By Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
July 11, 2014
As one studies through the word of God, it become evident that God has always provided a place of safety for those that would be faithful to Him. For instance, during the time of the tenth plague upon Egypt, the place of safety was to be in the house with the blood on the door post and lintel. We wish to consider two such places of safety and the likenesses of them. The two we have in mind is Noah’s ark and the Lord’s church.
We must note that first of all, there was just one of each. There was no getting on the ark of your choice, for there was not but one ark, the one that Noah built. In like manner the New Testament reveals there to be only one church, the one that Christ built. Jesus said, “…That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…” (Matt. 16:18). Paul tells us that the church is the body of Christ. He said concerning Christ, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). He also wrote, “There is one body…” (Eph. 4:4). Just as sure as one in Noah’s day could not get aboard the ark of their choice, man in this New Testament age cannot join the church of their choice, for the Lord has only authorized one.
It should also be noted that since both the ark that Noah built and the church that Jesus built had their origin in the mind of God, then both would have to built according to the instructions of God. In the sixth chapter of the book of Genesis, we can read the instructions that God gave to Noah concerning the building of the ark. The dimensions are given, instructions concerning the door and window, type of wood and the pitch to be used. The Bible tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8) and the last verse of this chapter tells us what it was about Noah that would cause God to find grace in him. It says. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Gen. 6:22). Too many today would say, oak is better than gopher wood or some other change, but not Noah. He built it just as God commanded. The Hebrew writer connected the building of the church with following the pattern given by God. Not the pattern given to Noah for the ark, but the pattern for the building of the tabernacle. He said, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was abut to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount” (Heb. 8:5). Let us note just a couple of the design issues that are alike. First, there was to be only one door to the ark (Gen. 6:16). After Noah, his family and the animals entered, “…the Lord shut him in” (Gen. 7:16). In like manner, there is only one door, that is way of access to the church. The inspired apostle Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” I Cor. 12:13). The same action that puts one into the body, which the church, is the action that puts one into Christ. To the Galatians Paul wrote, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Those of Noah’s day could not say, you get into the ark your way and I’ll get into the ark my way, for there was just one way. Neither can man in this age get into the Lord’s church using differing routes to get there. There is just one way in. Secondly, there was only one window in the ark. The text says, “a window shalt thou make to the ark” (Gen. 6:16). That one window was the source of light and there is likewise just one source of light for the Lord’s church. John spoke of that one source of light when he said, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). The one light is the light of the gospel of Christ. Before His birth, Zacharias prophesied of Him, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). John wrote in his gospel account, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4-5).
Another likeness of Noah’s ark and the church is that there was just one family in it. In the ark, there was Noah, his wife, and his three sons with their wives. In the church, all are the family of God. Paul wrote, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female” for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
One last likeness for us to consider is that all the saved were in the ark. As we have already named the eight, the number is confirmed by the apostle Peter when he wrote, “…wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (I Pet. 3:20). In like manner, all the saved are in the Lord’s church. Luke wrote, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Paul said that Jesus was the saviour of the body (Eph. 5:23). Those on the outside are the lost.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org)