… and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof … (Genesis 6:16)
Doors are useful things. Doors work two ways: they allow us entry into a variety of enclosures, and they permit us to exit the same. Doors keep us safe inside while keeping unwanted intruders out. Most homes have more than one door for entry and exit. Most vehicles have at least two doors; some have four or five. Airplanes have only one door for boarding, but there are at least four doors for emergency exit. Multiple doors to any enclosure make for ease of movement. You may come in through the front door, and then go out the back door to enjoy your backyard. You would not normally come in the front door, exit again through the front door, and walk all the way around the house to get to your backyard. The more doors you have, the easier it is to go from one place to another. Doors are very useful things!
About 1500 years after God completed His creation (man in particular), the world and mankind had degenerated to the point that it was no longer the “very good” creation that God had initiated. Man had become wicked and “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Things had gotten so wicked that “it grieved [God] at his heart” (Genesis 6:6). This is not difficult to understand especially for us earthly parents who have invested so much of our lives in teaching a child the ways of God. Then when they leave our homes, they turn their backs on everything we stand for, and everything we tried to instill in them. Any parent who has experienced this knows the heartache. Multiply that by billions and that might begin to give a sense for how God felt to see His “very good” creation turned putrid. “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7).
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). God instructed Noah to build an Ark (Genesis 6:14). The Hebrew word translated “Ark” is têbâh and it literally means a “box.” God gave Noah the specific dimensions for this box (Genesis 6:15), and instructed him to build it with three decks (stories) (Genesis 6:16). He was to make a door – only one door – in the side of the ark – only one way in, and only one way out.
Noah was given 120 years to complete his project (Genesis 6:3). During that time as Noah was working on the Ark, he felt compelled to warn all who would listen about the coming cataclysmic judgment. Peter referred to Noah as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). We are not told in Scripture, but surely Noah must have been ridiculed and mocked. “Have you seen what that old fool is building!” many must have scoffed. But Noah was not to be dissuaded from his God-given task. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (Genesis 6:22). When the project was complete God called all the animals into the Ark (Genesis 6:20). Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives went into the Ark (Genesis 7:13), “and the LORD shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). The only way in was now inaccessible. Those remaining outside could no longer enter. For 120 years they were given the opportunity for safe passage, but now it was too late. The only way in was now shut tight, and those inside were saved and safe from the disaster facing those outside. Then the waters came – not only rain, but the very fountains of the deep were broken open (Genesis 7:11). “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Genesis 7:21-22, emphasis added).
Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9, emphasis added). Later He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, emphasis added).
It is a very popular notion these days to believe that there are many ways into heaven. Even the Roman Catholic Church, who has for centuries staunchly held to the dogma that the only access to heaven is through the sacraments of the Church, has given way to universalism, i.e. that everyone – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, yes and even Baptists – will all get to heaven. That is why they say we should strive to all get along together here on earth. This is the idea of many doors into the same place – very convenient! But that has never been the teaching of the Bible.
The Ark had only one way in, but access was available to anyone who would heed the warning. Those that rejected the message were destroyed. As at the time of the flood, where billions died and only eight were saved, we are facing a similar time of trouble. Jesus warned, “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow [crowded or afflicted] is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, emphasis added). Today, Jesus would be labeled as intolerant for His teaching. There is no other way. Everyone will NOT go to heaven, but everyone has an equal chance. There is only one way in, and that way is through Jesus Christ. “But as many as received him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). The Door will soon be shut forever. Have you found the only One Way in?