Sun, Aug 12, 2007

THE ARK, A TYPE OF CHRIST? PART 1 GENESIS 6-8

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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THE ARK, A TYPE OF CHRIST?
PART 1
GENESIS 6-8
  

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 6 as we look at the story of Noah’s Ark. Now, in the English language we miss out what the Hebrew words are saying and I just happen to have a better translation of this story of Noah’s Ark and I will give you a quick overview. We are told:

            And the Lord spoke to Noah and said, “In six months I’m going to make it rain till the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people are destroyed, but I want to save a few good people and two of every kind of living animal on the planet.  And so I’m commanding you to build an ark.” And in a flash of lightening He delivered the specifications for an ark.

            “Ok”, said Noah trembling with fear and fumbling with the blue prints. “Six months,” God said, “And it starts to rain, you better have that ark completed or learn to swim for a long time.”

            Well, six months go by and it begins to cloud up and the rain begins to fall and God saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard crying and there was no ark. “Noah,” shouted the Lord, “Where’s the ark?”

            “Lord, please forgive me,” wept Noah. “I did my best but there were big problems.” “What kind of problems?” the Lord asked him.  “Ok,” said Noah, “here they are . . .”

            I had to get a building permit for the ark construction project and your plans didn’t meet code.

            I had to hire an engineer to re-draw the plans.

            Then I got in a big fight over whether or not the ark needed a fire sprinkler system.

            Then my neighbor objected, saying I was violating zoning laws by building the ark in my front yard – I was going to have to get a variance from the city planning zoning commission.

            And then I had problems getting wood. Lord, there’s a ban on cutting down trees because of the spotted owls.  So I had to convince the fish and wildlife game department that I needed the wood to save the owls – but they wouldn’t let me cut any wood, or take two owls.

            And then finally I got carpenters who formed a union on me and went out on strike.  I had to negotiate a settlement with the national labor relations board before anyone would pick up a saw or hammer.

            Then I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me taking only two of each kind of animal, they said I needed to take more.

            And just when I got that suit dismissed the E.P.A. notified me that I couldn’t complete the ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of a Supreme Being.

            Then the Army Corps of Engineering wanted a map of where the flood was going to go so I gave them one of those earth globes.

            And right now I’m still trying to resolve all the complaints from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over how many Croatians I’m supposed to hire.

            And the I.R.S. seized all my assets claiming I’m trying to avoid paying taxes by leaving the country.

            And I just got a notice from the State about owing them some kind of “Use Tax”.

            I really don’t think I can finish the ark, Lord, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

            At that moment the sky began to clear, the sun began to shine, a rainbow arched across the sky – and Noah looked up and said, “So you mean you’re not going to destroy the earth after all?”

            And the Lord said, “No, the Government has done that already!”

- Source Unknown

            Obviously a loose translation! Folks, here is the reality of this story. God did command Noah to build an ark, it is a real story, it really happened and God did bring judgment upon man for his wickedness, and He destroyed the world by a flood except for those who were in the ark.

            Now many do have a problem with this story, that have a hard time believing it, wondering how Noah could have built an ark or boat that big that it could hold all those animals and birds. Others have that Sunday School idea of Noah’s ark, where the animals are hanging out of the ark, talk about overcrowding.  That is a wrong concept.  First of all Noah took 7 of each clean animal, male and female. He took two of each unclean animal, male and female. And he took birds, male and female.

            Secondly, this was no small boat. In fact, it wasn’t until 1858 that a bigger boat was built! The dimensions of the ark is as follows: It was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, if a cubit measured 18 inches and most feel that was the dimensions of a cubit. To put that into perspective, it was 1½ times the size of a football field!  Also, this boat was more like a barge, built for stability to see it through the coming flood and not for speed!

            We are also told that the ark had 3 decks, with a height of a least 12 feet, which would give the total deck space at about 95,700 square feet! Around the roof of the ark was a window encircling it and it measured about 18 inches. This window was used to let light in and for ventilation, obviously it would be needed.  And it is estimated that the weight of this boat was about 15 to 20 tons!

            But what about all those animals, could they fit into the ark?  You bet they could. You see, the three decks of the ark would be able to hold approximately 522 standard box cars. And each box car could hold 240 animals the size of sheep. That means the ark could hold some 125,000 animals with an average size equaling that of a sheep. In fact, Dr. Henry Morris estimates that only 146 of those box cars would be needed to house the entire vertebrate population of about 35,000 distinct kinds. And some even bring that number down further, to only about 16,000 distinct kinds of animals to preserve the created kinds.  That would still leave more than enough room for food, water and living areas for only 28% of the ark was being used for the animals, the other 72% was open.

            Now in saying all that, why is this even important to us today?  Here we are, maybe some 5,000 years since the flood occurred, and why do we need to know this?  What does this mean to us as Christians today?  Remember what Paul said in Romans 15:4, For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Thus, there must be some significance to this story for us today and there is!

            Actually there are many that just jump off the page for us to learn and apply to our lives and we covered some of these on Thursday. This morning I want to focus on the typology or picture this story of the ark paints for us. You see, in the description of the ark I see a picture of Christ that is being painted for us. That is what we are going to be focusing on this morning. Many of these points I am going to take from Arthur W. Pink’s book, Gleanings In Genesis and we will expound on them in greater detail.

            You see, the Bible is filled with pictures of Christ, types of Christ and there is much we can glean by looking at these pictures. And so, over the next two weeks we will be looking at the ark and how it is a picture of Christ. Is this by chance or luck? Not at all, this is not by chance but by Divine inspiration as you will see.

1.  THE ARK WAS A DIVINE PROVISION – GENESIS 6:13-14

            As you read through the Scriptures, once sin entered the world, wickedness grew very fast. So much so that by the time we get to Noah we are told, Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’  Genesis 6:5-7.  As you read through this it almost seems like God is now going to have to come up with plan B to judge the wicked and save the righteous, but that is not the case. God is omniscient, He knows all things, nothing takes Him by surprise. Thus, He knew who would be saved and how they would be saved, in the ark!

            You see folks, the ark was not an afterthought. In fact, God told Noah to build the ark 120 years before it even began to rain a drop! God has provided a divine provision to save Noah and his family, the ark!

            Now, how is Christ a type of the ark?  Think about it, was our salvation an afterthought?  God created the heavens and the earth, all life including man and then when sin entered the world He had to come up with plan B to save man? Of course not! In Revelation 13:8 we are told, All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.You see, our salvation through Christ was not an afterthought but before the foundations of the world were even created, God knew what had to be done to save man.

            Here is the picture we see here. The ark was God’s provision for Noah to save him just as Christ is God’s provision for sinners, to save them!  It is as Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4-5, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

2.  GOD REVEALED TO NOAH THE PLAN – GENESIS 6:15-16

            Noah didn’t sit down one evening and come up with a plan to build this boat. This design, this plan was revealed to him by God and it was very specific. It was not that all boats would make it through this flood of judgment but this one specific boat, revealed to him by God on how to build it, that is the one that would come through it. You see, if God did not reveal this to Noah, he would have perished in this flood like everyone else!

            Now, how is this a type of Christ? I believe it pictures for us that the Spirit of God reveals to us the plan of salvation, which is through Jesus Christ. Paul said in

II Corinthians 4:6, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  In other words, as God’s Spirit reveals to us the grace and mercy of God that is found in Jesus Christ, as we look to Him, we see God!  It is not something that the natural man can do, these things are spiritually discerned.

            Paul put it this way in I Corinthians 2:9-14, But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’   But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  Thus, God’s Spirit reveals to us the things of God, especially the way of salvation that is through Jesus Christ.

3.  THE ARK WAS A PLACE OF REFUGE FROM DIVINE JUDGMENT – 

     GENESIS 6:17-18

            As you go through the Scriptures there are three different arks that are mentioned. First of all let’s talk about the ark of bulrushes that is found in Exodus 2:3. It was the place that baby Moses was placed by his mother to protect him from the command of Pharaoh to destroy the male Hebrew children.

            Then there is the Ark of the Covenant or the wooden box in which the two tablets of the Law of God that were written by the finger of God were placed.  This Ark was kept in the holy of holies in both the Tabernacle and the Temple.

            And lastly, what we see here in Genesis, the ark of Noah. This ark was built to protect Noah and his family from the coming judgment of God. Outside of this ark was death and destruction. Inside the ark there was safety, a place of refuge from this storm of judgment.

            Notice the pictures we see here with these three arks.  First of all the ark of bulrushes which gives us the picture of safety from Satan’s assaults as we are in Christ, just as Moses was safe from Pharaoh’s attacks, who is a type of Satan.  In I John 4:4 John makes this point as he tells us, You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. In other words, if you are saved, if you are in Christ, then Satan can’t defeat you!  Christ has given to us the victory!

            Secondly, the Law condemns us, it can never save us. The Law can only point out our faults, which are many.  We have missed the mark of perfection, we are guilty, and yet, Jesus has set us free from the condemnation of the Law.  Paul, in Galatians 2:19-21 tells us, For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

Also, in Romans 8:1-4 we are told, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

And lastly, in Galatians 3:24-26 Paul tells us, Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. You see, the Law showed us our failure, our weakness, our sin and it brought us to Jesus, the One who does not condemn us, but sets us free from the bondage of sin we are in!

And lastly, the ark that Noah built protected them from the wrath of God and all those who are in Jesus will also be protected from the coming wrath of God upon this world!  Paul, in I Thessalonians 5:9 tells us, For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the wrath of God that was due us was placed upon Jesus and our debt for sin was paid by Him, the perfect sacrifice!

Thus, in Christ we are sheltered from Satan’s assaults in that he can’t have victory over us if we are in Christ. We are freed from the condemnation the Law brings if we are in Christ. And we will not receive the wrath of God that is coming if we are in Christ because the ark was a place of refuge from the divine judgment as is Christ!

4.  THE ARK HAD THREE STORIES OR DECKS – GENESIS 6:16

            As I have said, the ark contained three decks or stories with about a 12 foot ceiling to it. The total volumetric capacity of the ark was about 1.4 million cubic feet. Now, what does that mean to me as a Christian?

            Paul, in I Thessalonians 5:23 said, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In other words, what God has begun in us, the moment we are saved, He will ultimately complete the work, we will go to be with the Lord. He started the work, He continues doing the work and He will eventually complete the work of sanctification in our lives.

            The past work of God in our lives, saving us, is mentioned in Ephesians 2:8, where Paul tells us, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. The present work of God in our lives is given to us in I Corinthians 1:18, where Paul tells us, For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  It is not that we are working to be saved, but God is sanctifying us, purging that garbage from our lives, which is a lifelong process. And the future work of God in our lives is given to us in Hebrews 9:28 where we are told, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.In other words, God will complete the work He started in our lives!

            Not only do we see the past, present and future work of God in our lives, but also we see that we have been saved from the penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin in our lives, and we shall be saved from the presence of sin; the past, the present and the future all found in Christ, the three decks!

            I also see in these three decks, this large area that had a variety of different animals and birds, a picture of how we are one in Christ, both Jew and Gentile. The body of Christ is not divided. Paul put it like this in Ephesians chapter 2, But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18.

            You see, the body of Christ is made up of a variety of different people, from different backgrounds, who attend all kinds of different churches and the thing that unites us all together is not our dress, the music we listen to, the length of our hair, the make-up you wear, your social status, your financial status but what brings us all together is our faith in Jesus Christ!  That is what unites us together. May we not forget that truth!

5.  THE ARK HAD A WINDOW – GENESIS 6:16

            The ark contained an 18 inch window near the roof that encircled the ark.  Think about that for a minute. It was not a glass bottom boat nor were their windows on the side, why? Because they were not to be focused upon the death and destruction that was all around them but they were to look up to the Lord. It is not that they did not have compassion, but that they were not to be distracted and lose sight that God is in control.

            As Christians we are to stay focused on the Lord. It is easy to let things distract us and cause us to lose sight that He is in control.  Think about racehorses, they wear blinders so they won’t be distracted by what is happening around them. Their focus is straight ahead, to finish the race and the jockey is the one who is guiding them.

            We too must not be distracted but keep our eyes on the goal, to finish the race that God has placed us in.  We are to let the Lord guide us, to control where we go and what we say by His Spirit.  Paul put it like this in Colossians 3:1-4, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

            In other words, we need to walk by faith and not by sight and the only way you can do that is you have to know the Lord. You see, if you don’t know Him, how can you trust Him? But if you do know Him, you can walk as He leads and not be distracted by what is around you, the situation you are in. You see, don’t look down, don’t look sideways, but look up to the Lord the light of the world, Jesus Christ.  He will guide you and it will be like a breath of fresh air in your life!

6.  THE ARK HAD ROOMS OR NESTS – GENESIS 6:14

            I find this interesting. The ark had many rooms or nests for Noah and his family and all the animals and birds on board. What were they there for?  It was a place of rest. They were in that ark for some 378 days and they needed a place of rest!

            Folks, as pilgrims and strangers in this world, as we go through this life, don’t we need that place of rest and refuge?  Of course we do? People long to find the rest and outside of Christ you will not find that rest.

            Listen carefully to what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-20. We are told, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  God wants to give us rest but we need to be in Him, we need to be saved and rest in Him.  You see, if you are not saved, you will not find this rest for in Isaiah 57:20-21 we are told, But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ Says my God, ‘for the wicked.’”  Thus, in Christ there is rest, we can be refreshed, He is a place of refuge for us, just as there were rooms of rest in the ark or nests.

            Paul put it this way regarding rest and those that don’t have it and those that do in Hebrews 4:1-11, Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest , let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest , as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest ,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; and again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest .’

Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest , then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

What is the prerequisite to rest?  Faith is the prerequisite to God’s rest; it is what opens the door.  Notice what is said of the Thessalonians in I Thessalonians 2:13, For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.  They mixed the Word of God, the promises of God with faith, they believed and it was then manifested in their lives, their walk!  For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.  I Thessalonians 1:9-10.

You see, if you are disobedient to the Lord, you will not enter His rest that is found in Christ. But if you turn to Christ and you follow Him you can enjoy that rest and when we go to be with the Lord we will have that eternal rest with Him. It doesn’t mean we don’t work in this life for the Lord, but we can rest in Him and be refreshed in Him.  You see, there is no rest for the wicked but for the righteous, you and me, made righteous by the blood of Christ; we can enjoy that rest in Christ.  Think about it, in the ark there was work to do but they also were resting in the Lord. Outside there was no rest, just destruction for the wicked!

            We obviously won’t finish this morning but we will finish up next time looking at how the ark is a type or picture of Christ.  But as I close this morning, I want to share with you a letter that my son Tony sent me before he graduated from Boot Camp. In this letter he writes about how soldiers in Iraq and other parts of the world, before they go into battle, find their rest in the Lord. This is some of what he wrote:

Dad,

            Today we had prayer breakfast. It’s a time, usually before battle, where soldiers pray together for safety. The chaplain had me read Psalm 91, it’s the soldiers prayer. . . . It is a very important chapter and there are stories of companies saying that prayer every day for 18 months in Iraq and returning with zero casualties. . . . I would like to be able to display Psalm 91 for my comrades in arms and myself. . . .

            Like these soldiers and my son, we need to look to the Lord for rest and refuge for as the storms of life come crashing in, we need to place our feet on the Rock who is higher than us, Jesus Christ!

            Folks, the ark is a divine provision of God just as our salvation is. God revealed to Noah how the ark was to be built for their safety just as God has revealed to us by His Spirit our safety in Christ. We saw how the ark was a place of refuge from divine judgment. We too have refuge from the coming judgment of God if we are in Christ!  We saw how the ark had three stories or decks and in that we saw that in Christ we have been saved from the penalty of sin – the past; we are saved from the power of sin – the present; and will be saved from the presence of sin- the future!

            The ark also had a window that went around the roof area of the ark, just beneath it and was some 18 inches wide encircling the ark. It let light and ventilation in. And here we saw how we need to look to the Lord, not be distracted by the death and destruction around us but focus on the Lord and let Him guide us. And lastly we saw how the ark had rooms or nests and we saw how in Christ we can find rest, we can find refuge.

            Folks, this is not just information for us, we need to apply these things to our lives. Look at these soldiers that are in battle, do you think they are applying the truths of God found in the Word of God into their lives? You bet they are!  You see, we need to fight on, to stay focused, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith and that will only happen as we are in Christ!

            The southern tip of Africa used to be called “Cape of Tempests.” Its swirling seas and continuously adverse weather conditions caused sailors great anxiety and took many lives. But a certain Portuguese, determined to find a safer route through those seas to the renowned Land of Cathy, discovered a safer passage round this promontory or cape. And the area was renamed the “Cape of Good Hope.”

            That is what we have in Christ folks. Outside of Him there is death and destruction, it is a Cape of Tempests you might say.  But the great thing is, we no longer have to travel down that path of turmoil, where there is no hope. We can have great hope in Christ who has given us the victory that is found in Him.  What comfort that should be to us. May you walk in the promises that God has given to you and enjoy that life that God has for you!

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