by C. Parker Thomas

The following article was first published many years ago and is perhaps more relevant today than it was then. It contains valuable insights into world conditions at the time of Christ’s coming.

“But as the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt. 24:37. The usual interpretation of the above verse of scripture has occupied itself with the coming of Christ and subsequent separation of the righteous from the wicked. Some have even gone so far as to vividly describe the chaotic bedlam that takes place as Christians are suddenly raptured out of cars, trains, factories, churches, prisons and homes. Though multitudes have been stirred by this frightening picture, there is actually no scripture that says this will take place. It is simply another case of man drawing conclusions that the Word does not give.

And we must conclude that many of the sayings of Jesus, like the prophets, were not to be understood until the appointed time. Man’s presumption in trying to understand the scriptures without the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the author of the Word, is the reason we have Babylon. The many divisions, doctrines and sects speak for themselves. Someone has built their own fire and walked in the sparks thereof. Is. 50:10-11.

A little over two years ago I firmly believe the Lord revealed to me that Noah’s call and mission before the flood was meant by the Lord to be a type of the preparation of the church before the great and terrible day of God’s wrath upon the world.

As a result of the vain traditions of men that have been handed down to us through an apostate church, we have divorced Christ from his body in our thinking. Though we have all thought we believed that the church was the body of Christ in a mystical sort of way, we have not literally believed that “Christ is (now-present tense) come in the flesh.” I John 4:2. Neither have we understood that the local, visible church is the body of Christ in a particular place.

We have believed that he was in the heavens somewhere and some have even conceded that he was in an invisible, universal, mystical church. But the idea that the complete Christ by the Spirit actually lives in a local, tangible, visible, multi-membered body, we have not understood. To me this is the great revelation of this day. This is the foundational truth upon which all other truth must be built. Of necessity, a restored church must come through restored truth.

As long as we put Christ off somewhere in the sky or in a mystical body that cannot be found nor consulted, we will never become the channel through which he can fully express himself in the earth. Earthly kingdoms have no fear of a church that does not reckon on the presence of the mighty indwelling Christ.

We have been taught that the ark was a type of Christ. But I believe the ark itself was a type of the body of Christ, the church, joined together by the Spirit. The pitch within and without speaks of the inwrought and outward presence of Christ in his body. It is the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Exodus 13:21-22.

Though many of us can point to individual, personal experiences in the Holy Spirit, we need this corporate presence of Christ restored to the church as a body. This is what the church received at Pentecost and must receive again before it can operate the keys of the kingdom in loosing and binding on earth.

A new testament church indwelt by the presence and power of Christ is our only hope in a world that is being flooded by the spirit of antichrist. The flood tide of iniquity must rise higher and higher until gross darkness covers the earth, at which time the church which is even now being prepared will rise up in power and might of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Is. 60:1-5. Hallelujah! His church, restored, will accomplish more in twenty-four hours than the weak, divided and apostate church can accomplish in twenty-four years.

By saying “…as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,” Jesus is drawing a parallel between the preparing of the ark before the flood and church prior to his coming. As a long-suffering God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, I Peter 3:20, he is once again waiting while something else is being prepared, and that something today is his church. It is most significant that the Greek words ‘prepared and preparing’ translated (I Peter 3:20) (katoskeuazo) mean to be thoroughly prepared as a vessel. One of the two words (skeos) from which katoskeuazo is derived is sometimes used in connection with a wife as being a vessel of usefulness to her husband. In Rev. 19:7-8 we read, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

Surely this is what the apostle meant when he said, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Likewise, the prophet Isaiah had the same thing in mind when he said, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Since the church is the bride of Christ, the ark most certainly speaks of the church as the bride of Christ.

Today the fundamental church world has little or no conception of the restoration of the church. For the most part, they are convinced the world will get worse and worse and finally Jesus will come and rapture them out of it. The idea that the Lord is going to perfect and restore his church right here in the earth is a strange and unheard of thing to them. “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” Habakkuk 1:5. “For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.” Isaiah 28:21.

Likewise, the building of an ark for a flood that could not come (scientifically speaking) was a strange and unheard of thing. Who had ever heard of rain falling out of the sky upon the earth? Besides, all the leading theologians of the great denominations were agreed that this was contrary to fundamental orthodox precept. If God was actually going to do such a thing, he would have revealed it to some of their distinguished colleagues. He would never have committed such an important task to an ignorant and unlearned preacher such as Noah. Inasmuch as he wasn’t violent but harmlessly engaged in building this ark, they decided to let him go ahead.

And though Noah publicly condemned their sins and warned them of the coming flood, they figured he couldn’t do them any harm. Their congregations were not influenced in the least by this poor old ignorant preacher. The only converts he had in one hundred and twenty years of preaching were the seven members of his immediate family. And they wouldn’t have been much of an asset to the educated, noble and refined churches of that day. In fact, they actually might have been a hindrance by their uncouth presence.

Though there was an aura of mystery and apparent foolishness connected with the building of a ship so far from navigable water, it was the major revelation of God in that hour. Noah’s expectation of sufficient rain upon the earth to destroy mankind and actually float the ark only deepened the convictions of the people that Noah was a religious fanatic that didn’t know what he was doing.

Can’t you see the wisdom of God in choosing the foolish things of the world to confound the wise? Those who are wise in their own conceit are made to stumble because they are looking to man more than God. Had they been pure in heart they would have recognized the Spirit of Christ speaking through Noah. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matt. 5:8.

This revelation of God through Noah was their only hope of salvation. But all they could see in Noah was an ignorant and unlearned preacher that didn’t know what he was doing. Though Noah hadn’t received much in the way of religious training, he had heard from God. The Lord had revealed himself to him. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared and ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hallelujah! On the strength of that revelation Noah went to work building the ark.

The very building of the ark was a message of condemnation to the world. The very act of building the ark was a message from God against the unbelief and rebellion of the world. If Noah was right, he had God’s message and was God’s messenger to that generation. If Noah was right, they had to repent and bow to his revelation and subsequent authority in the earth. If Noah was right, they were wrong.

Though unbelief and rebellion are usually vented against the human instrument, it is actually against God. Men need to be careful lest they reject the vessel and God in the process. We cannot have God without receiving the instrument through which he expresses himself. Matt. 10:40. Noah and his message were one. To reject him meant to reject the message. To receive him meant to receive the message.

Had Rahab the harlot not received the messengers of the Lord, she would have perished right along with all the inhabitants of Jericho. In receiving the messengers of the Lord, she not only saved herself but all her household who came under the protection of the covenant when Joshua invaded and destroyed Jericho. Noah moved with fear to the preparing of the ark and the saving of his household. Joshua 6:25 says, “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”

More and more as we progress toward divine order and begin to function as a body we will see the individual has to come to the church if he gets anything from God. This is according to his ultimate plan and purpose that we might be made perfect in one. John 17:23. By the same token, as divine order is restored, the Lord will hold the whole church responsible for the sin of one member. As in the case of Achan’s sin, Joshua 7, and the man at Corinth, the church, the body of Christ, will be charged and held responsible until the offender is judged and the sin is put away. The Lord desires to honor his body, the church, in the earth.

Today we hear much about a one-man ministry. And most of it is of a critical nature. Some even make a blanket condemnation of all so-called one-man ministries.

Though there are, without doubt, some dominating individuals who will not give place for other ministries, there are an even greater number that aspire to an office they do not have. It is often such petty individuals as this, motivated by the spirit of jealousy, that lash out against the one-man ministry.

Actually, our ministry is according to the call and anointing of Christ upon our life. Though in one sense we are all equal in Christ, it is ridiculous to try and divide leadership up among any certain group of men and make them all equal. Paul made this clear in Romans 12: 3-8 where he says, “For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching, or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”

Every effort that I know of to set up an equal leadership in a local church has ended in failure and division. The further the church is from divine order, the more we need clear, positive leadership that can help us find our way out of the wilderness.

Until the body is formed and capable of functioning as a unit, the burden of ministry will rest upon the Noahs who have heard from God and have the revelation. Remember, “…as the days of Noah were so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” If Noah lived today, he would certainly be condemned as a one-man church dictator.

Even among the apostles, it is evident that Peter was the leader and the Lord and the Holy Ghost honored that leadership. Luke 22:31-32; Acts 2:14; 3:1-6. This, however, in no wise, does away with the scriptural appointment of elders and deacons from among the membership of the local assembly. I Tim. 3:1-13. But the real need is first a general stewardship ministry that is capable of ordaining and setting things in order. Titus 1:5-9.

Paul the apostle had a stewardship ministry to the Gentiles. Likewise Noah was God’s appointed steward in the earth before the flood. His business was to build the ark and warn mankind that judgment was coming. It is significant to me that the Lord speaks of the faithful and wise steward giving out to the household their portions of meat at his coming. Luke 12:42-48.

The stewardship ministries will have a keen insight into the Word of God plus an unfolding revelation of the sovereign moving of the Spirit. In addition to his ministry gift, edifying and strengthening the body of Christ, he will honor and recognize it as such. Above and beyond all, the faithful and wise steward will recognize his responsibility toward the sheep.

The hireling feels little responsibility toward the sheep but is constantly moving from place to place seeking his own advantage. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evils of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking saith the Lord” Jeremiah 23:1-4.

As Noah’s ark became a place of refuge and safety for those who believed when the flood waters began to fall upon the earth, so will the church functioning as a body be a hiding place from the storm for those who are a part of it.

As the time approaches for the climactic showdown of the ages, there will be less and less of the presence and witness of Christ in the false church system. As the darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, the glory of the Lord is going to rise upon the true church, Is. 60:1-5. Like the children of Israel during the time of the plagues and great darkness upon Egypt. There was safety and light in the dwellings of the Israelites in the land of Goshen.

As the ark was the place of refuge and safety from the flood, the church, the body of Christ, will be our hiding place. No doubt this is the meaning of the prophecy of Is. 26:20-21 where he says, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” To the Philadelphia, brotherly love church (a type of the true church), the Lord said through John, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10.

As the ark pitched within and without safely weathered the storm and the flood, so will the true church. As Goshen was the place of light, protection and safety during the plagues of Egypt, so will the church be during the tribulation.

Did you know that according to history, the Lord warned the church in Jerusalem in 68 A.D. just before the siege by Titus and the entire church moved to the city of Pella beyond Jordan and escaped the destruction that came in 70 A.D.? Beloved, I believe the Lord already has a place of safety for his church when the plagues of tribulation come upon the world.

I personally believe he will get more glory by preserving and keeping the church during this time of trouble than he would if he raptured it out. The Lord didn’t deliver the Hebrew children from the fiery furnace but he went in there with them. He let Daniel go to the lions’ den but he also sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.

In Revelation 12:14 we read where the woman (the true church) is “given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time and times, and a half time, from the face of the Serpent.” “…as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the son of man be.”

I believe even now the ark is being prepared and made ready for the flood. The flood itself is a type of the judgment of God coming against the spirit of antichrist that will so universally prevail during the tribulation. No doubt Isaiah 59:19, Matt. 7:24-27 and Rev. 12:15 all point to his flood.

Another most significant thing about the building of the ark is that it had to be built according to specifications. Gen. 6:14-16. I believe we have the blueprint, the Word of God. In our efforts to build the ark, we must honor the Word of God even as Jesus and the apostles did. They constantly referred to the scripture in what they did. I am afraid of these revelations that do not honor the Word of God.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” Tim. 3:16-17.

Every house that is not built upon the rock of revelation of Jesus Christ will fall when this flood comes. “Therefore whosoever heareth these saying of mine and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt. 7:24-27. “And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18.

Only Noah’s ark pitched within and without with pitch will be able to weather the storm.

After the ark was finally finished, the Lord called Noah and his family into the ark and Gen. 7:16 says, “…and the Lord shut him in.” And did you know that there were still seven days before the flood waters began to fall? The ark was finished. There was no preaching or anything else to be done but just wait until God fulfilled his Word. However, the door was closed, no one could get in or out. Destinies were sealed; those in the ark were safe, those on the outside were doomed. There was only one door into that ark and God himself had closed it. Matt. 25:1-13 gives a very similar picture. The door will be opened only to the Philadelphia church. Rev. 3:7-8.

Like it was toward the close of Christ’s ministry, even now it seems the door is being closed to many. Mark 8:22-26, Luke 19:41-44. “…as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”

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