Often time's truth seems stranger than fiction. That is surely what must be said regarding the opening of Noah's Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky starting July 7. The full scale, 510 foot model of the Ark will open this summer after a couple of years of legal battles about religious freedom, employment hiring practices and tax exemption issues. The Noah's Ark Theme Park will eventually employ about 400 workers, to manage everything from the Ark itself, to supporting gifts, exhibits and concessions. When finally opened in July, this park will be a major tourist attraction for Christians and curiosity seekers from all over the world. If you are interested in what is happening in Kentucky, you might like to check it out at www.arkencounter.com and maybe even plan a trip for the summer.
While many Christians might find the coming Ark Park an exciting and interesting place to visit, much of the Nation probably thinks spending millions of dollars on such a thing is a little "crazy" to say the least. After all, the story of Noah and the Ark is a fairy tale for children, right? No educated person is supposed to take such stories literally or seriously anymore....even in the Church. About the only place Noah's Ark seems to show up these days is at the local children's playground or zoo. Most people don't seem to be too bothered with Noah's Ark, as long as it only involves a few animals for the children to see and play with on a family outing.
Now the interesting thing about this coming Ark Park is that the people behind it are serious Christians that actually believe a real Ark was built by Noah and his family. They also believe that only 8 people, and the animals in the Ark, survived the Lord's judgment of the Earth that was described in Genesis 6-9. In addition, these Christians also believe that the conditions in the world prior to the Lord Jesus Christ's return will be similar to those in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39). For the Christians building the Ark Park, the Lord is still speaking and warning the world to seek His love and mercy in Christ before judgment comes. Are they right?
This return of Noah's Ark to America is an amazing thing to watch. What is even more amazing is the timing. Just as the Lord is being pushed out of our secularizing culture, a bunch of Christians build an Ark in Kentucky and warn people of an impending judgment from the Lord that is coming soon. Just as all the conditions the Bible described before the flood, such as immorality and violence, are exploding all around us, a theme park is being opened that describes what the Lord did in the past. Does anyone really think all of this is just a coincidence?
For much of the world, the biggest problem with the Ark Park is the idea that the Lord would ever judge anyone for their sin. For most people today the idea of any judgement by God seems morally and spiritually repugnant. Our society tells us that God is a "god" of love. So the idea that people in Noah's day were judged for rejecting the Lord and His commandments seems unreasonable, if not unjust. As a result, much of our world has virtually eliminated the idea of sin altogether. Many people still believe the world is a "good" place and humanity can save things if we all work together.
And yet, the idea that sin has changed or somehow gone is the greatest delusion facing us at the present time. Every day the immorality and violence that was experienced in Noah's Day is paraded before us 24/7 through the media in ways that would shock Noah. People are murdered, tortured, raped and blown up every day. Nations threaten other nations with destruction and nuclear war and some leaders wonder if the world will survive another 10 years without destroying itself. No, the days of Noah are far from gone. The Days of Noah have returned in a way that only Noah would fully understand. Sadly, the world is clueless, just as the Lord Jesus said they would be before His glorious return.
Now the absolutely incredible thing about Noah's Day is how it all ended. After the flood judgment on the world's sin, the Ark safely landed on a dry mountain. The world was given a wonderful, new beginning to start over in Genesis 8:1-4. The Lord still loved the world, nothing had changed. However, the Lord had to do something about the world's sin or the Lord would not be a just God. What almost no one saw at that time was that the Ark safely rested on the mountain on the SAME calendar day that the Lord Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. You see, Jesus died on the Cross and rose again to forgive our sins so the Lord could be just to the world and still give all of us grace, forgiveness and a new beginning.
So this summer, the arrival of the Ark in Kentucky is a wonderful opportunity to share the same message the Lord Jesus preached in His ministry. There is sin in this world and the Lord must do something about it. The message of the Ark and our Lord's Gospel is that there is a way of escape. There is a safe place we can rest from God's judgment for sin and find a new life to begin again. Jesus came into this world to forgive sin and shelter us from His coming judgments. Let's all find that narrow door to the Ark of Christ's Gospel and enter by His grace alone to live forevermore.