When you think of “Noah” or “Noah’s Ark” you probably think of Steve Carell in the 2007 comedy film Evan Almighty, or animal rescue shelters, day cares, baby quilts with cute animals, and some old guy with a straggly white beard. Most people tend to forget who Noah really was, and why he was such an important person to be mentioned by name in historical accounts.
Because of the latest motion picture staring Russell Crowe set to premier in theaters on March 28, there likely are fans still confused about who Noah was, or wasn’t (See our articles on the movie’s controversy for more: here)! So it’s a great time to take a brief biblical history lesson to remember who this man really was, and what has made him such an iconic foreshadowing figure in the Christian Faith.
Here are 10 Things you should remember about Noah before you see the film:
Wait, Noah was how old?
1. If your first thought about “Noah” was that he was old, then you’re right! Noah was definitely old – in fact, he was 500 years old by the time his three sons were born! Somehow people lived a lot longer back then. After the flood, the book of Genesis actually states that he lived 350 more years! So, in total, he was 950 years old when he died.
What’s in a name?
2. Names had a lot of cultural significance and really defined a person’s character and identity. Noah, in Hebrew, is the word-picture of bringing “cheer” “relief” and “comfort”, which is associated with Noah’s agricultural occupation of planting vineyards. In Greek, it also has the idea of “causing one to rest”.
This definitely became true of Noah as the flood occurred, and tangible during the hard labor of tilling land for farming. At that time in history, the ground had been cursed, and it hadn’t rained in a long time! So people had to work harder than before to provide for their families. Noah was the first person to basically start the farming industry.
First things, First!
3. Noah was the first recorded birth after Adam died [Yes, the “Adam” from Adam and Eve] and was the grandson of Methuselah.
Noah had haters too!
4. Noah was known for his extreme faith. He believed God, and did exactly what He was instructed to do – even to the very minute detail, despite the ridicule and lack of support he had during the time he was building the ark. Because it had not rained in a while, the idea of a huge flood coming to the earth to destroy mankind was crazy!
Noah was a picture of Grace
5. Noah and his family were chosen to illustrate the Old Testament picture of God’s restoring grace after judging the earth, which would prelude to the New Testament, and what Jesus Christ illustrates about salvation. In fact, Jesus Christ is a direct descendent from Noah’s genealogy.
Noah and God were tight!
6. Noah was known as a man who walked with God in close friendship, and was the only righteous one among the earth. That was kind of a big deal! He was the first person to be called righteous in the Bible, so you can imagine the kinds of things that must have been going on in his day that would put “Sin City” to shame.
God was so fed up with the way mankind was continually growing worse in their blatant sin, that He actually wanted to destroy the whole entire earth and start completely over again. Instead, He decided to pick Noah and his family to be saved, and give the world a second chance through their family.
Noah and the Rainbow:
7. Against some modern day assumptions, the rainbow in this context has nothing to do with gay pride, or some kind of hidden message. God used it as a symbol to promise that He would never destroy the earth by a flood again.
Noah had struggles too.
8. Noah, though reverent, obedient, righteous, and just – was also human. The passage depicting his drunken state shows his human frailty, but is not meant to condone being drunk or setting a standard for whether Christians should drink alcohol or not.
The sinful nature of man was not something that could be completely drowned away in the flood. That is why this historical account was meant to be a shadow of a future account where sinful nature would ultimately be dealt with in the Gospel message. This goes to show, that no matter how imperfect people are, God can still use them in an epic way!
Noah was a Prophet
9. Noah was not only instructed to build the ark, but also to preach about repentance so people could have the opportunity to be saved from the flood. He was one of the first prophets to convey a message from God to mankind, and was commanded to share the message during the entire time he was building the ark. Even though no one listened, they did have a fair chance of survival by hearing that same message for 120 years!
Noah didn’t Compromise
10. Noah was a known as a very strong man of moral fiber who set an example with his character, when it would have been easy to go along with what everyone else was doing. He was willing to stand out from the mainstream culture and take a big stand for what he believed was right. His remarkable trust and patience is still a great example for people to follow today in fulfilling their calling.
Ultimately, the story of Noah and the ark is a story of hope, second chance, and an encouragement to make life count in this world. We might not all be called to build arks, and be known as “that guy” that is made fun of all the time – but with a strong sense of knowing who we are, we can move past what others think, stay focused, and accomplish great things to lead other people to a saving grace. You just might be the under-dog and unsung hero of faith for your generation!