There are many types and shadows of our Lord Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament. From the serpent’s head being crushed (Gen. 3:15) to Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22), to Jonah being in the belly of the whale (Jonah 1). But one of those stories we are going to focus upon today is the atoning work of Christ foreshadowed by the story of Noah’s Ark.
Growing up in Sunday School or Children’s Church we heard this story hundreds of times, “The world was bad, Noah and his family were the only ones who were found righteous, God let out the waters from the heavens, destroyed the world, sent a rainbow promised to never flood the world again, boom! Done!” But within this story, there is a beautiful picture of the Gospel, God’s love for his children, and His hatred for sin. I am not going to walk through the text verse by verse, as I am going to assume everyone reading will be somewhat familiar with this story. I will be brief and extract 3 short comparisons between the Ark of Noah and the Gospel of our Lord.
The first point we can bring out from the story of Noah’s Ark is that there was only one door (Gen. 6:16). Into this Ark Noah has prepared for his family, Noah was commanded to only put one door, the only one way onto the Ark to be saved from the waters. Just as there is only one way onto the Ark, so there is only one way to eternal life, that is, Jesus Christ.
Jesus having the same eternal nature of ho theos (John 1:1), willingly took upon the nature of a servant (Phil. 2:7), made lower than angels (Heb. 2:7-9), gave up His life on a cross, rose again so that we may have eternal life (1 Cor. 15:3-4). He is the only one who could satisfy God’s wrath and clothe us in His perfect righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ, Himself states this about His mediation between sinners such as us, and a holy, just, righteous Father, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the only true way to be saved from our deserving judgment, just as one door is the only way onto the Ark.
The second point we can pull out is that not everyone was saved. We need to note that God found favor in Noah and no one else. Was Noah a sinner? Of course. Was the rest of the world also full of sinners? Yes, of course. After the flood, when the Lord promised to never again destroy all creatures, He stated that “the human heart is evil from childhood” (Gen. 9:20-12). You see, all men are evil sinners totally depraved and separated from God (Rom. 3:23) and deserve nothing but the Father’s Wrath (Rom. 6:23). So then, how was Noah declared righteous? God found favor in Him (Gen. 6:8). The Hebrew word used here is chen, which can also be the same word used of grace. The next verse (9) goes on to say that Noah was righteous and walked faithfully with God. This is because God found CHEN in Noah already. God already gave grace to Noah, a regeneration, an obedience to walk with the Lord just as Enoch did in Genesis 5:24. God freely chose Noah, not because of how good he was, or any other work Noah did. This story usually gets confused as being, “Good guy does good things, was saved by God, bad people were destroyed.” The real story should be explained simply as, “Bad guy was granted God’s grace.” This still relates to us today, the reason we can walk faithfully with the Lord is by the gift of grace and faith from God (Eph. 2:8-9). Paul in Ephesians 2:1-5 states:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Limited atonement is fully shown in the story of Noah’s Ark, and that God will grace and bless a particular people to demonstrate His loving kindness and mercy to some while demonstrating His justice and wrath to the rest.
Seal with No Leaks
The third point we can extract from this story is that the atoning Work of Christ is perfect. Noah was commanded to place pitch on the inside of the Ark (Gen. 6:14), which would act as a seal, to keep the water from leaking through the cracks between the wood. So just as Noah sealed the inside of his ark with pitch to seal out God’s wrath and judgment, so has Jesus laid down His life for us, to seal out God’s judgment upon a particular people. The word for pitch is kaphar in Hebrew, this comes from a root meaning to atone, where we also get Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) and is also translated into Greek as hilaskomai, which in English means propitiation (1 John 2:2, 4:10). Jesus being our pitch sealed and protected us from the judgment with no leaks, by the shedding of His blood, so that we could have eternal life. It was a perfect substitutionary atonement. Not only did Jesus die for our sins and was crushed under the Father’s wrath, but He became sin for us, taking upon Himself our sin nature and at the same time clothing us in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). So that not only will the Father see us as forgiven, but also righteous. It was because of Jesus’ sacrifice of being “crushed by the Father” (Isa. 53) that the Father can look upon us and show His mercy and grace. Once sealed by Christ we are in Him for eternity, fully loved, fully protected, and seen as His righteousness in the Father’s eyes. This is what we can delight in today, and going forward until He comes again.
Through these 3 points extracted from the foreshadowing of Noah’s Ark, we can see that Jesus is the only way to salvation, there will be a particular people whom He will save, and He will save them to the utmost, salvation being made perfect.
Thanks again for reading, God bless,
Dustin M. Fugate