In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.(Genesis 7:13-16)
Seven days before the long promised, yet long-delayed wrath of God was poured out upon the earth, the Lord called Noah into the ark, along with the clean and unclean animals and birds and beasts which God had assembled. They waited there in the ark for one week, no doubt to allow any other people from the “World that was” to escape.
The door remained open for one final week. Whosoever would but heed the call of Noah and his renown fathers, Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech, could yet be saved. But by the time of the last week the people were utterly oblivious. Jesus said of them that it was business as usual for them , “…until the day Noah entered into the Ark, they knew not until the flood came and took them all away…”. (Matthew 24:39)
After seven days , God himself closed the door.
What is the significance in scripture of the open or closed door? As long as the door is open, there remains a chance for men to be saved from the coming wrath. But there does come a time when God closes the door.
We are told in the story of another judgment and escape, that of Lot from out of Sodom and Gomorrah, that the perverted “men of the city”compassed the house, gathering at Lot’s door,
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.(Genesis 19:6-11)
Notice that Lot himself tried to shut the door on the menacing revelers of Sodom, but they nearly broke the door down in order to ravage Lot’s angelic guests. Lot wasn’t able to shut the door, for God alone can open or shut the ultimate doors. It was only when God’s angels pulled Lot into the house, and shut Lot’s door, that the door was effectively shut.
Once the door was shut, those outside were blinded and unable to so much as find the door. (Try to imagine being driven by so great a lust that even when blinded by Angels, they sought to get in a ravage the guests!).
Jesus used the same metaphor when he warned the presumptuous, who imagine that they are already saved, by virtue of being close to Jesus or perhaps of having taken communion, or hearing Christian teaching, without ever having been broken under conviction and truly calling upon the name of the Lord.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.(Luke 13:25-28)
Does not our Lord refer to himself as “the door”? He to whom the Ark of Noah only pointed to, (for he is the only true refuge from the coming storm of God’s wrath), He alone is the way to the heavenly Father.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 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 10:7-9)
For the time being, the door is open, but the hour is late. Soon the Master will rise and shut the door, and whoever is in will remain in, but those who are out will be stuck, outside the door. Few in Noah’s day realized the significance of the obscure little family, moving into the huge wooden structure, they had been working on for 120 years. As the assortment of animals began to climb aboard the structure, perhaps some wondered, but not for long.
There were too many other amusements, distractions, fine foods and entertainments going on for them to think too deeply about the eccentric family with its menagerie of animals, clambering aboard the pitch covered building. After seven days of settling and waiting within the Ark, the door was shut and the raindrops began to fall.