From Eternity Past

An Angel Shuts the Door

The beasts of the field and the birds of the air had entered the place of refuge. Noah and his household were within the ark, “and the Lord shut him in.” The massive door, impossible for those within to close, was slowly swung to its place by unseen hands. Noah was shut in and the rejecters of God's mercy were shut out. 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. EP 55.4

For seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark, there appeared no sign of the coming storm. During this period their faith was tested. It was a time of triumph to the world without. They continued making a jest of the manifestations of God's power. They gathered in crowds about the ark, deriding its inmates with a daring violence never ventured upon before. EP 56.1

But upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, “Can it be that Noah was right and that the world is doomed?” The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force. EP 56.2

The people first beheld their splendid buildings and beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols destroyed by lightning from heaven. Altars on which human sacrifices had been offered were torn down, and the worshipers were made to tremble at the power of the living God. EP 56.3

As the violence of the storm increased, the terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God. Satan himself, compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence. He now uttered imprecations against God. Many of the people, like Satan, blasphemed God. Others were frantic with fear, stretching their hands toward the ark, pleading for admittance. Conscience was at last aroused to know that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens. EP 56.4

They called upon Him earnestly, but His ear was not open to their cry. In that terrible hour they saw that transgression of God's law had caused their ruin. Yet they felt no true contrition, no abhorrence of evil. They would have returned to their defiance of Heaven had the judgment been removed. EP 57.1

Some clung to the ark until they were borne away by the surging waters or their hold was broken by collision with rocks and trees. The massive ark trembled in every fiber as it was beaten by the merciless winds. The cries of beasts within expressed their fear and pain. But it continued to ride safely. Angels were commissioned to preserve it. EP 57.2

Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that these would climb to the highest points to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty trees on the hills or mountains, but the trees were uprooted and hurled into the billows. As the waters rose higher the people fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast would struggle together for a foothold until both were swept away. EP 57.3

From the highest peaks men looked abroad upon a shoreless ocean. The solemn warnings of God's servant no longer seemed a subject for ridicule. Those doomed sinners pleaded for one hour's probation, one more call from the lips of Noah! But love, no less than justice, demanded that God's judgments should put a check on sin. The despisers of God perished in the black depths. EP 57.4