“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God” (Gen 6:9; trans).
The third section starts with immediate focus on the righteous believer, Noah. He stands in stark contrast to the unbelievers who filled the earth with violence (Gen 6:11-13). The crescendo of conflict between Adam’s unbelieving offspring in the first section and his believing offspring in the second section threatened the existence of the believing line. Both claimed ownership of the earth’s kingdom. The unbelievers, represented by their tyrannical kings, the sons to the gods, built cities and ruled for the man’s name and glory. The godly line believed the promise of a redeemer given to Adam and Eve, and looked for the coming King and his Kingdom. The visible story presented quite the contrast. The sons of the gods ruled for the glorious utopia of man, but brought violence and corruption on the earth (Gen 6:11-12). But the true sons of God, were persecuted, despised and martyred to the point where only Noah’s family was left. Noah and the Flood would be the adjudication of the contrasting claims to the kingdom.
The Flood was a redemptive judgment. God wiped out mankind (Gen 6:7) in its wickedness. But through the judgment waters, God saved Noah and his family. God would cause His covenant promises to Noah and his family to stand (Gen 6:18). Theirs are the kingdom promises. Peter refers to the Flood when he encourages those being persecuted for their faith. Peter writes,
“ But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you [g]are blessed….18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all time, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit; 19 in ]which He also went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who once were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God [p]for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… (1 Pet 3:14, 18-22).”
Noah and his family were saved through the judgment waters in the ark. Their deliverance in the ark is a picture of the salvation in Christ and the final judgment. Again, Peter turns to the Flood in challenging those who say there is no coming judgment. He writes,
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.’ 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly people” (2 Pet 3:3-6).
God destroyed the world that then was with the Flood (2 Pet 3:6; Gen 6:13, 17). The final judgment will destroy the present heavens and earth with fire (2 Pet 3:10-13). So, the Flood that destroyed the world that then was is a picture of the final judgment to come. The unbelievers were judged, but all those in the ark, in Christ, are saved.
There are several aspects to the Flood picture. Following the sabbatical imagery of Genesis, Moses gives seven sections:
A Ark’s Construction 6:9-22
B Embarking 7:1-9
C Waters Increase 7:10-17a
D Judgment Waters Prevail 7:17b-24
C’ Waters Decrease 8:1-14
B’ Disembarking 8:15-19
A’ Altar Consecration 8:20-22
Noah, a picture of Christ, is the righteous man (Gen 6:8-9; 7:1). God commanded him to build the ark (Gen 6:14ff) and the animals to bring on the ark (Gen 6:19ff). Noah is the obedient servant who builds the ark. Moses writes, “So Noah did these things, according to everything that God had commanded him, so he did” (Gen 6:22). Again, in embarking, Noah is the obedient servant. God commanded him what animals to take (Gen 7:2ff), and Noah obeyed. He “acted in accordance with everything that the Lord had commanded him” (Gen 7:5, 9). After the Flood waters prevailed, Noah is still the obedient servant in disembarking. God commanded Noah to take his family and the animals and leave the ark (Gen 8:16f). Noah obeyed (Gen 8:18-19). In the picture Noah is the obedient servant who saves his family in the ark. In the seventh section, the obedient servant builds an altar on the mountain and offered up a sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord accepted his offering, and he and his family are heirs of a new world.
The Flood also pictures the world’s de-creation and re-creation. In a reversal from the original creation where God gathered the water to the sky from the waters below at the appearing of the land (Gen 1:6-10), in this de-creation water came from below and above to flood the earth. (Gen 7:11). Every creature with breath perished (Gen 7:21). After the Flood, there was a new creation as the wind blew and the water subsided. Noah, his family, and the creatures of the earth left the ark onto the new land.
During the Flood, the ark itself was a miniature of the kingdom of God. Like the original creation, there were three levels (Gen 6:16) corresponding to earth’s three levels -- the sky above, the land, and the water below. Like Adam in the original kingdom, Noah ruled as vassal king over the kingdom of animals within with his family. And as Adam was a priest to guard the holy kingdom, so Noah was a priest. There were clean and unclean animals (Gen 7:2; cf. Lev 11; Deut 14) because the ark was holy. Noah, like Adam and a picture of Christ, was the priest-king on the ark.
God remembered his covenant with the believing line. Moses writes, “God remembered Noah” (Gen 8:1). The kingdom was his. Though generations came and went, persecuted as they were by the unbelieving line, God, in the Flood, proclaimed the certainty that the coming kingdom belonged to Adam’s sons through the obedient servant Noah portrayed.
Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from NASB. Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
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