“in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month.” This is the same day of the year that Jesus rose from the dead! The day that humanity was safe because Noah’s ark touched down safely on the land was the same day that Jesus rose from the dead and human life was safe and assured that there would be a resurrection to everlasting life.
It is difficult to see the parallel between Noah’s ark and Jesus for two major reasons: God changed the order of the months in the Hebrew calendar at the time of Moses, and orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus died on Friday and got up Sunday morning, which makes seeing the parallel between Noah and Jesus impossible. We will look at both of these reasons.
At the time of Noah, the first month of the year was Tishri, and the seventh month of the year was Abib, also called Nisan. But at the time of Moses, God changed the calendar and made Abib the first month (Exod. 12:1-2), which made Tishri the seventh month. So at the time of Noah, the ark touched down on land in the seventh month, which was Abib at that time, and thus was the same month that Jesus died.
Furthermore, Genesis 8:4 tells us that Noah’s ark touched down on land on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. We know from the Law of Moses that the Passover lamb was killed on the fourteenth of Nisan (Exod. 12:3-6; Lev. 23:4-5). Also, Jesus taught that just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, he would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40). The orthodox church has fudged the counting of the three days and nights and asserts that Jesus was buried on Friday at sunset and raised from the dead before sunrise on Sunday morning, and yet orthodoxy teaches that that short time period is three days and three nights. But Friday at sunset to before sunrise Sunday morning is simply not three days and three nights. Furthermore, if Friday was the day Jesus died and was buried and was the fourteenth of Nisan, then Sunday would be the sixteenth of Nisan, whereas Noah’s ark landed on the seventeenth of Nisan, and thus there would not be any parallel between Jesus’ resurrection and Noah’s ark.
When we study the Bible carefully, we see that Jesus was crucified on the morning of the fourteenth of Nisan and died at 3 p.m. later that day, the same time as the priests were slaughtering the Passover lamb in the Temple. Then Jesus was put “in the heart of the earth,” that is, in the tomb, close to sunset. The year Jesus died, the fourteenth of Nisan 14 was a Wednesday, and from Wednesday, Nisan 14 in the evening to the evening on Thursday, Nisan 15 was one day and one night in the heart of the earth. Then to Friday, Nisan 16 at evening was two days and two nights, and to Saturday, Nisan 17 at evening was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and it was Saturday evening when Jesus got up from the dead. Thus Jesus got up from the dead on the seventeenth of Nisan, the same day of the year that Noah’s ark landed.
In the Bible, going under water was sometimes symbolic of being dead, which is why in baptism a person goes under water and thus symbolically dies, and then comes up out of the water, symbolically being raised from the dead into new life. That symbolism is certainly part of the Noah’s ark record. The flood put humankind in danger of everlasting death—if every person on earth died then no Savior would ever be born and so everyone would die and be dead forever. Furthermore, even while the ark was floating around in the water there was still a danger of it sinking and the eight people on board—everyone left on earth—dying. But when the ark touched down on the seventeenth of Abib humankind was safe—well, at least for the moment. But the Savior still needed to come and complete his work and fully conquer death in order for humankind to be truly safe from everlasting death. And Jesus’ conquest of death occurred on the evening of the seventeenth of Abib, when our Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead and made everlasting life a true reality. When Jesus rose from the dead, it was obvious that humankind was truly safe.
Another parallel between Noah’s ark and Jesus Christ is that after the ark landed on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, Noah had to stay on the ark until the twenty-seventh day of the second month of the following year, a period of seven months and ten days, while he waited for the earth to dry up and be fit for human life. In a similar situation, like Noah waited on the ark, humankind is now waiting on earth with all its corruption and unrighteousness, waiting for Christ to return and set up his godly kingdom on earth, and at that time the earth will be truly fit for wonderful human life.
So the Noah’s ark record and the record of Jesus’ burial and resurrection have a wonderful parallel. The day that Noah’s ark touched down on the earth was the seventeenth of Abib, and the day Jesus rose from the dead was the seventeenth of Abib, and once again we can see the magnificent hand of God at work planning for the complete redemption of mankind and weaving the story of Jesus Christ through the Old Testament records.
[To see a much more complete explanation of the three days and nights between Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the fourteenth of Abib being on a Wednesday, see commentary on Matthew 12:40. For more on the chronology of the last week of Jesus’ life beginning with his arrest, see commentary on John 18:13, “first.” For more on Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus burying Jesus, see commentary on John 19:40. For more on Christ’s wonderful future kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.”]