We first read about Noah in Genesis 5, found at the end of a genealogical list beginning with Adam, following the lineage of his son Seth. Noah is our English translation of the Hebrew No'akh. In the Chinese, He is called Nuòyà. The phonetic similarity between the Hebrew and Chinese is not the result of translation, as is the case with English. Noah's name was in use among the ancient Chinese people. They knew of this man before the Hebrew Scriptures were written.
Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24, NKJV)
One chapter later, we find that
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:8-9, NKJV)
Enoch's walk with God was so close that he did not see death - God simply took him to be with Him. Noah's walk with God distinguished him the all his contemporaries. They would be destroyed in the flood; he found grace and salvation from God.
Not only does the word nuò mean approved, but it is also used for promise. As true as it is that Noah was the second approved, we find in the Genesis record that he was also the second promise. The first promise found in the Scriptures is Genesis 3:15, where we are told that the seed of the woman would conquer the seed of the serpent. The next promise, the second promise, is in the giving of Noah's name. We read,
Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, 'This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.' (Genesis 5:28-29, NKJV)
There are over 15 words that could be used in the Chinese language to convey the idea of a promise. That the ancient Chinese used nuò is significant. The etymology reveals WORDS spoken about a MAN through whom the WEEDS curse would be removed, and LIFE would be restored to the EARTH. Notice, that is the very thing Lamech said in Genesis 5:28-29 when he named Noah. This promise would be fulfilled in Noah, for after the flood, when he and his family had exited the ark, we read:
...Noah built an altar to the LORD ...and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. (Genesis 8:20-21, NKJV)
In this text, not only does the LORD say that He will not again destroy all flesh with a flood again, but He also indicates that He will no longer curse the ground for man's sake. This is not a statement about the flood, but about the weed curse which resulted from Adam's sin in the garden (Genesis 3:17-19). It was in the days of Noah, when he came forth from the ark that the weed curse was no more.
...the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:5, 11, NKJV)
The word è dé is WICKEDNESS in the Chinese. It literally means BAD MORALS or EVIL ETHICS. The left side of the word reveals a SECOND HEART or MIND, as men turned from the heart/mind God had given them to do wickedly. On the right side of the character, we see radical 60, which may be rendered as a step with the left foot. However, as we look at it, we see the base is a person, with perhaps an abbreviated person overhead, perhaps indicating a PLURALITY OF PEOPLE. As we continue to look at the components, we find the words COMPLETE, NET, ONE and again, HEART. What the image seems to describe is not the ethics of a single individual, but of the whole world, revealing that all the people were netted (or caught) in the same heart or mind.
...the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6, NKJV)
The KJV says ...it repented the LORD..." Chàn is a Chinese word for REPENT which appears to picture the LORD's sorrow about man. In this word, we see the sorrow of God's HEART from the BEGINNING of man's EVIL. The universal nature of this evil is evident by the horizontal lines above and below evil, indicating the evil which is between heaven and earth. Finally, on the very right of the image for REPENT, we see God's determined response to man's wickedness. It would result in punishment, here pictured with a KNIFE or LANCE.
Another word for REPENT reveals what God intended to do because of man's wickedness. The word hui shows the words HEART and EVERYTHING. What was on God's heart about everything? The etymology of EVERYTHING is literally, NOT ONE LIFE. God intended to destroy everything! The Genesis record agrees, for it says that God would
...destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air ... everything that is on the earth shall die. (Genesis 6:7, 17, NKJV)
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Genesis 6:11-12, NKJV)
Make yourself an ark ... I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall go into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons wives with you. (Genesis 6:14, 18, NKJV)
The word for ARK in Chinese is fangzhou. This is a combination of two words, fang which means RECTANGLE and zhou meaning BOAT. That is basically what the ark was; a rectangular boat. There was nothing fancy about its construction, it was essentially a huge floating box. It is interesting to note that the word fang can also mean UPRIGHT or HONEST, which describes the character of those who were permitted onboard.
Ship | Vessel
...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. There is an antitype which now saves us - baptism... (1 Peter 3:20-21, NKJV)
Torrent of Rain
...after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made ... on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:4, 11-12, NKJV)
The waters of the flood did not come as a light sprinkle, but as a TORRENT OF RAIN (pèi). This word describes RAIN that was ABUNDANT, FULL or SUDDEN. The image pictures not only the rain coming from above, but water from below, even as the Genesis record indicated that the fountains of the deep also opened. The water that was upon the earth was COMPLETELY WIDE (ie. it covered the entire earth).
...Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma... (Genesis 8:20-21, NKJV)
The first thing he did was make SACRIFICE (jì). This word for sacrifice seems to infer that the offering had not been offered for some time, as the three components of the word are FLESH AGAIN as God had COMMANDED. Over a year had passed since Noah had last been able to make sacrifice to God.
It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. (Genesis 9:14-15, NKJV)
The rainbow signifies the end of the rain, as God sees the token of His covenant with all flesh and brings an end to the rain. The word ní (RAINBOW) literally refers to the FINAL PART of the RAIN.
by William J. Stewart