Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ark

My favorite thing about studying the Old Testament is looking for the Messiah.  He doesn't walk the earth as God-man until the New Testament, but I am telling you, the Old Testament shouts his glory!  Many of us have studied the concept of "types" in the Word.  A "type" would be a type of symbolism that points to something or someone in the future.  You can find types of Christ in the Old Testament ranging from the life of Joseph to the Ark that Noah built.

I thought it might be fun to show some of the ways the Ark points to Jesus.  When we think of the ark, we often get warm fuzzies, seeing little giraffe heads poking out of wooden tug boats.  We envision nurseries decorated with the theme and we see flannel-grams with stick on animals and people. 

It is rarely the wrath of God that is the backdrop of our thinking when we remember this story.  The world was so wicked that man's thoughts were conjuring evil at all times.  The closest thing I can equate to this type of evil is ISIS.  God was grieved at the sin and the condition of mankind.  Against the just wrath of God is always the face of a merciful God that sets aside a remnant.  The Lord had favor on Noah and his family.

He gave Noah specific instructions on how to build this ark.  The Hebrew word for ark is "tebah" and is only used in reference to Noah's ark and the reed basket that baby Moses was put in when his mother was trying to save his life.  Interesting that the two "boats" look nothing alike, but both serve the purpose of a "lifeboat." Tebah simply means ark or box.

Noah is told to build the ark out of gopher wood. Genesis 6:14 is the only mention of gopher wood in the bible. Many commentaries state that it is possibly cypress wood, but the significance is that the ark is built out of something unique and not mentioned anywhere else on the pages of scripture.  If the ark is foreshadowing Christ in various ways, then we can say that it is pointing to the fact that the Messiah will be unique...unlike any other human.  He will be special.  There will be only one way to God.  One Redeemer. It's beautiful to me that God had this gopher wood in place and ready to go before the flood came.  He has had the Lamb ready before the foundation of the world.

God tells Noah to pitch the wood.  Here is the verse: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."  Genesis 6:14  Now, I am going to start jumping up and down because this is fascinating.  The first word pitch "shalt pitch within and without" is the Hebrew word, kaphar.

KAPHAR means to cover, cancel, reconcile, cleanse, forgive, pacify, appease, placate, MAKE ATONEMENT.  It derives from the word kippur, which means atonement.  My Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible notes said it is one of the most important words in the bible.  It is a transaction, a ransoming procedure that uses blood and wipes away sin.  It was the word used for animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. 

The second mention of "pitch" is a tad different, it is KOPHER.  Basically, it is the noun version of the word.  It means a cover, a price, a sum of money, a ransom.

In order for the inhabitants to survive, the ark had to be covered in pitch.  Noah probably used tree resin as pitch to waterproof the ark.  The pitch acted to preserve the ark and to keep the waters of judgment out of the ark.  The ark took the beating of the angry waves while all that were inside were safe. It is the blood of Jesus that acts as our pitch, covering us, appeasing the wrath of God, making atonement for our sins.  The blood is the sum of money that ransoms us back from the entanglements of death and sin.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. The ark was hopeless without the pitch. Mankind is hopeless without the blood of Christ. The pitch and blood provide a special kind of sealing against the judgment that was to come.

Noah was instructed to build one door that entered the ark.  I wonder if Noah thought it was foolish to have only one entrance to a boat that was 450 feet long.  Perhaps it points to the fact that there is only one door that leads to God.  His name is Jesus. Good works, false gods, and self will all be shut out, drowned in the cacophony of everything unrighteous.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

One last little thing.  God told Noah to put in a window.  The Hebrew to English translation is a little unclear. It could mean windows.  It could mean an opening 18 inches from the top of the roof (all the way around.)  The Hebrew means "a clear light, to shine, double light, noon light."  The obvious reason for a window or windows or opening would be ventilation and light.  The obvious spiritual significance is that we wouldn't stand a chance without Jesus as our light and very breath. He is truly the light of the world. 

It is fun to see our Messiah freshly on the pages of scripture...even as our ark!

Image result for ark

1 comment:

Baileymother said...

Love this post. I agree about the excitement of seeing Christ in the Old Testament. In researching pitch, I was struck by the fact that it could have been resin from trees (instead of bitumen). That excited me as it's a type of His blood which covers and protects us, and here in the story of Noah it was taken from a tree. In reality, He is the tree of life and the sap is His life blood shed for us! The gopher wood (and no one really knows what it was) is His humanity. It might have been planed wood and therefore straight, speaking of His righteousness!