Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 7 and we are going to be reading Genesis 7:1-3:
And JEHOVAH said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
I will stop reading there. As we begin Genesis, chapter 7 God is continuing to speak to His servant Noah who had found grace in His sight. He commanded him, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
God does not go into detail concerning the period of the ark’s construction. We know from Genesis 6 that the Lord gave specific details to Noah about making the ark of gopher wood and making rooms in it and pitching it within and without with pitch. He also gave Noah the dimensions of the ark as 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in breadth and 30 cubits in height and He told him about the window, the door and the number of stories, and so forth. The Lord also foretold who would come on board the ark; it would be eight souls consisting of Noah and his family and two of every sort of clean animal, and so forth. Those instructions to Noah took place 120 years prior to the flood, so Genesis 6 was at the point when God saw that the heart of man was only evil continually and the earth was full of violence. It was time for God to bring judgment, so the ark needed to be constructed. So we went from 5110BC, 120 years before the flood, to 4490BC and that 120-year period had elapsed.
Again, from Genesis 6 to Genesis 7 we read of no additional details. And there would have been many details regarding Noah’s efforts in building the ark. It would have been very fascinating and interesting to us if the Lord had filled us in on the details of what happened after Noah received his instructions regarding where he got the wood and how he began to put it together. Of course, we know God qualified him to do this, but did he have someone assisting him when his sons were still very young? It would have also been interesting to hear about people’s reaction, just to satisfy our curiosity. What was the reaction of the people of that day? Of course, the Lord does tell us that people continued “eating and drinking” and they paid him no mind. God could have relayed more details and portrayed a “day in the life” of Noah during the construction period and what happened when curious bystanders came along and talked to him. Maybe they made a few jokes and then they walked away, undisturbed and unbothered by it, just like people today. But that was not God’s purpose. God is infinitely wise and He chose not to give us this information, so we must recognize that we really have no need to know these things. We can speculate a little bit, but God has given us the information that He wants us to know in the Bible.
God tells us here in Genesis 7: 1:
…Come thou and all thy house into the ark…
In the Bible God does give us a little more information about Noah and his house in Hebrews 11:7:
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
This is the only verse in this “chapter of faith” that the Lord devoted to Noah. First of all, we learned that it was all by faith, which means it was all by the Lord Jesus Christ who is the essence of faith. Noah was “warned of God of things not seen as yet,” and that statement is very appropriate for our time and for any time in history because that is what happens when we read the Bible – it warns us of things to come. In our day we are still looking toward things that are yet to come and, basically, the only thing left is the completion of God’s judgment and the end of the world. We are no longer looking to the future for God’s salvation program because the “day of salvation” is now complete and we are no longer looking to the future for the Great Tribulation period because that period is also complete. And, yet, we still look to the Bible with “eyes of faith,” which God grants His people. We see that the Bible is the true and faithful Word of God and everything it declares can be trusted wholeheartedly as “absolute truth” and the things that God has said will indeed come to pass. We can lean upon His promises and trust in the Lord with all our heart, leaning not upon our own understanding. That is not what the people of Noah’s day did, but Noah leaned upon “things not seen as yet.” He knew these things were coming because the Word of God had told him regarding the destruction of the first earth. God instructed Noah and Noah did all that the Lord commanded him and his work in building the ark is a picture of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ as He built the spiritual temple consisting of all the elect of God. It is also described as the “house of God,” as God paints this same picture in several different ways. Noah built the ark “to the saving of his house,” and we know that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness.”
We read in 1Peter, chapter 3 that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison” while the ark was a preparing. How did Jesus do this? Did He make some kind of appearance? Yes, it was through the person of Noah, just as God works through all His people. We were His ambassadors when we besought people on behalf of God that they be reconciled to Him, but that part of our work is done because there is no more reconciliation between sinners and God since the door of heaven has shut and God has completed His salvation program. However, Noah was certainly involved as an ambassador and messenger of God and the “feet” of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of God’s people were likened to His “feet” as they carried the Gospel into the world during the time that God could still be found in the day of salvation.
Noah had the job of putting the wood together and hammering the nails in order to build the ark in an orderly fashion and over the course of that 120 years he was working. He was doing it in a “public place.” These things were not hid in a corner, but he was building the ark in the midst of the population of the world at that time. There were probably a handful of millions of people and they would have more than likely lived in the vicinity of where Noah was building the ark. If they were not nearby, they certainly would have heard from friends and relatives that would carry the news as the ark was nearing its completion. People would have gone up to Noah and they would have asked, “Why are you building this vessel? What is the point? Why are you doing this?” I made reference to it, but let me read what it says in 1Peter 3:18:
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Let me explain this before I continue. Christ went “by the spirit” to preach to the spiritually dead (not physically dead). All that are spiritually dead are in “prison” in the dungeon of the kingdom of darkness, so the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit that worked through Noah preached to them.
It goes on to say in 1Peter 3:20:
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The word “sometime” would be better translated as “aforetime.” The longsuffering of God waited. God had given Noah command to build the ark because He saw the evil in the world that was coming forth from man’s heart and violence was everywhere. God’s wrath was raised and He intended to pour it out and punish the rebels and, yet, He waited because Noah had to build the ark. The Bible tells us that Noah built the ark “to the saving of his house.” That is an important and consistent Biblical principal: God is longsuffering and patient as He waits. We are told in the Epistle of James what God was waiting for, as it says in James 5:7:
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Notice that He is long patient as He waits for both the early and the latter rain. The early rain fell during the church age and brought in the firstfruits unto God, the (figurative) 144,000. As it says in Revelation, chapter 7 after the 144,000 were accounted for, it refers to the “great multitude which no man can number” because the Latter Rain fell over the second part of the Great Tribulation period until May 21, 2011. The Latter Rain brought in the great multitude or final fruits and at the end of the Great Tribulation the implication in James 5:7 is that the husbandmen will then no longer be patient.
In 1Peter 3, verse 20 it tells us of God’s longsuffering in the days of Noah “while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” So God waited 120 years and the ark was the vessel by which God would deliver the remnant, a tiny number of eight souls. They typified God saving all the elect He intended to save. He would not pour out His wrath until the ark was finished and until the proper time and season. Noah saved his house by the building of the ark and it could be (according to the spiritual picture) that one of Noah’s sons or one of his sons’ wives was not saved until the ark was completed. Perhaps simultaneous with the completion of the ark, God saved the last one to be saved and He no longer needed to be longsuffering and patient. How does the Bible express the end of God’s longsuffering patience in the days of Noah? We will see in Genesis, chapter 7 that God shut the door. He shut the door of the ark that was the only way any person or animal could find refuge and be delivered from the flood. It was through that “door.” When God is done being longsuffering and patient and the time of waiting has come to an end, He shuts the door.
Do you see how that relates perfectly with what the Bible teaches us in regard to what happened immediately after the Great Tribulation? Is it a coincidence? Have we forgotten? Some people have forgotten, but God’s people have not forgotten the way the Lord lined up the seven thousand-year time period. (We will get to that in more detail later in this chapter.) Just a quick reminder about the way it lined up; the seven days identifies with exactly seven thousand years that goes from 4990BC to 2011AD. The flood began in 4990BC on the “seventeenth day of the second month.” We knew it would be exactly seven thousand years, but where would that day fall in the year 2011?
It worked itself out separately, as God’s people learned from the Biblical calendar of history the timeline of the Great Tribulation, which began May 21, 1988 at the end 1,955 years of the church age. The Bible pointed to it continuing for 23 years and exactly 23 years later fell on May 21, 2011, an exact 8,400 days. That is significant because the number “84” is repeatedly identified with “great tribulation.” That was all worked out from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011 and then we learned about that seven thousand-year time period. Where would it fall? What if it fell on May 21? That would be the logical day because that was the day the Great Tribulation would conclude. Lo, and behold, someone (not Mr. Camping) noticed that May 21, 2011 (the 8,400th day of the Great Tribulation and an exact 23 years) had the underlying Hebrew calendar date of the “seventeenth day of the second month,” the identical date that God had shut the door of the ark. It is not a coincidence. The day that we learned from the Bible that the Great Tribulation came to a close was, therefore, the day that the Latter Rain would cease to fall. Again, what had God said in the Book of James? He said He would be longsuffering until He received the early and the Latter Rain. What did 1Peter 3, verse 20 tell us? It told us, “the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,” and that meant that the longsuffering of God ended the “seventeenth day of the second month” of Noah’s 600th year. That was the day the door shut.
Do you see how everything comes together so perfectly? The longsuffering of God would cease once He received the Latter Rain and the Bible tells us that the Latter Rain stopped falling at the end of the Great Tribulation and that is the day that 1Peter 3, verse 20 tells us that God would stop being longsuffering. The two ideas come together and fit “hand in glove.” They are pieces of a puzzle that just drop into place and the puzzle is solved. The puzzle works out.
Of course, God had much else in store for His people in the Day of Judgment, as we have found that we must all make an appearance before the judgment seat of Christ. There must be a trial of faith and the fire will reveal whether we are gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay, stubble. There must be a spiritual judgment on the world as they drink of the cup of God’s wrath, just as the spiritual judgment was on the churches as they drank first from the cup of God’s wrath.
All these things had to be. We saw so many people that give lip service to the idea of trusting the Word of God, but it said of Noah: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” Many people in our day claimed to be like Noah. They claimed to see the warning. They claimed to see the things that had not appeared as yet. They claimed to trust the Bible, but were they really like Noah? Time would tell. Noah and his family and the animals endured a prolonged period of judgment. Let us see if you and I are able to endure a prolonged period of judgment. Then we will find out, but only if we endure to the end will we be saved like Noah.