Noah’s Appeal to the Wicked
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we again look at what the scripture tells us about the days in which Noah lived. This study will help us understand our own times, for Jesus Himself, speaking of the end times just before He returns the second time, said that “as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
But before we begin, let me just tell you about a little miracle going on at Keep the Faith Ministry in Australia. I am thrilled as I see God’s hand at work at Highwood Health Centre. A woman had been in the hospital in Sydney with “multiple system failures” (as the doctor put it). She had heart bypass surgery, renal failure, brittle diabetes, etc. While in hospital, the doctors put her in an induced coma for two weeks. When they brought her out of the coma, her family was shocked to find that her feet had developed gangrene. You know what happens when gangrene sets in. The only course the medical world knows to do is to amputate, otherwise the gangrene can spread and poison the body and kill the patient.
Her family decided to take her out of the hospital in Sydney and bring her straight to our little health center in the mountains near Melbourne. Immediately the physician and our team began to use charcoal poultices, cayenne poultices, and other natural treatments to try to recover circulation to her feet so that she would not lose them. And they began to pray for her recovery.
Within two days, she had pain in her feet again. Pain is what you want to see in this kind of situation. Within two more days, the pink came back into her feet and the dead skin began to slough off. They kept working, and after another week, she had made so much progress that only a few of her toes were still in danger. Several weeks later, her toes were warm again, and she had no more pain in her feet.
In the mean time, the staff had been working on some of her other problems. Her diabetes stabilized. She was gradually taken off of all her medication because her blood was normal.
The staff continues to pray and work on her physical problems and is hoping to get her mobile again so that she can get completely well.
But the best news of all is that she is now reading her Bible, the book Great Controversy, and has said that she wants to become a follower of Jesus. Isn’t that fantastic? I am amazed at what God is doing. I hope you can praise the Lord with me.
Please pray for Keep the Faith Ministry at Highwood Health Centre in Australia. It is really important that God’s work there is preserved and expanded. We have a long way to go, but it is on its way.
As we begin our study this month, I invite you to bow your head with me, if you can, as we pray. Our dear loving heavenly Father, we thank You for Your miraculous intervention to save fallen human beings from disaster. I pray that You will bless us today with Your Holy Spirit as we study together to learn what You want us to learn about the times in which we live. May we understand the practical lessons for us in the ministry of Noah to the wicked world around him, and how we too can be saved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please turn with me in your Bible, if you can, to the 2nd epistle of Peter, chapter 3, verses 3-7. Here the apostle is speaking of destruction of the earth both at the time of the flood and in the last days. The Bible gives us prophetic powerful stories like the story of the flood so that we will understand our own times. Listen carefully.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
The apostle speaks of the time before the flood and the time of destruction at the end of the world and ties them together. He is showing us that they are related. The scoffers that ridiculed Noah are a type of those that will ridicule the righteous at the end of time. Also, please notice that the heavens and the earth, which are now, and which are different than the heavens and the earth before the flood, are being upheld by the same word of God until it is time for the final judgment of fire. So, the destruction of Noah’s flood is a symbol or a type of the destruction of the world by fire at the end of time.
So we had better pay attention to what happened at the time of the flood. Jesus Himself said in Luke 17:26, 27 that “as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
Now, I want you to notice whom God held responsible for the wickedness of the age. Who was it? Notice that they “married wives.” Who is it that marries wives? Well, that’s the men. God held the men responsible for the wickedness of the time in which Noah lived. Did you see that clearly? If you just think a little about that, perhaps that will help us men understand our responsibility today, because Jesus was telling us that it is the same today. He holds the men responsible for the spiritual condition of their families and ultimately of society of which the family is the most basic unit.
Certainly each person is responsible for his own salvation. But what is being said here is that the men, as the spiritual leaders of their homes, have a very important role in society. The spirituality of their families has a lot to do with the general trend of society. So brethren, please pay attention to what Jesus said. If you want a godly home, you must be the kind of spiritual leader that follows after Christ and His truth as well as His humility and sacrifice for your families. The men were so wicked that they led their wives and their families into sin. And in these last days, Jesus is looking for real men who will stand for what is right, gently and kindly, and in a humble Christ-like spirit lead their families in the ways of righteousness. Ladies, if you don’t have a spiritual man in your family, you must do your best to do the same thing for your children. And pray that God will provide you with the strength to be humble and pious.
Notice too, that they ate and they drank. This was one of the reasons for the destructive flood. What is Jesus saying here? Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to eat and drink. You have to eat and drink water at least, in order to live. What Jesus is really saying is that these people living before the time of the flood were gluttonous. They had turned their back on temperance, and so they ate what they desired, and they drank whatever they wanted, they indulged themselves without restraint, and as a result there was increasing and unbridled wickedness in society. They scoffed at those who, like Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah, tried to uphold God’s truth and His principles. They mocked righteousness with impunity and boldness. Their sin was horrendous.
He also said that they married wives. What’s wrong with marriage? A marriage between a man and a woman is God’s design. Surely that could not be one of the causes of the terrible calamity that befell them. But Jesus said it was. If you look at society today, you can see what they were doing back then. They were coming up with all sorts of alternative marriages and alternatives to marriage. These probably included co-habitation, polygamy, homosexual marriages, bi-sexual marriages and who knows what else. There was no doubt, that there were rampant extra-marital relationships, incest and other forms of perversion. It was as immoral as any society could possibly be.
It should be noted that the antediluvians took that which was lawful to excess or intemperance. This led them into immorality. Sexuality was a key focus of their lives. They lived for the next licentious party, or perverted engagement. Their lives were steeped in sensuality and vice. And today that is the way of the world. Vice and immorality are glorified, while infidelity and injustice are modeled to the next generation of young people.
But these people had capacities that far exceed our own. They could invent all manner of things that would entice the senses, and awaken evil and forbidden sensual desires. They forgot God, the God who created them and who sustained them.
And the Bible says that they kept on doing these things right up until Noah entered the ark. Even after all the warnings and after all the entreaties, and after all the pleading and coaxing, they continued to turn their backs on God and did these evil things until it was too late. Do you think that is the way it is going to be in the last days? Do you think that in spite of all the warnings that God could send by natural disaster, preachers of righteousness, or monuments to his truth, which is what the church should be, that they will still to turn their backs on God and continue in their evil lifestyles until the close of human probation? They will even invent perverted bibles to support their lifestyle. Just recently I read about a gay friendly Bible that was published that is designed to uphold the gay lifestyle. What blasphemy!
Genesis six tells us more detail about the times in which Noah lived. Let us begin with verse two. “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”
The term “sons of God” is a reference to those who were pious and righteous and obeyed God and kept His law. These were the descendents of Seth. The “daughters of men” is an expression referring to daughters that were born to fathers who had turned their backs on God. These were the descendents of Cain.
Listen to this important statement from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 81, 82. “For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt; and the latter, in order to escape from their contaminating influence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. So long as this separation continued, they maintained the worship of God in its purity. But in the lapse of time they ventured, little by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. This association was productive of the worst results. ‘The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair.’ The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain’s descendants, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the worshipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy character. Mingling with the depraved, they became like them in spirit and in deeds; the restrictions of the seventh commandment were disregarded, ‘and they took them wives of all which they chose.’ The children of Seth went ‘in the way of Cain’ (Jude 11); they fixed their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment and neglected the commandments of the Lord. Men ‘did not like to retain God in their knowledge;’ they ‘became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Therefore ‘God gave them over to a mind void of judgment.’ Verse 28, margin Sin spread abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy.”
So how did sin spread abroad in the earth as a deadly leprosy? It was because of intermingling between those who were at first loyal to God with those who were not. This inevitably led to intermarriage between believers and unbelievers, and it opened the floodgates of sin, and nearly got them all. But for a few righteous men, Satan would have controlled the whole world.
Also, I want you to notice that the sons of God left the cities of the plains and moved into the mountains so that they could retain their loyalty to God and not be conditioned to sin, and soften their resistance to it. The mountains in those days were beautiful, not rugged and often ugly like they are today. Nevertheless this is an important point for us to consider. We cannot live in the city or in a worldly environment, where sin is concentrated and is on hand at every turn, and expect that we will not be tainted by its influence. If you really want to become fully acquainted with God, country living is His plan for you. If you live in a city and you sincerely want to move to the country, tell God about it. Tell Him that you want His will and His way in your life, and that you will do what you have to do to follow His plan. And He will, in His own time, open the way. You may have to change jobs. You may have to develop skills that you have left dormant in order to generate income. You may have to sell services to the community that you can perform for them. You may have to be creative, but you can do it by the grace of God. You will certainly have to sacrifice. And it will be hard work. It may not be comfortable or easy to do, but you can, by the grace of God.
One more thing you should notice is the comment about the disregard of the seventh commandment. Not only were they merely mingling their marriages, but the sons of God were drawn into licentious practices such as polygamy, co-habitation, and other debasing practices.
You can imagine the difficulty and anguish the parents of the first few young people had when their children wanted in intermarry with an unbeliever. You can hear them trying to convince their sons not to go after the daughters of Cain’s descendents.
“Son, do you really want to marry that girl?”
“Yes mom, she is so very nice. And she loves me.”
“But she is not a believer.”
“Well mom, she is very open to our faith. I think I can help her join us in the worship of God, with God’s help, of course.”
“But she comes from such a line of worldly family members. They don’t love God, and she has had many influences in her life that show me that she isn’t really as dedicated as she should be, especially for my son.”
“But mom, she will let go of the earrings, the painted toes and fingernails, those bracelets and scanty dress wear. I won’t take her to the theater. I won’t let her drink those spirits or champagne anymore.”
“But son, she is not a virgin. She doesn’t have high moral standards, or strong resistance to moral temptation. I know that God can forgive someone who falls from right living into sin, and restore their purity if they repent, but she has never had a high moral position to fall from. She has never had quality moral training. You could make a very serious mistake here. This is not God’s plan for us to intermarry with unbelievers.”
“But mom, she loves me, and I believe that she will be faithful to me. And she will accept our faith.”
“How can you be sure of that, my son?” The women these days down there in the plains are not as reliable as you think. We have so many very nice girls here among us. Why do you need to go down there to the cities of the plain to find a wife?”
“Mom, you need to be more loving and less judgmental. I’ll be ok with her. Maybe I can get her to come up here in the mountains and live with our families. Then she will be drawn to God’s law and principles.”
“But son, even if she converts to the true faith, that could bring unwelcome influences from her brothers and other family members up here in the mountain when they come to visit.”
“Mom, I’m sure everything will be ok. Now, you’re getting yourself all worked up over this, and it’s not what you think. Let’s not discuss this any more.”
And so it goes. The parents, trying to help their children make the right choices are given all the arguments justifying the forbidden relationship. Eventually, the mentality of the sons of God was changed and they became wicked and sinful by their association with the descendents of Cain, the sons and daughters of men. This led to a rapid decline in the morality of society and even the sons of Seth forgot God’s law. These very ones or their descendants were destroyed in the flood. Their hearts were hardened against God. Remember, only eight people survived.
Oh friends, if you ever are tempted to marry a person that is spiritually unequally yoked, you have to resist. Ask God to show you how to live without breaking His principles of separation from unbelievers in the right way. We must reach out to them and witness our faith, but we cannot involve ourselves in relationships, either in marriage or business, that are unequally yoked.
Even among fellow believers there is risk today. Many times, those who are in the same faith are not equally yoked at all. Ask God to bring you the right partner that has the same principles and spiritual commitments and goals that you have, otherwise you are in eternal danger.
In Noah’s day the sons of God had become almost completely compromised by their collaboration with the worldly families in the cities of the plains. Only a few godly people remained. Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and his sons, and a few others, maintained their fidelity to Jehovah. But the rest of the world was wicked almost beyond imagination, except that in the last days in which we now live we have a similar situation.
Genesis 6:5 says that “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Notice the strong language used here. “Every imagination” was “only evil” and that was “continually.” Have you ever thought about that? In other words, there were no righteous thoughts at all in the hearts of the people. There was not even any inclination to do what was right. All their thoughts were wicked and carnal. And their intellectual processes were oriented to design more wickedness to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Selfishness and indulgence was rampant. Respect for human life was at an all time low.
The human race still counted their age in centuries. But with those centuries, instead of improving them to the glory of God as God had intended, they used them for the service of Satan and glorified themselves. They were so tall in stature that the Bible calls them giants. But these were giants both in body and mind, with great skill, wisdom and cunning. They were enormously creative. But they used all God’s gifts to increase their iniquity. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p.90)
The earth was still beautiful, much the way in which God created it. They used the bountiful gifts of God to build magnificent and beautiful houses from the freely available gold and silver, and beautified them with their great creative skills to satisfy their proud hearts. (PP 91)
They “reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. And to ease their guilty conscience, they even came to deny the existence of the God of heaven. They perverted the worship of God, and replaced it with the worship of graven images in beautiful groves lined with flowers, trees and fruit hanging from the trees and vines. There were, no doubt, statuary and pleasant fountains. But they had put God out of the minds and became debased in their hearts. The divine law of God was despised and ignored, and they eventually declared that it was not in force and that it was contrary to the character of God to punish transgression. And the result was anarchy and lawlessness. “They had no fear of the Infinite one.” (PP 90, 91, 96, 101) Noah’s warnings spurred them on to greater boldness in their defiance and rebellion.
They hated God, or the idea of a supreme benevolent ruler. Those who wanted to obey and worship the true God were taunted, ridiculed and mocked. They were given convincing arguments against belief in God. These atheists promoted science above revelation, and taught that the universe didn’t need God to come into existence. God was pictured as a figment of the imagination, a crutch for weak mortals who lived in fear and doubt. Most of all, they promoted the idea that there would be no punishment for sin.
Do you hear these things today? Sometimes they come subtly in the form of theology that many churches promote. “You don’t need to worry; God loves you just as you are. Your sins don’t separate you from God. You don’t need to overcome them anyway. Christ will change your character and heart in the twinkling of an eye when he comes the second time.” Have you heard these things? Well, they were also in the minds of the people who claimed to be church members in the days of Noah.
Listen to this statement from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 102. “The picture which inspiration has given of the antediluvian world represents too truly the condition to which modern society is fast hastening. Even now… in professedly Christian lands, there are crimes daily perpetrated as black and terrible as those for which the old-world sinners were destroyed.
Those who wanted to do what was right were outcast from society. They were marginalized and misrepresented. They were looked upon with distain. No doubt, the righteous were also offered advantages to compromise their faith. Perhaps they were pressured or threatened if they could not be bribed. And with the vast majority, Satan successfully got them to compromise their principles so that sin didn’t seem so bad anymore. They thought they could gain a little advantage by not being so religious. Eventually, he drew them into the prevailing sins of the age.
Listen to this important statement from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 91. “Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower… God had given men His commandments as a rule of life, but His law was transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result. The wickedness of men was open and daring, justice was trampled in the dust, and the cries of the oppressed reached unto heaven.”
In other words, there were those who had wealth and power, and these oppressed their fellow human beings and controlled them as slaves to serve their vices and passions. Notice the words “every conceivable sin.” That would include oppressive servitude, polygamy, adultery, fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, bestiality, murder, extortion, bribery, theft, deceit, fraud, cheating, embezzlement and the list could go on and on. They even sacrificed their children as burnt offerings to their pagan deities. As in our day, the principles were in place that would make it possible for a few to gain control of the masses and manipulate them for their own purposes. And the cries of the oppressed reached unto heaven. It was a global wickedness. Just imagine the thoughts of the wicked. They were continually beholding wickedness and sin, and they were continually declining in moral worth. And they were continually adding to their sins by further rebellion.
“Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected,” says Patriarchs and Prophets, page 92. “Whoever coveted the wives or the possessions of his neighbor, took them by force, and men exulted in their deeds of violence.” (PP 92) Genesis 6:11, 13 tells us that the “earth was filled with violence.” It was the survival of the fittest. You had to have a small army to defend yourself and your possessions and even your family in those wicked times.
“They delighted in destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference.” (PP 92)
It was so bad that scripture tells us in verse six and seven that God in His infinite love and mercy could no longer bear with it. “It repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” He said in verse 13 “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.”
Man had corrupted himself and had given himself over to Satan’s control so completely, that God regretted that he had made man. The Holy Spirit had been grieved by almost all. And as the Spirit withdrew from the human race, Satan came in to take His place. God’s heart of love was so grieved that He saw that He had no choice but to destroy His creation and intervene in the progress of apostasy and wickedness as a warning to future generations. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, page 157)
It is very similar today. Everywhere you turn, there is corruption, evil and violence. And we can see evidence that God’s Spirit is being withdrawn gradually from the earth. Even the increasing violence of nature with its earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and cyclones and distressed wildlife tell us of the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to understand that God, who is love, does not destroy His creation capriciously, as a child would throw away a toy. Only the most dire and extreme circumstances will draw out God’s destructive wrath. God is infinite in personal patience, love and mercy, while ever there is still a responsive chord in the sinner’s heart to the Holy Spirit. Yet He has to put a check on the wickedness of man at times when there are serious and most threatening circumstances.
It is Satan who destroys in the vast majority of circumstances. And often God takes responsibility for Satan’s destructive power because Satan always has to get permission from God to do his work of destruction anyway. But God saw that almost all the people had given themselves over to Satan Their hearts were hardened against the Holy Spirit, and it was best for Him to intervene to preserve at least some righteous souls. God does not need to prove His strength over Satan. He does not need to intervene for His own selfish purposes. But the earth was still in its infancy. Christ had not yet come as the Messiah. There needed to be much more time to develop the principles of the Great Controversy so that the whole unfallen universe could be fully convinced of His righteousness. So God intervened.
Keep in mind that God’s wrath is different than man’s wrath. It is not a self-centered anger, but a purity that recoils from sin. God’s wrath is directed at sin, not the sinner. But if the sinner refuses to let go of his sin, he will be consumed by God’s wrath against sin. That is why it is vitally important for you, my friend, to separate yourself from sin. On occasion God sees that it is best to put a check on Satan’s horrific work on a broad scale because all of society is bent to sin. He can thereby warn others of the consequences of their persistence in sin.
In the case of the destruction of the earth by a flood, God made it abundantly clear that He was the one who was going to destroy the earth, not Satan. Listen to it from Genesis 6, verse 17. “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh…” He emphasizes the point to Noah and to us as if it is hard for us to believe that a God of love and mercy could destroy the human race. “I, even I” He says. While it is true that destruction is a strange act for God, nevertheless, at times He must do so for the preservation of the righteous. The wicked that have passed the limit of God’s forbearance because of their unchangeable determination to sin, cannot and will not respond to the Holy Spirit. God has sometimes removed them.
God, however, does not destroy without making a way of escape. He always has a plan of salvation for those who believe Him and do what He says. The plan of salvation for those living at the time of Noah was the ark. Those who believed God and obeyed Him could come into the ark and ride out the storm. The tragedy was that no one but Noah and his family accepted the gracious invitation and salvation.
By contrast there was Noah, whose righteous life was a testimony against the wicked. Noah was pious. He was determined not to think evil. He set his heart to obey God, and live righteously no matter what happened to him. And it was a stark contrast. When people would talk to Noah, there was something different about him. His conversation was pure and not licentious like theirs was. His words were kind and gracious and temperate. He would help those who were oppressed. He would encourage them to think higher thoughts. When someone cheated Noah, or mistreated him, he was always forgiving. Like Enoch he walked with God, which means that he thought like God did.
Noah, like Enoch and Methuselah before him, did not live among the city dwellers. He knew that he could not maintain his purity of soul if he lived in the city with all that wickedness surrounding him. So, he separated himself from all that, and lived where he could honor God.
But it was more than just a passive separation from the world. Noah actively tried to hold back the tide of evil. He labored to preserve the knowledge of God. His righteous soul was vexed at the wickedness and evil that prevailed in his day. His heart was drawn out after God when he heard news of the new depths of sin that were reported to him. Keep in mind this is what the righteous in the last days will do when they hear the news each day. They will plead with God for the Holy Spirit to stay the progression of wickedness. I hope your heart is drawn out to God in sorrow for the lost in our day. I hope your heart is being drawn out for your fellow church members who are lost too. We are to weep for those who are lost. Aren’t you sad when you see someone destroying themselves by smoking or eating the wrong foods, or listening to the wrong music, or watching evil TV shows that glorify wickedness, deception and violence? Don’t you wish that you could help them understand what they are doing to themselves? Don’t you wish you could show them the way of life? I do. I can’t help myself. I feel so bad when I see children abused by their parents, or sold into prostitution or other forms of slavery. I grieve when I see oppression and real life murder, or hear of honor killings and other merciless violence. May God give us a heart of love for lost souls.
Noah’s preaching was powerful. He was a sight to behold. Here was this old bearded man, perhaps standing on a woodpile preaching to the crowds who came to hear him. “God has declared that there will be a flood! God cannot lie. He is always right. Your way of escape, your way of salvation is to come into the ark. Repent of your evil deeds and join us in finishing this project and then come with us into the ark of safety. Your life will end if you remain outside the ark. Don’t harden your hearts. Don’t listen to the scientists who try to discourage you. Don’t listen to the religious leaders, they will teach you false doctrine. Don’t listen to the majority. They will mislead you. The majority is never right. The majority always leads you away from God’s truth.”
Some would shout out at Noah and ridicule his preaching. “Come on Noah, you can’t be serious! The end of the world isn’t coming. Nature’s laws are fixed. They have never changed. Look, if what you say is true, all nature will be turned out of its course. Everything is the same as before day after day. What is in your head, Noah? God doesn’t overrule the laws of nature.”
“God has said it,” Noah would reply, “And I believe it, because I have faith in God. And you can have faith too, and you can come into the ark when it is ready and be saved if you turn from your wicked ways and seek God’s will.”
But they would come back at him, “Noah, you’re just preaching a doomsday message, you’re just trying to scare us. Don’t you think you would be better not to be such an alarmist? You’re too radical. You’re a fanatic. What you say doesn’t make any sense.” And it wouldn’t make any sense because the righteousness of God always appears to be foolishness to man. (See 1 Corinthians 1)
Noah would say, “Mine is the straight testimony of the Lord God. He will fulfill His plan. He cannot mislead you. He is so loving that He gave instructions to all who wish to follow Him. All you need to do is believe Him and come into the ark.”
“But Noah, don’t you know that the idea of God is a figment of your own imagination? There is no God, and certainly not one that is so ruthless as to destroy the whole world.”
“God is love,” he would say, “It is Satan that has brought so much sin upon the earth that God has to intervene. He cannot allow sin to go on and on and on as it is without arresting the tide of evil. There is so much violence today, and God is going to put an end to it. It is in mercy that He will end the almost complete apostasy.”
“Noah, can you prove that there is going to be a flood? There has never been one before. What makes you think that there is going to be one now?”
“I cannot prove it scientifically because science is only interested in the material world,” he might have said. “It does not take into account the supernatural. God is great and powerful. He can do whatever He needs to do. He controls the universe and all the elements of nature, chemistry, physics, the stars, the magnetic field around the earth and even the animals and the birds. He can change even the principles of physics and turn the natural world upside down if He believes it is for the good of His people. Please friends, give your hearts to the Lord, and come into the ark!”
“Noah, you are full of it. You are just trying to make a sensation. After all, who ever heard of building a boat this big for a project so outrageous or at a time so uncharacteristic of what you are prophesying? Forget it Noah, you are out of your mind. You are a crazy, deluded old man.”
At first some were convicted and trembled at Noah’s words. And Noah was encouraged. But as time went on, the conviction waned as those around them reassured them. They relaxed because they did not want to repent of their sins and reform their lives. The wicked minds of the people came up with all sorts of arguments against what he was saying, and eventually those who were under conviction to join him, joined the opposition and became some of the fiercest opponents of Noah’s message. It must have been discouraging to Noah to have so much opposition. But he could not stop. He had to preach the truth. Likewise, those living at the end of time will also have to give the message of warning even though almost everyone opposes them.
They probably went around from observer to observer and tried to find ways to discredit Noah. They may have even tried to distract anyone who seemed even a little interested in Noah’s message. The closer they got to the close of probation, the more they would give themselves to festivities, amusements and parties. They would perhaps throw parties near the ark to get everyone drunk and then start to ridicule Noah and his message. You can imagine the posters around the city. “Come tonight at 5 o’clock to the ‘ark party.’ We’re going to have a good time. There will be plenty of wine, and this will certainly be a happy hour. Come and hear the latest on Noah’s fanatical project.” The people delighted in reveling, we are told, and Noah just gave them another reason to have more wicked “fun.”
Today it is the same. Here is a powerful statement again from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 103. “While God’s servants are giving the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them from the coming destruction.”
Eventually, the ark was finished. The fact that the ark was sitting on the dry ground instead of in the water was a testimony to Noah’s faith that the flood would come. There was no doubt in Noah’s mind. God had spoken. He knew for sure that it would come. The people came to see the ark as it sat on the dry ground. They mocked Noah for his fanaticism. Some of them perhaps deliberately found ways to sin boldly right out in front of Noah, where he could see them, and then they would say, “See Noah, there is no flood coming. We can do what we want, and there is no God that takes notice.”
But then one day after the ark was finished, suddenly silence fell upon the mocking throng. Animals started coming from the forests and birds flew to the ark. Astonishingly, they came in an orderly fashion as if guided by an unseen hand. In pairs or in sevens, they quietly entered the ark and, guided by Noah and his family, they took their places in the designated stalls, cages and rooms. To the wicked outside the ark, this was amazing. They were greatly surprised as they watched the impressive sight.
Imagine the conviction that came upon some in the crowd outside the ark watching the animal procession. “There is something strange going on here. When animals do strange things, we humans should pay attention. Maybe I should reconsider my attitude. Maybe I have been wrong to ridicule Noah. Maybe I’ve been too irreligious, and need to change my life and my attitude. I wonder if it is too late to ask Noah if I can go into the ark too. Maybe he would still accept me and let me come in.
Noah certainly would have used the opportunity to preach the message that the close of probation was very near. “Look at these creatures,” he might have said. “They are dumb animals, but they are coming into the ark. They are following God’s direction. They will be saved. Won’t you be saved too? Come into the ark with us. Leave the world behind. God has offered salvation.”
No doubt many who were at the ark watching the animals and birds had the conviction that they should heed Noah’s prophecy. The extraordinary scene sobered them. It made them solemn and thoughtful. Some of them may have almost decided to approach Noah quietly about entering the ark. But then the atheistic scientists sensed the change in attitude and stood up to speak. As usual, they didn’t want anyone to think that the strange things that happen in nature are anything out of the ordinary. They don’t want anyone to think that there might be some sort of supernatural thing going on, or that prophecy is about to be fulfilled. They just want to calm everybody down with peace and safety.
“This has happened in history before,” they might have said. “Eons ago, during the ice age, animals behaved this way. Look at the geologic evidence where many different types of animal bones are found together in one place. Obviously the species were cavorting together. Those animals and birds don’t need God to do that. Don’t worry about them. After all it is only a small number of them. By no means are all the animals on the earth coming into the ark. Not even all the variations within species. And what about the dinosaurs, why aren’t any of them going into the ark? Some of them are so big that they won’t fit in there. Noah is just using some technique or method of organization with some of the animals to trick you into thinking that there is actually going to be a flood. You don’t need to worry. Just relax. Nothing is going to happen, certainly not a flood. That is scientifically impossible, so you have nothing with which to concern yourself.”
Other scientists stood up and said sarcastically, “Pastor Noah is an alarmist, remember. He has been preaching this doom and gloom message now for about 120 years. He is scamming you into thinking that the end of the world is near. Do you see any evidence that the end is near? Do you see any evidence of rain, or a potential flood? Don’t let him deceive you. He’s like Enoch who predicted that the end of the world was coming many years ago, but we are still here. Enoch’s prophecy was wrong. And so is Noah’s.”
Then another one stood up. “Folks, Noah is the only one who has been saying that a flood is coming. No one else has ever said that. In fact, he isn’t even using scientific evidence to support his hypothesis that there is going to be a flood. Hah! All he did was pray to his God, and he got this impression to build an ark, and now he is trying to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is just working off the imagination. He is dreaming that there is going to be a flood. Bringing all these animals into the ark is certainly nothing spectacular. It’s a hoax to get you to think that there is something to his fantasy. Don’t believe it.”
Then there were other opponents of Noah’s message. In fact there was a whole coalition of them. “Those who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any should be impressed by the last solemn warning.” That’s Patriarchs and Prophets, page, 103. The labor unions were there. The religious leaders were there. The civic societies were represented. And they each threw out their own arguments.
“If you go into the ark,” the labor union leaders would likely have said, “you are going to have to work more than the permitted hours each week. In fact, you’ll probably be a slave to Noah. After all, if there is going to be a flood, you’re going to be stuck in that ark with the door closed and you won’t be able to get out. You won’t have any union representation and you’ll have very poor wages in there. Noah’s out of money you know. He can’t pay you much, if any at all. He, himself, is living from hand to mouth as it is. Why would you want to join him? You’d have to work seven days a week. You won’t have decent working hours or working conditions, no medical coverage, and no other benefits. And you won’t be able to take proper breaks or have a day off.”
And perhaps the religious leaders said “don’t forget that you won’t have Sunday rest in there. You won’t have a chance. You won’t have time for work-life balance. Anyway, God’s threatenings are really only meant to intimidate. They will never be fulfilled. So, don’t worry. There is no need for alarm. ‘Such an event as the destruction of the world by the God who made it, and the punishment of the beings He has created, will never take place. Be at peace; fear not. Noah is a wild fanatic.’” (PP 96)
And when the civic representatives stood up to speak, they might have said, “And don’t think that there is going to be democracy in there. You will be under a dictator. You won’t have any freedom. You can’t vote. You can’t put around a petition. You won’t have any say in the government. Don’t go in there with Noah. You’ll be oppressed and quite unhappy all cooped up in there.”
Those with convictions relaxed a bit more. After all, it would be hard to become religious and exchange their comfortable lifestyles for that primitive ark. They might have to sleep on the floor, or eat uncooked food, and perhaps even use a latrine. And who knows how long they would have to live like that. Maybe it would be better to go along with the majority and not go into the ark. After all, the ark is very unpopular. It was a symbol of all that is fanatical, straight-laced and legalistic. There is safety in numbers. It’s always been that way. Why not now? The scientists must be right after all. There is no sign of rain or any kind of flood… That is really a far-fetched idea anyway, isn’t it?
“But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. Surrounded by popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended his words, for it was the voice of God to man through His servant. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn voice fell upon the ears of that generation in regard to events, which, so far as human wisdom could judge, were impossible.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, page 96)
Finally Noah stood up, and spoke again. He pled with the people with tears streaming down his cheeks. “This is my last sermon,” he must have said. “God said to me ‘come thou and all thy house into the ark.’ So, I have to go in there. Won’t someone come with me? Won’t someone yield to the last appeal of the Holy Spirit and join us as we go into the ark. Once that massive door closes, you will not have any further opportunities to repent. Your doom will be sealed. So, come with us to safety and salvation. Come now. Don’t delay any longer.”
“Go on Noah,” someone probably shouted. “Go into your zoo with all your animals, and we’ll see what becomes of your fantasies. We have big houses too, though they aren’t quite like this. We’ll be here when you decide to come out. Wait and see. You are just a deluded old man. And your deception is about to be exposed.”
With a heavy heart, Noah walked up the ramp and into the huge boat, and began to prepare for departure. His family came with him, a total of eight people. That was it, no one else, eight people together with all those animals and birds.
“Mercy had ceased its pleadings for the guilty race.” (PP 98) As the people were reveling with riotous merrymaking, something terribly ominous happened. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of dazzling light, as distinct and vivid as lightening. It hovered over the ark, and then the huge door, which was so big that the inhabitants in the ark could not shut it, began to close slowly by unseen hands. The light mesmerized the wicked. They stood in silent amazement. They were struck with the fearful thought that maybe Noah was right after all. But they could not move. Their doom was now sealed.
“Noah was shut in, and the rejecters of God’s mercy were shut out. The seal of Heaven was on that door; God had shut it, and God alone could open it. So when Christ shall cease His intercession for guilty men, before His coming in the clouds of heaven, the door of mercy will be shut. Then divine grace will no longer restrain the wicked, and Satan will have full control of those who have rejected mercy. They will endeavor to destroy God’s people; but as Noah was shut into the ark, so the righteous will be shielded by divine power.” That fantastic statement is from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 98.
Friends, I don’t want to be caught in the position where I see the glory of God protecting the righteous while I am still in sin, do you? What a terrible tragedy that would be! To be outside the walls of the New Jerusalem as so many will be. I want to be under God’s protection. You and I must find our salvation in Jesus Christ, and let the word of God be our source of strength, courage, and assurance. Christ will carry us through the tempest in the last days if we are faithful to him as Noah was.
Let us pray. Our loving heavenly Father, thank You for the story of Noah and the flood. It is just fantastic that you provided a way of escape for all who would enter in. Today, we want to escape the things that are coming upon the earth, and we realize that the only way is to follow Your instructions, and live righteous lives in Christ Jesus. Please send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts that we my have the presence of Christ. As we prepare for the end of the world once again, we must follow the same principles that Noah followed. These are outlined in Your Word. Please help us to live pious lives like Noah and Enoch. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.