The Signs of the Times


December 20, 1877

Noah's Time and Ours


“And as it was in the days of Noah, 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 Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 1

In how short a time from the first sin of Adam did sin increase and spread like the leprosy. It is the nature of sin to increase. From generation to generation sin has spread like a contagious disease. Hatred of God's law, and as the sure result hatred of all goodness became universal. The world was in its infancy, yet after sin was first introduced it soon became fearful in its proportions until it deluged the world. God who created man and gave him with an unsparing hand the bounties of his providence was slighted and despised by the recipients of his gifts. He was dishonored by the beings he had created. But notwithstanding sinful man forgot his benevolent Benefactor, God did not slight and turn away from him and leave him to perish in his violence and crime without setting before him his wickedness and the result of the transgression of his law. He sent him messages of warning and entreaty. He pointed out definitely his danger if he continued in his rebellion. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 2

God, whom men had slighted and dishonored and whose gracious love and benevolence they had abused, still pitied the race and in his love provided a refuge for all who would accept it. He directed Noah to build an ark and at the same time preach to the inhabitants of the world that God would bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy the wicked. If they would believe the message and prepare for that event by repentance and reformation they should find pardon and be saved. God did not remove his spirit from man without warning him of the sure result of his course in transgressing his law. He gave the message to Noah to be given to the people. “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” A continual resistance and contempt of the entreaties and warnings from God through his servant Noah, would separate them from God, and the result would be infinite mercy and love would cease its pleadings. The Spirit of God continued to strive with rebellious man until the time of God had specified had nearly expired, when Noah and his family entered the ark and the hand of God closed the door of the ark. Mercy had stepped from the golden throne no longer to intercede for man. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 3

Notwithstanding God was working to draw man to himself by the conviction of his Holy Spirit, man in his rebellion was drawing away from God, and continually resisting the pleadings of infinite love. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 4

Noah stood up nobly in the midst of a world who were disregarding God and were indulging in all manner of extravagant dissipation which led to crimes and violence of every kind. Noah the faithful preacher of righteousness unflinchingly and courageously preached to that generation that a flood of water was to deluge the world because of the unsurpassed wickedness of its inhabitants. He warned that generation to repent, to believe the warning message and find refuge in the ark. What a spectacle to the world as Noah stands forth connected with God, by his obedience in contrast to the world. Numbers was not on the side of right. The world was arrayed against God's justice and his laws. Men of science and of philosophy used their talents and abilities to oppose the message of God. Satan, when tempting Eve to disobey God, said to her, “Ye shall not surely die.” Great men, worldly, honored, and wise men, repeat the same story. “Ye shall not surely die,” and that God's threatenings are for the purpose of intimidating and will never be verified. You need not be alarmed, such an event as the world's being destroyed by God who made it, and punishing the beings he has made will never take place for this is not in accordance with science and philosophy. Be at peace, fear not, Noah is crazy, he is the wildest fanatic. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 5

How simple and childlike amid the unbelief of the world, was the faith of Noah. His faith was the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. His faith was perfected by his works. He gave to the world an example in believing just what God had said. He commenced under the directions of God to construct the ark, an immense boat, on dry ground. Multitudes came from every direction to see this strange sight, the ark, and to hear the earnest, fervent words of this singular man who seemed to believe every word he uttered. His message was to him a reality. A power attended the words of Noah, for it was the voice of God to man through his servant. Some were deeply convicted and would have heeded the words of warning, but there were so many to jest and ridicule the message of entreaty and warning to repentance that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of mercy, refused to reform, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scoffers; for none are as reckless, and will go to such lengths in sin as those who have once had light, who have been convicted and resisted the Spirit of God. Amid popular contempt and ridicule, amid universal wickedness and disobedience, Noah distinguishes himself by his holy integrity and unwavering obedience. He is singular indeed. He was one in the world, but not one of the world. Noah made himself the object of contempt and ridicule by his steadfast adherence to the words of God. He obeyed God without a questioning doubt. What a marked contrast to the prevailing unbelief and universal disregard of God's law. While the voice of God, through Noah, is making itself heard in entreaties and warnings in condemnation of sin and iniquity, Satan was not asleep, he was mustering his forces. He engages his host with gigantic energies to make through his sophistry, cruelties and oppression the words of warning from the servant of God of none effect. Evil seems to gain the day. Noah was tested and proved, opposition met him from the great men of the world, from philosophers and men of science, so-called, who tried to show him that his message could not be true; but his voice was not silenced, one hundred and twenty years the words of warning continued to be heard in earnest tones, and were sustained by his energetic work upon the ark. The world might have believed if they would. Had they believed the message of warning, and repented of their evil deeds and submitted to be obedient to God, the Lord would have turned aside his wrath as he did from Nineveh. God's Spirit was striving with the people to lead them to accept and believe the truth, but Satan's suggestions were also heeded, their own wicked hearts were more inclined to harmonize with the sophistry of the father of lies than with the pleadings of infinite love. They manifested their indifference and contempt of the solemn warnings of God in doing the same as they had done before the warning had been given. They continued their gluttonous feasts, their festivities, eating and drinking, planting and building, in reference to the advantage to be gained by them in the far future and they went to greater lengths in wickedness and defiant disregard of God's requirements to testify to one another that they had no fear of God and his commands. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 6

In Noah's day all men were not in the fullest sense heathen idolaters. Many had a knowledge of God and of his law, but in their grand works of sculpture, in their works of art, they professed to be honoring God by representing him in the works of their own hands in the similitudes which they had made of God. These works of art were worshiped as God and the Creator was forgotten. The class who professed a knowledge of God were the ones who had the greatest influence and took the lead in making of none effect his word spoken to them by Noah. They not only rejected the message of the faithful preacher of righteousness themselves, but like their master the devil they sought every means in their power to prevent others from believing and being obedient to God. To every one comes their day of trial and of trust. While Noah was sounding the note of warning of the coming destruction of that generation was their day of opportunity and privilege to become wise unto salvation. But they gave their minds to the control of Satan rather than God, and he deceived them as he did our first parents. He set before them darkness and falsehood in the place of light and truth. They accepted the sophistry and lies of Satan because the most acceptable to them, and the most in harmony with their corrupt lives, while truth, which would have saved them, was rejected as a delusion. Noah to them was regarded as a fanatic, and they did not humble their hearts before God, but continued their disobedience and wickedness the same as if God had not spoken to them through Noah. But Noah stood like a rock amidst the tempest. He was surrounded with every species of wickedness and moral corruption; yet his faith wavered not. Undaunted he stood, the faithful messenger of God amid the scoffs and jeers of the world, an unbending witness of God. His meekness and his righteousness was shining brightly in contrast to the revolting crimes, intrigue and violence continually practiced. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power, while his solemn warning voice for one hundred and twenty years fell upon the ears of the inhabitants of that generation in regard to events, which, as far as human wisdom was concerned, would be impossible to transpire. The world before the flood reasoned that for centuries the laws of nature had been fixed. The recurring seasons had come in their order. The rivers and brooks had never yet passed their boundaries, but had borne their waters safely to the proud sea. Fixed decrees had kept the waters from overflowing their banks. But these reasons did not recognize the Hand that had stayed the waters, saying, thus far shalt thou go and no farther. As time passed on without any apparent change in nature men began to be reassured whose hearts had trembled at times with fear. They felt secure in their unbelief. They reasoned then as men reason now, as though nature was above the God of nature, and her ways were so fixed that God himself could not change them, thus making in the minds of the world God's messages of warning a delusion, a grand deception, reasoning that if the message of Noah was correct nature would be turned out of her course of order. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 7

The days of Noah, Christ tells us, were as the days prior to his appearing in the clouds of heaven. Noah's day prefigures the present age. The world's Redeemer, who knew best the history of the past, is the true prophet of the characters of the future. Human nature in Noah's day uninfluenced by the Spirit of God is the same in our age. Jesus in his assertions and representations recognizes Genesis as the words of inspiration. Many admit the New Testament to be divine, while they show no special regard for the Old Testament scriptures; but these two grand books cannot be divorced. Inspired apostles who wrote the New Testament are continually carrying back the minds of the searchers of Scriptures to the Old. Christ carries the minds of all generations, present and future, to the Old Testament. He refers to Noah as a literal person who lived; he refers to the flood as a fact in history; he shows the specification of that generation, as characteristics of this age. The Truth and Life has anticipated the questioning and doubts of men in regard to the Old Testament by pronouncing it divine. ST December 20, 1877, Art. A, par. 8