You may have heard of Noah and the flood a million times in Sunday school growing up, sung songs about the ark, or even watched as scientists study the history of the world flood. Today I want to dive deeper into some incredible parallels that point us to Jesus from the story of Noah.
Genesis 6-9 shares the account of a righteous man named Noah in a time of wickedness. It was through Noah’s faithful obedience and outrageous act that humanity was saved. With that statement alone we can think of Jesus. How else can we see the gospel presented through Noah?
When God looks at the world in Genesis 6:1-6, He saw that it was full of evil. He looked not only at the actions, but at the thoughts of their hearts, and saw perpetual wickedness. The world was essentially without hope from the destruction of their sin.
Genesis 6:7-8 says, “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.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
This parallels with Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’"
It is easy to point the finger and talk about how the world is so evil, but the hard reality comes when we realize that we too are part of that group. I am a sinner, and you are too. We have nothing to offer God but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We were without hope just like the people of Noah’s time. However, God was gracious through Noah to continue humanity. In the same way He was gracious by sending Jesus to rescue us from our sin. We were all headed for destruction, but Jesus made a way and gave us hope. Just like Noah made a way of escaping the flood, Jesus made a way for escaping Hell.
The ark is a symbol of rescue, protection, and escape. The cross to a Christian represents the same things. Both the ark and the cross were made of wood.
Genesis 6:14 shares that the ark was made of gopherwood and sealed with pitch. You might wonder why that is significant. The first sin occurred at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree in which Adam and Eve ate from in Genesis 3 led to death and separation from God. Both with Noah and with Jesus, God again uses a tree, a picture of death, as a means to bring redemption and new life.
A covenant is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, “A usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement.” When God makes a covenant, it is a lasting promise. The Lord has never failed His word. God made a covenant with Noah in Genesis 6:18 that He would save his family. The Lord also made a covenant with Creation not to flood the earth again in Genesis 8:21-22. He made the covenant with Noah and the future generations of humanity to never flood the earth again and set a rainbow in the clouds as a symbol of His promise in Genesis 9:8-17.
God gave the first covenant of the law through the ten commandments. Jesus is the conciliator of a new covenant. Hebrews 9:15 shares, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
Many times when we see a covenant, we see a symbol in Scripture. When we think about the rainbow, we remember God’s promise never to flood the entire earth again. When we think about the cross and the empty tomb, we remember that Jesus defeated sin and death and we have the promise of everlasting life with Him.
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The symbol of the dove represents the Holy Spirit. It is incredible how Noah sends out a dove when the ark is ascended on the mountain in Genesis 8:7-14. This is after the flood is over and they are rescued. When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit of God is described as, “Descending like a dove” (Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:10). After Jesus’ resurrection, He sends out His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) after He ascends to the Father.
These similarities teach us that the Lord not only brings us through destruction, He leads us after we have made it through. He is relational and cares for us.
In Genesis 8:20-22 Noah builds an altar to the Lord and sacrifices every clean animal as a burnt offering. God said that He would never again curse the ground for man’s sake or destroy every living thing. Jesus’ sacrifice of His life on our behalf gave us the eternal promise of salvation if we believe in Him. Hebrews 10:10 shares, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Both of these promises were made and will be kept for all of time. There is such a great comfort in knowing that we serve God who always holds true to His covenants with us.
Noah is mentioned in the New Testament as an example of how the end of times will be as evil as in Noah’s days (Matthew 24:37-38, Luke 17:26-27). It is shared that just like the people then were going about their daily lives when the flood came unexpectedly, Jesus will come back when no one expects it.
Noah is in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11:7. He is mentioned in 1 Peter 3:18-22 as a comparison of the ark going through the water with eight souls who are saved through the water, just like we who are saved by Jesus are baptized.
Noah is mentioned lastly as a warning to the doom awaiting false prophets like the people in the time of Noah. 2 Peter 2:4-11 tells of the seriousness of misleading others away from the truth of Christ.
There are many connections between the account of Noah and of Christ Jesus. It is valuable as we look at Scripture as a whole to see how each chapter is pointing towards the salvation which we have through Jesus.
We are no better than those wicked people killed in the flood. However, the Lord has shown us great mercy by sending His Son and rescuing us from our sin. May the history of Noah remind us of the great grace that Jesus has given to us as children of God. I think about Romans 5:8-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com