The Great Flood
Eng Guan Tay—Singapore
The world watched in horror as
tsunami waves swept irresistibly across coastal towns in eastern Japan on March
11, 2011. The death toll was in the tens of thousands. The area inundated was
about 470 square kilometers with the greatest height of the waves reaching ten
Genesis 6-8 records the greatest
natural disaster the world has ever known. In comparison to the Japan tsunami,
the Great Flood inundated an area 300,000 times greater—all the dry land of the
earth. The sea level rose to about a thousand times higher, so that the water
even covered the tops of the highest mountains (cf. Gen 7:11-12, 17-20). The
recent earthquake in Japan
moved parts of this country by up to four meters. The Great Flood, however, tore
open many parts of the earth’s crust and probably shifted continents.
And all flesh died that moved on the earth:
birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,
and every man. (Gen 7:21)
We know that the events in the Bible
were recorded as examples and warnings for us. In this way we are taught how to
live our lives in a God-pleasing manner (1 Cor 10:6). Consequently, the
greatest recorded natural disaster that ever struck our planet teaches us how
to save ourselves from eternal destruction.
warming or global warning?
We often hear that natural
disasters are on the increase due to our own carelessness about the
environment. Pollution has led to global warming and subsequently to
cataclysmic climate changes. For this reason, many zealously preach the message
of safe environmental practices. Green
and nature have become lifestyle
choices that approach the devotion of religion among many good folks.
Loving and taking care of the
environment and the earth that God has given to us is natural to God’s
children. After all, the Scriptures talk about sustainable agricultural
practices, healthy living, and caring for animals.
But will these practices really
save us from future disasters?
Genesis 9 tells us that God set a
rainbow in the sky after the flood. This rainbow was the sign of the covenant
between God, Noah and “every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall
never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Gen 9:15). If not for God’s
mercy, we would have perished long ago.
Yet, the Bible tells us that the
earth’s second and final great destruction is at hand when the sinful
conditions of the antediluvian world repeat themselves:
For this they willfully forget: that by the word
of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the
water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
But the heavens and the earth which are
now preserved by the same word, are
reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
(2 Pet 3:5-7)
Today as in ancient times, the
people of the world are slowly rejecting God. First they focus on things that
are material, preferring objects and ideals that can be explained and felt in a
physical way. This also explains why they are focused on saving the earth but
not the world of human souls. Moving in the same direction, they dismiss the
special relationship between God and man by denying God in one instance and in
another, equating man with all of the other creation. In evolutionary biology,
man is but a small branch of an enormous tree of life that sprang out from
nowhere. By deleting God and dragging man down to the level of animals, they
emphasize on following physical instincts and satisfaction (e.g.,
“homosexuality is natural”), term bestial behavior as normal and delete the
morality that God gave to man: “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” (Gen 6:5).
If we look at the economic,
romantic and life events on earth that preceded the flood, we notice that they
were surprisingly everyday:
For as in the days before the flood, they were
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away,
so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mt 24:38-39)
Similarly, just before the Lord
comes again, there will be a period when everything on earth looks quite
normal. There are wars and rumors of war, crime and terrorism, but in many
places, people are busy with their daily routines. The world today with its
strange juxtaposition of extreme fear and extreme pleasure chillingly reminds
us of the days before Noah entered the ark. We should take this as a global
warning of destruction and prepare a spiritual way of escape.
Just as Noah and his family
entered the ark to escape destruction, we too must enter the spiritual ark to
be saved from eternal death. But where is this spiritual ark?
prefigurations of the TrueChurch
The Saving Ark
of the End Times
A prefiguration in the Bible is a
teaching embedded in an earlier Old Testament story that is to be understood
spiritually in the New Testament. Noah’s ark is a prefiguration of the saving
body of Christ, which is His church: “And He put all things under His feet, and
gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the
fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:22-23).
Just as there was only one ark, there’s
only one true church (Gen 6:14; Eph 4:4; Jn 10:16). This true church must
faithfully follow God’s words, just as Noah built the ark exactly according to
God’s measurements (Gen 6:22; 1 Chr 28:12; Mt 7:21-23), and have the Lord’s
abidance. In fact, God did not just shut Noah and his family in the ark to
leave them by themselves—He was in the ark Himself for He told Noah, “Come into
the ark, you and all your household” (Gen 7:1).
Today, we enter the true church
and saving ark through baptism:
... when once the Divine longsuffering waited in
the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is,
eight souls, were saved through
There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the
filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ ...
(1 Pet 3:20-21)
It is interesting to note that
Noah’s family of eight souls was not saved “from water”, but “through water”.
Indeed the teaching is profound and unlocks a totally different worldview. God
did not only intend to save Noah and his family from the floodwaters but, more
importantly, He used the floodwaters as a means to save them from the polluting
evil of the world! God was cleansing the world. Today, He cleanses us through
water baptism when our sins are washed away and we are born again. We are truly
saved through water, i.e. water baptism!
Moreover, the above verses tell us
that only a few, that is eight souls, were saved at the time of Noah. Although the
earth was not so populated at that time, eight souls were still an awful
minority. Today, there are also few who enter the true church, “because narrow
is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who
find it” (Mt 7:14).
The Dove of the Holy Spirit with Us
After 150 days of heavy rain, it
began to clear up and the floodwaters started to recede. When the waters had
decreased to a certain level, Noah sent out a dove “to see if the waters had
receded from the face of the ground” (Gen 8:8). Since the ground was still
covered with water, the dove returned to Noah into the ark.
The dove prefigures the Holy
Spirit (Mt 3:16). The first period of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old
Testament was not one of indwelling. God worked within the framework of a
physical chosen people, the Israelites. The Holy Spirit only dwelt temporarily
in a few individuals. The Law was given as a temporary measure to tutor the
people until Jesus Himself ushered in the era of faith (Gal 3:23-25).
When Noah sent out the dove for
the second time, it returned with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth (Gen
8:10-11). This represents the Holy Spirit’s second period of work during the
apostolic era. Although the Lord Jesus established the church with the great
downpour of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, heresies later entered the church and
the Holy Spirit was withdrawn again.
So he waited yet another seven days and sent out
the dove, which did not return again to him anymore. (Gen 8:12)
The Holy Spirit given in the latter
days has revived the true church and will be with us until Jesus comes again!
The final stage of history saw the revival of the true church through the
downpour of the Holy Spirit. This was evidenced by the speaking of tongues and
the return to the clear and simple doctrines of the Bible. In this way, the
Holy Spirit shows us and clearly confirms that the True Jesus Church is the ark
of the end times.
STAY IN THE ARK
When the dove did not return to
him, Noah removed the covering of the ark to see whether the land around him
was dry. Although the ground was indeed dry, he did not leave the ark until God
personally instructed him to do so.
We can imagine how much Noah must
have been eager to go out and step on dry land after such a long time. But just
as he had faithfully followed God’s instructions to build the ark before the
flood came, he continued to follow God’s lead after his life had been saved.
Today, we may have entered the ark
of the last days, but are we still following God’s lead?
Before Noah sent out the dove, he
actually sent a raven. But the raven “kept going to and fro until the waters
had dried up from the earth” (Gen 8:7).
Ravens belong to the family of smaller birds of prey, which partly feed on dead
animals and the young of other birds. As
such, the raven prefigures the devil and his unrelenting activity of devouring
the souls of men on earth (Lev 11:13,15; Mt 13: 4, 1 Pet 5:8). The devil has
been at work since the time of Adam and Eve, and will prowl and devour until
For this reason, we need to watch
and pray, so that we won’t fall into the trap of Satan and be led away from the
safe ark (Mt 26:41).
In fact, the precious Holy Spirit
has been given to us in these last days to help us in this endeavor.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your
remembrance all things that I said to you. (Jn 14:26)
The Spirit of God will help us to
willingly and humbly obey God’s words and to remain in the ark of salvation until
Jesus comes again to say, “Go out of the ark” (Gen 8:16).
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the
first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who
keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
“Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:7, 20)