Genesis 7 – 8

The Flood: the Judgment of the World
Genesis 7 – 8

Noah Instructed to Enter (7:1-5)

1 And Jehovah said to Noah, Go into the ark, thou and all thy house; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. v.1 It does not say that Noah’s family was righteous; see Hebrews 2:11-13 and Romans 5:19. Only one was righteous, but the whole household was spared through the faith of Noah. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7). It is a type of our salvation in Christ. Noah’s family was accepted because of Noah. We are accepted “in the Beloved”, not because of our own righteousness.
2 Of all clean beasts thou shalt take to thee by sevens, a male and its female; but of the beasts that are not clean two, a male and its female. 3 Also of the fowl of the heavens by sevens, male and female; to keep seed alive on the face of all the earth. vv.2-3 At the end of chapter eight, we find that the clean animals were suited for a sacrifice to Jehovah. Every animal would have had a mate except for the seventh clean one which would later be sacrificed. As an application, the seventh clean animal pictures the believer who forgoes marriage in order to fully sacrifice themselves in service to the Lord!
4 For in yet seven days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living being which I have made will I destroy from the ground. 5 And Noah did according to all that Jehovah had commanded him. vv.4-5 Why did the Lord give Noah seven days warning? It was His grace, to tell Noah what He would do. Throughout scripture we see this pattern, that the faithful are given sufficient light to escape the judgment that falls on the mass of unbelievers. It is a tender pledge of God’s love towards the elect. The number seven is connected with completeness. The security of Noah and his family would be fully established before the rain began. The rain would last “forty days and forty nights”. Forty days speak of a time of trial or testing (Matt. 4:2; Exo. 24:18; Num. 13:25; 1 Sam. 17:16; Jonah 3:4; Acts 1:3). The response is that Noah obeys the word of Jehovah.
DATE: Approximately 2348 B.C.

The Flood Comes on the Earth (7:6-24)

6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was on the earth. v.6 The year of the flood is precisely marked. Man denies the historicity of a global flood, but God speaks authoritatively. Man uses carbon dating and other methods to speculate about the earth and its biology. This verse combined with the genealogy of ch.5 shows that the flood took place 1656 years after man was created. If the creation of man took place in 4004 BC (I do not try to show this here), then the flood happened in 2348 BC. This is 4366 years ago, from 2019.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons` wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowl, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 there came two and two unto Noah into the ark, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. vv.7-10 Noah obeyed, and and saw the Word of God come to pass exactly as God had said. The earlier prophecy of 120 years, and the later prophecy of seven days both came to pass at the same instant. Prophecy is always given for the benefit of those who hear and believe it. Prophecy does nothing for those who deny or disbelieve it prior to its fulfillment.
Chronology of the flood
  Year Month Day Total Ref. Event
  600 02 10 0 Gen. 7:4 Noah loads and boards
+7 dys 600 02 17 7 Gen. 7:11 Rain begins
+40 dys 600 03 27 47 Gen. 7:12 Rain stops
+110 dys 600 07 17 157 7:24 + 8:4 Ark rests
  600 10 01 230 Gen. 8:5 Mountain tops seen
+40 dys 600 11 10 270 Gen. 8:6 Raven and dove sent
+7 dys 600 11 17 277 Gen. 8:10 Dove sent again
+7 dys 600 11 24 283 Gen. 8:12 Dove sent again
  601 01 01 290 Gen. 8:13 Surface is dry
  601 02 27 382 Gen. 8:14 Earth completely dry, ark unloaded.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that same day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the pour of rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. vv.11-12 The exact month and day are now given, and other key events are likewise marked in ch.7-8. All was perfectly known by God, and recorded. Man today mocks at the notion of Noah’s flood, but God records these details in Divine authority and accuracy. The waters came upon the earth from two sources: from above and from below. The “windows of heaven were opened” to pour out rain on the earth. This was a phenomena that man had never seen; because before this time “Jehovah Elohim had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground. But a mist went up from the earth, and moistened the whole surface of the ground” (Gen. 2:5-6). This further illustrates the faith that Noah had, to obey the Word of God. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark, etc.” (Heb. 11:7). Noah believed what God had told him, even though it had never been seen before. But the windows of heaven being opened is more than just rain… it was a miraculous event, a direct intervention of God in judgment. We must take care not to “explain” all the events of this chapter though natural means. God was acting! Peter explains in 2 Pet. 3 that the flood of Noah’s day is proof that God is willing and able to judge the world again. It takes less faith than Noah had to believe that judgment is coming on the world again. Not only did rain come down from heaven, but “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up”. God reserved much of the water that surrounded the earth (“the earth standing out of the water and in the water”; read 2 Pet. 3:5-7) to be used in this global, catastrophic judgment. In like manner, “the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Perhaps it is the rejection of coming judgment that drives men to deny the historicity of the flood!
13 On the same day went Noah, and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; 14 they, and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and all fowl after its kind — every bird of every wing. 15 And they went to Noah, into the ark, two and two of all flesh, in which was the breath of life. 16 And they that came, came male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him. And Jehovah shut him in. vv.13-16 Only eight humans were saved, but two of every creature was spared. Why did so few respond to God’s warning? Was it because the message wasn’t clear? No. Was it because God didn’t give enough time? No. The scripture says that they “were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3:20). But while men refused to be saved, God was taking care of the creatures.
Creeping things were not forgotten.
Two of each were sheltered there—
For while foolish men are scoffing,
Little things will show God’s care!
Noah too, and all his household,
Safely o’er the threshold passed;
Then God shut the door upon them—
Judgment’s day had come at last.1
Jehovah shut the door on Noah and his family. How beautiful! It was Noah’s faith and obedience which caused him to preach, to build, to load, and finally to board the ark; but it was the faithfulness of Jehovah that saved him. The hand of the Lord was upon Noah and his family for salvation. But equally solemn, none can enter a door that God has shut. It was now too late for those who had rejected the preaching of Noah. Did other creatures have the breath of life?
Transition from Jehovah to Elohim. Once again, we have a transition from the name of God in relation with man (Jehovah) to God as Creator. Gen. 7:17 to 8:19 speak of Elohim, and we don’t get Jehovah again until Noah’s sacrifice (Gen. 8:18-end). This a mark of Divine inspiration. When the subject is the salvation of creation, it is Elohim speaking and acting. When it is a question of morality and sacrifice, it is Jehovah speaking and acting.
17 And the flood was forty days on the earth. And the waters increased, and bore up the ark; and it was lifted up above the earth. 18 And the waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark went on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth; and all the high mountains that are under all the heavens were covered. 20 Fifteen cubits upward the waters prevailed; and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh that moved on the earth expired, fowl as well as cattle, and beasts, and all crawling things which crawl on the earth, and all mankind: 22 everything which had in its nostrils the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land, died. 23 And every living being was destroyed that was on the ground, both man, and cattle, and creeping things, and fowl of the heavens; and they were destroyed from the earth. And Noah alone remained, and what was with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth a hundred and fifty days. vv.17-24 The same waters that destroyed all flesh on the earth are what lifted the ark above the tide. It is the judgment of God on proud sinners that we need to be saved from, but it is the judgment of God upon His Son that saves us! Peter refers to this in 1 Pet. 3:21, explaining that baptism works the same way. Peter says that the water saved those on the ark. He picks up on the fact that scripture says “the waters increased, and bore up the ark”. Baptism saves us in an outward sense, by separating us from the world which is coming under judgment. It is in this sense that Noah’s ark “condemned the world” (Heb. 11:7). Everything was covered. The highest mountain peaks were covered. All air-breathing land-creatures died; “everything which had in its nostrils the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land”. Animals have the breath of life, but they did not have it breathed into them by God. Nevertheless, both man and animals have it.2 There was no place to hide, no refuge from the judgment of God. God is sovereign, and His judgment is unavoidable. The ark was God’s provision for salvation. Once rejected, there was no other hiding place. There is no middle ground. You are either on the ground of Adam, or resting on Christ. “For as in the Adam all die, thus also in the Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). Those in the ark were perfectly preserved. Those outside the ark could not escape death.
Was the flood universal? From the language of vv.17-24, it would certainly appear that the flood was universal. It says all the high mountains that are under all the heavens were covered”. J.N. Darby remarked:
I believe the flood was all over the earth, wherever man was. There is no mistake. People have called the universality in question, using general terms, as if it only covered the inhabited earth. But scripture says, “the mountains were covered,” “and the tops of the mountains were seen,” and so on; this looks like universality. You must let in a miracle in any case: and so it is all one after all.
William Kelly remarked that the highest peak of the mountains of Ararat is 17,000 feet above sea-level. If these peaks were covered, it could not have been a local flood only.

The Waters Reside, the Ark Rests (8:1-5)

1 And God remembered Noah, and all the animals, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 And the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were closed, and the pour of rain from heaven was stopped. 3 And the waters retired from the earth, continually retiring; and in the course of a hundred and fifty days the waters abated. 4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters abated continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. vv.1-5 God never forgets to remember His own. The ark was a means of salvation from judgment for its passengers, but God’s mind was to bring them into a cleansed earth. God caused “a wind to pass over the earth”, and by some means we do not understand, the waters subsided. The ark came to rest on a mountain; perhaps a type of the believer’s position in the heavenly places. Physically speaking, the name of the mountain is still identifiable today as a mountain range in what used to be called Armenia, and is now the far eastern part of Turkey.

The Raven and Dove Investigation (8:6-12)

6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. v.6 There are two periods of forty days that are mentioned in this account. There are the forty days of rain, and the forty days of waiting – after the ark rested – before opening the window of the ark. Both were periods of testing, but in different ways. Practically speaking, trials come into our lives in different forms. Sometimes they come like a flood or a storm, and sometimes they are times of restless inactivity. Note: perhaps the first period of forty days refers to the warrior judgments of Christ which will take place when He first appears, and the second period to the sessional judgment of Christ, which will occur before the Gentiles can enter the Millennium.
7 And he sent out the raven, which went forth going to and fro, until the waters were dried from the earth. 8 And he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had become low on the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting-place for the sole of her foot, and returned to him into the ark; for the waters were on the whole earth; and he put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ark. vv.7-9 The two birds Noah sent out speak of the two forces at work within the believer; the flesh and the Spirit. The two birds followed their natures. The raven was considered unclean in Leviticus, and it feeds on carrion, or dead meat. The dove on the other hand is a clean animal, and is a symbol in scripture for purity and affection; “my dove, mine undefiled” (Song. 5:2; 6:9). The dove is also a bird of rest or peace (Psa. 55:6), while the raven is known for being restless. The raven found much to feed on in the carnage of the flood, and “went forth going to and fro”; i.e. from one carcass to another. The dove found “no resting-place for the sole of her foot”, because there is nothing for God in a scene of death. It is impossible for the dove to delight in what is against its nature. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6), and “they that are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh; and they that are according to Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5). To be successful, the believer in Christ must have food that is suitable to the new creation. We cannot seek the living among the dead. There is no food for our new nature in this world.
The Spirit, like a Dove. It is striking that the Holy Spirit is described as the shape of a dove at the baptism of Jesus. In a sense, the Spirit of God could find no resting place for 4,000 years… no clean place to dwell. But at the river Jordan, the dove at last found a place; “And Jesus, having been baptised, went up straightway from the water, and lo, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him: and behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight” (Matt. 3:16-17).
10 And he waited yet other seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came to him at eventide; and behold, in her beak was an olive-leaf plucked off; and Noah knew that the waters had become low on the earth. 12 And he waited yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove; but she returned no more to him. vv.10-12 The olive tree speaks of blessing through the Holy Spirit. “The olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?” (Jud. 9:9). Oil, which comes from the olive tree, is a type of the Holy Spirit. When the dove returned with an olive leaf, it was proof of coming blessing. The dove bringing the olive leaf into the ark is a type of the earnest of the Spirit. As the earnest, the Spirit allows us to enjoy the things of heaven things right now. After seven days, the dove did not return at all, showing that the earth was sufficiently dry for the dove to live. The hope (olive leaf) was exchanged for the fullness of blessing. It is in view of the coming Millennial blessing. There is coming a glorious day when the Spirit of God will be poured out on this world for blessing, when the redeeming or “setting free” will take place (Eph. 1:14), and the curse be lifted. This is pictured by the dove leaving the ark, to inhabit a new earth. That day is not here yet, but we have the very same Spirit within us, allowing us to share in the joy beforehand!
Three sendings of the dove. Therefore, the three sendings of the dove represent:
  1. The Old Testament, no indwelling. “No place for the sole of her foot”
  2. The New Testament, indwelling of the Spirit as the earnest. “in her beak was an olive-leaf plucked off”
  3. The Millennium, Spirit poured out on the earth. “she returned no more to him”

The Earth Dries: The Ark is Unloaded (8:13-19)

13 And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. vv.13-14 A New Beginning. This was the first day of the first month of a new year. Noah and his family looked out into a new earth.
15 And God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 Go out of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons` wives with thee. 17 Bring forth with thee every animal which is with thee, of all flesh, fowl as well as cattle, and all the creeping things which creep on the earth, that they may swarm on the earth, and may be fruitful and multiply on the earth. 18 And Noah went out, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons` wives with him. 19 All the animals, all the creeping things, and all the fowl — everything that moves on the earth, after their kinds, went out of the ark. vv.15-19 A New Earth. All those who were in the ark were able to partake of a new, cleansed earth. It is a picture of new creation. The ark is a type of Christ, who saves us from the judgment of God, and brings us into a new sphere. “So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). We could apply it this way; ‘if any one be in the ark, there is a new earth for them to inhabit’. In the same way, those who are “in Christ” are brought into a new creation; i.e. a new sphere where death can never come.

Noah’s Sacrifice (8:20-22)

20 And Noah built an altar to Jehovah; and took of every clean animal, and of all clean fowl, and offered up burnt-offerings on the altar. v.20 Noah had previously “built an ark to the saving of his house”. Now he has something else to build; i.e. an altar. There was no direct command from the Lord for Noah to offer this sacrifice. Naturally, we might expect Noah to exit the ark and busy himself with the preparations for life in a new earth. But Noah’s first thought is for the honor of Jehovah. He knew that burnt-offerings were fitting. It was Noah’s faith to use the seventh clean animal as a burnt offering. The burnt offering represents the aspect of the sacrifice of Christ in which He offered Himself wholly for God. The burnt offering comes first in the list of offerings in Leviticus because it represents the first object of the Lord Jesus in coming into the world. It presents Christ, not so much as bearing our sins, but as offering Himself to God to accomplish the will of God and to glorify Him (Heb. 9:14). 
21 And Jehovah smelled the sweet odour. And Jehovah said in his heart, I will no more henceforth curse the ground on account of Man, for the thought of Man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will no more smite every living thing, as I have done. 22 Henceforth, all the days of the earth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease. vv.21-22 The burnt offering produced a sweet odor. It is remarkable that what Jehovah said “in His heart” is connected with Him smelling the sweet odor of Noah’s sacrifice; “I will no more henceforth curse the ground on account of Man, etc.”. In this sense, judgment was abated by sacrifice. In just this way, the sacrifice of Christ is the basis for the reconciliation of all things (Col. 1:20). Compare what Jehovah says here with Gen. 6:5-7. Earlier, when seeing that every thought of man’s heart was evil continually, Jehovah said that He would destroy man. Here, He smells the sacrifice and promises not to curse the ground any more because of man, in spite of man’s irremediable condition. Such is the efficacy of the propitiation rendered to God by His Son on the cross. We can gather from these verses that it was only after the flood that seed-time and harvest were fixed, implying that agriculture was made easier after the flood. Weather patterns may have been different in the Middle East before the flood. It is hard for us to imagine how difficult it was for farmers like Cain to produce crops before the flood. To be clear, the curse of Gen. 3 was not eradicated in Gen. 8. Rather, seasonal stability was given for the blessing of man. Jehovah would “no more henceforth curse the ground on account of Man”. Although there was still hard work involved with farming, there would be seasons sufficient for farming, as we have to this day. This relief or comfort was the superficial fulfillment of the prophecy of Lamech in Gen. 5:29. However, the true fulfillment of the prophecy will be in Christ, who will remove the curse, and usher in the Millennium. Noah’s offering and the relief were but small foreshadows of the sacrifice of Christ, and of the blessing He will bring when He returns the second time!
  1. Hayhoe, Gordon. Long Ago a Flood Was Coming. Echoes of Grace Hymnbook # 363.
  2. “All in whose nostrils is the breath of life” included man and beast; all go together in that kind of language. – Darby, J.N. Hints on the Book of Genesis.