Description of Ark

Gen. 6:14-22:
14 “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.
15“This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
16“You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

Gen. 6:14-16:
The ark is, as all of you know, a very controversial subject. God told Noah to make this gigantic floating object. We usually refer to it as an ark. .In Hebrew, the word is hebah means a box or a chest or a hollow place capable of containing persons, goods, etc. That is exactly what the ark resembled. It was to house humans and animals. How could a floating object be in existence after 4-5 thousand years? How could a boat hold the number of animals it is said to have held? How could a boat remain afloat after such deluge as THE flood? How could God save only 8 people in the ENTIRE world? Weren't there SOME other people righteous enough to be saved? Some of these questions can be answered; some cannot be answered. These verses in the Bible are very descriptive and specific. Theoretically, if one would follow the instructions today, we would have an exact copy of the ark.

Let's take a look first at the boat or ark. Actually, it could better be called a barge. God said for Noah to make the ark out of gopher wood. What is gopher wood? We know it is a kind of wood or tree. However, we do not know the exact wood. Most scholars think it is a wood, growing in the mid-east area, that was similar to cypress . The wood was to be covered inside and out with "pitch". Literally, the Hebrew word is kaphar which means a cover or covering. It is a dark, tar-like, sticky type material. It was probably made from bitumen, a mixture of hydro-carbons (compounds having primarily of carbon and hydrogen) or resins from trees and plants. Even today we use the word pitch for the thin viscosity tar-like material used for coatings and sealings. So the pitch was used to seal the structure and keep water out. This can be analogous to keeping out the judgments of God just as the blood of Jesus protects or seals our soul when we are God's person (re-born).

The length of the ark was to be 300 cubits; the width was to be 50 cubits; the height was to be 30 cubits. Ok; what is a cubit? This is a measurement of length such as inch or foot. There are many types of cubits. There was the Hebrew, Roman, Royal, common, etc. Basically, it varies in length from about 17 inches to 20.7 inches. Practically, it is approximately the distance from the elbow to the tips of the fingers. Obviously, people have different size arms. The Hebrew standard is thought to be 18 inches. So, all our use of the cubit will be 18 inches, or 1 1/2 feet. Therefore, the length was to be 450 feet; the width was to be 75 feet; the height was to be 45 feet. It has been proven that a box this size and shape could withstand waves that would stand the ark vertically on end. It is ultra stabile. As a matter of fact, the same ratios of length, width, and height are used today. In addition, this is said to be the largest sea vessel until the modern day Queen Elizabeth ship. However, the comparison is made, the ark was VERY large. With the dimensions given, the total volume is in excess of 1,400,000 cubic feet. If one equates this volume to railroad box cars, the ark is equivalent to about 522 box cars. As an example of animals in the ark, about 240 sheep can be put into a box car. That means that about 125,000 sheep could be shipped in the ark.

It is obvious that the writer of Genesis did not give all the details of the design. It is believed that the instructions given in the Bible were to inform all readers that the ark was capable of doing what it was supposed to do. It appears God wanted something like a window in the ark. As we will find out later, there is a window that will be for general observation of the water conditions, to let light in, and be a place to let certain birds fly in and out of the ark. The word "window" (Hebrew: tsohar refers to an opening for light. The verse (16) is very awkwardly worded. So there is question as to what the exact meaning is supposed to be. However, it appears God wants a window perhaps one cubit in size. The term "finish it above refers to the roof. That is really saying the window must be on the most top, just under the roof. There are some that believe the words mean a one cubit high opening all the way around. The roof would sit on something like a strong railing all the way around. Another thought is there may have to be a kind of wall above the roof to capture rain water for washing and drinking. It would act as a cistern.

There was to be a door in the side. There would be only one door. There were to be three floors built into the ark. Everything in the ark would enter and leave through this door (except birds). Remember, Christ is the door and only door for us to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

This must have been very interesting to the people around Noah. They had never seen a flood. In fact, if the sphere of moisture is to be understood, the people had not seen rain (Gen. 2:5; 2 Peter 2:5). From all Biblical writings, it appears Noah was in the building process and preaching for about 100 years. He had his sons around 500 years old and the rains started to fall when he was 600 years old. The only thought obtained from this timing is the world was so corrupt that he could not convert any of them.

Gen. 6:17-18:
17 “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
18 “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Gen. 6:17-18
Now God tells Noah exactly what He is going to do. God will bring a flood upon the earth. The flood will destroy all animals, humans, and growth on and in the earth. When God wants to clean house, He cleans house. The word "flood of waters" is mabbul mayim in Hebrew. The only time these words are used in the Bible is when the flood is referencing the universal Noah flood. It is said this word is related to the Assyrian word meaning "destruction". Thus this was a highly destructive flooding by waters. Some say a direct understanding of the power of these particular words is in the words "the hydraulic cataclysm". In the Septuagint, the highly accepted Greek translation of the Old Testament uses the word kataklusmos for the Noah flood. They use a different word for all other floods.

God now tells Noah that He is going to set up a covenant with Noah. God says that Noah, his three sons, and their wives were going to enter the ark when it is complete. The covenant comes later, after the flood. It is up to Noah now to build the ark and prepare for the flood. Noah now knows all he needs to know to complete God's desires.

Gen. 6:19-22:
19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
20 “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.
21 “As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.”
22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did."

Gen. 6:19-22
God tells Noah to get two "samples" of all flesh. The flesh is referring to animals (similar to "flesh" in Gen. 6:17). One very important point to remember here is God is definitely wanting male and female so that there can be procreation later. He was specific that this is what is REQUIRED to be fruitful. There will be no covering the earth if there is not male and female. Noah is responsible to get these animals and take care of them. If Noah did not care for the animals and one died, there would be no furthering of that species. So it was very important and a high responsibility. We are now seeing a repeat of the "after their kind" statements that were first seen in Genesis 1. God says that Noah will have to have enough food for every animal and for his family. Considering the time of the start of the flood and the time when Noah could again inhabit the earth, that will be greater than a year. That is a long time and a lot of food. However, the ark will hold it. Scientists have studied and gone back in time with the calculations. They estimate there were about 72,000 thousand animals. With all the space in the ark, it is estimated 60% of the ark was used for animals. Yes, dinasaurs were there. Remember, all Noah needed was two of each. God did not say full grown adults. All He said was two "after their kind". Most of the animals were small (robins, lizards, frogs, mice, etc.). Included in the count were seven each of the "clean" animals (ox, sheep, goat, deer gazelle, etc.)

It was not as difficult as some have said to collect the animals. Remember, the atmosphere of the "old earth". THe ground was relatively smooth. All of this was because the world was created perfect. There were no ecological differences between locations of living. So there was no ecological problems with the animals making the trip. In addition, God instilled an instinct in animals that sense weather changes. This would draw animals to less stressful areas of the globe.

Noah not only had strong faith, but he also obedient to God. The last verse of the chapter says that Noah was faithful and honest. Noah walked with God. God knew it and chose Noah.

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