Priscilla Van Sutphin
Aug 31st, 2010     Radio Show Audios

Gen 6:5-15 NKJV   Then 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. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 
9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 
The Ark Prepared    (Heb 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20)
13 And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 

 There was no LAW when Noah lived. Yet GOD had GRACE for NOAH, and it says NOAH, like Enoch “walked with God”.  And God instructed Noah to build an ark that would hold his family in the midst of darkness, during the flood.
He instructs him to cover the wood inside and out with pitch.  There is much dispute about pitch since the earth was not yet old enough to produce bitumen by some geological arguments.  Below are two articles explaining that I found most interesting.

The word KOPHER: means something very close to the Gopher…Price of a life, ransom, bribe, asphalt, pitch (as a covering), name of a plant. The Ark being pitched within and without with the substance of redemption is a picture of us as well, as His Arks…[temple made not of stone ] being pitched within and without with HIS PRESENCE.

The pitch for Noah’s Ark 
by Tas B. Walker, B.E., Ph.D. 

Many geologists claim that Noah could not possibly have built the ark in the manner described in Genesis. They argue that pitch could not have been used to cover the ark and make it waterproof. Pitch, they claim, is derived from oil or coal, and if coal did not form until during the time of Noah’s Flood, he could not possibly have covered the ark with pitch.

For those who are not geologists, pitch is a black glue-like substance left behind when coal tar is heated or distilled. It belongs to the same family of substances as asphalt or bitumen. Today, it is largely produced by heating coal. Most modern geologists know of no other source for it. But coal tar and petroleum are not the only source for pitch. Anyone who takes the time to consult a reasonable dictionary of geology will find that pitch can be extracted by distilling or heating wood. In fact, prior to the rise of the petroleum and coal industries, this was exactly how pitch was made.

For at least one thousand years, the pitch-making industry in Europe flourished. It was the pitch from this industry which assisted in the construction of those great wooden sailing ships which figured so prominently in European history. Pitch making was a skilled trade, and many European surnames bear testimony to that fact today. In Polish, the word for pitch or tar is ‘smola’. Any Polish telephone directory displays names such as Smola, Smolander, Smolen, Smolenski and Smolarz. These surnames simply mean ‘the man who makes pitch’.

Likewise in Germany, the word for pitch is ‘Teer’, and it appears in names such as Teer and Teerman. Even the English have families whose name is Pitcher, Tarrier or Tarmen, to mention but a few. These all indicate that the trade of manufacturing pitch was extremely common throughout Europe.  So how did they make pitch before the growth of the petroleum and coal industries? Their first step was to obtain resin from the pine trees which at that time grew in dense forests throughout Europe. A herringbone pattern of cuts was gouged into the tree trunk and as the resin ran down the grooves it was collected in a pot at the base of the tree. Pine resin is still collected in this way in Poland, the Ukraine, Russia, Finland and other European countries where pine forests are still to be found.

When the resin had finished flowing, the trees were chopped down, covered in soil or ash, and burned slowly to produce a lightweight black pure form of carbon called charcoal. The last step in the process of making pitch was to add the powdered charcoal to the boiling pine resins. Different proportions of charcoal would produce pitch of different properties. It was this pitch which was used to waterproof the large ocean-going wooden ships. In my opinion it is no coincidence that pitch today can be extracted from coal much of which in Australia shows evidence of having been formed from pine tree debris. 

Now while I cannot say for sure that Noah obtained pitch for the ark exactly in this fashion, it does illustrate that you don’t have to be able to extract either oil or coal from the ground in order to make pitch. Anyone who had cut down as many trees as Noah and his helpers for the manufacture of an ocean-going ark would certainly have found out about tree resins. If Europeans had a well known and widely used method of making pitch before the discovery of petroleum, obviously Noah could also have had the same satisfactory way of waterproofing the ark with its covering of pitch. 


Another common word that is used in the place of gopherwood is the word cedar. Once again there is a Hebrew word for cedar erez, (#730) that could have been used by the translators. This word is used more than 67 times in the Old Testament where it is translated cedar tree, cedar timber, and cedar wood. A good example is found in the book of I Kings 6:9 (NKJV). So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar [erez].  Obviously, the word gopherwood used in Genesis 6:14 cannot be interpreted or translated as cedar, cypress, or any other type of modern-day wood. Thus one can see that Biblical scholarship is silent on the meaning of this word.

Similarity to Other Hebrew Words 

Although the word gopher (#1613) only appears once in the Bible, there are some Biblical words that are very similar to the word used for gopher. The word for pitch that is used twice in Genesis 6:14 (KJV) is translated from two closely related Hebrew words.  Make thee an ark of gopher [#1613] wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch [#3722] it within and without with pitch [#3724] 

These Hebrew words are shown in Table 1. Notice that the words for gopher, kaphar, and kopher are all very similar in their English translation, in their Hebrew spelling, and in their pronunciation.

 Hebrew  Pronunciation     Strong�s #       Lexicon Definition (Note [7])

Gopher  go-fer              1613     Cypress?, gopher, gopherwood, wood of which the ark was made, 
                                         meaning and exact type unknown.

Kaphar   kaw-far            3722    To cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over
                                         with pitch.

Kopher ko-fer               3724     Price of a life, ransom, bribe, asphalt, pitch (as a covering), name of
                                         a plant.

Table 1. The similarity between the Hebrew words translated gopher, and pitch in Genesis 6:14. [The Hebrew word for brimstone (Genesis 19:24, etc.), gophreeth, #1614, is derived from gopher, #1613.] 

The Hebrew Names Version of the World English Bible (Note [8]), which uses Hebrew names and words in the text for clarity, has an interesting translation of Genesis 6:14.  Make a teivah of gofer wood. You shall make rooms in the teivah, and shall seal it inside and outside with kofer.

The word for gopherwood and the word for pitch are very similar. The word kopher comes from the root word kaphar (see Table 1), kaphar is often translated atonement (Leviticus 16:6). This was similar to the effect that pitch or kopher could have on the surface of the material it covered. It would have a covering or purging effect, which is what atonement, means in a spiritual sense. An Old Testament play on words is taking place in Genesis 6:14.

The word kopher meant to cover, protect, purge, and atone for sin. The very similar word gopher, which was wood covered with pitch, would imply the same in a physical sense. The gopherwood (pitch covered wood) would cover, protect, and purge any harm directed toward the family of Noah by the rising floodwaters. The gopherwood was a type of atonement barrier. It pictured the protection and salvation of Jesus Christ through his payment of his life as a ransom and atonement for humanities sins. 

This atonement scenario and the similarities between the Hebrew words in Genesis 6:14 seem to indicate that the word gopher and gopherwood are closely related to the word for pitch. In other words, the word gopherwood is not a type of wood but a wood process. Specifically the process of using pitch or bitumen combined with wood. It has often been assumed that the pitch process applied to the wood may have been only on the sides, that is the inside surface and the outside surface of the ark. In actuality, the pitch process would have been internal as well as external. Since atonement must take place not only in the outward actions of a person but also in the heart, the analogy would be complete with gopherwood having an internal coating of pitch. 

Use of Pitch as Glue by the Ancients

The word pitch refers not only to natural bitumen, which is often found seeping from the ground, but also to manufactured pitch. There are many examples of how pitch was used by the ancients. In the ancient Roman Empire boiling birch bark and extracting the resins yielded a glue-like tar. This resin was used to glue together broken ceramic pots. Birch bark tar chewing gum was also used thousands of years ago in the Neolithic times as a cleaner for teeth (Notes [9], [10]). A recent article, among many others, shows how this glue was manufactured. This ancient superglue was detected on remnants of two tools that were unearthed in Germany. The site called Koenigsaue, in the foothill of the Harz Mountains revealed the technical abilities of the people that produced the glue.  

The glue had been used to secure flint implements to wooden handles. One of the finds showed an impression of a fingerprint on the surface of the pitch, which was prepared by heating birch bark to between 340-400C. 

Lower temperatures would not allow the resin in the wood to melt and be extracted. If the temperatures were too high this would burn the tar that had been extracted from the birch and render it unusable. This required a large amount of intellectual and technical knowledge. The very fact that birch bark pitch was identified [in the artifacts] already proclaims the intellectual and technical abilities of the Neanderthals. (Note [11])

In the Middle East natural bitumen was used to haft spears heads and flint knives on wooden handles, to set jewelry, as a coating for boats, as a glue to repair damage to statues, as a sealant for pipes and plumbing and as a glue in the manufacture of compound bows. It was also used as a medicine in varying concentrations. It had extensive uses as documented by much scientific literature (Note [12]). It was used by Neanderthal man anciently, long before the flood of Noah, and still is being used to this day. This pitch or resin-like glue would undoubtedly be used in the constructions of beams and wooden structures as a preservative and a strengthening agent. 

Surely the generation of true believers, who love GOD and have been chosen by HIM, will be protected in the shadow of HIS wings in this hour when HE said it would be as in the times of NOAH.  HOLY SPIRIT will pitch us within and without with His presence that we will be able to endure, go through whatever we must until HE delivers us out of this world.  HE is in love with His creation. Those who are elect, called, and who have already answered the call, are the apple of HIS eye. 

He doesn’t want us to be in turmoil in our minds and hearts, worrying about being disqualified, as if HE is not able to perform the completion that He has promised in His word. 

Phil 1:5-7 NKJV…for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;  

It is by GRACE that GOD preserved NOAH, and it is by HIS GRACE that HE will preserve you.  You can be confident, that if He waited for LOT who was not all that impressive of a believer, that He will surely wait for you, hide you in the midst of judgment. 

Ps 84:11 NKJV   For the Lord God is a sun and shield;  The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 

In the NEW Testament, we are under GRACE.  We live in the righteousness IMPUTED by JESUS to us.  When GOD looks at you, he isn’t looking through all the muck and mistakes, and weaknesses of sin.  He sees you through the blood of JESUS. 

Rom 4:19-25 NKJV…speaking of ABRAHAM…
19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."  23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS is imputed to us who BELIEVE, rely and trust in HIM.  We don’t have to depend on our own righteousness.  That is going back to the LAW.  It is very popular now, to go back to the law, but adhering to the LAW brings us back under a curse. We need to DEPEND ON WHAT JESUS DID, not what we can do !

Gal 3:10-14 NKJV                                 The Law Brings a Curse
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."   11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."   12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."  

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

 You  have to realize that the blessings do not come because of your great faithfulness to the law.  They come because of HIS GREAT GRACE !  Abraham didn’t have the LAW !  And what was the blessing given him ?  IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS, so we also when we believe receive the promise of the Spirit through FAITH, and we receive the blessings of Abraham, not by what we can DO for GOD, but by what JESUS did for us ! 

I’m not saying nothing bad will ever happen to you, or promising you gold and riches, but I KNOW that God’s grace can carry us wherever HE sends us, physically or spiritually because of HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US. Our blessings do not at all depend on our great goodness, on striving and trying hard to obey the law.  Jesus said, NO ONE IS GOOD but ONE. The One was HIM. 

Israel tried for centuries to be good enough but no one ever achieved it!  I know that because of what JESUS said…NO ONE IS GOOD BUT ONE.  He was speaking of Himself.  GOD IS THE ONLY GOOD ONE. THAT is why we need not be so critical of one another. NONE of us is perfect.  When he said be perfect as HE is perfect, he didn’t mean some striving by us to get there.  IN HIS PRESENCE, HE IMPARTS what YOU NEED.  IT IS NOT BY WORKS. We just have to stay in the VINE, loving on JESUS, and allowing HIM to love on us.

 When we get into following laws, we end up hiding sin, striving, condemnation and guilt.  I love what Joseph Prince said the other day.  He said at the foot of Mt Sinai, 3000 people DIED.  At Pentacost 3000 came to LIFE ! Think about that ! The law brings death, not life. 

Gal 2:19-21 NKJV For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."  

The grateful soul will worship GOD.  LOVE LEADS TO REPENTANCE.

The law is essential for letting people know their fallibility compared to a HOLY GOD. But is not to beat over their heads, like a sledge hammer. IT IS THE LOVE OF GOD that compels us to obedience. And His grace alone that enables us to do what HE tells us to.  Striving leads to FAILURE. I can tell you that from much experience trying !   And if you think you can do it all on your own without GOD’s help/grace. HE WILL SHOW YOU unequivocally how wrong you are, believe me, because that is PRIDE.

 Gal 5:4-6 NKJV You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 

The LAW is for the LAWLESS, who give no thought to the holiness of GOD…

1 Tim 1:8-11 NKJV   But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. 

When we preach the gospel, the good news is the GRACE of GOD TOWARDS sinners, just as in the OLD TESTAMENT, GOD was good towards sinners, HE has now made a covenant that is even better than the old one, so that salvation and blessings of Abraham are no longer dependent on keeping the LAW, but on FAITH IN JESUS taking the punishment for ALL our sins on the cross.  

The chastisement [ punishment] for our sins was put on HIM. All God’s anger was spent there on the cross - such a heavy weight JESUS TOOK ! 

All the ANGER OF GOD towards sin was put on JESUS, and nailed to the cross.  And all that GOD wanted to accomplish was FINISHED there.  THE RESTORATION of COMMUNION OF GOD WITH MAN.  ONCE AGAIN we could enter into HIS PRESENCE without fearing destruction or death.  We can enter in without FEAR of DEATH.  Man made blameless before GOD so that we could enjoy HIS presence and walk with HIM AGAIN !

LOVE personified lives in us.  THAT LOVE should lead us to love others into repentance as well.  It compels us. I KNOW how hard it is to love unlovely people. I’ve failed over and over again.  But that is what HE wants for us to do.  He wants us to continue loving, even when there is nothing within us that wants to.  WE then can call on HIM, to fill us with what we need.  IT, after all is the only way to really love.  How will we love our ENEMIES if we can’t even accept love for ourselves from HIM ?  WE must be PITCHED within and without with HIS LOVE. HIS LOVE IS THE SAP that holds us together.

When we realize deeply in every part of our heart how much HE loves us, then we can be filled to the full with HIM.

Eph 3:17-19 AMP    17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]  unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!