The descendants of Adam and Eve had become evil and wicked, and God was sorry He had ever created mankind. He decided the only thing to do was destroy them all and start over! But there was one man, Noah, who was obedient to God and found God's favor.
God told Noah to bring a pair of every living animal into the ark to keep them alive during the flood.
God told Noah to build a big boat, called an ark, and He told Noah exactly how to do it. The ark was to be 450 ft. (137 m) long, 75 ft. (23 m) wide and 45 ft. (14 m) high. It was to have three decks, be divided into rooms and have a door in the side.
Noah was to find one male and one female of every kind of animal and bird and take them into the ark. He also had to take food for all those animals. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark and find all the animals to put in it, but Noah obeyed God and did just as he was told.
Noah was 600 years old by the time everything was ready. God told Noah to go into the ark with his wife, his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. Then it started to rain. It rained without stop for forty days and nights! The water got so deep that even the mountains were covered. Every living creature on earth died in the flood. But the ark floated on top of the flood waters and the people and animals in the ark were safe.
Noah knew the dove had found dry land when it returned to him carrying an olive branch.
Eventually, the water started to go down again, and the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat. After being on the ark about 11 months, Noah sent out a dove to see if it would find land, but it found no place to rest and returned to the ark. Seven days later, Noah sent the dove out again. This time it flew back carrying an olive leaf, and Noah knew it had found land. After a full year on the ark, God said to Noah,
Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you – the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground – so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it. (NIV, Genesis 8:16-17)
After leaving the ark, Noah built an altar and worshipped God. God was pleased with Noah, and He promised never again to destroy the earth with a flood. Then God placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of that promise. The descendants of Noah and his sons filled the whole earth with people again.
Except for Noah and his family, all the people of the world were going about their evil and wicked ways. The earth was filled with violence. Mankind had lost sight of God and the way He wanted them to live together in harmony. God rewarded Noah for his righteousness, but He decided there was no choice but to destroy the wicked people of the earth.
Similarly, those of us who love God and obey His commandments will be rewarded with eternal life, but God will not let that life be corrupted by evil people. Those people who have shown themselves to be evil will be destroyed in hell (Matthew 5:22, 5:29-30).
Jesus said His second coming will be very similar to the Great Flood. Referring to himself as "Son of Man," as he often did, Jesus said,
When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day. In those days before the Flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn't realize what was going to happen until the Flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So be prepared, because you don't know what day your Lord is coming. (NLT, Matthew 24:37-42)
The mountains of Ararat, where the ark came to a rest, are in the region of eastern Turkey, southern Armenia and western Iran. At 16,946 feet, Mt. Ararat, in eastern Turkey, is the tallest of these. Some people think Noah's ark landed there. A number of explorers have gone up this huge mountain looking for remains of the ark, but they have not found anything definite.
Why Is Everything in the Bible Story of Noah Repeated Twice?
Bible scholars believe the book of Genesis was made up of several different ancient versions of its stories. The two main versions are called the "Priestly" and "Yahwist" accounts. These two versions can be easily spotted in the original Hebrew language because of the different names used for God and the different styles of writing. (The differences are lost when the story is translated into English.)
The two sources are obvious in the story of Noah, where they are woven together and almost every detail is told twice. Sometimes there are differences between the two accounts as in Genesis 6:19 and Genesis 7:2.