NOAH’S SACRIFICE AFTER THE FLOOD

(SERMON #49 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, May 25, 2008

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).


Hundreds of thousands of prehistoric animals have been discovered frozen in many northern parts of the world. The bodies of these animals were quick-frozen. They have been examined and found to have drowned. Dr. J. E. Shelley said,

The most striking example of this is found in the case of the mammoths. These elephants are found buried in the frozen silt of the Tundra, Siberia, all over the length of the Continent of Asia, and in the North of Alaska and Canada. They are found in herds on the higher ground not bogged in marshes, hundreds of thousands in number…The farther north one goes, the more there are, till the soil of the islands of the White Sea inside the Arctic Circle consists largely of their bones mingled with those of Sabre-tooth Tiger, giant elk, cave bear, musk ox, and with trunks of trees and trees rooted in the soil. There are now no trees in those regions, the nearest being hundreds…of miles away. The mammoth could not eat the stunted vegetation which now grows in this region for but three months in the year, a hundred square miles of which would not keep one of them alive for a month. The food in their stomachs is pine, hawthorn branches, etc. These mammoths were buried alive in the silt when the silt was soft. They and the silt were then suddenly frozen and have never been unfrozen. For they show no signs of decomposition. Mammoth ivory has been sold on the London docks for more than a thousand years. The Natural History Museum purchased a mammoth’s head and tusks from the ivory store of the London Docks. This head was absolutely fresh and was covered with its original fur (Dr. J. E. Shelley, quoted by J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981, volume I, p. 45).

Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

The Biblical and scientific data, rightly understood, show that the earth’s great fossil graveyards must for the most part have been buried by the Flood and its after-effects. The record in the rocks is not a testimony of evolution, but rather to God’s sovereign power and judgment on sin (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, page 213).

One year and seventeen days after Noah and his family entered the Ark, the waters had receded,

“And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee”
      (Genesis 8:15-17).

Noah came out of the Ark into a world that had been wrecked and ruined by the Flood. The sky looked different because “the waters which were above” (Genesis 1:7) had come down, and there no longer existed a watery vapor canopy around the earth. Now the Sun shone fully and the stars could be plainly seen at night. It has been thought that the very color of the sky was now changed.

Sharp changes in the weather had occurred. The vapor canopy of water in the sky had maintained a greenhouse effect throughout the world. When this water vapor fell it led to the buildup of snow and ice in the polar regions. Thus, great ice sheets now covered northern Europe and reached down into the northern part of the United States, producing in those areas an “ice age” of several hundred years.

Into this radically changed and unpleasant world, Noah and his family came forth from the Ark. One might imagine that Noah would immediately be concerned with finding food and shelter. But his first thought was to worship God, who had spared him and his family from the judgment of the Flood.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).

Martin Luther said,

Here there is mentioned for the first time the burnt offering, which shows that there was a law concerning sacrifices even before Moses. God was well pleased with the burnt offering of Noah, which he made according to the example of his pious ancestors (Martin Luther, Th.D., Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1958 reprint, volume I, page 156).

Calvin said,

This passage teaches us that sacrifices were instituted from the beginning…Therefore, when the holy fathers, formerly, professed their piety towards God by sacrifices, the use of them was by no means superfluous. Besides, it was right that they should always have before their eyes symbols, by which they would be admonished, that they could have no access to God but through a mediator. Now, however, the manifestation of Christ has taken away these ancient shadows (John Calvin, Commentaries on the First Book of Moses, Called Genesis, Baker Book House, 1998 reprint, p. 281).

Luther said Noah’s sacrifice was made “according to the example of his pious ancestors.” Calvin said “that sacrifices were instituted from the beginning.”

I. The first mention of a sacrifice.

The first suggestion of a sacrifice occurs in Genesis 3:21. Please turn there and read the verse aloud.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

Dr. W. A. Criswell said,

This was the first sacrifice in atonement for man’s sin, prefiguring the death of Christ on the Cross for a “covering” or propitiation of man’s sins…This verse presented the gospel in symbolism: (1) the initial declaration of the necessity of the “shedding of blood” (Hebrews 9:22, note) and (2) a precious illustration of substitution, i.e., the death of the innocent for the guilty. In order to procure the skins to clothe Adam and Eve, the animals must be slain and their blood shed. The Lord furnished the skins…to cover the shame of man (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979, note on Genesis 3:21).

Thus, the first sacrifice gave a picture of what Christ would do on the Cross,

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…” (Romans 3:25).

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (Romans 4:7).

God provided the skins to cover man’s sins. This was a type, prefiguring, foreshadowing the Blood of Christ, which propitiates the wrath of God and covers the sins of those who come to Christ.

Are you washed in the blood,
   In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
   Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
(“Are You Washed in the Blood?” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

II. The second mention of a sacrifice.

The second mention of a sacrifice occurs in Genesis 4:3-5. Please read these three verses aloud.

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:3-5).

Again, Dr. Criswell’s comments are most valuable.

In this first recorded act of formal worship, Abel’s offering was one of “the firstlings of his flock”…Abel’s offering was acceptable, and the offering of Cain was not acceptable (v. 5). Focus in this chapter is not only upon the men themselves but also upon the difference in their offerings. Cain’s offering was (1) bloodless (cf. Hebrews 9:22), (2) the work of his own hands (cf. Titus 3:5), and (3) a product of the cursed ground (cf. 3:17). Abel, on the other hand, presented “a more excellent sacrifice” (Criswell, ibid., note on Genesis 4:4).

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “The difference between Cain and Abel was not a character difference at all, but the difference was in the offerings which they brought” (McGee, ibid., p. 29). What was more excellent about Abel’s sacrifice? It was a blood sacrifice! Cain’s offering was not a blood sacrifice, so it was rejected. This was a tremendous picture which prefigured the Blood of Christ,

“And without shedding of blood is no remission”
      (Hebrews 9:22).

Are you washed in the blood,
   In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
   Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
(“Are You Washed in the Blood?” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

III. The third mention of a sacrifice.

And so, we see that when Noah built an altar and offered up those animals, he was not doing something new. He was doing what godly people had done since the beginning of time.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).

It is most interesting and helpful to know that Moses offered the same kind of sacrifice before the Levitical law was given! Moses said to Pharaoh,

“Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God” (Exodus 10:25).

This shows clearly that sacrifices were carried on from before the time of Noah right down to the time of Moses, before the legal system of sacrifice was instituted, later in the Book of Exodus, and given in detail in the Book of Leviticus.

Between Noah and Moses, Abraham also offered sacrifices to God.

“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:6-8).

However dimly those men may have understood the coming sacrifice of Christ, pictured in these offerings, they did indeed know that in the future “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Although Abraham understood what that meant at that very time, it seems certain that he had a longer view in mind when he said, “God will provide an offering.” God did provide an offering that day, and this pictured the precious offering of Jesus, the Lamb of God, whom the Lord would provide as an offering for the sins of the whole world.

A perfect fulfillment of these types in Genesis and Exodus occurred when Jesus Christ took the sin of all mankind upon Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, and bore man’s sin to the Cross the next day, when they crucified the sinless Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid our debt and made it possible to be cleansed by His holy and sinless Blood. Now we, who have come to Jesus by faith, can say with perfect assurance,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
      (I John 1:7).

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross became the fulfillment of those pictures of sacrifice in Genesis and Exodus. That’s why John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming, cried out,

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The bloody sacrifice made by God to clothe Adam and Eve spoke of the coming Christ who would cover our sins in His own Blood and dress us in His own righteousness. The blood sacrifice Abel made provided acceptance with God, and pointed to the coming Cross of Christ, which would make all those who come to Him acceptable in the sight of God, through the effectiveness of His Blood, shed on the Cross. The bloody sacrifice Noah made propitiated the wrath of God for man’s sin, just as Christ,

“is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).

The long line of sacrifices, from Adam’s skin, to Abel’s offering, from Noah’s sacrifice, to Abraham’s sacrifice, and even to Moses’ pre-law sacrifice, were handed down from generation to generation as the way to please God in Old Testament times, because these sacrifices pointed forward to Christ, who would fulfill all these typical sacrifices, and provide all the blessings spoken of in them.

One other thing. Each one of these early sacrifices was a blood sacrifice! Some are now saying that the Blood of Christ is simply another word for the death of Christ. This is proved wrong by the very sacrifices we have studied from the Scriptures this morning. In all these sacrifices the body that was slain and the blood that was spilled – were two different things, not the same thing. But you can easily see that they were not the same thing, that the body and blood were two separate things in each of these sacrifices at the beginning of history.

That is all important, because you need both the body and the Blood of Jesus. The death of His body pays the penalty for your sins. The Blood He shed cleanses your sin,

“And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

And so, my question to you this morning is this: have you been clothed in the righteousness of Christ – justified by faith in Him? Have you come to Jesus for cleansing in His Blood? There is no other way to be cleansed in the sight of God. Noah saw that dimly by faith when he offered all those animals after he left the Ark.

I hope you too will see the importance of Christ’s Blood. You have great sins on your record. They cannot be covered and cleansed in any other way but by the precious Blood of Christ.

Each and every one of you in an unconverted state must come to Jesus and be washed clean by His Blood, and justified in God’s sight by His death on the Cross. And so I say again to you,

Are you washed in the blood,
   In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
   Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
(“Are You Washed in the Blood?” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

You must come to Jesus, and trust Him, or these black marks on your record can never be covered, cleansed, or removed by the Blood of Jesus. I pray that you will come to Him in simple faith today and be saved through the great sacrifice He made for you on the Cross of Calvary.

Are you washed in the blood,
   In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
   Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
(“Are You Washed in the Blood?” by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 8:13-22.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Old-Fashioned Way” (by Civilla D. Martin, 1866-1948).


THE OUTLINE OF

NOAH’S SACRIFICE AFTER THE FLOOD

(SERMON #49 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).

(Genesis 8:15-17; 1:7)

I.   The first mention of a sacrifice, Genesis 3:21; Romans 3:25; 4:7.

II.  The second mention of a sacrifice, Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4;
Hebrews 9:22.

III. The third mention of a sacrifice, Genesis 8:20; Exodus 10:25;
Genesis 22:6-8; I John 1:7; John 1:29; I John 2:2.