Gen 6:14 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. Gen 6:17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. Gen 6:18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. Gen 8:13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. Gen 8:18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him.
I put together a few verses from the account of Noah to emphasize a point I want to make. We read that it was covered inside and out with pitch which is significant in biblical theology. This word is the same word as mercy-seat which “covered” the ark or box found in the temple; ark means box. The pitch made sure absolutely no water or judgment could get into the souls being saved. In both cases then, the ark was the place where God’s wrath was turned away from the guilty. While seen vaguely in Noah’s ark, it is elaborated on some in the Ark of the Covenant where we see that the wrath of God is turned back through the blood sacrifice of a substitute being sprinkled before God and thus reconciliation and peace is made.
Finally, the NT word for Propitiation is the same word for covering in the OT to which we have referred. These words carry with them the idea of putting off or appeasing or satisfying something. The blood of Christ did not just divert God’s wrath away for a time, but as he became sin for us, he actually bore the wrath of a holy God and satisfied fully the justice of God so no wrath remains on those that are united with him; they weren’t in the ark bailing out water because it was seeping through and getting them wet. All judgment was borne by Christ and we will never face sin’s judgment! Christ paid the price that all sin deserved so that by coming to him we can be justified. We have been put in a position in which God has nothing against us. But things get better than that.
Remember that Noah found grace in God’s sight. Not only are our sins removed in Jesus Christ but his righteousness is imputed unto us. Had only our guilt been removed God would at best been neutral toward us. But by looking at us as he does his Son we now are in his favor. He isn’t being held back so that he can’t exercise his wrath, he has no wrath toward us. In fact, he loves as he does his Son and gives us the same inheritance. He brings us to glory and lavishes his grace upon us.
This points to a key doctrinal difference between clear biblical teaching and that of the Roman Catholics and other Arminian groups. They see Christ as turning back some of God’s judgment but that it keeps seeping through when we sin. So we have to keep bailing out the water and if we miss some before we die we have to face God’s judgment.
The last verses above were quoted to show how the account fits the type so well. On the other side of the ark’s salvation they stepped over onto dry ground. Before they were allowed to leave the ark all the water had to recede; all the wrath of God had to be satisfied before Noah and his family could leave the ark. Christ has saved us perfectly and there is no sin that can ever be held against us and someday we will stand on a new earth where all sin has been destroyed.
This is what it means to be safe in union with Christ. As such, the ark is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as everyone who was in the ark was saved and everyone not on the ark was lost, so everyone who, in the obedience of faith, has put himself under the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ will be saved from God’s future judgment; everyone who is outside of Christ will be lost. It doesn’t depend on one person being better or worse than another person. There were probably some nice people who didn’t get on board the ark. There are some wonderful people who have never trusted in Christ for salvation; but being wonderful towards other men is not being righteous before a holy God. It all depends on whether you are “on board” or not, covered from God’s judgment by the means He has ordained.