Christ said that before He returns there would only be one sign to herald His coming.
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Theologians have interpreted this to mean that the conditions of the world would be the same as those that were before the Flood. This is indicated by the following verse.
Matthew 24:38,39 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew [understood] not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
And the world does seem to have gotten into the same state now, maybe it is even worse. When discussing this a few days ago with a friend he suggested something that really struck a chord with me.
On July 7, 2016 the Ark Encounter1 opened for visitors in Williamstown, Kentucky (see Fig.1), an actual-size replica of Noah’s Ark (157 m, 510 ft long). It is located inland, far from water, and used by Answers in Genesis to educate people about the size of the Ark and other issues related to the Earth destroying global flood in Noah’s day,2 that resulted the death of all air-breathing land dwelling as well as all flying creatures. But most importantly it meant the death of all humans except for those 8 that were on the Ark, Noah, his wife, Noah’s 3 sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives.
You also may have read of the full size replica Ark built by the Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers in Holland,3 who spent three years building a gigantic wooden Noah’s Ark completing it in 2011 (see Fig. 2). It is built on flotation barges and hence is sea-worthy.
Then there is the full-size Ark built as a hotel and theme park in Hong Kong4 (see Fig. 3). Construction was completed in 2008. Built via an unusual mix of government and private enterprise, the ‘vessel’–really a building–sits on Ma Wan island, overlooking the Rambler Channel and Tsing Ma Bridge, over which the highway to the Hong Kong international airport runs. Huge numbers of vehicles pass by this Ark replica every day. Mostly designed as a tourist drawcard, it has become one of Hong Kong’s most prominent landmarks.
Several news articles have been written by secular3 as well as Christian5 media over these Noah’s Arks, especially in the USA at the recent opening of the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. I may have missed it if someone did mention that the mere presence now of these replica Noah’s Arks makes the meaning of Matthew 24:38 more poignant. This is because prior to this last decade, to my knowledge, no one had even rebuilt Noah’s Ark and so in comparing events back in Noah’s day with events in our day one thing would have been missing. That is, the construction and presence of Noah’s Ark, as a copy of the original.
It was a warning to the world about 4500 years ago. Therefore, in these last days, it (well, all three Arks) is a warning to the world again today that judgment is coming. This time it will not be with a global flood of water, but instead a global flood of fire.6 I suggest that the mere construction of these ‘Arks’ has created the last condition that permits the literal fulfilment of the scriptural text:
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37).
Not to labour the point too much, but it is not a symbolic fulfilment but a literal one. We note three attempts have been made to faithfully reproduce the size (all three Arks) and accurate construction (by wood in two Arks) and even to populate them with the same types of animals that Noah took on the original Ark.
The good news is that Noah’s Ark is a symbol of salvation in Christ7 to those who respond to the Lord’s call. And these Arks then herald the “coming of the Son of man” in the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead.
- Ark Encounter, Answers in Genesis, opened July 7, 2016.
- Phil Robinson, The cartoonification of Noah’s Ark, Creation 38(4):40–42, October 2016.
- Tourists flock to £1 million full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark built by a carpenter who dreamt his country would flood, Daily Mail, September 18, 2016.
- Carl Wieland, Full-size Noah’s Ark in Hong Kong! Creation 33(1):28–31, January 2011.
- Chiqui Guyjoco, Creationist Ken Ham shares gospel with Bill Nye on Ark Encounter Tour, The Christian Times, July 13, 2016.
- John G. Hartnett, Do the heavens literally pass away or don’t they? July 9, 2016.
- John G. Hartnett, Noah’s Ark and salvation, Creation magazine 37(4):22-24, 2015.