Genesis 6:14
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”

Wood will get waterlogged, if it is left in water for too long. And yet wood has often been used throughout history to build boats and ships. For example, the city of Pensacola, Florida, was, in many ways, the birthplace of the US Navy, because of the deep harbor, and the abundance of live oaks, from which to build ships. To prevent water-logging, the wood must be treated, to make it waterproof.

In this regard, the Ark was no different. So God told Noah to coat the Ark inside and out with pitch. There have been many discussions on what this pitch could actually have been. Could it have been like modern pitch, which is a fractional product of petroleum oil? How could such a material have existed before the Flood, if we believe that fossil fuels were formed during the Flood?

More important than this discussion, however, is what the purpose of the pitch was. It was a covering. The Hebrew word is khafar, and means “covering”. Khafar is a common word in the Old Testament—but everywhere else it is found, it is translated by the word “atonement”!

Atonement refers to the covering of our sins, making us right with God. The Ark was waterproofed against the watery judgment of God by the atonement of pitch. As believers, we are fireproofed against the fiery judgment of God to come, by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, which does not just cover our sins, but washes them away completely.


Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that we can see so much of the Gospel of Jesus Christ anticipated in the account of Noah and the Flood. Thank You that our sins are covered completely and removed, when we repented and trusted in Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Taylor, P.F. (2013), Don’t Miss the Boat, (Green River, AR: Master Books). Image: Adobe Stock Photos, licensed to author.

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