From Part 17
We have talked about biblical numerology before. Here we have the ark suspended in the flood for forty days, the number of testings and trials. In reality, Noah’s trial began with the building of the ark. For 120 years (Genesis 6:3), Noah preached to a rebellious people. Filled with heartache for his people, he faithfully gave out the word of God to a mocking, cynical people filled with hate and animosity toward himself. All rejected his warning.
But Noah’s trial would continue much longer than forty days as well for we learn in chapter seven, verse 24 that Noah and his family would be on board the ark for many more days.
We read in Genesis 8:1-4, “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat."
We clearly see from Genesis 7:24 and 8:3, the waters were upon the earth for 150 days. Noah records the ship’s log for us further in chapter eight. If we are to accurately calculate the length of time Noah was in the ark, what better place to look than the official record as recorded by the captain.
First, realize Noah was not using the Gregorian calendar we use today. Months were calculated by roughly 30 day intervals based on the lunar cycle of the new moon. The lunar cycle is considered being 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes. It was common to round the exact number to 30 days, as Noah does by mentioning 150 days - five lunar months of thirty days (Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:3, 4). That being said, let’s move on to the Captain’s notes according to the biblical text.
The Bible shows that Noah and his family spent seven days inside the Ark before the first rains fell (Genesis 7:7, 10).
At this point we have one week or seven days inside the Ark. Once the initial rains fell and God released the waters from under the ground, it continued for forty days (Genesis 7:12, 17, 18). This brings the total number of days inside the ark to 47.
Once the 40 days of rain had stopped, 110 additional days pass to give us the 150 days stated in Genesis 7:24; 8:3. Given the day and month in Genesis 7:11 (the 17th day of the second month) when the rains began, and the day and month stated in Genesis 8:4 (the 17th day of the seventh month), we arrive at 5 months since the Flood began. Add the 7 days Noah and his family waited in the Ark before the floodwaters started, you can now read Genesis 8:1–4 knowing Noah and his family have been in the Ark for 157 days: or 5 lunar months and 7 days.
After this, the ark rests on the mountains of Ararat in modern day Turkey. Based upon the month and day given in Genesis 8:5 (the first day of the tenth month), it takes 74 days (an equivalent of two months and 14 days) for the waters to recede enough for the rest of the mountain tops to become visible from the Ark. By the time we get to Genesis 8:5, Noah and his family have been in the Ark 231 days, or seven months and 21 days.
Noah now waits another 40 days (another month and 10 days) before he opens the window in the Ark to send out a raven (Genesis 8:6, 7). This brings the total of days Noah and his family have been in the Ark to 271 days, or nine months and one day.
According to the log, Noah sends out a dove to see if it can find any dry resting places, but it returns. Noah waits 7 more days and sends out the dove again. It returns with an olive branch this time. He waits still another 7 days and sends out the dove, but it never returns, showing there are at least some places where the water has receded enough for birds to nest (Genesis 8:8–12).
By the time you reach Genesis 8:13, according to the day and month given of the 601st year, Noah removes the covering of the Ark and sees the ground drying. He and his family have been in the Ark for 321 days, equivalent to 10 months and 21 days.
Finally, we read in Genesis 8:14, “And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.” According to the month and day given, 57 days after Noah had noticed the ground was drying, the earth had finally dried enough to exit the Ark. God issues the command for Noah and his family and the animals to step out into the new world,
Noah, his family, and the animals spent 378 days in the Ark, the equivalent to 1 year and 18 days according to the Hebrew lunar calendar, or 1 year and 13 days on the modern Gregorian calendar.
The ground was now dry. God releases Noah, his wife, his three sons, their wives, and the animals. As they exit the ark, it is apparent that another beginning will take place. Going back to biblical numerology, the number eight represents new beginnings, and so it is a new beginning for humankind.
In verses 20-22, we see God makes a covenant with Noah. “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. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
God promises to not again curse the ground with a universal flood, but not before Noah offers sacrifices to the Lord. Noah, who faithfully and wholly followed God steps out on a very different earth; an earth where rain will now fall; an earth where the sun will burn hotter, not protected by the waters of the canopy. Men would begin to age more quickly, and the great Ice Age is just around the corner. Still, God’s promises are true and will forever be true. They are there for the claiming.
Seasons would now come into play and to everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), a season for planting and a season for reaping. The cold winter winds would now blow upon the face of the earth and the summer sun would bring heat and warmth to the earth. The earth would now be populated by the eight people who survived the cataclysmic flood.
Moving over to chapter 9, verses 8-17, God continues to voice His covenant with Noah and his sons. “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; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”
The beautiful rainbow was never meant to be a symbol of rebellion against God’s order, but rather God’s signature to the covenant.
The bow over the earth marked a signed covenant (verse 13). God would never send a world-wide flood again upon the earth. We can still see the signature of God today as we look through the raindrops and see the prism of the sun on the other side. There are only two other references to the rainbow in the Bible. We find them in Revelation 4:3 and Revelation 10:1. The rainbow is seen as round about. The Greek word kuklothen is used, which can be translated as from the circle. It would seem that what we see today is only a partial glimpse of the bow.
Now, let’s go back to Genesis 9:1. Much has changed. Much hasn’t. Notice the statement, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Sound familiar? God gave the same mandate to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, “. . . “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth , , ,”
Likewise, verse 2 of Chapter 9 is like the rest of Genesis 1:28, “. . . have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God again gives man the duty of filling the earth.
Genesis 1 represents the beginning. Now there is another beginning. It would seem that in the beginning (Genesis 2:19, 20), Adam befriended the animals. Moving on to Chapter 9 verse 2, the animals now have a fear of Noah. According to Genesis 9:3, the diet also changed. Along with the herbs of the field, God added meat to the diet. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
The Bible is not clear why God made these changes, but let me give you something to think about. The protective canopy of waters above the earth (prior to the flood) may have allowed the needed nutrients in the plants. Without the layer of protection, perhaps the ultraviolet light from the sun destroyed some of the nutrition. The protein from animal life would aid in replacing what was now lost from the original plant life.
Animals seem to live largely by instinct. By God-given instinct, the pre-flood animals approached the ark for safety. Could it be that after the flood, animals can sense danger of the hunt, thus bringing the fear of man? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Genesis 9:6 brings up a controversial point, however, we must let God be true (Romans 3:4). He who created the human race has the right and authority to judge His creation. We may not agree. Still, the verse is there, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
The debate goes on, but God clearly says if a person takes another’s life, the murderer is to forfeit his life. The reason - the crime is not solely against the individual, but ultimately against the very image of God. God is holy, perfect, and pure. No man has the right to take the life of another. That right belongs only to a just and holy God. The severity of the punishment is based on the severity of the crime.
We will continue with Part 19 soon.
© 2022 William Kovacic