Noah's Flood

We first read about Noah in Genesis 5, found at the end of a genealogical list beginning with Adam, following the lineage of his son Seth. Noah is our English translation of the Hebrew No'akh. In the Chinese, He is called Nuòyà. The phonetic similarity between the Hebrew and Chinese is not the result of translation, as is the case with English. Noah's name was in use among the ancient Chinese people. They knew of this man before the Hebrew Scriptures were written.

As we look at the etymology of Noah's name, we find that he is the SECOND APPROVED. There are only two men of whom it is had been said in Scripture, he "walked with God." The first to receive such approval from the Lord was Noah's great-grandfather Enoch, of whom it is said,

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24, NKJV)

One chapter later, we find that

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:8-9, NKJV)

Enoch's walk with God was so close that he did not see death - God simply took him to be with Him. Noah's walk with God distinguished him the all his contemporaries. They would be destroyed in the flood; he found grace and salvation from God.

Not only does the word nuò mean approved, but it is also used for promise. As true as it is that Noah was the second approved, we find in the Genesis record that he was also the second promise. The first promise found in the Scriptures is Genesis 3:15, where we are told that the seed of the woman would conquer the seed of the serpent. The next promise, the second promise, is in the giving of Noah's name. We read,

Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, 'This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.' (Genesis 5:28-29, NKJV)

There are over 15 words that could be used in the Chinese language to convey the idea of a promise. That the ancient Chinese used nuò is significant. The etymology reveals WORDS spoken about a MAN through whom the WEEDS curse would be removed, and LIFE would be restored to the EARTH. Notice, that is the very thing Lamech said in Genesis 5:28-29 when he named Noah. This promise would be fulfilled in Noah, for after the flood, when he and his family had exited the ark, we read:

...Noah built an altar to the LORD ...and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. (Genesis 8:20-21, NKJV)

In this text, not only does the LORD say that He will not again destroy all flesh with a flood again, but He also indicates that He will no longer curse the ground for man's sake. This is not a statement about the flood, but about the weed curse which resulted from Adam's sin in the garden (Genesis 3:17-19). It was in the days of Noah, when he came forth from the ark that the weed curse was no more.

As noted above in Genesis 6:8-9, Noah distinguished himself from the people of his generation. He showed himself to be righteous, while his contemporaries were wicked. We saw this distinction between the sons of Adam, Cain and Abel. Noah followed in the way of Abel, while the rest of his generation followed the violence of Cain (see Cain & Abel article). The people around Noah were described in this way:

...the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:5, 11, NKJV)

The word è dé is WICKEDNESS in the Chinese. It literally means BAD MORALS or EVIL ETHICS. The left side of the word reveals a SECOND HEART or MIND, as men turned from the heart/mind God had given them to do wickedly. On the right side of the character, we see radical 60, which may be rendered as a step with the left foot. However, as we look at it, we see the base is a person, with perhaps an abbreviated person overhead, perhaps indicating a PLURALITY OF PEOPLE. As we continue to look at the components, we find the words COMPLETE, NET, ONE and again, HEART. What the image seems to describe is not the ethics of a single individual, but of the whole world, revealing that all the people were netted (or caught) in the same heart or mind.

Due to the wickedness of man, God was sorry that He had made man. We read:

...the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6, NKJV)

The KJV says repented the LORD..." Chàn is a Chinese word for REPENT which appears to picture the LORD's sorrow about man. In this word, we see the sorrow of God's HEART from the BEGINNING of man's EVIL. The universal nature of this evil is evident by the horizontal lines above and below evil, indicating the evil which is between heaven and earth. Finally, on the very right of the image for REPENT, we see God's determined response to man's wickedness. It would result in punishment, here pictured with a KNIFE or LANCE.

Another word for REPENT reveals what God intended to do because of man's wickedness. The word hui shows the words HEART and EVERYTHING. What was on God's heart about everything? The etymology of EVERYTHING is literally, NOT ONE LIFE. God intended to destroy everything! The Genesis record agrees, for it says that God would

...destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air ... everything that is on the earth shall die. (Genesis 6:7, 17, NKJV)

All flesh had become CORRUPT. The Chinese word fu huà speaks of this corruption. The right side of the character acknowledges that a CHANGE had taken place. On the left, we see that all FLESH were HANDED OVER to the corruption - it COVERED all. This is also observed by the Genesis writer:

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Genesis 6:11-12, NKJV)

As noted above in Genesis 6:7, 17, God determined to "destroy" all flesh. To accomplish this, He would use "floodwaters." A Chinese word for DESTROY is ju, which fitly pictures the destruction God would bring. The image identifies the source of the destruction as WATER MOREOVER! God would use a flood to destroy all flesh.

Hóng, meaning FLOOD, reveals the extent of the flood. It was not a localized flood; God would bring TOTAL WATER upon the land. The word for TOTAL here is significant also. It is a record of what would be left after the flood was finished. There would remain EIGHT TOGETHER upon the EARTH. Only Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives would survive.

The rest of mankind would DROWN (yan). The etymology of this word does not reveal just a few people overcome by floodwaters. The WATER would COVER or TRAP all. This is evident when we look at the word for COVER/TRAP, for it speaks of ALL TOGETHER. The population of the post-flood world would be just the eight people mentioned above, who were not covered or trapped by the floodwaters.

God commanded Noah to make an ark. We read,

Make yourself an ark ... I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall go into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons wives with you. (Genesis 6:14, 18, NKJV)

The word for ARK in Chinese is fangzhou. This is a combination of two words, fang which means RECTANGLE and zhou meaning BOAT. That is basically what the ark was; a rectangular boat. There was nothing fancy about its construction, it was essentially a huge floating box. It is interesting to note that the word fang can also mean UPRIGHT or HONEST, which describes the character of those who were permitted onboard.

Ship | Vessel
This boat which Noah constructed was massive. It was a three-level vessel, with over 100,000 square feet of floor space. It would be rightly called a SHIP (chuán). This word pictures EIGHT PEOPLE on a BOAT. What ship has only eight people onboard? Cruiseliners are built to carry thousands of people and have dozens of personnel onboard. Freighters, though not built to carry passengers, still have dozens of crew members. Surely this pictures the ark Noah was commanded to build. God said that eight people would be saved in the ark. The apostle Peter, comparing the physical salvation of Noah and his family with our salvation in Christ wrote:

...the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is an antitype which now saves us - baptism... (1 Peter 3:20-21, NKJV)

Torrent of Rain
Once the ark was built, God told Noah,

...after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made ... on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:4, 11-12, NKJV)

The waters of the flood did not come as a light sprinkle, but as a TORRENT OF RAIN (pèi). This word describes RAIN that was ABUNDANT, FULL or SUDDEN. The image pictures not only the rain coming from above, but water from below, even as the Genesis record indicated that the fountains of the deep also opened. The water that was upon the earth was COMPLETELY WIDE (ie. it covered the entire earth).

After the flood had ended and the waters began to recede, a DOVE (ge) was sent by Noah to see if there was any vegetation on the earth yet. He sent her out three times. The first time, she brought back nothing; the second time, she brought back an olive leaf; and the third time, she did not return (Genesis 8:8-12). The left side of this character pictures a MAN, the EARTH, and a MOUTH, and the right side of the image shows a BIRD. It is possible this character was developed to tell of the DOVE which was sent out by the MAN to seek food upon the EARTH. She bore evidence of the food with the olive leaf in her MOUTH.

When the time came for Noah and his family to exit the ark, what do you suppose would be the first thing they would do? The Genesis record tells us,

...Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma... (Genesis 8:20-21, NKJV)

The first thing he did was make SACRIFICE (). This word for sacrifice seems to infer that the offering had not been offered for some time, as the three components of the word are FLESH AGAIN as God had COMMANDED. Over a year had passed since Noah had last been able to make sacrifice to God.

After Noah made sacrifice to the LORD, He promised two things: 1) He would not curse the ground again (the weeds curse was lifted), and 2) He would not destroy the earth by a flood again. As a sign of this second promise, the LORD said to Noah,

It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. (Genesis 9:14-15, NKJV)

The rainbow signifies the end of the rain, as God sees the token of His covenant with all flesh and brings an end to the rain. The word (RAINBOW) literally refers to the FINAL PART of the RAIN.

by William J. Stewart

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