The Church of God
Why Count the Days of Noah's Flood? - By: Don Roth
WHY COUNT THE DAYS OF NOAH’S FLOOD?
New knowledge of this world comes to light every day. This is also true about some of the technical aspects of the flood account which will be addressed here. The additional information does not change the original article, but gives more insight and clarification of this important bible account.
Most people have difficulty in understanding the bible. A reason for this is that many times the bible gives concluding factual statements leaving the reader wondering what has gone before without the supporting information.
A vivid example of this is found in Genesis 2:16-17. “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
What information is missing here? Adam had to know the meaning of death to make the punishment for disobedience credible to a point that he could grasp the enormity of the simple command not to eat the fruit of one single tree in the garden. A more correct translation of “you shall surely die,” is “dying, you shall die.” To make this punishment real God tells Adam what would happen to him if he ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The information that is missing here is that God would have explained the meaning of death to Adam before he was given the command not to eat of it. This was as certain as the punishment carried out in Genesis 3. God would not have set up Adam to fail, but would have explained in detail what Adam and his offspring would experience over time; that they would lose their strength and vitality until their bodies would fail them and they would no longer exist, returning to the ground from which they came.
Going into the pre flood account it is found that there were only two of the patriarchs marked by God with an important distinction which separated them from the rest. They walked with God, meaning that they had a special relationship with God. The first was Enoch in Gen. 5:22, and Genesis 6:9 states that Noah walked with God. Walking with God is a strong metaphor which should not be taken for two just strolling down a path together.
They were physically meeting with the God of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ. I Cor. 10:4. “And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” John 6:46. “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.”
Confirming this is seen in Ex. 34:6 where Moses looked on God, making it clear that it had to be Christ he was seeing. “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,’”
Read the article entitled THE PHYSICAL PRESENCE OF GOD for a more complete understanding.
It was God’s choice to make Himself known to these two men; that He was the creator of all things we know in this physical life, and the conduct He expects of man. Isn’t this the same thing that Christ did for man in the New Testament?
Just as in today’s society man must make a choice. Matt. 7:13-14. The choice is to enter the gate of the narrow and difficult way that leads to eternal life, or to pass it by. These men had to make the same choice, to walk with God or walk the way of Satan which is uncontrolled competition.
Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?” Does God agree with man? Or should man in total agree with God? This means repudiating man’s way and whole heartedly following God’s way, which is the give way, built on the commands of God. To walk with God one must know deeply and reverently that he lives at the behest of his maker and redeemer.
For Noah it also meant knowing why God had to destroy all life on the earth and begin again with Noah and his family. God created man as a physical being in a physical world, subject to death. Man was made to have the choice to make the change needed in his conduct and thinking to bring him into unity with God’s way of life.
Just as has been seen Genesis 2 God used an outline of the worldwide flood of the earth. In the same way He gives the barest amount of construction details of the ark; just enough to give a physical picture of its enormous size. Consider the missing construction details for this massive structure. To begin this project Noah would have been a wealthy man, enabling him to acquire the vast amount of lumber, pitch and manpower needed to build the ark as God specified.
The ark would also need to store an enormous amount of food and water to last for a year. In addition Noah had to be a great organizer to make all this come together at the right time to facilitate the construction of the ark and to meet a prescribed completion date. To accomplish this entire project God used a man talented as a builder and organizer. Noah had one more attribute which is mentioned in II Peter 2:5. “And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.” Beside the talents already listed Noah was able to speak publically, warning the evil society of the coming destruction. The men of that time were free to make a choice to either enter the ark or not up until God closed the door.
All the talents and wealth, and all that has been noted about Noah were God given attributes. From their first meeting it was clear to God that Noah had a great desire to be part of God’s way of life. That desire to please God is what He used to build the dynamic man of faith that Noah became.
Not obvious is that Noah had to have the ark completed by a certain date. The reason for having it completed by a certain date is that Noah recorded the essential dates and times during the year of the flood which had to happen on a certain year that had 13 months and 385 days. Pointing out these important dates, coupled with those of Exodus 12 and 16 allows us to understand how God tracks time. An example like that of Genesis flood requires the reader to understand, from the data given, that the length of months and years were pre-determined. See the article HOW DID GOD SET HIS CALENDAR?
The flood began on the 17th day of the 2nd month. Therefore Noah would not have been able to sight the moon to start the count for the 3rd month. By not being able to know when the 3rd month began, Noah could not have known how many days were in the 2nd month by sighting the moon.
The initial outpouring of rain was 40 days. God also caused it to continue to rain for another 150 days, meaning that the sky would have been cloudy for 190 days, preventing the sighting of the moon until the 28th day of the 8th month.
Despite his lack of knowing by sight how long the missing months were, Noah was able to define two important dates; The placement of the 17th day of the 7th month, when the ark came to a place that God chose, and the first day of the first month of the following year. The only way that Noah properly placed these dates was by knowing the number of days for each month of that year.
While the waters had not begun to abate the ark came to a stop that was above the tops of the mountains. It did not rest high up in a craggy part of the mountain range, but a level place beneath the floating ark large enough to accommodate the 450 feet in length of the ark when it finally came to rest on the earth below. It would be a place that allowed for easy exit of the animals; a large valley with a level area which allowed access to a plain suitable for Noah’s family and offspring to spread around the earth.
From the 16th day of the second month to the first day of the next year there were 340 days consisting of 40 days of great rain followed by 150 days of normal rain which maintained the flood waters at 18 cubits above the highest mountain. The one constant that Noah knew despite cloudy weather, was to accurately count the days of the flood year. This alone would not allow him to know when the first day of the next year occurred, or when the 17th day of the 7th month took place.
The only way for him to do this was by the use of a predetermined number of days for each month, which brings up an important question. Why would Noah record the starting date of the 17th day of the 3rd month, or the 17th day of the 7th month? It adds nothing of importance to the flood story. Or does it?
Remember, it was God (Christ the Word) who caused the counting of time to be preserved through Moses, who recorded the first five books of the bible. God’s purpose was to allow us to be able to determine the lengths of the months, not by sighting the moon, but by knowing that He assigned a fixed number of days to each month that He set at creation.
God further emphasizes this in Ex. 12:2 where He gives Moses only one piece of information telling him that the month he was in is to be counted as the first month of the year. God did not tell Moses what day it was or how many days were in that month. Yet in Exodus 16 Moses reveals the seventh day Sabbath and the date on which it fell in the second month.
The only way that Noah could have placed these dates correctly within the weekly cycle was by knowing the lengths of the months just as Moses also needed to have the same knowledge, and how they were to be counted into the yearly cycle. The proof of this is in the article HOW DID GOD SET HIS CALENDAR?