammoth ark sitting far from any place where it could float.
The ark was higher than a four-storey building, and ten times as long as it was high! It was designed to be a huge, floating zoo. The interior was divided into stables and cages for the many creatures that were to be loaded into it. There were runways, ventilator shafts, feeding troughs and everything that would be needed for the strange, live cargo.
By the time the ark was finished and smeared with waterproof pitch, Noah was almost 600 years old! His sons were over 100 years old by the time the flood came. They were then far older than most people are today when they die of old age. But more work had to be done. There was the task of gathering and storing food and water that would be needed by the animals and humans in the ark.
People continued to laugh at this activity. They wouldn't believe that worldwide disaster was at hand. Instead, they felt that there was a glorious future for man as he spread out to conquer the whole Earth.
In the same way we who are alive today are given the Book of Revelation, which warns of the end of this age. We too are required to have faith as we wait for the signs of the coming of Messiah. The prophets also give warning of the coming of the Messiah and of the end of this age. The Church is warning the nations now of a great calamity that will sweep the world within the lifetime of most people living today. Instead of heeding these warnings, most people are looking forward to an increasingly easier life with more money and less work. Just as foolish hopes were shattered in Noah’s time, so will they be shattered again in our time. See also Matthew 24:36-38 and Luke 17:26-33.
However, as in the days of Noah the warnings are going out today, but for the most part are falling on deaf ears. God does nothing without warning the people through his prophets (Amos 3:7).
The animals seek shelter
It wasn't easy for Noah to listen to the taunts of the people decade after decade. But he believed and trusted God. He was so sure that his live cargo would somehow soon be on hand that he built a ramp up to a large door in the side of the ark, so that the animals could walk in. This was just another act of faith in the 100 years of trusting God while the ark was being built and the people warned.
One day those who came to scoff stood and wordlessly stared at what they saw. All kinds of animals and birds were gathering around the ark! (Gen. 7:8-9). God had given the creatures an impulse to seek shelter so they entered the ark in an orderly manner, even though many were ferocious by nature!
Of animals and birds clean enough to be eaten by man, seven pairs went into the ship. Of unclean creatures, only one male and one female entered. God had instructed Noah to take more clean animals in preparation for the days after the flood. The clean animals would be used for food and sacrifices. Therefore, there needed to be more clean animals. For more information on clean and unclean animals see the paper The Biblical Food Laws (No. CB19). Soon the animals were in the stables and cages that would be their homes for many months.
Then Noah and his wife and Noah’s three sons and their wives entered the ark on the Tenth day of the Second month (Gen. 7:7). The growing throng of onlookers was still jeering, but some of the people were so amazed at having seen the animals enter the ark that they began to wonder if Noah’s predictions were true. But most of the people simply refused to take Noah’s warnings seriously. Then, as now, people couldn’t recognise the truth because they didn’t want to obey God.
A day passed, then another and another. Still there was no sign of a flood. Almost a week went by (Gen. 7:4). Many of the onlookers went away laughing. News of this great ark on dry land had spread everywhere, and there was growing curiosity.
Noah and his sons had built a door to shut up the opening in the side of the ark. God caused this to be closed and sealed (Gen. 7:16). If onlookers saw this happen, they must have been quite startled.
The flood came
On the 17th day of the Second month things changed dramatically. Perhaps few noticed that the wind was a little stronger than usual. There were violent gusts that grew into gales and people were forced to shelter. Strong winds weren't very unusual, but when swift-moving masses of unusually dark clouds boiled up over the horizon, residents began to worry.
To add to the growing concern, there were strange rumblings within the ground. The darkness grew worse. The rumblings became so strong that the Earth quivered. Then, just seven days after God had told Noah to go into the ark, the Earth's crust broke open here and there, and giant streams of water shot out of the ground (Gen. 7:11). At the same time, huge waves roared in from the seas and spread over the coastal areas. Lightning flashed and cracked, followed by deafening roars of thunder. Torrents of water burst from the darkened skies.
This, at last, was just the start of the terrible thing Noah had warned would come upon the world! It was the most awesome thing that had happened to the planet since Satan's sin had resulted in the Earth’s entire surface being torn up so that nothing could live on it.
By now most people were becoming crazed with fear. No matter what they did or where they went, water came at them. No one could survive without shelter, but there was no lasting shelter. Rivers flooded the valleys where most people lived. Because of the constant cloudbursts, climbing to higher elevations was almost impossible. Swift torrents of water from the hills and mountains swept brush, trees, rocks, mud and people into the rising waters below. Only the strongest were able to battle their way to higher ground, and then only eventually to lose their lives by drowning, or by violent injury, or murder, in the confusion.
Meanwhile, water had swirled up around the ark and slowly lifted it free of the ground. Many who had jeered at Noah had realised that the inside of the ship was the only safe, dry place left (Gen.7:18). A few who hadn’t been able to flee elsewhere had waded up to the ark and screamed to be let in. With rain pounding loudly on the ark, no one inside could hear the frantic shrieks. Hands clawed feebly at the pitch-smeared siding, and then disappeared in the rapidly rising and turbulent water.
In His great mercy, God had given the people 100 years (or two Jubilees) to heed His warnings through Noah and repent. As we already know the people ignored Noah, which was the same as ignoring their Creator. Now it was too late to change or to pray for help. It is often too late to expect God to help us if we postpone asking for help beyond the long periods of mercy God extends to us.
Day after day the water kept rumbling out of the sky and up from the ground. It swelled to the tops of the highest mountains. Within a few weeks the water was so deep that the peaks of the highest mountains were well below the surface of the water (Gen. 7:20). By then all the people and the animals on Earth had been drowned except the family of Noah and the animals in the ark, just like God said (2Pe. 2:5). The Bible tells us that eight people were saved through water and this water symbolises baptism that saves us also (1Pet. 3:20-21).
For forty days and nights water gushed supernaturally from the heavy, gloomy cloud layers. Then the rain stopped. Sometimes the number 40 is used in testing or teaching. For example: Messiah fasted and was tried by Satan for 40 days. Messiah came back to Earth after he was resurrected and continued to teach people for 40 days. Moses was on the mountain of God for 40 days on two occasions being taught by the Angel of Yahovah.
Forty is the typical number used in Scripture for repentance. Nineveh was given 40 days to repent and they did. Judah was given 40 years to repent from the death of Messiah. Judah did not repent and they were destroyed and taken into captivity. Since the death of Christ the people on the Earth have been given 40 Jubilees or 2,000 years to repent.
Currently only a very small number of people on the planet have repented. These are just a few examples of the use of 40, but the numbers and dates God uses are very important. We need to start paying attention to God’s Calendar and numbers early in life to better understand God’s Plan.
Meanwhile, the blanket of water covering the planet by now was a few miles deep above the land and normal sea surfaces. But Noah and his family and cargo floated safely as high as some of our passenger planes now fly above the clouds!
For 150 days the water stayed at its deepest (Gen. 7:24). During this time, the people in the ark weren't idle. Whatever the tasks, they must have been hard to perform in the weeks in which the ark pitched and rolled through massive waves pushed up by the wind. God caused this strong wind to blow so that it would control the water as fast as possible (Gen. 8:1). He also shut the fountains of the deep and the windows of Heaven were shut up and the rain stopped (Gen. 8:2).
The waters lower
Soon the tops of the highest mountains began to appear above the water. The ark drifted up against one of the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4). The ark actually came to rest on the mountain on the 17th day of the Seventh month; five months after the floodwaters had started. This was two days into what we call the Feast of Tabernacles according to God’s Calendar. The water level kept lowering (Gen. 8:3), leaving the ark stranded high on the side of the mountain. On the First day of the Tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible (Gen. 8:5). Noah waited more than two months while the water kept going down. At the end of 40 days Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out a raven. He also sent out a dove, but the dove found no place to rest and flew back to Noah (Gen. 8:6-9).
Noah waited seven more days and sent out the dove again. She returned in the evening with an olive branch. This proved to Noah that the water had drained off to the extent where plant life had started redeveloping, and that the valleys were ready to live in again (Gen. 8:10-11). Noah waited seven more days and sent out another dove, but this one did not return (Gen. 8:12).
On the First day of the First month Noah took the covering off the ark and saw the Earth was dry (Gen. 8:13). This was the New Moon of the New Year of God’s Calendar. This was the first example in Scripture where God did a very significant thing on the First day of the First month. Other events that took place on the First of the First month were: the Tabernacle was set up (Ex. 40:20); Hezekiah’s restoration (2Chro. 29:17); Ezra’s restoration (Ezra 7:9); and the completion of putting away of strange wives or idolatry (Ezra 10:17).
Also, in Ezekiel 45:18-20 we learn of the spiritual concepts that start from the First day of the First month and go through to the 21st day of the First month, which is the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Sanctification process begins with the First day and is concerned with the Temple, which temple we are. Each baptised member is responsible for sanctifying and setting himself or herself apart. On the Seventh day of the First month the baptised members of the Church fast for all those who are in error and ignorance (Ezek. 45:20). It is our way of "laying down our lives and helping our brothers who may not know about God or are weak in the faith". The first 21 days inclusive of the seven days of unleavened bread are very important. See the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22).
New life begins
In the Second month on the 27th day of the month the Earth was dried and God said to Noah, "Come out of the ark," (Gen. 8:14-16). "Bring the creatures with you. I want all living beings to spread out over the Earth and produce families" (v.17).
After being inside the ark for so many months, the dry ground was a wonderful welcome sight to Noah and his family, but it was strange to look down on a silent world where there was nobody to scoff at them. It would indeed be strange to be the only people alive on the planet. These humans who were saved in the ark would have been very thankful for God’s mercy, protection, and plan to bring their family through the flood and start life anew.
The large door in the side of the ark was broken open, and a wide ramp was built from the door to the ground. Then all the creatures were freed from their stables and cages to return to a new life amid the new greenery of the Earth.
But Noah didn't set all of the animals and birds free. He was so thankful to his Creator for sparing him and his family that he built an altar on the mountain, and sacrificed some of the clean creatures as an offering to God (Gen. 8:20).
God was pleased with Noah. He blessed him and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. They were told to rebuild homes and raise children, so that many people would again live in the world from which the disobedient had been purged or removed.
"I shall never again bring a flood over the whole planet," God told Noah and his sons (Gen. 9:11). "As a promise to you that it will not happen again, look at this sign that will sometimes be seen in the sky" (vv. 12-17).
Thereupon the Eternal caused a beautiful arc of many colours to appear from horizon to horizon. Whenever people see this colourful arc, called a rainbow, they are seeing the sign of God’s promise. The rainbow becomes a sign that no flood will ever again destroy man or beast from the Earth. The rainbow was a token of the covenant God made with Noah.
One would wonder how many people on the planet today even remember what the rainbow means when they see it. One would guess even fewer people think about repenting of their sinful ways and returning to God before He again allows major destructive forces to occur. The Bible tells us this will be necessary to bring the planet to repentance when we reach the end of the 120 Jubilees, or 6,000 years, since the Earth was cursed and the Garden of Eden was closed.
God had first established a relationship with Adam. Adam and Eve were offered the Tree of Life (Gen. 2:16-25). However, Adam failed and due to the sin of mankind and the fallen Host the creation had to be removed, to enable the Plan of God to be established without interference or blemish.
So the Earth was destroyed under Noah. But God did establish a covenant with Noah (Gen. 6:18; 9:9-17; Isa. 54:9). After Noah, God set about preparing for the covenant to be placed within a people that He could use as an example to the nations. We will learn more about this covenant in the study of Abraham.
When we hold to the covenant with God, we will receive eternal life and if we break that covenant we will die (Rom. 6:23). From the time of Christ, our baptism is our promise to adhere to the covenant. This baptism acts in the same way as the original sign of circumcision acted with Israel. So a physical circumcision became a spiritual circumcision of the heart.
The sons of Noah
The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. From these sons the whole Earth was populated again (Gen. 9:18-19).
Noah became a successful farmer and he planted a vineyard. One day Noah drank too much wine and his younger son did something immodest to him while he lay asleep from the wine. When Noah awoke and knew what had happened, he was very angry. He cursed Canaan, the son of Ham, and said that Canaan should be a slave to his brothers. At the same time Noah blessed his sons Shem and Japheth (Gen. 9:20-27). This curse of Canaan and the blessings of Shem were to be fulfilled in future generations and nations.
Noah dies of old age
Noah lived for 350 years after the flood (Gen. 9:28). During that time he publicly proclaimed God's wishes whenever he had the opportunity (2Pet. 2:5). Through him, many people understood something about God's Plans and Laws. Unhappily, most people were living further and further from the ways they should have been living, and had little interest in bettering themselves by obedience to their Creator.
God gave Noah many more years of abundant life. Altogether Noah lived 950 years and then he died (Gen. 9:28-29).
That is a long time to live, especially when we consider how short the life span of man is today. Yet those who are wise enough to turn from the wrong kind of living and seek God's ways will enjoy even longer lives. They will get to live forever as spirit beings (1Cor. 15:44-45, 53), and many of them will start that long life by ruling the Earth soon with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years! (Rev. 2:26-27; 5:9-10).
This is one of the many wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him. Just as Noah told people of God’s Law by word and deed, so we should do today. Not too far in the future now, Messiah will return to the planet and we will again see nature’s destructive forces released due to man’s wickedness and mismanagement of the planet. The time to repent and change is now.