By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
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(Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible).
Through the years, one of the greatest stories of the Bible is that of Noah and the Flood. Yet despite the universal nature of this Flood, many today claim that Noah was not a real person and that there was no Great Flood.
In this lesson, we will focus on the basic story of Noah and on some of the incredible Archaeological evidences which have been made which confirm that the story of Noah (and the testimony of Scripture) is absolutely and completely true.
The World Of Noah
From the accounts in Genesis 5, we see that from the time of the Fall in the Garden of Eden till the time of the Flood there was a period of more than one thousand and six hundred years. During that period of time, the Earth had become exceedingly wicked. The Bible records:
Genesis 6:5-6-5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
“Here begins the long cyclic recital of the antdediluvian patriarchs: their names, their ages at the birth of those sons who were in the line of promise, the fact that they each had sons and daughters, and finally their ages at death. In all, there were ten of these patriarchs in the lineage, from Adam through Noah…”There is no reason to think there are any ‘gaps’ in this record, or that the years are anything other than normal years (except for the quizzical possibility that the original year was 360 days long, instead of the present 365 1/4). The record is perfectly natural and straightforward and is obviously intended to give both the necessary genealogical data to denote the promised lineage and also the only reliable chronological framework we have for the antediluvian period of history. “Assuming no gaps in these genealogies…there was a total of 1, 656 years from the Creation to the Flood.” (Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific & Devotional Commentary On The Book Of Beginnings, 137-138 (Kindle Edition; emphasis added); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
From the Bible and from extra-biblical records, we are able to get a better understanding of some of the things which were happening in the world at the time.
We know that included within the wickedness of the day was unrestrained violence, rampant sexual sin, and various forms of sorcery (Genesis 6:1-11).
Also included in this list is the marriage of the “sons of God” with the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-4), and homosexual “marriage.”
There is much debate over the interpretation of the phrase “sons of God.”
Historically speaking, there have been two primary interpretations. One claims that the “sons of God” were fallen angels of God who sinned through having conjugal relations with human women, producing the half-angel/half-human offspring known as the nephilim. The other interpretation claims that the “sons of God” were the godly descendants of Seth choosing to enter into marriages with the descendants of Cain (designated as the “daughters of men”).
While many accept the latter interpretation, the text (as well as the understandings of the ancients) favors the first.
Merrill Unger summarizes:
“The ‘angel hypothesis’ seems to have its origin in the Septuagint…Very decidedly it is presented in the Book of Enoch, as noted, and in the so-called ‘Minor Genesis,’ also by Philo, Josephus, and most of the rabbinical writers, as well as by the oldest Church Fathers-Justin, Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose, and Lactantius… “The general interpretation that refers ‘the sons of God’ to pious Sethites, and the ‘daughters of men’ to ungodly Cainites, while naive and perfectly orthodox, in that it enunciates a simple spiritual principle and assuredly avoids certain obvious difficulties to which a more virile exposition exposes itself, yet is found to be manifestly weak and unconvincing in satisfying the evident breadth and scope of the passage. “To begin, there is no proof that the ‘daughters of men’ were confined to the descendants of the Cainites. On the contrary, the text evidently indicates that the expression means the natural increase of the whole human family, and not a special class. Moreover, the assumption that the ‘sons of God’ must mean the godly line of Seth seems at variance with the uniform use of that term in the Old Testament where it appears restricted to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7)…”Again, if the ‘sons of God’ are simply pious Sethites who mixed with the Cainites, the prominent question is left unexplained as to why their progeny should have been ‘giants,’ ‘mighty heroes who were of old, ‘men of renown.'” (Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology: A Study Of Spiritual Forces At Work Today, 46-48 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications)
The prevalence of homosexual “marriage” is also mentioned by ancient Hebrew commentators:
“Rabbi Huma said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, ‘The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.'” (Genesis Rabbah 26:4-5; Leviticus Rabbah 23:9)
Sorcery And Necromancy
Necromancy is communication with the dead, and often includes the idea of trying to force the dead to work for the living. This practice is strongly condemned in Scripture (see I Chronicles 10:13; Galatians 5:19-21). It was obviously very commonplace before the time of the Flood:
“And Cainan grew up and he was forty years old, and he became wise and had knowledge and skill in all wisdom, and he reigned over all the sons of men, and he led the sons of men to wisdom and knowledge; for Cainan was a very wise man and had understanding in all wisdom, and with his wisdom he ruled over spirits and demons.” (Book of Jasher i4:11)
“Fallen angels taught men the use of magical incantations that would force demons to obey man. After the flood Ham the son of Noah unhappily discovered this and taught it to his sons. This became ingrained into the Egyptians, Persians, and Babylonians
In the Bible, “sin” is the violation of the will of God. We are told:
I John 3:4-Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
I John 5:17-All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
James 4:17-Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
The most flagrant and willful types of sin were known as “wickedness.”
“Rasha‘ occurs only in Hebrew and late Aramaic. The word occurs about 260 times as a noun or an adjective and especially in the poetic literature of the Old Testament. It is rare in the Pentateuch and in the historical books. Its frequency increases in the prophetical books. The narrow meaning of rasha‘ lies in the concept of “wrongdoing” or “being in the wrong.” It is a legal term. The person who has sinned against the law is guilty: “They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28:4). When in Israel’s history justice did not prevail, the “guilty” were acquitted: “… When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2; cf. 2 Chron. 6:23). Rasha‘ also denotes the category of people who have done wrong, are still living in sin, and are intent on continuing with wrongdoing. This is the more general meaning of the word.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words 16523-16531 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
“It has been said that there are three classes or kinds of sin in the Hebrew Old Testament. (1) The lightest infractions are those that are called chet, chata, chatta’ah, or chattah, a fault, a shortcoming, a misstep, to sin, err, miss the mark. (2). Of a more serious nature are the sins described by ‘avon, avah, or ‘aven, a breaking of a commandment, iniquity. “(3) The most serious sins are those called pesha’ (transgression) and resha’ (wickedness). There is the idea of rebellion involved in pesha’, and of what has become a habit or state in resha. Psalm 106:6 mentions all three words, “We have sinned (cheta) like our fathers, we have committed iniquity (avah), we have behaved wickedly (resha’).” A similar threefold list is found in Exodus 34:7, “Who forgives iniquity (avon) , transgression (pesha’) and sin (chatta’ah).” (Gareth Reese, Commentary On Romans, 216; Joplin, Missouri; College Press).
God gave people much time to repent of their wickedness. We are told:
Genesis 6:3-And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
The Lord here provided mankind another one hundred and twenty years to repent of their sins; yet they continued in their evil and wickedness.
The words of commentator John Gill are quite informative here:
“But this designs the space that God would give for repentance, before he proceeded to execute his vengeance on him; this is that “longsuffering of God” the apostle speaks of in the afore mentioned place, “that waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing”; and so both the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan interpret it of a space of an hundred and twenty years given them to repent:” (John Gill)
In fact, by the time of the Flood of Noah, only eight people in the entire world were left who still followed The Lord (despite the fact that Noah was a preacher of righteousness for at least one hundred and twenty years).
II Peter 2:5-and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
“It was unexpected, and Peter suggested that Noah was mocked by his contemporaries for proclaiming its imminence…The description here elicits interest because the Old Testament never informs us that Noah preached to his contemporaries. “The idea that Noah entreated his generation to repent, however, is common in Jewish tradition (Josephus, Ant. 1:74; Jub. 7:20-29; Sib. Or. 1:128-129, 150-98; cf. I Clem. 7:6; 9:4).” (Thomas R. Schreiener, The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37)-An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture, 334-339 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY; B&H Publishing Group).
The Building Of The Ark
The Bible tells us that during this one hundred and twenty years, Noah built a huge Ark (Genesis 6-7). Within this Ark were representatives of each animal kind.
Genesis 6:19-21-19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”
Genesis 7:2-3-2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.
It is important to realize that a “kind” is not the same as a “species.”
“The first thing that needs to be addressed is: ‘What is a kind?’ Often, people are confused into thinking that a ‘species’ is a ‘kind.’ But this isn’t necessarily so. A species is a man-made term used in the modern classification system…”The Bible uses the term ‘kind.’ The Bible’s first use of this word (Hebrew: min) is found in Genesis 1 when God creates plants and animals ‘according to their kinds.’ It is used again in Genesis 6 and 8 when God instructs Noah to take two of every kind of land-dwelling, air-breathing animal onto the ark and also in God’s commands for the animals to reproduce after the Flood…”A plain reading of the text infers that plants and animals were created to reproduce within the boundaries of their kind. Evidence to support this concept is clearly seen (or rather not seen) in our world today, as there are no reports of dats (dog+cat) or hows (horse+cow)! So a good rule of thumb is that if two things can breed together, then they are of the same created kind. It is a bit more complicated than this, but for the time being, this is a quick measure of a ‘kind.’ “As an example, dogs can easily breed with one another, whether wolves, dingoes, coyotes, or domestic dogs. When dogs breed together, you get dogs; so there is a dog kind. It works the same with chickens. There are several breeds of chickens, but chickens breed with each other and you still get chickens. So there is a chicken kind. The concept is fairly easy to understand.” (Dr. Georgia Purdom and Bodie Hodge, ‘What Are Kinds In Genesis?’ in Ken Ham, The New Answers Book 3: Over 35 Questions On Creation/Evolution And The Bible, 446-457 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR; Master Books)
The Ark was certainly large enough to accomodate all the animals:
“The Ark measured 300 x 50 x 30 cubits (Gen. 6:15), which is about 127 x 23 x 13 meters or 450 x 75 x 45 feet, so its volume was 43, 200 m (to the third power) (cubic meters) or 1.52 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep. “If the animals were kept in cages with an average size (some would be much bigger), others smaller) of 50 x 50 x 30 centimeters (20 x 20 x 12 inches), that is 75, 000 cm (squared) (cubic centimeters) of 4, 800 cubic inches, the 16, 000 animals would only occupy 1, 200 m (squared) (42, 000 cubic feet) or 14.4 stock cars…”This would leave room for five trains of 90 cars each for food, Noah’s family and ‘range’ for the animals, and air space.” (Don Batten, David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book: Answers Over 60 Commonly Asked Questions In 20 Categories!, 2867-2872 (Kindle Edition); Eight Miles Plains, Australia; Creation Ministries International)
After the Flood, the Ark landed on the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4).
Through the obedience of Noah, eight souls were saved from the Great Deluge:
I Peter 3:20-21-20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Firsthand Eyewitness Accounts Of Witnesses Who Have Seen The Ark
There have been many eyewitness of the Ark since it landed on Mount Ararat.
The following historical accounts are from: Henri Nissen (translated from Danish by Tracy Jay Skondin, Bruce Steuer, Dorthe Orbesen and Irene Kjaedegaard), Noah’s Ark-Ancient Accounts And New Discoveries; Copenhagen, Denmark; Scandinavia Publishing House.
Berosus was a historian who lived in Babylon. He wrote three books between 350-290 B.C. Some of his writings are preserved in the records of Josephus. He wrote:
“It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs.” (Berosus The Chaldean
Nicolaus of Damascus
“There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was caried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote.”
“However, the Armenians call this place, The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its’ remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.”
“And of the Ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains.”
In defending the truthfulness of Christianity against skeptics, this Christian apologist made the following remark in the year 380:
“Do you seriously suppose that we are unable to prove our point, when even to this day the remains of Noah’s Ark are shown in the country of the Kurds?” (Ephiphianus Of Salamis)
Isidore of Seville (560-636 A.D.)
“”Ararat is a mountain in Armenia, where the historians testify that the Ark came to rest after the Flood. So even to this day, wood remains of it are to be seen there.”
William of Rubruck
Franciscan monk who was sent by King Louis IX of France to the Mongolian Emperor. Traveling near Mount Ararat, he wrote:
“Near this city (Naxua) there is a mountain of which it is said, ‘Here lies Noah’s Ark.’ The one (is) larger than the others, and Araxes (River) flows at the foot of them; there is a city they call Cemanum, which, when translated, means ‘eight,’ and they say that it is named after the eight people that came out of the Ark and who built it on the great mountain.’
Sir John Madeville
“…and there beside is another mountain called Ararat, but the Jews call it Taneez, where Noah’s ship rested, and still is upon that mountain; and men may see it afar in clear weather. That mountain is a full seven miles high; and some men say that they have seen and touched the ship, and put their fingers in the parts where the devil went out, when Noah said ‘Benedicte.’ “But they that say so speak without knowledge; for no one can go up the mountain for the great abundance of snow which is always on the mountain, both summer and winter, so that no man ever went up since the time of Noah, except a monk, who, by God’s grace, brought one of the planks down, which is yet in the monastery at the foot of the mountain.”
Jan Janszoon Struys.
He was a slave who travelled from 1647-1672. Writing of a monk who was suffering from a hernia, he was encouraged by other monks to help him. After rendering service, he recorded:
“The brave hermit thanked me so profusely that I was embarrassed. He added that his sacred vows prevented him from giving me rich presents and that he had nothing more precious than a cross attached to a little silver chain. He removed it from his neck and gave it to me. It consisted of a little fragment of reddish- brown wood, and with it he gave me a piece of the rock on which the Ark came to rest. Such a high value did he attribute to these pieces of wood and rock that, in his judgment, I would be too rich if I retained them. If, on the other hand, I was willing to take them to St. Peter’s Church in Rome, he assured me a recompense that would make my fortune. He had been born at Rome, and he said that his name was Domingo Alessandro, and he was the son of one of the richest and most influential families of Rome… When I was ready to depart, I thought that it might not be a bad idea to obtain from him an attestation as to my experience on Mt. Ararat. He willingly gave it to me in the following terms: 4 I have thought it unreasonable to refuse the request of Jan Janszoon (Struys) who besought me to testify in writing that he was in my cell on the holy Mt. Ararat, subsequent to his climb of some thirty- five miles. This man cured me of a serious hernia, and I am therefore greatly in his debt for the conscientious treatment he gave me. In return for his benevolence, I have presented to him a cross made of a piece of wood from the true Ark of Noah. I myself entered that Ark and with my own hands cut from the wood of one of its compartments the fragment from which that cross is made. I informed the same Jan Janszoon in considerable detail as to the actual construction of the Ark and also gave him a piece of stone which I had personally chipped from the rock on which the Ark rests. All this I testify to be true – as true as I am in fact, alive here in my sacred hermitage. Dated the 22nd of July, 1670, on Mt. Ararat.”
Modern sightings further confirm the fact that others have indeed witnessed Noah’s Ark.
One of the more fascinating stories include that of Haji Yearam.
Haji Yearam is a man who grew up near Greater Mount Ararat.
His family would take specially chosen individuals to see the remains of Noah’s Ark.
Once they were approached by a group of atheists who wanted to disprove the story of Noah and the worldwide Deluge.
Years later, in 1952, Haji reported the event to a close friend, Harold Williams:
“When Haji was a large boy, but not yet a man fully grown, there came to his home some strangers. If I remember correctly there were three vile men who did not believe the Bible and did not believe in the existence of a personal God. They were scientists and evolutionists. They were on this expedition specifically to prove the legend of Noah’s Ark to be a fraud and a fake. They hired the father of young Haji Yearam as their official guide….”It was an unusually hot summer, so the snow and glaciers had melted more than usual. The Armenians were very reticent to undertake any expeditions to the Ark because they feared God’s displeasure, but the father of Haji thought that possibly the time had come when God wanted the world to know the Ark was still there and he wanted to prove to these atheists that the Bible story of the Flood and the Ark is true. “After extreme hardship and peril the party came to the little valley way up on Greater Ararat, not on the very top, but a little down from the top. This little valley is surrounded by a number of small peaks. There the Ark came to rest in a little lake, and the peaks protected it from the tidal waves that rushed back forth as the Flood subsided. “On one side of the valley the water from the melting snow and glacier spills over in a little river the rims deep mountain as they reach the spot there they found the crown of a mighty ship protruding out of the ice. They went inside the Ark and did considerable exploring. It was divided up into many floors and stages and compartments and had bars like animal cages of today. The whole structure was covered with a varnish or lacquer that was very thick and strong both outside and inside the ship. “The ship was built more like a great and mighty house on the whole of the ship without any windows there was a great doorway of immense size but the door was missing. The scientists were appalled and dumbfounded and went into a Satanic rage at finding with they hoped to prove nonexistent.” They were so angry and mad that they said they would destroy the ship but the wood was more like stone than any wood we have now. They did not have tools or means to wreck so mighty a ship and had to give up. They did tear out some timbers and tried to burn the wood but it was so hard it was almost impossible to burn it. They held a council and then took a solemn and fearful death oath. Any man present who would ever breathe a word about what they found would be tortured and murdered. They told their guide and his son that they would keep tabs on them and that if they ever told him anyone and they found it out they would surely be tortured and murdered. For fear of their lives Haji and his father had never told what they found except to their best trusted and closest relatives. “Here Haji was in America, an old man about 75 years old by this time. The scientists were much older and he doubted if any of them were then living. To be sure the record was left he wanted his story recorded before he died. So I recorded it very carefully and he went over it again and again to make sure no mistakes had been made. He felt quite sure that the men who had threatened his life if he told were dead and gone by then…”One evening… I sat reading the daily paper in our apartment in Brockton. Suddenly I saw in very small print a short story of a dying man’s confession. It was a news item one column wide and, as I remembered it, not more than 2 inches deep. It stated that an elderly scientist on his deathbed in London was afraid to die before making a terrible confession. It gave briefly the very date and facts that Haji Yearam had related to us his story. I got out the composition book containing the story he had me write. It was identical in every detail. “Haji Yearam had died in my parents home in Oakland California about the same time that the old scientist who died in London. We had never for one moment doubted Haji’s story, but when this scientist on his deathbed on the other side of the world confessed the same story in every detail, we knew positively that the story was true in every detail.” (As reproduced in Tim LaHaye and John Morris, The Ark On Ararat, 43-49; (published jointly) Nashville, TN and New York, N.Y.; Thomas Nelson Publishers and Creation Life Publishers)
In our next lesson, we will consider still more evidences (from archaeology and other fields) which demonstrate the historical accuracy of the Bible, especially in regard to Noah and the Great Flood.
We see in the story of Noah some very important lessons about God, sin, and man.
First, God is a perfectly holy Being Who cannot tolerate sin. It must be punished (Habakkuk 1:13).
Sin is an affront to everything that God is-this puts man in a very serious predicament since man is a sinner (Ecclesiastes 7:20, 29; Ezekiel 28:15; Romans 3:23).
Second, despite God’s holy wrath towards sin He has a great love for sinners. He desires even the most wicked to come to repentance instead of perishing apart from Him (Ezekiel 18:23). It is because of God’s incredible love for mankind that He sent Jesus to die on the Cross, paying for our sins with His blood (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
Third, while God is long-suffering and desirous and ready to pardon sinners, He will eventually execute judgment on the unrepentant (Luke 13:1-9).
So we need to turn to God today and accept His offer of mercy (I Corinthians 15:1-8; Acts 2:37-38).
Noah was a man who trusted and obeyed God, and we need to do the same today!
Hebrews 11:7-By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
How many years passed between the Fall in the Garden of Eden and the time of Noah? _______________________
Describe the word “sin” as used in the Bible. _______________________________________________________________________________
What does the word “wickedness” mean? ____________________________________________________________________
How many people were saved on board the Ark? ______
Who were some ancient eyewitnesses who saw Noah’s Ark? __________________________________________
Who are two examples of “modern-day” eyewitnesses of Noah’s Ark? ____________________________________________
Where did the Ark set down after the Flood? _____________________
Noah was a man who ______________ and ____________ God, and we need to do the same.
The Noahs were saved through the waters of the Flood, and in the same way we are saved through water in the act of _______________ (I Peter 3:20-21)