In the Bible we have a variety of Tabernacles that are presented to man. God reveals His Tabernacle to Moses in the wilderness, then to David and Solomon who built the permanent structure in Jerusalem, then to Joshua and Zerubbabel after the Babylonian exile, then to the church in the New Testament times, and then the Tabernacle in heaven. All of these Tabernacles have a similar outline – they are rectangle in form, they have one door going into the Tabernacle, and there are three major parts – Courtyard, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place. In each of the three parts of the Tabernacle there are various pieces of furniture, which communicate various qualities and concepts in the Tabernacle. And, most importantly, the Tabernacle is a place where God displays Himself to His people and communicates His will, regarding salvation, to His people through the Tabernacle process.
With the above thoughts in mind let us looks at the Tabernacle that Noah built. God revealed His plans to Noah regarding the wickedness of mankind and His plan to cleanse the Earth of sinful man. God gave specific instructions to Noah just as He had to Moses and David. Exodus 25:9,40; I Chronicles 28:11-12, 19. Noah was to build the Ark and make it 300 cubits long. A cubit is approximately 18 inches long. So the Ark would be about 450 feet long. The width of the Ark was to be 50 cubits and so it would be about 75 feet wide. God declared that the Ark would be 30 cubits high and thus would be about 53 feet high. Then the ark was to have various rooms and to be pitched on the outside and the inside. So that water would not come into the Ark. With these dimensions it is clear that the Ark was in a rectangular form. There was to be one door built into the side of the Ark, and one window that allowed light to come into the Ark. We are not told of any particular furniture in the Ark, but there were three floors – a lower, second and third flood. So the Ark that Noah built had most of the major components of the Tabernacles that Moses, Solomon, and Zerubbabel built – rectangular in form, one door in the side, three areas in the structure, and a place where God could display Himself to His people and communicate His will to them. The specified furniture, as in the Tabernacles that Moses, and Solomon built were not identified to Noah and may have been in the Ark but we have no Scripture to substantiate that idea. The three floors of the ark would be similar to the Courtyard, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
We know that the Ark, that Noah built, was to be a place of refuge for God’s people. God used the building of the Ark to be a witness to the world that God was serious and that decisions needed to be made about the offer of God’s grace and deliverance to all who would choose to serve Him. The building of the Ark was also an act of faith by Noah to show the people of his time that he, the prophet, was serious about the need to comply with the will of God and to obey Him in all that He asked. The Holy Spirit would move upon all who observed the construction of the Ark so that when this Ark was completed that God would command all who would be saved to get on board the Ark so that when the flood came they would be saved. So all during the construction of the Ark, the gospel was being preached to all the world.
Noah was instructed by God to build various rooms and to fill the various rooms with food and supplies – very much like the Tabernacle that Solomon built for God. I Kings 6:5-6. These chambers were to house the animals, and the supplies necessary to keep them during the flood. The rooms were located in such a manner that light could reach all of the rooms. Patriarchs and Prophets page 95. Thus all that man could do to prepare the Ark was completed and God would watch over it and preserve it during the flood.
When it was time for probation to end, God commanded the animals to enter the Ark. The clean and unclean animals came by sevens and by twos. They entered into the Ark over a period of time, and were placed in the areas assigned to them. Then God commanded Noah, and his family, to enter into the Ark through the one door. God then shut the door on the Ark and shut His people away from the old life. When the flood came it was a display of the power of God to cleanse the world from sin. This revelation of God was so powerful that the Earth was forever changed.
The experience of going through the waters sent from God was referred to as a baptism. I Peter 3:20-21. Thus the old life was left behind and the cleansing of the waters prepared the way to enter into a new life. When the Ark settled into the mountains and the waters were dried up, God opened the door into a new life in a new setting. When it was time God called the animals out of the Ark, as well as Noah and his family. Thus Noah and his family entered into a new life in God. This experience in the Ark symbolizes the plan of salvation that God had established. It summarized all of what God’s tabernacle would do for mankind. It would testify to a message of safety, it would take time to build the Ark and display that all who participated in the development of the Ark took God seriously and obeyed His Word. Each person who went on the Ark would have an opportunity of being tested regarding his or her obedience, and when all were on board, God would use the Ark as a vehicle of deliverance into the New World. God used this Ark to testify of His desire, His plans, and His power to save. Let us see the Ark in a new way and trust God to develop and implement a plan to save us in the end.