Gen 6:14 God Provided a Sanctuary 5/6/2007 ßà
#1. The Earth Was Filled With Violence (Gen 6:11-22)
#2. Make Thee an Ark (Gen 6:14)
#3. An Ark of Gopher Wood (Gen 3:14)
Please open your Bibles to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 6:11 (2X). Today is installment number 7 in the new series on Genesis. I say the “new series”, since I have preached a series of 10 sermons on Gen 2 and 3 not too long ago in the year 2003. Today we are still on the subject of Noah and Noah’s Ark in chapter 6. This is an important chapter, and we would do well to understand both the historical and the spiritual implications of the words that God wrote in this part of the Bible. As you know, the Bible tells us that we must not only see the historical aspects of what God wrote, but we must also be aware of the spiritual meaning wherever we can find a deeper spiritual meaning. And thus I have set myself the task to find out what God wants us to understand of Noah’s Ark. Therefore the title of this sermon is, “God Provided a Sanctuary” (2X). If this entire story of Noah and the Ark would be just a piece of history it would be cold, and of little importance, and sometimes ridiculous. If this story would be laced with marvelous miracles from God, it would be much more interesting. But if these miracles from God are written in such a way that they also would be spiritual pictures of Christ and of His church, then we would be overjoyed when we can find these spiritual pictures. Last week we already saw that Noah was a picture of Christ. There we also saw how Noah saved his family, which is a picture of Christ saving all those who are His, and who become members of the family of Christ. And this is indicating that salvation is all by grace because we belong to the family of Christ. Last week we also saw how Noah saved a kingdom of animals, which consisted of representatives from all species of animals, which is a picture of Christ saving a people for Himself from all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues. And so, let us begin to read from Gen 6:11,
#1. The Earth Was Filled With Violence (Gen 6:11-22)
Ge 6:11 ¶ The earth (also) was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Ge 6:12-13 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Ge 6:14-15 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
Ge 6:16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
Ge 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Ge 6:18-19 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Ge 6:20-21 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth
after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
Ge 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
We read in verse 11, “The earth was filled with violence”. You have heard of a “synecdoche”, which is a figure of speech whereby a part is representing the whole, or where the whole is put for some portion of it. I have written “synecdoche” again on the board. When we read here “the earth”, we must understand that this is a “synecdoche” that does not include the animal world, but it refers only to all mankind that is placed in the world. All mankind was corrupt before God. And all mankind was filled with violence. And it does not refer to everyone of mankind, for certainly Noah was an exception. Likewise, when we read in verse 12, “All flesh”, it is again a synecdoche, a figure of speech referring to all mankind, but it does not include the animal world, and it did not include Noah. Let us now focus on violence that God particularly hates. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Zephaniah, Zep 3:4 (2X). You find Zep near the end of the OT, just before Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. God hates all kinds of violence. But there is one kind of violence that God hates most.
When we think of violence, we normally think only of stealing, and killing, and rape, and other such heinous crimes. But God defines violence in a much broader way. For example, when parents take their children to a church that has another gospel than the Gospel of the Bible, then in fact the parents are preparing their children for spending an eternity in Hell. They are spiritually murdering their children. They are making their children pass through the fire. That is a great deal of violence. Here in Zep 3:4 God speaks about this kind of spiritual violence when He says,
Zep 3:4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.
The picture here is that the prophets and the priests of Jerusalem have left the Gospel of the Bible and have turned to a different gospel, and are leading people astray with their new inventions. This is why the prophets are called “light and treacherous persons”, and this is why the priests are called “polluters of the sanctuary”. They all, both prophets and priests have done violence to the Law of God. In Gen 6:11 we read about violence. Does this include the spiritual violence that is mentioned here in Zep 3:4? Absolutely Yes! When we read Matt 24, or Rev 17 and 18, we understand that God’s wrath will be poured upon mankind when the church goes apostate. And this was also the situation as described in Gen 6, for this is the main reason why God’s wrath came upon mankind in the days of Noah. And it began with the sin of being unequally yoked, for the sons of God married the daughters of men. The violence of the heathen is not what causes God’s great anger; this is expected of the heathen; they are not called by God’s name. But when the people that bear His Name turn to another god, when they become apostate, that is when the anger of the Lord is greatly kindled. Please turn to the Gospel according to John, John 8:44 (2X). Here in John 8 the Lord Jesus has a dispute against a hostile audience. The Jews claimed to be children of Abraham, and they believed that they will go straight to heaven because of God’s promises to Abraham. But Jesus denied that they were children of Abraham. And so we can see that the NT actually tells us that God’s program for the salvation of mankind has changed. After the cross those who were Jews until that time are no longer Jews in God’s sight; those who were children of Abraham are no longer called children of Abraham in God’s sight.; those who were called the wife of God are no longer the wife of God; those who thought to please God by following the Ceremonial Law are no longer pleasing God, for the Ceremonial Law was fulfilled forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, we read here in John 8:44,
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
The Devil was “a murderer from the beginning”. That indicates a great deal of violence. How should we understand this? We know that Abel, the son of Adam, was murdered, but he was murdered by his brother Cain. This murder was not committed by the Devil. The time reference the Lord Jesus referred to was “from the beginning”. Therefore this must refer to the Garden of Eden, where the Devil tempted Eve into sin. And Eve believed the lies of the Devil. Then Eve ate from the fruit of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. Was Eve physically murdered? No! Her body was still alive. But spiritually she died at that instant. This is what the Lord Jesus referred to when He said, “The Devil was a murderer from the beginning”. The Devil committed the spiritual murder of all mankind by the lies that he told to Eve, then to Adam, and then to all of mankind. And he does that beginning with these words: “Has God really said…..?” This is the lie that has penetrated to all generations, but especially to our generation where we see that most of mankind no longer believes the Bible. The Word of God is trampled under foot. This is the violence that God hates. Please turn again to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 6:11 (2X). Another indication of God’s anger on spiritual violence shows up in the Hebrew word that was translated “corrupt”, which occurred three times in verses 11 and 12. We must understand that this Hebrew word most of the time has been translated “destroy”, for it is the same word that was translated “destroy” in verse 13, “I will destroy them with the earth”. And so, what God is saying here boils down to this: They have destroyed their souls by turning away from Me, and now I shall also destroy their bodies with a flood of water.
#2. Make Thee an Ark (Gen 6:14)
But God provided a way of escape for some of them. God commanded Noah in Gen 6:14,
Ge 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
These are momentous words. God chose these words, and He chose them very carefully. This is
a key verse for the understanding of this chapter. Notice that the verb which was translated “to pitch” and the noun which was translated “pitch” do not refer to the tar-like substance that we call “pitch”. This translation is absolutely unacceptable. The Hebrew word that was translated “to pitch” is the word “Kaphar”, which actually means, “to make atonement”, or “to cover sins”, or “to purge away sins”, but nowhere else has it been translated “pitch”. Moreover, the noun that has been translated “pitch” at the end of this verse is the word “Kopher”, which actually means, “a ransom”, or “the price of a life”, or “a satisfaction (of a payment)”, but nowhere else has it been translated “pitch”. What is God actually saying here in Gen 6:14? We have already seen that Noah was picture of Christ. Here in Gen 6:14 the Father commanded Christ to make a sanctuary, or make a shelter, or make a way of escape from the wrath of God, and make it secure that it cannot be harmed by the waters of the wrath of God. In other words, “God Provided a Sanctuary” from the wrath of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ had to make that sanctuary from materials that came out of this earth. What was that sanctuary? What did Noah’s Ark represent? Some believe that the Ark represented Christ. That is not possible, because Noah represented Christ, and Noah took up residence in the Ark. And at the end in chapter 8 the Ark is abandoned, and that is an impossibility if the Ark represented Christ. Some believe that the Ark represented the church. That is almost, but not quite right. The local church, or the externally visible church has never been a sanctuary from the wrath of God, for sometimes even the heathen attempt to dwell in the church as their sanctuary. The externally visible church may have been a sanctuary for the world, which strategy worked at some times, but at other times even the heathen ignored that this was supposed to be a place of safety. For example, during the 80 year war-of-liberation of the Netherlands from the power of Spain, the Spaniards under the leadership of the Duke of Alva found a village where all the Dutch citizens had taken refuge in their church. The Spaniards then torched the church and burned alive everyone inside. No, we do not find that the external church is a guaranteed sanctuary, and it has never been. In fact, it is within the organized external church where apostacy begins to develop and to grow. Worship of other gods does not begin out there in the land of the heathen, for the heathen already live as they please and do not want to be bothered with religious observances. No, apostacy begins within the organized church, and that is why God warns us for these things in Rev 17 and 18. But we must keep in mind that within the local church, within the externally visible church, there is hopefully an invisible nucleus of true believers, called saints, for whose benefit God has established and upholds their local church. Look at the local church as the picture of an egg, with a nucleus of tasty yellow yolk representing those who are spiritually alive, surrounded by a tasteless mass of uninterested white lukewarm people, and surrounded by a hard shell which is the brick and mortar of the building. This is the externally visible church. Most pastors do not want to consider that their congregations contain many unsaved people. Most pastors do not want their congregation to meditate on whether they are truly saved or not. But we do!
And so, what then does Noah’s Ark represent?
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 5:26 (2X). You see, in order to provide for us a safe haven where we can rest absolutely assured that we are freed from the clutches of Satan and are sheltered from the wrath of God, the Lord Jesus Christ had to make the payment for our sins, for we have many sins. God says in Eph 2:3 that “we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. And this means that we came into the world that way, as children of the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved. This means that we were by nature the enemies of God from the day that we were born; no even from the day that we were conceived in our mother’s womb. And thus, from the day that we were born we accumulated many sins, and the older we get the greater the pile of sins that is charged to our account. Each one of these sins would require of us the payment of an eternity in Hell. And thus no one of us can in any way make the payment for our sins that the Law of God requires. Only if the Lord Jesus would be God Himself would He be able to make such a great payment in our place. Only the blood and suffering of Christ is sufficient to cover our sins from the eyes of God. In order to provide for us a safe and certain sanctuary in the presence of Christ, (think of Noah’s Ark), the Lord Jesus had to make atonement for our sins, which is pictured by Noah covering the cracks and the holes of the Ark with an unknown substance which is called “Kopher”, and which means “a ransom”. The Lord Jesus said of Himself in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”. That is why God wrote about the construction of the Ark as if Noah had to “make atonement” within and outside “with ransom”. Noah had to buy the material and apply it to the Ark so that it became a safe and sure sanctuary from the storm that God was to unleash upon the world. What then does the Ark represent? Let me use the words of Eph 5:26-27 and Eph 5:30. There God tells us what the nucleus of the church is. The Ark represents the eternal church, the church that the Lord Jesus loved “and gave Himself for it, That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. The Ark represents the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, “for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph 5:30). The Ark also represents the Temple of God, wherein all three Persons of the Triune Godhead dwell, and wherein we dwell as the precious stones of the Temple, lively stones which were redeemed out of the slave market of sin and cleansed by the precious blood of Christ, and are built up like a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1Pet 2:5).
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 12:22 (2X). God has given us more superlatives, describing His eternal church. Let us now look at:
God says in Heb 12 that we who are saved have not come to a mountain that burned with fire; we have not come to a mountain where the Law was given and where we are commanded to obey this law and that law; but we have come to a mountain where grace is given, and grace unto salvation is given freely. Therefore we read in Heb 12:22-23,
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
God gave us here six descriptions of the eternal church. First of all, it is called Mount Sion. And therefore, when we read in the OT about Zion, do not let the Zionists convince you that this must refer to the Jerusalem which now is, for Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children (Gal 4:25), which means she is still in bondage to sin and Satan and is on the way to Hell. We must let the context decide which Zion God has in mind, for it could very well be that in that OT verse God refers to the eternal church, and then we will see in the OT additional revelations about Mt Sion that God refers to us here. Secondly, God says that we have come to the city of the living God. Satan has a city which is called Babylon, and which is the apostate church. God has a city which is called the heavenly Jerusalem, of which we are citizens already now. And therefore we read in Gal 4:26 that “Jerusalem which is above is free, (is not in bondage), which is the mother of us all”. The eternal church on earth is an integral part of the Jerusalem that is above. Thirdly God says that we have come to “an innumerable company of angels”, which would have been better translated “messengers” instead of “angels”. The eternal church on earth is an integral part of all the spirits in heaven, which consist of the souls of all the saints in heaven, and all the spirit angels which God made to be of service to all the saints on earth. These all have been messengers of Christ, like the eternal church on earth still consists of messengers of Christ. Fourthly, the assembly of saints on earth is called the general assembly and church of the firstborn. Since the Lord Jesus is called the Firstborn of every creature (Col 1:15), we who belong to the Bride of Christ are also called firstborn, for we adopt the name of our Bridegroom the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the eternal church is called the church of the firstborn. A part of this church is still on earth, the church militant, and a part of this church is in their soul existence already in heaven, the church triumphant. Fifthly, God refers to our souls as “written in heaven”. When the Lord Jesus send out seventy of His disciples two by two, and gave them power to heal the sick and preach the Kingdom of God, the seventy returned with joy, and were saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name”. And then the Lord Jesus said unto them in Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”. It does not mean that our names were written on sheets of paper in heaven, for God remembered our names which He has placed in Christ before the foundation of the world. God does not need to keep a list of names. He remembers them all. And sixthly, we belong to the group of spirits of just men made perfect. These are the souls of just men. Who are these righteous men, and how were their souls made perfect? When God the Holy Spirit regenerates our soul, at that moment we are born from above, and the payment for our sins that Christ paid on the cross is applied to our soul. At that moment all of our sins, past, present, and future sins, are erased from our soul, and we are declared just, or righteous, in the sight of God. All our future sins will be erased the moment that we commit them, and thus we remain righteous in the sight of God. Only our souls are saved at the time of our regeneration. We still live in our old body that has not been saved yet, but even in this sinful body we remain righteous in God’s sight, since all our future sins will be erased. And thus, the eternal church is seen in God’s sight as righteous, and holy, and precious, all because of what Christ has done for us. No other redeemer could have made us as perfect in God’s sight as what Christ has done for us. And it was given to us by grace, as a free gift.
Therefore in no way can these descriptions refer to the external church, or the local church. There are just too many imperfections attached to a local church, or to any church in a denomination. In fact, God indicates in Rev 9 and 11, and 13, and 17, and 18 that in the last days the external church is going to go apostate in a big way. And thus we would be wise to stay away from churches that are very successful in growing like gangbusters. Let us now return to Gen 6:14 (2X).
#3. An Ark of Gopher Wood (Gen 3:14)
Ge 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
We know that the Ark was made because God desired to provide a sanctuary for those who He wanted to save, and God wrote it in such a way that Noah appeared as a picture of Christ, and the Ark appeared as a picture of the Kingdom of Christ, which He saved out of the miserable mess of mankind. Before the flood came and long before the Ark was made, God intended to make a way of escape for His own people, the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations, and kindreds, and people and tongues. And when the Ark was made Noah, representing Christ, took up residence in the Ark, which represented Christ taking up residence in His Temple, which temple consists of the hearts and souls of men. Yes, that Noah’s Ark was made of wood represented that Christ made His Temple out of the souls of men. We do not know what “gopher wood” is today. It is sufficient that it was a special kind of wood, suitable for God’s purposes. Wood comes out of the ground, like men are made of the dust of the earth. Trees had to be cut down and die. In fact, they had to be dead for a long time before they would be suitable for making anything out of it. Likewise, we first have to die before we can be of use to the Master. The Bible teaches us that we were in Christ, and when Christ died on the cross we died with Him, so that we could be raised together with Him to a fullness of life. However, this fulness was not initiated until God the Holy Spirit regenerated our soul and made us born from above. And one sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is that we must first be broken before Him. We must have died to self, we must have crossed out ourselves and make Christ’s will become our will before we can be useful to the Master. It is in this sense that we must see that the Ark was made of wood, a special kind of wood. But like God leaves us totally in the dark about the kind of wood He required, so God leaves us in the dark about any qualifications that we might have for choosing us to become the Bride of Christ. All we can know is that we have been chosen by grace. And all that we can know about Gopher wood is that it was God’s choice, and the building of the Ark may have totally consumed all the Gopher wood on this planet. Let us then be thankful that God told Noah to make the Ark out of something that came out of the dust of the earth. Likewise, let us be thankful that God told the Lord Jesus to build a Temple from material that came out of the dust of the earth. He could easily have chosen another route, and then He would have passed us by. Praise God for so great a gift.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.