Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark
to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith.”
Genesis, chapters six through nine, gives the account of Noah’s life, the Ark and the Flood. By
Noah’s day man had become very wicked. God had foreseen this corrupt condition of man, and
had determined to destroy “both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the
air. . . . But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6: 7, 8).
Genesis 6: 9 reads, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with
God.” This verse does not mean that Noah was a perfect man, for he was a fallen man, as were
all of Adam’s children; but that he remained uncontaminated by the wicked conditions and
influences surrounding him. Noah “walked with God,” that is, he exercised a genuine faith in
God, proven by his obedience in building the Ark according to Divine instructions.
This was no small test of faith either, for the Scriptures declare that up to that time there had
been no rain on the earth. “For the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth. . . . But
there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2: 5, 6).
Noah’s faith was also tested for a long period of time. From the time that God declared to Noah
that a flood was coming and commanded the building of an ark, until he and his family entered
the Ark and the Flood began, was 120 years.
St. Peter declares that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2: 5). Besides building
the Ark, Noah continuously warned men, even though the Flood and every indication of it tarried
for 120 years. We can well imagine what persecution and ridicule Noah suffered.
Noah had a good ground for his faith: there was a clear command of God, a well-defined
principle of truth and righteousness; and no blind following of foolish imaginations or vague
impressions. How foolish Noah would have been to spend 120 years building an ark and
warning the people, had he only imagined that a flood was coming!
Our text indicates that Noah was “moved with fear” in preparing the Ark. The word “fear” in this
verse means “godly fear,” as indicated in Hebrews 12: 28. Rotherham suggests “filled with
reverence” as a better translation. Rather than Noah’s being moved by fear in the ordinary sense,
the Greek text indicates that he was piously disposed.
One episode in Noah’s life has astonished some Christian people – his intoxication following his
drinking the wine from his vineyard (Genesis 9: 20, 21). In Noah’s defense, his intoxication was
after the Flood and was purely accidental. The Flood itself changed the atmospheric conditions
of our earth, with one result being the fermentation process. Noah’s drinking of the wine was
evidently contrary to all his experiences preceding the Flood.
St. Paul, in our text, indicates that Noah types our Lord, when he states that Noah “became heir
of the righteousness which is by faith,” for our Lord is undoubtedly the great Heir of the
righteousness which comes to us by faith.
Jesus Himself compared the days of Noah before the Flood with the days of the Son of man
before the Time of Trouble. In the first instance, only Noah and his family knew of the
impending flood; the people knew not, but proceeded as usual, marrying, planting, building,
eating and drinking. Similarly, during the time of Christ’s presence in the end of this Age, the
only ones who know of His presence or have a clear apprehension of what is coming, or why, or
the outcome, are the Lord’s people. Others know not. (Matthew 24: 37-39).
Following the Flood, Noah was given the power to replenish and reorganize society. Likewise,
following the great Time of Trouble, the Christ, Jesus the Head and the Church His body, will
receive the power to replenish and reorganize society; and that glorious work will result in
blessing all the nations of the earth (Galatians 3: 8, 16, 29).
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