And then Noah worked for God building that boat. Tonight in chapter eight, when the flood is all said and done, Noah worships God. He led a beautiful life; now, it was an unexpected life being out there on the flood plain. Keep in mind that the flood we're talking about and the boat ride that Noah was on was no Gilligan's Island episode and I know I just dated myself. It was no three hour tour. That boat was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 30 feet tall. And it could accommodate every species of animal alive at that time needed to repopulate the earth. Well tonight we're in chapters seven and eight, the book of Genesis, so let's turn there.
Somebody wrote this as a supposed scenario for Noah: "And the Lord said unto Noah, 'Where's the ark that I have commanded thee to build?' And Noah said unto the Lord, 'Verily I have had three carpenters off ill. The gopherwood supplier hath let me down. Yea even though the gopherwood hath been on order for nigh upon twelve months, what can I do O Lord?' And the Lord said unto Noah, 'I want that ark finished even after seven days and seven nights.' And Noah said, 'It will be so.' And it was not so. And the Lord said unto Noah, 'What seemeth to be the trouble this time?' And Noah said unto the Lord, 'Mine subcontractor hath gone bankrupt. The pitch which thou commandest me to put on the outside and on the inside of the ark hath not arrived. The plumber hath gone on strike. Shem, my son, who helped me on the ark side of the business, hath formed a pop group with his brothers Ham and Japheth. Lord, I am undone.' And the Lord grew angry and said, 'And what about the animals, the male and the female of every sort that I ordered to come unto thee to keep their seed alive upon the face of the earth?' And Noah said, 'They have been delivered unto the wrong address but should arriveth on Friday.' And the Lord said, 'How about the unicorns? And the fowls of the air by sevens?' And Noah wrung his hands and wept, saying, 'Lord, unicorns are a discontinued line. Thou canst not get them for love nor money. And fowls of the air are sold only in half dozens. Lord, Lord, thou knowest how it is.' And the Lord in His wisdom said, 'Noah, My son, I knowest. Why else do thou think that I caused a flood to descend upon the earth?'
Now that brings up an issue because of the fanciful nature of that cute little story as it is told. Unicorns and etcetera. Some little mythological story. How are we to understand Scripture when we read it? The answer can only be there's only one way to understand Scripture. And that is in a literal, grammatical, historical approach. That's how we approach the Bible. Literal, grammatical, historical. We approach it literally. It's straightforward; it's plain, common language. We read it for what it says and what it is. We take it literally unless otherwise demanded by a clear representation that it is figurative language. And it's easy to see if it's metaphor or simile, metanomy, etcetera. Those devices are clear and easy to see. But we take it literally. We also take it grammatically. That is, the grammar functions in the sentence like grammar functions in every other piece of communication in our language. We take into account the grammar and how the noun corresponds to the verb and the subject to the object, etcetera. And we take it historically. It's not myth; it's not legend; it's not a fanciful tale. It is what it says it is.
Here's what's interesting: that's how we interpret Matthew, that's how we interpret Romans, that's how we interpret Psalms and Proverbs, unless again there are those devices that demand a different interpretation. If they're figurative. But that's how we interpret other books in the Bible, whether it's Isaiah or Jeremiah or whatever. But for some strange reason, though people love to do that they say in the Bible and they'll do it elsewhere, when it comes to the first eleven chapters of Genesis they get it all twisted and say, 'Well, it can't possibly mean exactly what it says. It either has to be a twisted tale based upon a Babylonian Gilgamesh epic or it's mythological and must be applied as some sort of a story, a legend, that is passed down.' And they get it all messed up. There are some theologians and commentators that even want to make the flood, though they'll say there was a flood, they want to make it a local flood. 'Well,' they say, 'There was a flood but it only filled the Mesopotamian valley where Noah was.' And this local flood flooded that region and that's all it was. It was not universal, it never covered the entire earth, it was just localized to one large valley in the ancient near east.
Well let me tell you why that cannot possibly be the way to interpret this. It has to be literal, grammatical, and historical. Number one, because of the extensive language that is used to describe the flood. So if you're taking notes: number one, extensive language. You can't miss it. For example, in chapter six, in verse seventeen: "And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die." Now that sounds to me pretty extensive. Either that happened or God is lying here. Extensive language. You could also look at chapter seven verse eighteen, though we're skipping a bit ahead, "The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered." So, extensive language. It's described as something that covered everything and every living thing that needed air died.
Number two, not just extensive language but massive boat. Massive boat. You don't build a boat that's 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 30 feet deep and spend 120 years doing it, if it's just a local flood. That would be idiotic. If you have 120 years warning, why didn't God just say, 'Move to higher ground'? You can do that in 120 years. You can go anywhere you want in 120 years. Why spend all of that time, that effort, building that kind of a boat to float that many animals?
Reason number three: comprehensive promise. Comprehensive promise. Look at the end of chapter eight; I know I'm skipping ahead. Verse 21, "And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." If it was a local flood only, then God just lied. Because several other local floods have certainly occurred. We've seen them in our lifetime around the world. If it was just local, for God to make that kind of a promise saying, 'What I just did will never happen again,'—He lied. There's another reason that I just thought of. Almost every single New Testament book, not all, there are exceptions, but almost all New Testament books give a reference to the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis. And the authors that make a reference to Genesis one through eleven, in their writings, refer to the events as literal, historical events. So then they are wrong as well. And if it was just a local flood, not only that, Jesus is wrong as well. He referred to it as a literal, historical event: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man. For as two were out in the field or out working in the field or at the mill one will be taken the other left." He made a reference to that as well as to the creation that came before that and all of those things as literal, historical events.
So that's how we read the Bible. These chapters, six, seven, eight, and nine, are pretty easy to interpret, pretty straightforward. There was a big flood. It covered the entire globe. Every single human being, and a couple of scientists believe up to a billion perhaps, as well as all of the animals and all of the plant life, all of it, died. Only eight were preserved. Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives—a total of eight were preserved. Those eight, along with the species of animals kept in that huge boat, were enough to repopulate a reconstructed earth. Reconstructed because of the flood that changed the anatomy of the earth. And the earth that we now live in is the same earth that Noah stepped out of the ark in chapter eight. So that's pretty straightforward as we go through it tonight.
Now chapter seven verse one: "Then the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark." Isn't that beautiful? An invitation."You and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation." Now I don't know how much time you've spent out on the water, on the ocean. The ocean is fun. I have such a love for ocean activities and being around the ocean. My dad used to take us deep sea fishing. But was is required to be out on the ocean, out on the sea, successfully is what sailors or fishermen call 'getting your sea legs.' Something I didn't have when I first went out on the ocean. Deep sea fishing with my father from Davy Jones' Locker in Newport Beach, California. Oh, it was so fun to get on that boat and go out in the middle of the night and we were going to spend the night out in the deep and early in the morning catch barracuda. I couldn't wait—I thought. Shouldn't have had a meal. It was the most nauseating experience that I had as a child, being out on the sea without my sea legs. I fed the fish, if you know what I mean. It was horrible.
On another occasion, I had the opportunity of going across the English Channel with a boatload of prim and proper English men and women. And one vivid memory for me is going across the English Channel during a storm seeing these prim and proper Englishmen, one lady dressed in her mink stole, sicker than a dog, head hanging over the side, spilling her whatever she had for her meal. Quite interesting. Noah, his wife, his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives, would be on that boat for a total of 371 days. A little over a year if you do the math. Well by that time they got their sea legs. They were ready for it; but I'm sure it was quite a breaking-in period of time. Now notice, it's an invitation. The Lord says, "Come into the ark." This is the first time you will find the word 'come' appearing in the Bible. The first time 'come.' It's an invitation by God saying 'come.' Now this isn't the only time; you will read several invitations that are like that throughout Scripture. One that comes to mind is Isaiah 1, "Come now, the Lord says, Let us reason together, though your sins are as scarlet, I'll make them pure white as snow, white as wool." The great promise of Jesus which is still in effect today: "Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." That invitation of God to human beings is found throughout the Bible. Until the last invitation in Revelation 22:17: "The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come and whoever is thirsty let him freely drink of the Water of Life."So God inviting mankind and here, inviting Noah to come onto the ark. Beautiful word of invitation.
In going into the ark, it would save his life but, he was going to experience, though be preserved, the greatest cataclysm besides creation that so far has ever happened to the earth. The flood. He would be preserved but boy would it be a storm. But I'd rather be with God in the storm than anywhere else without God. He's going to be in the storm, but he's going to be with the Lord in the storm. Better to be in the storm with God than anywhere else without Him. Do you remember that promise, or do you know it, in Isaiah 43? It says that when you go through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. God's promise to reassure the nation of Israel that it won't be so overwhelming because God's presence will be with them in the storm. We'll get to it—, who knows when, in the New Testament. When Jesus is on the Sea of Galilee in a storm with His disciples and the disciples flip out because they think they're going to drown. Now Jesus is in the boat asleep. Now if they were logical, and you're not always logical in situations that demand your emotional engagement, but they thought they were going to drown. How could that be possible if Jesus is in the boat? You're boat can't drown if Jesus is asleep in it. He's rested. You might feel like it's going to drown, but it's not going to drown if Jesus is there with you. So the Lord invites him in; he goes in.
Notice this: "Because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation." Noah was different: Noah walked with God, worked for God (that was a step of faith to build the ark), and later will worship God. But he was singular. In a world that was unrighteous, not walking with God, walking in their own lust, in their own desires, in their own designs, this guy was a break. He was refreshing; he walked with God. And God notices that: "I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation." It was hard for Noah. I don't have to say, 'I bet it was hard for Noah.' I know it was hard for Noah to worship, to walk with God, and to work for God when the whole world didn't want anything to do with God. Don't you think that building a boat year after year when there hadn't even been rain yet on the earth because the Bible says the earth was watered from subterranean streams and mist that came up out of the ground and watered this lush earth with a canopy around it? And so for Noah to say, 'God said it's going to rain.' 'Well, what's rain, Noah?' 'You know, I don't know. He hasn't explained that to me yet. But something's going to happen.' Now the whole world would've mocked him. Or whoever saw him would've mocked him. But Noah was a true non-conformist. Can I just encourage you to be a non-conformist? I've always been accused of that. And I wear the title proudly. Don't go with the crowd; don't go along with what everybody's into. Peer pressure is a real pressure. Toddlers get it, teens get it, adults get it, and housewives, politicians, preachers, and college students get it. The pressure to conform to the standard of whatever's cool, whatever's in. Somebody once said that, 'College is the place where non-conformists conform to the prevailing standard of non-conformity.' I read that and I said, 'I like that.' That's true. Whatever is the standard of coolness, whether it's political or moral, and that's the standard, go along with us, conform and then we'll call you a non-conformist.
You want to really be a non-conformist? Love Jesus. Walk with God. Don't go the way of the world. God said, 'Noah I noticed that in you.' So verse two: "You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."
God had given him 120 year warning; now he has the final seven day warning. 'You got seven days, Noah. Get on the boat.' Now I don't know if Noah got on the boat immediately, because the animals it said would come to him. And maybe they came on. I don't know if he got on on the seventh day; he might have just sort of gotten on there early and just sat there. He had plenty of time to prepare for this—now he has one final week. I know when I travel I like to get to the airport a bit early because if you get there early you can get more overhead space and that's limited these days. So I like to get there early. Not that that was really an issue, I suppose, with Noah but if Noah did get in the boat early, that means for seven days he was sitting inside this huge cavernous vessel. And people stopped by, 'You dumb old man. You are so idiotic. First of all you think God speaks to you and that He told you to do this. And you've been doing it a long time.' And so Monday came, and then Tuesday and then Wednesday and then Thursday, and then Friday and the mocking continued. And then Saturday and then, finally, the last day. And bam! The door closed. The Bible says, 'God shut him in.' And those people looked around and said, 'It's looking like rain. Of course, it has never rained yet, but it's looking like what that guy said would happen.' And the storm came.
Now it says, verse five, "And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth." Water is destructive. I've had a little bit of experience just from surfing in the ocean. I've been out on certain days when I was younger where I saw my friends who were out with me and the waves broke their surfboards like toothpicks—just snapped them in half. I've seen people paralyzed from the neck down because of waves too large and they couldn't handle them. Or ask the people in New Orleans, Louisiana about the force of water, especially those who had lived down in the lower ninth ward when Katrina hit. And the levees broke and the walls of water—seventeen feet. Moved houses from their location down the street to another location, or moved cars several blocks away. Or the people who lived through the Asian tsunami recently where walls of water thirty-five feet tall just leveled everything. And hundreds of thousands of people perished because of that.
In verse seven: "So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth." Now I just want you to watch as we go through and finish out this chapter, the kind of wording that is used in our Bibles to describe what the water does upon the face of the earth. How it increases; how it grows; how it prevails. And the language seems to mount. Now I did mention to you last week a book by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris called The Genesis Flood. I'll recommend it again. It's a great book by a couple of Ph.D.'s, one a scientist, one a theologian, who in one place basically say, 'It's difficult to imagine that you can have that much water as described here upon the earth without great geological changes upon the earth.' That the surface of the earth must have changed, not just before the flood, which you'll see in just a minute why, but during the flood and then after when the waters receded.
But that the earth went through an incredible cataclysm, so that what you see today is not what Adam and Eve saw during their time, but it's a completely different environmental economy and totally different hydrology. And they point out that there is evidence in our past, and some believe even in our recent past, of mountain ranges and they point to the Southern Rocky Mountain ranges. Like here in New Mexico where you have thrust faults visible, and the crust of the earth that has severely buckled and been distorted by immense force. And these scientists believe it happened during the flood. Now in verse eleven, we're told: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month [notice how well documented it is], on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights."
People often ask, 'Where did all that water come from for a worldwide flood and where did all that water go after the flood?" Two good questions. It came from two places: from above and below. It came from the sky and it came from the fountains of the deep, we're told in verse eleven. Now those that hold to the canopy theory, the scientists who are on that side of the equation and believe that there was a canopy in the upper atmosphere that shrouded the earth and gave it an even temperature, more of a hothouse effect, say that the water that could have fallen from the canopy alone would be 2.5% of the present ocean mass of water today. There's that much water in the atmosphere. So the rest of it came from rain, and if I can remember this, that the canopy would've been compromised by something that happened geologically within the heart of the earth. And so look at verse eleven. There's that interesting phrase, it's used about four or five times in Scripture, it says, "All the fountains of the great deep were broken up."
There are several scientists and one notable one, one that I had here a few years ago, he's a Ph.D. from MIT who specialized in this stuff, a creationist, holds to what he calls the hydro plate theory. That at one time, pre-flood, before the flood, that there was really one supercontinent. It wasn't the distribution of land that we see today. One supercontinent. And that below the surface of the earth, about ten miles, covered by mostly granite and below mostly basalt rock, was a line in interconnected chambers of water that was like a water shell around the whole earth. And he says, 'There's evidence of that.' Subterranean interconnected chambers of water under the earth ten miles from the surface of the earth downward and it was about a half a mile to three quarters of a mile thick. Pressure in those caverns and the pressure he said would be equal to the explosion of, the release of, ten billion hydrogen bombs. That pressure built up—volcanic pressure. And it caused the stretching of that water shroud in the earth, just like you'd have a balloon that would stretch, that a fissure would've occurred in the rock that could've traveled at three miles per second and covered the whole globe in two hours. It would've opened up a chasm that would've shot water twenty miles into the air, been responsible for flooding a good portion of the earth with water, as that volume of water came up through the earth, that eventually some of the layers of rock, because of the erosion that took place over a rapid period of time in that fissure. That rock came up and began to buckle and that it what today is that mid-oceanic rift—those mountains in the mid-Atlantic and other ocean. It surrounds the entire earth like a baseball; like a baseball sewn. If you've ever seen the mid-oceanic ridge. And that as that thing began to buckle up, that the plates, the continental plates, began to drift downward. And as they drifted downward into more of the present day continents, as they reached a speed of 45 miles per hour, they met some resistance. And in that resistance, the earth began to buckle. The crust began to buckle. Some of it thrust upward, some if thrust downward. The downward thrust is responsible for the deep water basins in the ocean. The thrusts upward are the great chains of mountain and interestingly, those mountain chains are all parallel to the mid-oceanic mountain range or rift.
That's the hydro plate theory. That those are the fountains of the deep that broke up, and that along with the water canopy, created this havoc of water upon the earth. "And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth [so all the creeps were there, too] after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in. Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth." Now notice: "The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered." Fifteen cubits is about 22 ½ feet.
Now it is thought that in the ante-deluvian earth, the pre-flood earth, the mountains may not have been as high as they are now. Mountain ranges in some places can be thirty thousand feet and the depths of the ocean, some of the deep basins, are thirty-five thousand feet below the surface of the ocean. And that it was more of a level earth at that time; not quite as contrasting in distances. "The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. 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. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on dry land, died." Now that's the message that is key to this chapter. God really isn't interested in the geology as much as the theology here. You know, it's not all about, 'How was that possible?' and 'Give me the geological formations.' It's the theology that is most important. Every person, every animal, every bit of flora and fauna perished on the earth all because God judged sin. And this is why you have people who will do everything they can to controvert the idea of a worldwide flood, even though there is great scientific evidence for it. They don't want to believe in a God who would ultimately judge the world for its sin by causing everyone on it to die.
But He did. And we may not like that but that's the way it is. It happened. And it's going to happen again, not in quite the same manner, God will give his covenant at the end of chapter eight, but something similar is going to happen and I'll describe before I close tonight. So is this theology of what God is doing and why is of utmost importance. So verse 23: "So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days." You can do all the math of the seven days and the forty days and one hundred and fifty days and the months after they hit the ground and waited until the waters receded, etcetera.
But were there music behind this scene, and every time the word 'prevailed' came you'd have a little more volume in the music, it would crescendo, it would rise in volume. It says this happened and "the waters prevailed"; then "the waters greatly increased and prevailed." And you get the idea that this massive amount of water rose and rose and rose and continued and prevailed a long time. Verse 1 of chapter 8: "Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided." Now this doesn't mean that God forgets things, or that God forgot Noah because he was busy doing something else and one day He went, "Oh! That's right! That little boat's bobbing around up there. I've got to do something about Noah."
The Hebrew word is 'zachar' for remember. It's used a total of 73 times in Scripture whenever God is the subject and it is simply anthropomorphism. A description of God in human language—that's all. It's a way that we can understand the importance of the relationship between God and Noah. God didn't forget about the little boat bobbing around on the surface of the waters. He knew all about those animals and all about Noah. And it says, "God remembered." Now God is going to enact the subsiding of the water, the preservation of the family, and the repopulation of the earth. That's all that means. "God remembered Noah, and every living thing." Now, if you were to look at it from Noah's perspective, picture yourself being Noah. You're on a boat. It actually happened. The impossible, what you thought was the improbable, what everybody told you was just a myth and would never happen has now happened. And you're on a boat. And there are only seven other people besides you and a whole bunch of animals that stink really bad. And everything below you is water and death. Hundreds of thousands of humans dead; animals dead; everything dead. You might feel abandoned. You would feel lonely—you'd feel isolated. Especially since there's no record that God was speaking to Noah at all during this time. He spoke to him before, He will speak to him afterwards, but there's no record that God said anything. He's just on the water. And he would feel abandoned and he would feel lonely.
"And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided." Now, it could be, and I don't want to try to unravel this too much because there's too much behind it and I'm incapable of doing it. It could be that up until this time there wasn't any wind on the earth. Before the fountains of the great deep, before the flood, because of the canopy in the earth it would be no mass air movement, scientists tell us. A whole different hydrology existed, but now that canopy is gone, it is broken up, the kind of typical evaporation and movement of air and clouds would happen. But up to that point it hasn't happened—now it's happening. And the winds going to help the water subside. Now the word for wind in Hebrew is ruach and it's exactly the same word in Genesis 1:2 for God's Spirit. And it says, "The Spirit of God hovered of waters." Same word—ruach. Spirit and wind in Hebrew is the same word. I don't think it means anything other than what the English translators say that it means. I think in chapter one verse two it was the Holy Spirit and here it's the actual wind. I think the translators were accurate in it; but just know that the word is the same but often translated differently.
"The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped [another metaphor for the rain that fell; perhaps the breakdown of the canopy], and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased." So no doubt the surface of the earth was greatly changed after the fountains broke up and with that volume of water upon the face of the earth for a long time, it would responsible for such things like the Grand Canyon, four fossils over 7,000 feet and all the things we told you last week. There would be rapid movement of sediment that would occur. And a lot of things that are observable on the earth are explained by a worldwide flood. But probably it wasn't until the flood that the height of the mountains that we have existed because of the flood. Because of the break-up, because of the continental drift, because of the mass movements of water, etcetera. Now it's going to recede and it's going to fill the basins of the deep that were created because of that opening up of the caverns. And those huge basins in the ocean and the 70% of water that is now prevalent upon the surface of the earth.
"Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat." Now there is a mountain in the Soviet Armenia border of Turkey area called Mount Ararat. Today it's 17,000 feet. Somewhere around the 14,000 foot level, there is something. We don't know exactly what it is. Some have supposed that it is Noah's Ark. And I have met people who have gone on searches, they've gone on expeditions, they've spent their money, they've spent months trying to get up to that level. Some have actually said they have pieces of wood have been allegedly discovered and have been dated to be between 1100 years old and 5000 years old. But there are all sorts of interesting appearances of an ark on Mt. Ararat as far back as 275 B.C. Now we don't have enough evidence to say it is it. But there's enough other evidence throughout history that at least peaks our curiosity. So here's the first one: 275 B.C. a Chaldean priest, a Babylonian historian, wrote that the ark of Noah was on Mount Ararat and people in his day were taking pieces of the pitch and making amulets out of it.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, who writes after Jesus, said that the ark was there and that people were taking bits of it, making relics out of it. Theophilus of Antioch, 180 A.D. said that the ark, in certain places in the mountain range, was visible from a lower elevation. In the early 1900's, some Soviet aviators were flying over the area and they took pictures of it. They discovered it; they even got the czar of Russia interested in finding the ark of Noah, but the Russian Revolution broke out and interest was quickly lost. Back in the 90's, I remember CBS did a special on Noah's Ark and had photographs, etcetera. And this thing gets resurrected every few years. We don't exactly know what it is, but we know something is up here, it can be photographed, I've seen pictures of it, I've talked to people who've gone up there and gotten very, very close. But we just don't have enough evidence. We know that something at 14,000 feet is there that oddly looks like a boat. And it's covered in ice. Maybe one day we'll find out. Some people think that it will be revealed—we just don't know. Oh and by the way, it doesn't have to be on Mount Ararat, because it says the mountains of Ararat and that's an entire range. So now the possibilities are opened up even more, should you desire to go and look.
"And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen." So it took a long time for Noah to be around that boat and let the waters recede before he would even get out of the ark. "So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground." So now Noah becomes a bird-watcher and he sends out a raven. Now the raven didn't come back, because ravens would feast on carrion, dead flesh—there was a lot of it. So anything that was there because they're omnivorous it could go from corpse to corpse to corpse to corpse and not return, just have a heyday. It was considered an unclean bird; a dove is considered a clean bird and it needs something clean and dry and so that bird just returned back, as you'll see. "But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore."
Now that was the sign that it was safe. Not one dove, not two doves—three. Three launchings of a dove. It's always interested me that the symbol of peace has been a dove with an olive branch. It's interesting because that wasn't the symbol to Noah. When that dove came back with an olive branch it was the symbol that God's judgment was still on the earth. The symbol that peace was coming to the earth is when the dove did not return. And it's like, 'Ah, good! Things are really good now!' That was really the symbol of peace: the absent dove.
"And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark [don't you know that felt really good] and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried." Noah got out of that boat and it was a brand new world. And the world that Noah stepped into is the world we now live in. The Grand Canyon was there when Noah got it, responsible for its etching by the flood. The great mountain chains, including the Sandia mountains, were there when Noah stepped out of the ark. The great valleys and streams and lakes were all there. It was our world that he stepped into. A very different world than the ante-deluvian world.
"Then God spoke to Noah, saying, "Go out of the ark." I'm thinking he's saying, 'Gladly.' "You and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord."
This is the first altar built in the Bible. See there's a lot of firsts in these chapters. Here's the first altar every built and it's built by Noah, post-flood. He built an altar to the Lord and "took of every clean animal and of every clean bird; and offered burnt offerings on the altar." Now you know why God said, 'Bring seven.' You can use two of them to reproduce, you can sacrifice some of them, and perhaps some of them were even used for food during that time he was on the ship. "And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma." And that's when the Lord gives this promise. So, it says in the beginning of the chapter, "The Lord remembered Noah." But that's not all. Noah remembered the Lord. Now just let that sink in because it is our human nature to forget the Lord. It is our human nature to promise God great things in a catastrophe, and then when the catastrophe is over to forget the Lord. Life goes on as normal. Remember the story in the Gospel of Luke when Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem and He's passing through Galilee at the border of Samaria and there are ten lepers and they cry out, 'Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!' And Jesus healed them. And said, 'Now go to the priest and offer the offering and go through the ritual purification and he'll pronounce you clean.' One of them, out of ten, one of them returned and thanked the Lord for doing that and Jesus said, 'Huh. So where are the other nine?' Only one tenth of those who were blessed that day returned to thank the Lord and I wonder if the ratio is any different today. It's probably about the same; probably one-tenth of all that God blesses will return and go, 'Thank you, Lord! I remember it. I love You.' Noah remembered the Lord.
There's a lot of ways we can remember the Lord. Saying grace before a meal. The food comes, it's hot, it smells so good, you're so hungry, but you pause to remember, 'Thank you, Lord. This came from You. I remember that You blessed me with it.' That's one way to do it. Another way to remember the Lord, according to Proverbs, is with the first fruits of your increase. What the Bible calls a percentage of your income. That's a biblical way of saying it. So when you write that tithe check, you're saying, 'Lord, I could use this for a lot of things. But I love You and I want to honor You and I remember You.' Here's another way: Sunday morning the alarm goes off, the bed is warm, the air outside is cold; you don't want to get up. But you get up and rally the troops, get them food, get them clothed, put them in the car, bring them to church—because you want to remember the Lord. Or it's Wednesday night and it's cold! But you come. You want to remember Him. You want to honor Him. That's not human nature. That's not natural; but it is supernatural. And the life of Christ within you craves that, doesn't it? Because you know the blessing that comes when you seek Him that way. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12, by the way, "Remember the Lord in the days of your youth." And I love that because if, as a young person, you come to Christ and you set the pattern early of remembering the Lord, your whole life will change. Everything will get aligned. I came to Christ when I was just turning eighteen and I remember setting some disciplines early on in that first stage of my Christian development that have stuck with me to this day. And just helped me to remember Him.
I did it in the days of my youth—those days are long gone. "Then the Lord said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth [notice that God knows the depravity of all men and women]; nor will I again destroy every living creature [notice] as I have done." He didn't say, 'I won't destroy every living creature.' God says, 'I won't do it in the same way that I did it in the flood.' He'll never again, by water, destroy the earth. "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer." Now notice the changes. Some believe that the flood is what tilted the earth 23 1/3 degrees on its axis—it's not perfectly straight, it's tilted. And it's the tilt of the earth 23 1/3 degrees that gives us, in its rotation that way, our four seasons. And here the four seasons are mentioned. "Cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."
Now we have just four minutes left. Plenty of time to look at a text. 2 Peter 3:5: "For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." Peter said, 'There are people who forget that a worldwide flood swept this earth.' They're uniformitarianists. They believe all things continue—they don't. This earth, says Peter, has a history of catastrophic geology. I'm interpreting slightly different. "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. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise." The promise of what? Judgment. "As some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat." So the earth is going to be destroyed by fire, not by water.
"And the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness." Now there's a great question. Let's answer it. If this earth is temporary and is going to burn up, what kind of a person should you be? Certainly not materialistic. Because everything you own will burn up one day and you won't be able to take it with you. "Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" Ok. Process that as we close. Some hear that and go, 'Oh… I don't think so. Even if there was a flood that was so long ago, thousands of years.' Well just remember this: a thousand years is like one day to the Lord. And a day is like a thousand years. It is going to happen. It is going to happen.
Now why is it that the skeptic does not want to believe in a worldwide flood contrary to the enormous amount of evidence that exists? And I believe the evidence for the flood is one of the great witnesses against the unbelieving world. Here's why: because it's a preview of coming attractions. What God did in destroying sinners, God will do again in worldwide decimation in the great tribulation period. If you want the details on 2 Peter, read the second half of the book of Revelation. It will detail it. But there is an ark. There is an ark of safety, there is an ark of hope and His name is Jesus Christ. And if you give your life to the One who gave His life as a payment for your sin and my sin, God will remember you. He'll remember you like He remembered Noah. That's the message of the New Testament gospel.
There was one little fun piece of evidence I wanted to share with you about the dating of the end of the flood, but I don't have enough time. Because I'm looking and it says 8:30 so… no, now it's 8:31. It just clicked again, you know. But isn't interesting that the dating is so precise and the dating of the end of the flood is so precise and I'll tell you one of the reasons why I think that is next time we meet.