Chicago, 28 May 2005

Noah’s Ark

Perhaps someone will think that this is a topic good for a children’s Bible class, or a screenplay for a Bible movie, and not a subject for advanced Christians and for Bible Students. Undoubtedly, the topic of the Flood is an elementary, fundamental matter for the world’s history and for the people of faith. Unquestionably, it concerns history, in a very remote past. And it is true that we know a great deal about it and it is hard to say something new and inspiring. There are a few arguments, however, which support the study of the story of the Flood.

Firstly, much room in devoted to it in the Scriptures. In my Bible, the first four pages contain the description of the creative work and the subsequent sixteen hundred and fifty-six year of man’s existence on earth. By contrast, the following three pages describe the story of the Flood, or events from a space of as little as a year. The breadth of this coverage makes us think that it was an important event, worthy of our consideration.

Secondly, perhaps no other biblical event is so well dated as the Flood. I found in the Bible around forty-five events that are dated down to a year, a month and a day. Out of those, five, or more than 10% are associated with the Flood. At the same time, those three pages of the Flood’s account are only three-tenths of one percent of the Bible’s entire account.

Thirdly, though this might not be a binding argument, no other biblical event has been so well preserved in the mythologies of other cultures and religions. Babylonians had their Gilgamesh, the Chinese had the hero Yu. The mythical Flood is of great importance to the culture of Australia’s aborigines, and the Greek and Hindu mythologies also contain its traces. We are not surprised by this fact as believers – all people are the descendants of Noah, and to him as to God’s protection owe their lives.

Finally, Fourthly, the Flood is, as it were, a new beginning of mankind’s existence. We often say that all people are brethren through Adam. But it is also true that we are all brothers and sisters through Noah. The covenant which God established with Noah after he left the Ark, is a commitment for the entire mankind, from which we will all have to give an account during the approaching day of God’s wrath.

But, our topic will not be so much the Flood as the Ark, the wooden structure which saved the lives of Noah and his family, and through him, the lives of the rest of mankind.

The Structure of the Ark

A short description of the structure of the ark is found in Genesis 6:14-16

14 Make thee an Ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the Ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 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. 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.

From a further description in Genesis 8:13, we also learn that the Ark had some sort of a covering, which was removed after the ground dried off.

And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the Ark.

The dimensions given were: three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 300 cubits is approximately 500 feet. If we realize that the biggest aircraft carrier is 1000 feet long, it would make the Ark half its length. And it was made of wood and using hand labor and tools.

The Ark had three floors divided into enclosures. There was a window at the top of the Ark, with an intriguing measure of 1 cubit, and on the side of it, there was a door. The Ark was made of gopher wood. It is traditionally believed, that cedar is meant here, but the Hebrew word GoPheR occurs only in this account. It is difficult to accurately define its meaning. The wood was to be made leak-proof with tar, the name of which is KoPheR in Hebrew, and this name differs from the name of the wood by just one initial letter, quite similar to it phonetically. Perhaps that is why some translate the word Gopher as “resin (gum) tree”.

Traditionally, we picture the Ark shaped as a giant nut shell, narrow at the bottom, and wider at the top, to increase the vessel’s displacement. Assuming this was the way it was built, would require unusual skill on Noah’s part. True, we don’t know how well civilization was developed before the Flood, and we do know that God’s power can perform miracles. Yet it does seem that the structure of the Ark had to be simpler than that, in view of its sheer size.

The intriguing description of the window’s structure may help us to better picture the shape of the Ark. The Hebrew word for window is ChaLON. That is also the word used in reference to the window in the Ark in Gen. 8:6 “Noah opened the window [Chalon] of the Ark which he had made”. But in the account of the Ark’s construction, another word is used, “SoHaR”, and that word in other contexts denotes “noon”, and the time of day when the sun is in the zenith. Some translate this word as “light” or a “transparent roof”.

The Sohar was to be “in a cubit finished above” (Gen. 6:16). This expression is also explained in different ways. Most translators tend to agree that a cubit was the width of the opening. Others say that it was the distance from the window to the roof. The expression “finished above”, in connection with the specific name of this window – Sohar, noon, suggests one more thought, which most of Jewish commentaries side with. Namely, they believe that the cross section of the Ark was a triangle with the base of 50 cubits and the height of 30 cubits, with a missing top, which is where the “Sohar” window was placed, pointing vertically upwards, toward the sun at the zenith. This direction of the window helps to explain the necessity of sending out birds to see if the land has dried off. For if the window was on the side, just like the door, they could confirm the condition of the earth by looking out.

With this basic understanding of the shape of the Ark, we will try to establish one more geometrical aspect. As the rain started coming down, and the earth was gradually filled with waters, the Ark was carried by the water and floated partially submersed. In Gen. 7:20, we read, “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.” We learn here that the waters topped the highest mountains by 15 cubits, the mountains being perhaps the range of Ararat, where the Ark later rested. This would mean that the submersed portion of the 30 cubits of the Ark’s total height could not have exceeded 15 cubits, or else the Ark would not have been able to freely float over top of the highest mountains. After the waters started subsiding, the bottom of the Ark touched the peak of the mountain and then gradually emerged out of the water. We will try to see whether the chronological description of the Flood gives us an insight into how deep the Ark was submerged, and whether these numbers can contribute anything to the symbolic meaning of the story, in addition to the external dimensions.

The chronology of the Flood

The chronology of the Flood is a question widely disputed. The Bible account gives five dates and six references to time periods. Many possibilities are given as to reconciling these periods. We will list these time references from the account, mentioning the biggest issues in their reconciliation and we will choose one proposed explanation, that appears the most correct and the most meaningful in interpretation.

First, let’s quickly summarize the events described in the account of the Flood. In Gen 7:4, God declares that in seven days he would cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights. This commences in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month. From that day forward, it rains continually for forty days and forty nights, and the waters “prevailed” upon the earth for 150 days. The water decreased, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the Ark rests on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continue to drain until the first day of the tenth month, and then the peaks of the mountains appear. From that point, Noah waits 40 days, opens the window and sends out a raven. The raven returns to the Ark, not having found a shelter. It is not said how long Noah waited before sending forth a dove, but we can infer from the words “And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove” that, since from the first sending out of the dove to the second one was “another” seven days, then from the sending out of the raven to the first sending of the dove was also seven days. The first dove returns, just like the raven, without a sign of the earth drying off. The dove sent out the second time returns with an olive leaf. Then Noah waits another seven days and again sends out the dove, and it does not return to the Ark. On that day, on 1st day of the 1st month of 601st year of Noah’s life, he removes the covering from the Ark and see, that the face of the earth, which before has been covered with water, can now be seen. On 27th day of the next, the 2nd month, the earth completely dries off and Noah with his family and the animals leaves the Ark. This is the end of the Flood, and it takes place after twelve months and ten days in the Ark.

The following time references are mentioned in this account:


Gen. 7:11

17th day, 2nd month, 600th year

It starts to rain, the beginning of the Flood

Gen. 8:4

17th day, 7th month

The Ark rests on the mountains

Gen. 8:5

1st day, 10th month

The peaks of the mountains appear

Gen. 8:13

1st day, 1st month, 601st year

The face of the ground emerges from water

Gen. 8:14

27th day, 2nd month

The earth is dried, they leave the Ark,
the end of the Flood.

We notice that only with two of the above dates the year of Noah’s life is mentioned.

The following time periods are mentioned:

Time Periods mentioned

Gen 7:4,10

7 days

From the announcement of the Flood to its commencement

Gen 7:4, 12, 17

40 days

Of rain coming down

Gen 7:24, 8:3

150 days

Of waters prevailing upon the earth

Gen 8:6

40 days

From the time mountain peaks emerged to the opening of the window and sending forth the raven


7 days

Of waiting until the sending forth of the dove.

Gen 8:10

7 days

Of waiting until the second sending forth of the dove.

Gen 8:12

7 days

Of waiting until the third sending forth of the dove.

We can add to the above time intervals, another seven days which we assume had passed from the sending forth of the raven to the first sending forth of the dove.

The time measurements used in the Flood account

Year. Gen. 7:6 tells us that “Noah was six hundred years old when the Flood of waters was upon the earth.” As it relates to count of years in this account, it is certain that what is meant is not the year elapsed from Noah’s birth date but a calendar year, reckoned from spring or from fall. In our consideration, it will be sufficient to number the months sequentially, without assigning their specific names or seasons of the year.

Month. It is quite commonly understood that months used in the Flood account are lunar months. We would agree with this view, based on the argument that God created the lights in the firmament to be for sings of time (Gen 1:14), and the time from one new moon to the next has from the most ancient times been recognized as the length of one month by almost all cultures. The Hebrew word HoDeSh, used to denote a month – also in our account – actually means “a new moon”. In connection with the scriptural Flood account, there is a lively dispute regarding the length of the lunar month. Astronomy tells us that the rotation of the Moon around the Earth takes 29 and half days, and that this duration has not changed over the last six thousand years. The practical implication is that the lunar months would have to be alternately 29 and 30 days so in order for the first day of the month to always coincide with a new moon. History tells us that other ways of month calculation were used. In Egypt, for example, to synchronize the lunar year with the solar year, all months were 30 days long, and at the end of the year, they added five days. Some Bible interpreters tend to support this length of the month. We will, however, use the natural lunar month, from a new moon to a new moon, or 29 and a half days.

Day. This interval is clear and needs no further comment.

Issues with reconciling the periods given

The greatest problem in establishing the chronology of the Flood is: (1) the relationship of the time of 150 days when “the waters prevailed upon the earth” with the date of the seventeenth day of the seventh month and (2) the relationship of the date of the first day of the tenth month, when the tops of the mountains were seen, with the date when the earth dried.

Problem one. A large number of commentators of this account tend to agree that the 40 days of the rain is a part of the 150 days of the time when “the waters prevailed” on the earth. It would appear to be an obvious conclusion because from seventeenth day of the second month to the seventeenth day of the seventh month is exactly 5 months. But this view presents two fundamental problems. The time from 17th day of the second month to 17th day of 7 month counted by the new moons would not be one-hundred and fifty days but one hundred forty-seven and a half days, since the new moons are not 30 but 29 and an half days apart. Thus, assuming that in this account we are dealing with lunar months, the time from 17th day of the second month to 17th day of 7 month is too short to be the same as the time of the “waters prevailing upon the earth”

What’s more, this interpretation contradicts the natural rhythm of the account of the Flood. The Bible tells us that it rained for forty days and forty nights, and then that the waters prevailed upon the earth for 150 days. We need to bear in mind that the Flood waters were from two sources: from the windows of heaven and from the fountains of the great deep
(Gen. 7:11). After 40 days, the rain stopped but the water did not decrease. Only after some time did God send forth a wind (Gen 8:1) which caused the waters to subside. Gen. 8:3 reads “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated”. This suggests that the waters started to subside only after the 150 days when the fountains of the great deep were closed. And if the bottom of the Ark floated freely over the highest mountain peaks, then it must have touched the ground well into the period of the decrease of the waters. And that very point is marked as the 17th day of the 7th month.

However in this approach to the chronology of events, a problem appears. 40 days of rain added to the 150 days of the waters “prevailing”, added still to some time of the waters decreasing after the 150 days, give some 200 plus days, or approximately 7 months, and not 5 as it would appear based on the dates mentioned in the account. However, the date in Gen 8:4 is not accompanied by a date from Noah’s life. One can think then that the seventh month at this point is not the seventh sequential month in the year but the seventh month from the time when the rain stopped. Since the Flood began in the second month and the rain persisted for forty days, then the first month in this reckoning is the third sequential month and the date of seven months later falls on the 9th sequential month. So, the date from Gen 8:4 in terms of the months of Noah’s life should be seen as the 17th day of the 9th month. It was the day when the Ark rested on the top of the mountains of Ararat.

To determine the point of time at which the waters started to decrease after the 40 days of the rain and the 150 days of “waters prevailing”, the sum of 190 days should be divided into 29.5 days, which results in 6 months and 13 days. The Flood started on 17th day of second month, after six months and 13 days from that date was the first day of the 9th month. From that time the water started to subside and after 16 days, on the 17th day of the 9th month the Ark rested on the top of the mountain. Thus we can discern what is not directly stated in the account – the time of the waters subsiding from their highest level to the level when the bottom of the Ark touched the peak of the highest mountain.

(2) Problem Two. The next date given in the account is the 1st day of the 10th month (Gen. 8:5), when the tops of the mountains could be seen. Because 15 cubits of water were covering the highest mountains, then in that day the water level was 15 cubits below that highest level. This date is based calculated by counting backwards from the date given in Gen 8:12-13 “And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the Ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.” It seems clear that Noah removed the covering of the Ark on that same day when the dove did not return to him, recognizing that the ground must be dry, and the dove which a week earlier had found a green leaf, now has found a dry place on the ground where to build its nest. Noah sent forth the birds four times in weekly intervals. Thus the sending forth of the birds took 20 days, and prior to that still 40 days elapsed from the appearing of the tops of the mountains to the first bird being sent out: “in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the Ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven” (Gen 8:5-7). This means that from the appearing of the mountain tops to the 1st day of the 1st month of the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life was exactly 60 days,
or two months. Thus, the “tenth month” of Gen 8:5 cannot be the tenth sequential month in the year but the tenth month from the beginning of the Flood in the second month. Jewish scholar Rashi, and many other Jewish commentators after him, relate that the length of the ten months is counted from the second month, and that it ends at the date of the 1st day of the 11th month in the year.

Summarizing all the above calculations we get the following chronology of the Flood, with all the dates expressed in terms of sequential months from the beginning of the year.

17 day, 2 month, 600 year

The rain starts; the Flood begins

17 day, 9 month, 600 year

The Ark rests on the mountains

1 day, 11 month, 600 year

Tops of the mountains can be seen

1 day, 1 month, 601 year

The earth surface can be seen

27 day, 2 month, 601 year

The land dries; exit from the Ark; the end of the Flood

These dates create 365 days of the history of the Flood.

From this set of chronological points we can now calculate the missing dimension of the structure of the ark – the depth of its submersion. The waters began to subside on the first day of the ninth month and after 60 days, on the first day of the ninth month the tops of the mountains appeared. The highest level of the waters was 15 cubits above the mountain tops. This means that the water level subsided at the rate of one cubit per four days. In the first period, the bottom of the Ark touched the earth’s surface after 16 days. This means that it was floating mere 4 cubits above the mountain tops. Then, during the next 44 days, the water subsided 11 more cubits and then the tops of the mountains could be seen, including that where the Ark was resting. This means that the Ark was submerged 11 cubits and the remaining 19 cubits were above the water surface.

Additionally, from the rate at which the water level was lowering, it can be inferred that the earth’s surface which dried off by the first day of the first month of the year 601 was only 15 cubits below the top of the mountain where the Ark rested. This means that the highest point at the top of the Ark in its highest elevation was 15 + 4 + 30 that is 49 cubits above the earth’s surface, and the fiftieth cubit was the top taken off of the pyramid. Whereas, at the point of the meeting of the Ark with the ground, the water was covering still 11 cubits of the Ark’s submersion and 15 cubits of the height of the mountain where the Ark rested.

An attempt to interpret the symbolic meanings of the discovered details of the Ark.

As the basis to the symbolic interpretation of the Ark and its account, let us use the declaration of the apostle Peter, in his first epistle “...while the Ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1 Pet 3:20-21). So the Ark is a picture of the baptism. It saves our lives, which would have been lost if not for the miraculous possibility of “the answer of a good conscience toward God”.

The Hebrew term for the Ark – TeBhaH (Strong’s 8392), outside of the Flood account is found only two more times and denotes a basket made out of bulrushes, in which Jochebed hid the little Moses. “she took for him an Ark [TeBhaH] of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein;” (Ex. 2:1) Also in this case the Ark covered with tar saved in the water the life of the future deliverer of Israel. We will remember this analogy from Moses’ life because we will mention him some more times in our lesson.

The Ark was built of the gopher wood and leak-proofed with the kopher resin. This second word signifies resin, or leak proof layer, only in this occurrence. By reasons of its etymology, all other occurrences mean “ransom”. Also, the verb used in Gen 6:14 to denote the action of covering with pitch is quite popular and in many other places it means “to accomplish atonement”. These words result from the original meaning of the step KPhR, which means “to cover”. As examples we will quote one scripture with the noun KoPheR (Strong’s 3724) and the verb KaPhaR (Strong’s 3722).

Job 33:24 “Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom [KoPheR]”

Lev 16:6 “And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement [KoPheR] for himself, and for his house.”

The tree which we associate with this resin called KoPheR could mean the Cross, on which the ransom was given. Hence perhaps the related names of both materials of which the Ark was made. The baptism means to the followers of Jesus the taking up of the cross and suffering with the Lord. Just like the Ark without being made water-tight by using the resin, so the suffering of our own cross would be ineffective without the covering of Jesus’ ransom.

The Ark had the SoHaR window, an opening, a light, at zenith, which was directed straight at the heavens. The Sohar ensured the light from God and gave the ability to look up into the heavens, from which at first proceeded the drenching rain of God’s wrath. Then through the Sohar, the stars, and the moon could be seen, which marked the duration of the months. The Sohar did not ensure the possibility of a direct viewing of the world to which Noah and his family were being carried. Yet, through this window, they could send forth birds which would bring back the news from the new world. 

In our baptism, which also transports us to another world, there is also the Sohar of prayer, our contact with the invisible world. Firstly, we can look to God through it, and he gives us light and the necessary information about time. Secondly, through this window we can send forth the birds of our prayers. God’s answers are like the dove returning with an olive leaf in her beak.

The Ark was constructed on ground level and the Flood transported it on the highest mountain. It was not a gradually ascending path. The Ark’s elevation was rising first for 40 days, it then remained floating at the same level for 150 days, touching the fiftieth cubit of eternity with its missing top. And then it slowly started its descent as the waters subsided. After 16 days it gently touched the mountain top but as the waters decreased there must have been a friction felt, a slanted position and perhaps structural cracks.

The first forty days of baptism transport the believer into a wilderness. We remember the path of the Lord after his baptism. He went into the wilderness to meditate in solitude upon his mission to the world, his death and his resurrection. Other men of God also had similar experiences. We recall the 40 days that Moses spent on the mountain, receiving from God his law for mankind.

In the lives of both these men, Jesus and Moses, there was still another 40 days period. Moses ascended to the mountain again to receive new tables, to replace those he broke the first time. Jesus spent 40 days after his resurrection on the earth before he ascended to heaven. Also in the Flood account, we see a second period of 40 days which elapsed from the emergence of the mountain tops till the sending of the raven.

A wilderness does not evoke an association with water. However, if we consider the basic characteristics of the wilderness from a prophetic point of view: a complete reliance upon God, then it appears that the earth covered up to its horizons with likely salt water creates similar conditions. Castaways perish at sea, just like people in the desert, firstly and foremostly due to lack of water.

After the 40 days of the wilderness, there is the period of 150 days, when the consecrated touches the heaven. This is beautifully shown in the Apostle Paul’s life. After his conversion, he had the period of the symbolic 40 days in the wilderness. “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:… but I went into Arabia” (Gal. 1:16-17), to be followed later with his rewarding years in Tarsus, during which, he received many visions: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (2 Cor. 12:2)

After the period of spiritual rising, detachment from the earth, and a complete reliance on God’s power, the Ark of the baptism begins to slowly descend, in order to meet with the ground. After the period of rising there is a slow descent. Sometimes we may describe this state as a cooling off of the first love. But it is a rather different thing. God, who for a while lifted us up closer to heavens, now is setting our feet on the ground. The slow impact of the Ark and the mountain, the collision of our baptism with the earth, is not always free of thumps, loss of balance or small damage. The moment of the 17th day of the 7th month has a special meaning to a consecrated person. It is then that he or she stands on the first trial of putting in practice the truth that has been learned and consecrated.

The Ark was 30 cubits high, 300 cubits long and 50 cubits bright. In Hebrew, the letters are also used as numbers. In this case, 30 is the letter L, 300 is Sh, and 50 is N. These letters make up the word LaShoN, which means “language” in Hebrew. The Ark, in the case of both Noah and Moses, kept safe for the generations to come the person, who would be able to communicate to history the message about the past, and about God, the Creator and the maker of the future.

So it is with the consecrated through baptism – it is their goal to preserve the Word. Begotten with the word of Truth (James 1:18) during the symbolic 150 days of prevailing in the Word, they build up their knowledge, rejoice in the learning of a new, beloved purpose of life. This was probably the experience of most of us. After the period of “wilderness”, the remake of the world as we knew it, starved for knowledge, we devoured the Word. But after the 150 days, the water begins to decrease and the Lord carefully sets our feet on the earth. He puts out knowledge of the Truth face to face with life.

This stage begins after 16 days of the subsiding of the water. During that time, the water level went down by four cubits. The rate of one cubit per four days is reflected in several other proportions particular to this picture. At school we learned that the chemical symbol for water is H20, which signifies two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Hydrogen as an element has an atomic neutral charge of 2, which means that its nucleus consists of two particles, and oxygen’s atomic neutral charge of 16, meaning the number of particles making up its nucleus. This means that the weight proportions of oxygen and hydrogen are four to one.

In the first description of Eden in Gen. 2:6, we are told that the ground was watered by “mist”. This was as if the first, the original form of water. The word “mist” in Hebrew is ED and is written by means of two letters, Aleph, equal to 1 and Daleth equal to 4. Here then we also see the ratio of 1 to 4. The Flood started in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life. Its announcement came 120 years earlier, when Noah was 480 years old. 120 years in proportion to 480 is also the ratio of 1 to 4. One thumb is countered by four fingers of our palm, the head is placed against the remaining four segments of the body, across the bending lines of the hips, the knees, and the ankles. This proportion shows the possibilities in practical action, which consists of the important “one” and the complementing “four”.

At this point we discover some proportions implied by the depth of submersion of the Ark. We remember that it was partially submerged in the water (by 11 cubits) for 150 days with its top reaching to the 50th cubit of “rest” of the future world. When it slowly settled on the mountain, it was water that covered the 15 cubits out of the mountain’s height and 11 cubits of the submersion of the Ark. The sum of these two numbers is 26. The four letters contained in the name of God also have the total value of 26. Yod = 10, He = 5, Waw = 6, He = 5. Note the same proportions. The first two of the letters, Yod and He, which make up the shortened form of God’s name “Yah”, have the value of 15, while the remaining letters, showing God’s dimension in man, as it were, add up to 11.

When the Ark rested on mount Ararat, the “15” met the “11”. God’s name gained a practical dimension in the experience of the consecrated person. His purified humanity earned the privilege of a glorious meeting with the dimension of God’s name. Only after 16 days of the decrease of the waters does the love for the Word and the knowledge gain, begin to slowly become wisdom – the ability to pass this knowledge of one head to the four other parts of one’s body, so that they can perform God’s will, the ability to counterbalance the skillful thumb against the helpful role of the four fingers, so that the palm may learn to perform more complex movements.

It is at this time that another forty days comes around, similar to the first forty. On one hand, those are days of a certain disappointment, embitterment, that life with God is not as beautiful as we imagined in the times of heavenly exaltation. On the other hand, it is the time of a new definition of our place in God’s consecrated world. For our Lord Jesus, the first 40 days were necessary to define his message to the world, and the second 40 days were needed to establish the direction of his work for heaven: “being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Pet 3:18-19).

After this time, we begin to study the new world. Through the opening of the Sohar, which so far let in light and information from God, now we begin to send forth the birds of our prayers. In this phase of the development of our consecration, we deal with four stages of learning. The first bird that was sent out was a raven. Our first attempts and learning of God’s will in action, of understanding the world to which we are being transported, are heavy and clumsy. Our prayers return to us in the same fashion as we sent them. Only in the second test does the holy Spirit accompany our prayers – the second bird is a dove, which was a symbol of the spiritual baptism of Jesus. But also at this stage, our prayers do not bring about the desired result. Only the second sending out of the dove results in an olive leaf. Olive oil is also a symbol of the spirit, of the peaceful answer that we receive through prayer.

The fourth stage is when the dove does not return to the Ark. Sometimes we think: I pray but receive no answer. It sometimes happens that the lack of an answer is the most wonderful information. It was clear to Noah, that the dove which did not return to the window was a herald of the good news of the land having dried. When Jesus taught his apostles how to preach the Gospel, he said “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.” (Matt 10:13) The dove of peace sent to the worthy world will not return and it is the most precious to know that. The mature prayers are filled with the conviction that they accomplish its purpose, which we can only guess.

The same day when the dove leaves without returning, Noah takes off the cover of the Ark so to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air along the entire length of the open top. Perhaps even through the narrow opening it had been possible for him to stick out his head to see what this new world looks like. The Flood waters dried off from the surface of the land, nevertheless he remains in the Ark for 57 more days. This stage of Christian maturity is necessary in the life of the consecrated to test their faithfulness and constancy of action. This is an advanced stage of spiritual life, and it is characterized by the certainty that God is present in our lives, and the certainty of the future world, in whose sunshine we want to warm up and whose air we desire to breath.

Only on the 27th day of the 2nd month, after 365 days of a full solar year, Noah leaves the Ark and is capable of an independent life in God’s new world. We all await this moment of change as long as we are in this life. We await the time when we can finally leave the covering of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus’ cross and continue to walk on our own. But this is a different story and it will take place only after the spiritual birth in the full power of maturity.

Collective meaning

Lastly, we would like to remark on a collective meaning of this picture. We realize the applicability of the picture of the Flood to the way that this present world, in which we still live, will be ended. The apostle Peter says, “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire” (2 Peter 3:6-7). We anticipate that the coming trouble will not destroy all people on the earth. We think that once again God is preparing an Ark for baptism for men, who will carry the Word from the present to the future world.

We would like to express a thought that we will not attempt to prove but rather will leave for everyone to consider. Since this idea concerns the future, it may turn out that the Lord will direct matters better that what we are expecting. We feel that in the Ark of baptism that will allow to survive the symbolic fire of destruction of the present evil heavens and earth, there will be members of the nation of Israel who are now being called. For more than ten years now, we observe with keen interest the development of the messianic movements inside the nation of Israel. Many of the initial attempts are ravens, void of the power of the spirit, but among these attempts many new people are born, surely worth of the new world, Jews who while not casting aside the respect for the Law of the fathers, refusing to accept the idolatry and blasphemies of the nominal Christendom, approach God on the basis of the sacrifice of Yeshua of Nazareth. We expect that this movement will with time open a way to a spiritual national rebirth in the holy spirit and in the name of Yeshua.

We do not know if chronological proportions shown in the Flood can in the same way be applied to the history of the restoration of the nation of Israel that will allow Jesus’ Jews to survive the time of trouble and carry over the power of the Word to the future world. We would not be surprised if this did take place.

Meanwhile, as we enjoy our individual abiding in the Ark, we wish that the top of our Ark always reaches the “fiftieth cubit” of the world to come, that our “Sohar” shine with a bright light, that the “one against four” would have the most practical dimension, that our “11” would meet with God’s “15”, that our doves would bring us olive leaves, or better yet, never return, so that we can, as soon as possible remove the covering of our Ark and rejoice in God’s sun and air until the time when he decides that we are ready to leave the Ark of the ransom’s cross. All this is my heartfelt wish to you brethren, but my foremost wish for you is that for the removal of Ark’s covering. And may the Lord bless our wishes, Amen.

Daniel Kaleta