“who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”
who formerly were disobedient,
The people of Noah’s day rebelled against God’s message while the ark was being built over 120 years (Genesis 6:3). The “spirits” of verse 19 are probably those who rebelled against God during these 120 years.
People of Noah’s generation remained hardened in disobedience of unbelief. With all the warnings they received over 120 years, they remained unmoved. They laughed at Noah for building such a ship on dry land. Their disobedience of unbelief scorned Noah’s message.
The people of Noah’s day showed negative volition over 120 years. This rebellion was an angelic inroad into the human race as angels married human females (Genesis 6:1-4). Jesus went to Tartarus to proclaim victory over Satan’s scheme to mingle humans and angels. The incarnation of Jesus was no mingling of human and angel. Jesus defeated this angelic distortion by taking on real human nature and living without sin throughout his life.
when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah,
God held back judgment for 120 years during the construction of the ark. God gave the people of Noah’s day time to repent (Genesis 6:3). “Longsuffering” — God’s patience was a long holding out under provocation. “Waited” comes from two words, wait and eagerly. The double compound means to wait out to the end. God’s patience with their negative volition was extensive.
while the ark was being prepared,
“Prepared” means that Noah was in the process of fitting out the ark. The construction of the ark was a tremendous undertaking. No human shipbuilder showed Noah how to build a ship of such magnitude. The process of building the ark was itself a sermon of approaching judgment. People wrote him off as a religious “kook.” The ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Because of its’ size, it attracted attention to itself. It drew questions about God’s purpose in the world.
in which a few, that is, eight souls,
The eight souls were Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives (Genesis 7:13). ”In which” is the ark. The ark, not water, saved them!! By analogy, Jesus is the ark.
were saved through water
This phrase says they were saved “through water,” yet the water could drown them. The ark actually saved them. The same water that buoyed up the ark drowned unbelievers. It was the same water, but the difference was that those saved were in the ark. The analogy is that we died in the waters of Christ’s death, the ark of eternal salvation. The water buoyed up the ark, saving those on board. They were saved before boarding. They were also saved by being on the ark. On the other hand, those not on board were destroyed by water.
“Through” — intermediate agency. The water indirectly saved the eight souls by buoying up the boat. The ark, built by faith in God’s promise, was a sign to Noah of future salvation. The water was a type of death from which God delivers believers. God brings believers to heaven through the death of Christ. God shelters Christians in the refuge of the ark. God saves us through the waters of judgment in the baptism of the ark (Jesus’ death). The ark (Jesus) suffered the water’s judgment.
The water was the intermediate agency, and the ark was the immediate or primary agency. The flood’s fury fell on the ark, but it did not sink it. It was buoyed because of it. This is a picture of Christ’s death for our sins (verse 18). The wrath of God descended on Christ at the cross. When it looked as if all were lost, He rose from the dead! Judgment came upon Christ on the cross, but He rose from the dead.
In the antitype, God saves the believer in the baptism of Christ at Calvary. The baptism of the ark is a type of this. It was Christ who was baptized into God’s judgment on the cross, the antitype.
Water was judgment for the unbelievers of Noah’s day. God immersed them in water. Those “under” water were unbelievers. Those eight people above water were safe. So the baptism here of the eight was a dry baptism, not water or wet baptism. They were dry in the ark.
Noah’s baptism in the flood illustrates our participation in the death of Christ.
Through Christ’s death, we die to sin and the penalty of sin. We are free from paying for sin ourselves.