After a full year in the ark, Noah and his  family stepped out into a new world. It was  a new beginning. All flesh had died, all “in  whose nostrils was the breath of life” (Gen 7:21–22;  2:7). But now Noah and his sons were given the  same commandment as Adam had received as they  began their new life in a changed world: “And God  blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be  fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And  the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon  every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of  the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and  upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are  they delivered” (Gen 9:1–2; 8:17). The repetition  of the very expressions used to describe the creation  of which Adam was the head (Gen 1:24–26),  indicates that we are meant to see Noah as a type  of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the saviour of his  house and who will have dominion over a new  creation in which we hope to share (Heb 2:6–10).

A type of baptism

It is not surprising, then, to find that Peter uses the  record of Yahweh’s salvation as extended to Noah  as a type of baptism. The apostle writes, “The like  figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save  us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but  the answer of a good conscience toward God), by  the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21). Peter  makes two important points here. Firstly, baptism  is an act which is more than a ritual, but which has  profound moral implications. He says that it has no  physical effect: “not the putting away of the filth of  the flesh”, but it is the answer of a good conscience.  Secondly, we can now be saved by the resurrection  of Jesus Christ. Paul explains how this is possible:  “Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the  glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in  newness of life” (Rom 6:4). This new life is modelled  on the example of Jesus, hence, we are “saved by his  life” (Rom 5:10).

Peter makes a further reference to the flood  when he says Noah was a “preacher of righteousness”  or a “herald of righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5 ESV).  To proclaim the truth we must be living the truth.  Noah not only proclaimed the righteousness of  God but he was also an example of righteousness  as Yahweh said to him, “For thee have I seen  righteous before me in this generation” (Gen 7:1).  The Apostle John reminds us that, “Every one that  doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:29).  We know that in our Lord, our sins are forgiven  but that does not absolve us from our obligation to  “do righteousness” in our daily life!

A warning for us

When Peter makes his third reference to the Flood,  he says that the Flood provided a warning to all generations  (2 Pet 3:5–7). Even though Yahweh may be  longsuffering, He can destroy an entire generation  off the face of the earth if their wickedness is beyond  redemption and they mock His Word. He says that  we look for “new heavens and a new earth, wherein  dwelleth righteousness” (v13). Verses 12 and 13 are a quotation from Isaiah 65:17–18, which says that  the “new heavens and new earth” refer to the time  when Yahweh will make “Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy”, the Kingdom age when the  Lord returns. We hope to be there if we heed the  warnings sounded by Peter. We cannot become entangled with this world and its wicked society,  which is about to be swept away, otherwise we too  will be swept away with it.

The Lord also used the example of the Flood  as a warning for us: “But as the days of Noe were,  so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they  were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in  marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the  ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took  them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son  of man be” (Matt 24:37–39). Here Jesus’ warning  concentrates upon the suddenness with which the  Flood took away the generation which did not  heed Noah’s preaching. We can so easily fall into  the same trap of indulgence in the present and not  be concentrating upon the future.

The path to destruction described in Genesis 6  began when “the sons of God saw that the daughters  of men were fair; and they took them wives of all  which they chose” (v1–2). The marriage bond was  soon lightly regarded and the separation from the  wicked world broke down. The apostle John says that  we are the sons of God (1 John 3:1). The ecclesia was  declining and affected by their society early in the  story of Noah, not late! They were going in “the way  of Cain” (Jude 1:11). The modern ecclesia would be  well advised to note this warning as some similar  signs are already observable in the ecclesial world of  our day. Paul says Noah demonstrated his faith and  “condemned the world” by the very action of building  the ark (Heb 11:7). Likewise our actions should condemn  the world by the very difference we exhibit in  our way of life. Similarly, the Lord Jesus “condemn[ed]  the world” by never sinning (John 3:17–19; Rom 8:3).

The Genesis record shows that Noah was responsive  to God’s warning and believed Him. Noah  believed in things, “not seen” as yet, this being the  destruction of the Flood. Thus, he demonstrated  the very meaning of faith as defined in Hebrews  11:1 as the “evidence of things not seen”. In verse  13, Paul says that the faithful see the promises afar  off. We need to make a reality of the future, not the  present. In Hebrews 11, Noah, Abraham and Moses  are all said to have demonstrated this characteristic  of faith. Paul also says that Noah was, “moved with  fear” which means “devout care or wariness” (v7). Do  we approach the future with wariness? We should  be careful then that our walk in the Truth is one of  faithfulness and obedience like that of Noah.

Walking with God

Noah is described as just, upright, obedient, righteous,  having found grace (favour) in the eyes of  Yahweh and walking with God (Gen 6:8,9,22; 7:1).  We usually go for a walk with intimate acquaintances,  friends, spouses and family members with  whom we have a special and precious relationship.  The prophet Amos said, “Can two walk together,  except they be agreed”? (3:3). What a wonderful  relationship Noah must have had then with his  God! We must seek to have such a relationship also,  through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, which  was “to bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18). The true accord  which existed between Yahweh and Noah also  existed between Yahweh and Abraham, who also  walked before his God (Gen 17:1).

Noah built the first altar mentioned in Scripture  and offered burnt offerings upon it (Gen 8:20–22).  The record says that it was a “sweet savour” to  Yahweh and brought a response from Yahweh’s  heart. This further illustrated the wonderful relationship  Noah enjoyed with his God. A covenant  was then made with Noah, which reassured him and  all generations ever since, that Yahweh will never  again smite “every thing living”, but will continue  to work with man and progress His plan of salvation  though man is helplessly inclined to sin (v21).

We see in this episode the principles which  became the foundation of the Mosaic sacrificial  code later on in God’s purpose. We read that the  burnt offering was uniquely examined internally,  washed internally and laid in order on the altar  with the head first, followed by the body and legs.  It was totally consumed on the altar and ascended as  a “sweet savour” to God (Lev 1:13). We know from  Jesus’ discussion with the scribe in Mark 12:28–34  that the burnt offering stood for the total dedication  of our heart, understanding, life, and strength  to God, as well as moral cleanliness and the love of  others. Thus was demonstrated Noah’s commitment  to his God, who had saved him from the destruction  of the Flood.

The law of blood

There was another law given to Noah: the ‘law of the  blood’ (Gen 9:4). This law became fundamental to  the Law of Moses’ sacrificial code as demonstrated  in Leviticus 17:10–16. Here the truth is repeatedly  expressed that, “the life of the flesh is in the blood”.  This is a repetition of the same words given to Noah.  However, in Leviticus 17, we see that the blood was  given by Yahweh upon the altar as an atonement  for their life (v11). It was the blood of an unblemished  animal of the flock or herd, whilst the blood  of a wild or hunted animal was not ‘related’ to the  altar, but was poured out and covered with dust  (v13,14). The blood which Yahweh accepted upon  the altar can only represent the “precious blood” of  Jesus’ unblemished life, whilst the other represents  those who are unredeemed by the Lord’s sacrifice  and who are consigned to the dust of the earth (1  Pet 1:18–19; Eph 1:7).

We remember the Lord’s sacrifice each first  day of the week in the familiar words, “This is my  blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many  for the remission of sins” (Matt 26:28). The Lord, like Noah, was a representative man, who saved  his house whilst being saved himself; he also will  ultimately bring the earth under his dominion.  Jesus was sent by the grace of God to “taste death  for every man”, “the children which God [had]  given [him]” (Heb 2: 8–10,13). Being “in Christ”,  by grace we are the Lord’s family and live in hope  of salvation.

In the Genesis record we are again struck by the  intimate terms in which Yahweh expressed to Noah  His great covenant with “every living creature,”  “his seed” and the earth. He said to Noah that this  covenant was between “me and you” (Gen 9: 9–12).  We find a similar exchange between Abraham and  Yahweh when He said that the covenant of circumcision  was between “me and thee” (Gen 17:2,7,11).  This covenant was performed on the eighth day of  a boy’s life and involved ‘cutting off of the flesh’  and was given at the same time as the promise of  the birth of Isaac, the promised seed. Noah was the  eighth person who saved his house whilst all flesh  was “cut off ” by the Flood (cp Gen 9:11). The same  principle is therefore expressed in both covenants.  We are related to these covenants through Christ  and hence we are called the “sons of God”, “born  not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the  will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).

Another striking connection with Abraham is  found in Hebrews 11 where Paul deals with both  of these worthies in successive verses. In verse 7  Paul says that, by his faith, Noah “became heir of  the righteousness which is by faith”. This is exactly  what Paul also said of Abraham in his long exposition  upon the faith of Abraham in Romans 4. Both  men believed God and had righteousness imputed  to them, “For the promise, that he should be the  heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed,  through the law, but through the righteousness of  faith” (v13). The references to grace (God’s favour  v16) and “walking in the steps of that faith” (v12),  also call to mind Noah’s example. In Christ we are  related to the great covenants given to those two  men, as they both speak of God’s purpose to glorify  Himself in the earth.

The rainbow

The covenant with Noah was sealed with the sign  of the rainbow (Gen 9:12–17). This glorious phenomenon  can be seen after a passing shower of rain  as the light of the sun passes through the raindrops  and is split into its seven component colours. The  spectrum moves from red, representing sin, through  to the blue end of the spectrum, representing God’s  righteousness. It speaks of His purpose to glorify  Himself in the earth and not to destroy it. The  seven colours together make ‘white light’. Thus,  the number eight is again associated with Noah to  remind us of the eighth millennium and beyond,  when mortal flesh will no longer be in the earth but  immortality only.

How fitting then, that two of the great visions  of the cherubim, associated with the rainbow, of  which we cannot now speak, represent God’s glory  revealed in His power and in the saints (Ezek 1:28;  Rev 4:3). They are those who have been redeemed  out of all nations by the Lord’s sacrifice and who will  reign with him upon a revived earth (Rev 5:9–10).

What an incentive we have then, brethren and  sisters, to look to our salvation with godly care like  Noah did, walking with God and finding intimacy  with Him as Noah and Abraham did! We do this  through a close relationship with the Lord Jesus  Christ. We can only find that oneness with God if  we are walking in His ways. What an advantage we  have in the life of our Lord being recorded for us in  the Word to direct us in the way of righteousness.  When walking with these worthies of old, we walk  in fine company!