Evidences of Faith

Noah's Baptism

One of the most familiar stories in the Bible is the account of Noah and the flood, recorded in the book of Genesis, chapters 6 through 8. It may also be one of the most misunderstood. For example, there are many who believe that the point of the story is this: Noah and his family were saved from the flood, by the ark. And, it is true that Noah and his family rode out the deluge on the ark. But it was God who brought the flood, and it was God who decided that Noah would survive it. Noah, then, was not a target of the flood: it was aimed at the ungodly. Seeing that we may safely say that God doesn't miss, we must conclude that Noah did not need the ark to be saved from the flood, except for the fact that God commanded him to build it. The question naturally arises: Why did God require Noah to build the ark and bring all those animals aboard? The answer is in the New Testament book of Hebrews:

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not 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. (Heb. 11:7)

God required Noah to build the ark as a demonstration of his faith, and He had the incident recorded as an example and a lesson for those who would come later. God could have prevented the flood from harming Noah by any means He chose, and He chose a method that would prove Noah s faith.

In a very real sense, though, we can see that Noah did not need to be saved from the flood at all, insofar as the same God who brought the flood ordained that Noah would survive it. As long as Noah remained faithful, there was no chance of the flood harming him. When we look at the second epistle of Peter, however, we find that Noah was indeed saved from something:

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 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; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) - then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment (2Peter 2:4-9)

In this list of examples of God judging those who are immersed in sin, and sparing those who believe in Him, we find Noah. And we do not find Noah being saved from the flood, but from the sinful world around him. And the event that separated Noah from the wickedness around him was the flood.

The next question one might ask is, why a flood? Why did God choose a deluge as His means of saving Noah? Well, if we turn back a couple of pages in our Bibles to the first epistle of Peter, we find our answer:

. . . in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also antitype which now saves us, namely baptism... (lPeter 3:20,21).

A "type" is a symbolic representation of something, and the thing so represented is the "antitype". The flood, then, represented baptism. But, you may say, the story of the flood was written some 1400 years before Jesus walked the earth; how could something which happened beforehand represent something which would come later? It couldn't, unless God did it. If for no other reason, God used the waters of the flood to destroy the world in the days of Noah, because He knew that He would ultimately use the waters of baptism to wash away the sins of those who believe in Him (Acts 22:16), thereby setting them apart from the world as a special people for Himself (l Peter 2:9,10). Just like a good novelist, the Author of the Bible used the technique of foreshadowing. In the case of the Bible, however, the events and the people were real: and the Author needed to know the future in order to make the foreshadow work.

When we further consider the parallels between the flood and baptism, we can see that the two are strikingly similar. First, neither the flood nor baptism are necessary, except that God chose them. God could have saved Noah by any other means, and likewise there is nothing inherent in water which could wash away sin: the only thing special about these is that God chose them. Second, just as Noah was required to demonstrate his faith before he was saved by the flood, so also baptism is for those who believe (Acts 8:12). Third, even as Noah was given the opportunity of a fresh start after the flood, we likewise arise from the waters of baptism to begin a new life (Romans 6:4). And, both the flood and baptism reflect God's mercy and His judgment: mercy toward those who believe, in spite of their unworthiness; and judgment upon those who do not believe. In both instances, the water marks the point of separation between the saved and the lost.

If you are new to the Watchman, then all of this may seem like mere coincidence to you. To those who have been reading this paper for some time, however, you have seen quite a few such "coincidences", and you realize that there is a pattern in scripture. God has indeed given us evidence that the Bible is not just a work of men. Do you believe the Bible is from God? If not, why not? The evidence is there for your examination.

And, if you do believe that the Bible is the word of God, have you obeyed its commands? We have seen that one of the great events of the Old Testament, the Flood, was arranged by God to foreshadow New Testament baptism. This tells us something about the importance of baptism; it is not some minor doctrinal point, but a significant part of God's plan of salvation. Have you died to sin in scriptural baptism (immersion in water), washing away your sins (not Adam and Eve's), and rising to walk a new life in Christ? If not, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). If you feel you are ready to make this commitment to the Lord, you may contact any of us at the Watchman, and it will be our privilege to assist you in any way we can.

e-mail this author at jimrobson@worldnet.att.net

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