It’s Time to Build the Ark: Biblical Insights for the Days Ahead
Introduction (from the forthcoming book by this title)
Noah is one of many in our biblical hall of faith whose life reflects an incredible trust in God accompanied by a commensurate obedience. Hebrews 11 is replete with accounts of Old Testament saints who in various ways and circumstances answered the call of faith. Those whose stories are told all had unique trials, tests and demands placed on their lives, yet I see in Noah’s situation something particularly compelling for the day in which we are presently living. Abel was found righteous by bringing a more acceptable sacrifice. Abraham believed God against all odds and was thereby declared righteous becoming the father of our faith. Joseph faithfully endured trials and prison and saw the children of Israel being delivered out of Egypt. Moses chose to forsake the riches of Egypt and endure the oppression of God’s people leading them through the Red Sea and the wilderness journey to the Promised Land.
And then we have Noah. Why would his resume in the “Hall”, other than in the particulars, be significantly different from other giants of faith? Interestingly there is only one verse regarding Noah in Hebrews 11. Yet it is the account of Noah that most draws my focus presently. I believe the attraction has to do with two principal factors—Noah’s inclusion in Jesus’ reference to the last days in Matthew 24 and Luke 17 and the global nature of his ancient story. Noah was involved with God in what impacted the entire earth and life on it from his day forward.
In that singular verse honoring Noah’s faith, God said something fascinating and alluring—being warned of God of things not seen as yet! In the NLT it reads, …who warned him about something that had never happened before. It is certainly no stretch to realize that we are facing circumstances today that are unique to civilization and that make us think we are accelerating into the last days. Although many are still clinging to the hope that matters will return to normal just as we have previously overcome isolated and even national challenges, for those whose eyes are open we see the irreparable and global nature of the problems playing out before us. Like Noah, we are beginning to experience things that have never happened before. It is not my intent here to paint a disparaging picture but rather to encourage that we would go into these last days with eyes wide open. In Noah’s day the Lord was purging the earth of abject sin and corruption. The Noah references in Matt 24 and Lk 17 tell us precisely that the last days will be as the days of Noah.
I would like to simply highlight here a number of the present world conditions that should thoroughly inform us as to the global and irredeemable nature of what we are facing. These things are not shared in an alarmist vein but rather that we would be awakened and motivated spiritually to hear the same warning Noah received and choose to faithfully respond by building the ark. God has plainly said that he would bring down everything that is not founded in the Lord Jesus Christ.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. (Hag 2:6,7 KJV)
Consider these irreparable situations, conditions and challenges:
- Pandemic of questionable origin (no virus was ever isolated) resulting in extraordinary and mandatory unconstitutional and harmful injections, lockdowns, masks and social distancing.
- Mammoth loss of national sovereignty through open borders and the acquiescence to international agencies such as the WHO, United Nations, World Economic Forum, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.
- Massive loss of personal freedoms through the directives of national agencies staffed by unelected bureaucrats (Homeland Security, National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control, etc.).
- Deep corruption in virtually every alphabet agency in the United States,
- A Congress, regardless of political affinity, totally beholden to the military and big business.
- A national debt in excess of twenty trillion dollars; an unpayable, unresolvable situation.
- The illegal, unconstitutional usurpation by the federal government of rights and powers delegated only to the states.
- The use of weather manipulation to control and or punish politically “recalcitrant” states as well as other nations.
- International control, manipulation and oppression by a handful of unelected, unaccountable elitists, banks and organizations.
- A national health care system which functions completely under the auspices of the pharmaceutical industry and the United States government.
My friends, the flood is here! The powers that be, inspired, empowered and driven by Satan, seek with all that is within them to achieve a one world order. This would include one world government, banking and monetary system, universal citizenship, universal health care and a one world religion. There is no agency, institution or political entity you can turn to in attempting to forestall or avoid the consequences of what has meticulously and nefariously been set in motion to corrupt, destroy and bring down every legitimate government in the world. Noah was warned of something that had never happened before. For those with ears to hear and eyes to see, the warnings are all about us. It is time to build the Ark.
What does it mean, then, to build the ark? I want to firstly remind us that in building the ark, Noah wasn’t miraculously removed from the world. Contrarily, he rose in safety on the very circumstances that dealt punishment to the wicked of the world. Secondly, notice that building the ark isn’t a type of salvation since Noah was selected because he already had righteousness with God. Building the ark reflects a relationship with the Lord that far exceeds simply getting one’s ticket punched for heaven. This is all about pressing into God that He might have the place in our lives that was ordained from eternity past. Paul put it this way in his letter to the Philippians:
But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. (Phil 3:12)
I want to suggest that building the ark involves our conscious effort in three dimensions. The first would be in forming a relationship with Christ wherein we are committed to being utterly conformed to his image, to growing up into his full stature. This is talking about a 24/7 relationship with Jesus. It is about surrendering every aspect of our lives to him. It is answering the fullness of what it means to take up one’s cross and follow. It would mean that our citizenship had shifted from this present world to the kingdom of God. In this mode our will, our life purpose, our goals, aspirations and ambitions along with every aspect of life would be completely relinquished to the sovereignty of God. As the song so adequately depicts, “…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” I am not talking about some sort of “super Christian” here but rather what every confessing believer is called to in Christ. Salvation isn’t about what we might want but about what God purposed for himself from eternity past. As expressed by DeVern Fromke, one of my former teachers, mentor and friend, “What Father God has always wanted from eternity past was many sons and daughters just like Jesus.” Building the ark means putting into place whatever spiritual mechanisms are necessary and profitable to grow one’s life continually more and more into Christ.
Secondly, building the ark involves understanding and properly exploiting our relationship as the church. God so designed us that we can only achieve full stature life in Christ through our spiritual interaction within the body of Christ. Sadly, too many believers today only seem to understand church as a weekly ritual, a place you go on Sundays, a service you attend mostly as a spectator. Although many do become more involved in church programs, the majority of attendees in most fellowships tend to be merely weekly ritual participants. However, as believers we are considered “priests” and are called to represent other Christians to God and represent God to our fellow citizens of the kingdom. We are living stones being morticed together as a living temple inhabited by God. Paul plainly lays out the functionality of the church in 1 Corinthians 14:26 where he states:
How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (NKJV)
From its inception the church was never about gathering for a weekly ritual conducted by professionally trained leaders while the congregants exercised basically a passive role. Also, there wasn’t a diverse mixture of competing sects or denominations. The church was fundamentally known by its locale—the church of Corinth, the church of Philippi, etc. In any given location, there was only one church. Of course, this one church met in many different venues. The most prominent meeting place was the home of a believer. From the outset, it never was a goal for the church to build up large congregations. When the church adopts Paul’s every member a minister concept, it becomes obvious it only works effectively in groups of limited number. Only in this kind of configuration can all in attendance have an opportunity to bring forth ministry to the rest of the body. We are all ordained to encourage and build one another up in Christ.
Spiritual Formation: The process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others. (Invitation to a Journey, Robert Mulholland Jr.)
The relational aspect of the church is beyond imperative. The physical size of the church is important in that it must not only allow, but promote, interpersonal relationships. Only in this kind of spiritual environment will persons be free to exhibit open, transparent, caring and sharing relationships. Only in this context will persons be willing to allow others to speak encouragement and correction into their lives.
Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. Henri Nouwen
Finally, in building the Ark, it is essential to be able to consciously contextualize everything in one’s life in the eternal. We tend to be very earth bound and temporally oriented in how we perceive most of life. Too often salvation has been presented as that which only relates to life after death, as an insurance policy or a get out of hell free card. Too frequently invitations to accept Christ are portrayed as coming to Christ for what he can do for you. This is incredibly man-centered and very much denying of the fullness Father God has called us to through the sacrifice of his beloved son. In a very real sense, salvation is more of a beginning than a destination. When one chooses to believe in the Lord Jesus and accept the grace he offers, it is like stepping over a threshold onto a path which leads to growing up into the fullness of Christ himself. It is the beginning of an entirely new life which is no longer dedicated to self but rather is committed to becoming everything in Christ he died for one to be. It is an absolute change of citizenship from this world and all its kingdoms to the kingdom of God. It means there is a new boss in town.
Contextualizing everything in the eternal means seeing life as a continuum; it is not interrupted by what we refer to as death. We are eternal beings from eternity past. Our challenge is choosing to see all things from God’s point of view, to see them according to his eternal purpose. Couching things in the eternal means accepting that there are no second causes and learning to accept all things as from the hand of God.
The articles that comprise this book have these three threads running through them. They are meant to, (1) encourage our personal walk with Jesus, (2) foster a more authentic relationship in the body of Christ and (3) call us into an eternal mentality. Building the Ark is our act of obedience which demonstrates our faith in Christ. Lastly, that very act of our faith serves as a condemnation on Satan and all his world systems. May the reading of this book serve to encourage all saints to arise to their heavenly calling in Christ and thereby proclaim his eternal purpose.
It’s Time to Build the Ark!
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. Hebrews 11:7 KJV
Here, then, is our hope. Conscious of our own sins, and of the shortcomings of the Christian community of which we are members, let us have recourse to Him whose grace is sufficient for us. Let us abide in Christ, and in all things grow up into Him. God alone is good; Christ alone is the Pattern and the Inspiration of the Christian character; only in the Father and the Son can the new life and the new fellowship come to their perfection. The Expositor’s Bible, The Epistles to the Thessalonians