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 (Manna 64: Dealing with Calamities)
The Great Flood
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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 meters.

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.

Global 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?

Beautiful 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 water.
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.


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.[1] 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 the end.

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. (Rev 21:1)

            “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)


[1] Sratton-Porter, Gene. “Raven”, International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. Edited by James Orr. Blue Letter Bible. 1913, 5 May 2003 29 Jul 2011

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Author: Eng Guan Tay