Gleanings In Genesis
12. Noah A Type Of Christ
No study of the person and character of Noah would be complete without viewing him as a type of the Lord Jesus. With one or two notable exceptions it will be beside our purpose to do more than call attention to some of the most striking points of correspondency between the type and the antitype, leaving our readers to develop at greater length these seed thoughts.
1. To begin at the beginning, Noah’s very name foreshadowed the Coming One. In Genesis 5:28, 29 we read, "And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son; and he called his name Noah." Noah means "rest." His father regarded him as the one who should be the rest-giver, and as one who should provide comfort from the toil incurred by the Curse. "He called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." Lamech looked upon his son as one who should bring deliverance from the Curse, as one who should provide comfort and rest from the weariness of toil. Our readers will readily see how this ancient prophecy (for prophecy it undoubtedly was) receives its fulfillment in the One of whom it was also written, "And His rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11:10), and who when on earth said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). But further than this, Noah’s name, and the prophecy of his father on the occasion of the bestowment of it upon his son, also looks forward to the time of our Lord’s Second Advent when He shall deliver the earth from its Curse—See Isaiah 9; 35, etc.
2. The first thing which is told us in connection with Noah is that he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen. 6:8). In a previous article we have commented upon the setting of these words and have pointed out the contrast which they are designed to emphasize. "All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." The ruinous and ravaging effects of sin were universal. But as God looked down upon the creatures of His hand, now fallen and depraved, there was one who stood out by himself, one who was just and perfect in his generation, one upon whom God’s eye delighted to rest. It is very significant that nothing at all is said about Noah’s family—his "sons and their wives"—in this connection; Noah only is mentioned, as if to show he is the one on whom our attention should be fixed. When we note what a striking type of our Lord Jesus Noah is, the reason for this is obvious; He is the one in whom the heart of the Father delighted, and just as the first thing told us in connection with Noah is that he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord," so the first words of the Father after the Lord Jesus had commenced His public ministry were, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
3. The next thing told us about Noah is that he "was a just man" (Gen. 6:9). As is well known, the word just means "righteous." Like all other sinners who find acceptance with God, Noah was "justified by faith." He possessed no inherent righteousness of his own. Righteousness is imputed, imputed to those that believe (Rom. 4:6, 22-25). There was only one man who has ever walked our earth who was inherently and intrinsically righteous and that was He whom Noah foreshadowed, He of whom the centurion testified, "Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47).
4. Next we read that Noah was "perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9). In a previous article we have seen that this expression has reference to the body and not to perfection of character. Noah and his family had not been defiled by contact with the Nephilim. "Perfect in his generations’’ signifies that Noah was uncontaminated physically. "Perfect in his generations" is predicated of Noah alone; of none other is this said. How plain and perfect the type! Does it not point to the immaculate humanity of our Lord? When the Eternal Word was "made flesh" He did not contract the corruptions of our fallen nature. Unlike all of human kind, He was not "shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin." On the contrary His mother was told, "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). In His humanity our Lord was "separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26). He was uncontaminated by the virus of sin; He was "perfect in His generation."
5. Next we read of Noah that he "walked with God" (Gen. 6:9). In this also he was a type of Him who for thirty-three years lived here in unbroken communion with the Father. All through those years, however varied His circumstances, we find Him enjoying holy and blessed fellowship with the Father. During His early life, in the seclusion of Nazareth we learn that "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). During the long season of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, we find Him living by "every word of God" (Luke 4:4). While His disciples slept, our blessed Lord retired to the solitudes of the mountain, there to pour out His soul to God and enjoy fellowship with His Father (Luke 6:12). At the close of His sufferings on the Cross we hear Him cry, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46). Truly His walk was ever "with God."
6. God Gave Noah an Honorous Work to Do "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 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 in the ark, to keep them alive with thee" (Gen. 6:14, 18, 19). Here we find a work is entrusted to Noah by God, a highly important work, a momentous and stupendous work. Never before or since has such a task been allotted to a single man. The task of preserving from God’s judgment representatives of all creation was committed to Noah! The type is so clear and plain that comment is almost needless. To the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, was entrusted the task of effecting the salvation of lost and ruined sinners. It is to this He refers when He says, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4)—speaking here as though in Glory, where He now is as our great High Priest.
7. Noah, Alone, Did the Work We shall consider separately the typical significance of the ark; for the moment we would direct attention upon Noah and his work. Is it not striking that there is no reference here to any help that Noah received in the executing of his God-given task? There is no hint whatever that any assisted him in the work of building the ark. The record reads as though Noah alone provided the necessary means for securing the lives of those that God had entrusted to his care! Surely the reason is obvious. The truth which is foreshadowed here is parallel with the typology of Leviticus 16:17—"And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out" when atonement was being made the High Priest must be alone. So it was in the antitype. The work of redemption was accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24), and He needed no assistance in this work, for God had "laid help upon One that is mighty" (Ps. 89:19, R.V.). In full harmony then with the Leviticus 16 type, and in perfect accord with its fulfillment in our gracious Savior, we find that the record in Genesis reads as though Noah was alone in his task and received no assistance in the work of providing a refuge from the coming storm of Divine wrath.
8. Moreover, is not the perfection of the type further to be seen in the fact that the inspired record passes over the interval of time necessary for Noah to have performed his task? This is very striking, for many months, and probably years, would be required to build an ark of the dimensions given us in Genesis. But not a word is said about this. After God gave instructions to Noah to build the ark, the next thing we read is, "Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Gen. 6:22; Genesis 7:1)—as though to show that when he began, his work was speedily accomplished! How much we may learn from the silences of Scripture! Again we call attention to the parallel type in Leviticus 16—"For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord" (v. 30). In Leviticus 23 the Day of Atonement is classed among Israel’s great feasts, and by noting this the point we are now making comes out more clearly by way of contrast. Others of these feasts, e.g., Unleavened Bread, Tabernacles, etc., extended over a period of several days, but Atonement was accomplished in one day. Nothing was left over to be completed on the next day; which reminds us of the blessed words of our triumphant Savior—"It is finished." There is nothing now for us to do but rest on His Finished Work. In one day, yes, in three hours, on the Cross, our Lord put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. As we have said, this was anticipated in the typical significance of Noah’s work by the silence of Scripture upon the length of time he was engaged in the performance of his task, the record reading as though it was speedily executed.
9. The successful issue of Noah’s work, seen in "the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7) reminds us of the language of Hebrews 3:6, "But Christ as a son over his own house" (Heb. 3:6). But the type goes further: Noah’s work brings blessing to all creation as is seen from the fact that the animals and birds were also preserved in the ark. Observe how beautifully this is brought out in Genesis 8:1—"And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark." So, too, the work of Christ shall yet bring blessing to the beasts of the field. At His return to the earth "the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21).
10. In Genesis 6:19 we have a hint of the animal creation being subject to Noah "And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee." We have a passing glimpse of the yet future fulfillment of this part of the type in Mark 1:13—"And He was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts." Noah’s headship over all creatures comes out even more clearly in Genesis 9:2—"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered." How this reminds us of Psalm 8, which speaks of the future dominion of the Son of Man. "For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honor. For thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet (compare Heb. 2:8), "But now we see not yet all things put under Him, all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea!" This same thought is repeated in the Genesis narrative again and again as if with deliberate emphasis. When we read of the animals entering the Ark we are told "They went in unto Noah (not unto Noah and his family) into the Ark," and then we are told "And the Lord shut him (not ‘them’) in" (Gen. 7:15, 16). And again, on leaving the ark we read that God said unto Noah, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" (Gen. 9:3). So Christ is "the Heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2).
11. In Genesis 6:21 we find Noah presented as the great food-provider: "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." We need hardly say that this finds its complement in Christ the Bread of Life. He is God’s Manna for our souls. He is the Shewbread which was eaten by Aaron and his sons (Lev. 24:9). He is the Old Corn of the land (Joshua 5:11). In short, it is only as we feed upon Christ as He is presented unto us in the written Word that our spiritual life is quickened and nourished.
12. In Genesis 6:22 we learn of Noah’s implicit and complete obedience—"Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he." And again, "And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him" (Gen. 7:5). So, too, we read of the perfect obedience of Him whom Noah foreshadowed: "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even so I have kept My Father’s commandments, and a bide in His love" (John 15:10). Only, be it noted, the obedience of our blessed Lord went farther than that of Noah, for He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8)—in all things He has the preeminence.
13. "And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him; every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds went forth out of the ark" (Gen. 8:18, 19). In these verses we see Noah bringing all whom God had committed to his care on to the new earth, which reminds us of our Lord’s words, "Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none" (John 18:9). However, the fact that the animal creation is here specifically mentioned as sharing in this blessing seems to point to a millennial scene when all creation shall enjoy the benefit of Christ’s reign (cf. Isa.11).
14. "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar (Gen. 8:20). Here we see Noah offering a burnt offering unto the Lord: the and-typical parallel is found in Ephesians 5:2—"Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor."
15. "And God blessed Noah and his sons" (Gen. 9:1). It is beautiful to see Noah and his sons here linked together in the enjoyment of God’s blessing, as though to foreshadow the blessed fact that every mercy we now enjoy is ours for Christ’s sake." "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
16. With Noah and his sons God established His Covenant, "And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you" (Gen. 9:8, 9). The word "covenant" occurs just seven times in this passage, namely, in verses 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17. Note, the covenant that God made with Noah was "an everlasting covenant" (Gen. 9:16), and so we read concerning the anti-type—"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20).