Preserving Noah's Ark

Preserving Noah’s Ark

Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. (Genesis 6:14-16)

In light of coming judgment, God told Noah to build an ark. At least in the English language, when we say the word “ark,” we picture a boat with a lot of animals on it. But that isn’t the actual meaning of the word ark. The ark of the covenant wasn’t a boat, it was a box – something like a trunk used to store things.

Preserving Noah's Ark

What God told Noah to build was not much of a boat, but more of a well-ventilated barge meant only to float and give refuge. It wasn’t built to sail anywhere.

The ark was as long as a 30-story building is high (about 450 feet/150 meters), and it was about 75 feet (25 meters) wide and 45 feet (15 meters) high. Roughly the shape of a shoebox, the ark was about the size of the ocean liner Titanic and it had a cubit-wide opening (18 inches, one-half meter) all the way around the top.

It was not until 1858 that a bigger boat was built. The ark was certainly big enough to do the job. If the ark carried two of every family of animals, there were around 700 pairs of animals; but if the ark carried two of every species of animals, there were around 35,000 pairs of animals. The average size of a land animal is smaller than a sheep. The ark could carry 136,560 sheep in half of its capacity, leaving plenty of room for people, food, water, and whatever other provisions were needed.

At this point of the story, all Noah knew was that God will judge the earth, and he was supposed to build a big barge. Since it had not rained yet on the earth, it is reasonable to suppose Noah didn’t know what God was meant yet.

There is secular, non-Biblical evidence for the remains of Noah’s ark starting almost three centuries before the birth of Jesus stretching all the way to 20th century. Many believe that the Durupinar boat-shaped formation in Turkey is the landing spot for Noah’s Ark.

God told Noah to cover the ark with pitch inside and outside, which would both waterproof and preserve some of the ark for a long time. Perhaps God still has a purpose for the ark, to use it to remind the world of a past judgment shortly before a soon-coming judgment (2 Peter 3:1-7).

Perhaps, before Jesus returns, God will remind any who will listen about His righteous judgment. We must listen, believe, and be ready.

Click here for David’s commentary on Genesis 6

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