Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 86, 1886

Sermon/The Two Classes in the Days of Noah

Basel, Switzerland

February 27, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 39, 55, 57-60.

Genesis 6:3, 5-7. “And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. ... And 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. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 1

After the translation of Enoch to heaven, the sons of men that were set against the worship of God, were drawing away the sons of God. There were two parties in the world then, and there always will be. The worshipers of God called themselves the sons of God. The descendants of Seth went up into the mountains and there made themselves homes separate from the sons of Cain. Here in their mountainous homes they thought to preserve themselves from the prevailing wickedness and idolatry of the descendants of Cain. But after the exhortations and the influence of Enoch was removed from them, they commenced to unite with the descendants of Cain. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 2

Here I wish to impress upon your minds that there are always two parties: those who stand as faithful sentinels for God, and those that are against God. God has a test and a trial for every living soul upon the face of the earth. There are always witnesses standing faithful to God, as representatives of God’s righteousness, and those who are opposed to God, representatives of the government of Satan. It is the privilege of all who witness these two parties to choose which party they will be in. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 3

Here was the faithful Enoch who for three hundred years had been bearing a living testimony to the children of men, and when the descendants of Seth came down and intermarried with the descendants of Cain, then moral corruption flooded the earth. Now, the descendants of Seth might have preserved their integrity before God, and they might have exerted a saving influence upon the inhabitants of the Noachic world, but in the place of doing this they began to unite with the universal corruption that was prevailing in the valleys. The Cain worshipers despised everything like the sacrificial offerings that represented the Lamb of God that was to take away the sins of the world. It is stated in (Genesis 4:26), “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos; then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” Here we see the two parties standing right out in this degenerate age. It was not all corruption; it was not all fidelity. Here God states that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually. [Chapter 6:5.] 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 4

I spoke to you last Sabbath about the necessity of girding about the thoughts, that the soul should be loyal to God. The law of God was trampled under the feet of the Cain worshipers; they were idolaters; they worshiped the creature instead of the Creator. The descendants of Seth acknowledged the power and government and right of the living God to govern. God had borne with the perversity and iniquity of that long-lived race until He declared that He would bear with them no longer. He sent His angels to Noah to tell him what His purpose was in regard to the inhabitants of the old world. That faithful [preacher] of righteousness declared the message to the inhabitants of the old world, that one hundred and twenty years would be the end of their probation. Some of them were at first affected by the message that was brought to them, but as time passed along year after year, and they saw the earth remain the same as it had been, unbelief came into their minds. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 5

Noah was commanded to build an ark for the saving of himself and his house. It is stated, “Noah have I found righteous before me in this generation.” [Genesis 7:1.] And it is also stated that, “Noah walked with God.” [Genesis 6:9.] Noah did not stop to question, “What will the inhabitants of the old world think of me if I begin to build this boat upon dry land?” He believed just what God had told him and he commenced to work upon the light and plan that God had given him. He had to employ many carpenters to help him in this great work of building, and there were many of these that were believers at that time. But the largest part of the Noachic world were unbelievers and they made a great deal of sport of Noah. They ridiculed the idea of building a great boat on dry land. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 6

The surface of the earth was very much as it was when God created it, although some changes had taken place. They looked at the lofty trees, and the wonderful things that God had made in nature, and said, “It is impossible that God shall destroy these things.” The sight of their eyes and their senses made a greater impression upon the inhabitants of the Noachic world than the message from heaven, and Noah stood there in his faithful integrity as a witness to that generation. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 7

Abel, Enoch, and Noah were representative men in that age, for the inhabitants of the old world. Every one had had their test upon the law of God. Would they obey God, would they do just as He told them to do, or would they disobey and realize the results? If Noah had been like many in our day who say, “Believe, believe, all you have to do is to believe,” then he would not have condemned the world. But Noah had that genuine faith, that faith that works. He testified by his faith and works to the inhabitants of the Noachic world that he believed God. Had he stood back and said, “I cannot build this ark; why, I will be considered crazy if I build this ark on dry land,” then he would have had no influence for good upon them. But he believed just what God had said, and carried it out by his works. They considered him insane; they laughed at him and mocked him, but still he kept at work in building the ark according to God’s directions, and when the last message of Noah was given to that degenerate age as he stood before the people giving his warning, they turned from him to ridicule him. They had listened to the prayers of Noah that had ascended day after day in their behalf, and with his heart drawn out for them he delivered his very last message to them. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 8

And God said to Noah that he and his wife, and his sons and their wives, should come into the ark. [Genesis 7:1.] You see how few there were who would believe the message of heaven, the Word of God, and thus be saved from the waters of the flood. The consequences of the transgression of God’s law were evidenced upon man and upon the earth. Violence and corruption were prevailing everywhere. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 9

But the time came when there was a singular sight witnessed by the inhabitants of the Noachic world. Those who had laughed and scoffed and derided Noah, now could see that something was taking place that was wonderful. There was seen coming, through the forest and from every quarter, animals, two and two, making their way to that ark. These animals were obedient to the commandments of God, but man was disobedient. Then there was seen like a dark cloud in the heavens, the fowls of the air flocking to that ark. Well, at the moment this made an impression upon their minds. But as they had fellowship with one another, in their unbelief and corruption, they put it away from their minds. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 10

Then the commandment is given for Noah and his family to enter the ark. The probation for the inhabitants of the Noachic world is ended. Noah went into the ark, and there is seen a bright light—an angel of heaven came and shut the massive door. So there was a shut door in Noah’s time. Noah and his family were shut into the ark and the unrighteous were shut out. The mercy of God was withdrawn from that polluted and corrupt generation. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 11

But we can see what a condition that family were in, shut in that ark seven days. It was a tremendous test brought to bear upon Noah and his family, shut in that ark seven days, and yet no rain came. The jeers and scoffs and triumphs of his enemies seemed complete. But as soon as the seven days were ended, there began to come in the dark and heavy clouds such as they had never seen before, and they increased in blackness, and the rain began to fall from them. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 12

Up to this time there had never been any rain, but a mist had arisen and watered the earth. For this very reason they had taken occasion to triumph. But the rain continued to fall and then there were some serious thoughts. But in order to put these reflections away from them, they went still deeper into their iniquity, and they earnestly looked to see if there was not some evidence that the clouds were rolling back, but there was none. The rain increases until it comes in torrents. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 13

God had concealed in the earth His weapons whereby He would purify the earth at that time. The jets of water began to come up from the depths of the earth, and as this water increased in force, it would throw up stones and uproot trees. Do you not think that there were some who would have been glad at that time to find refuge in the ark? There were some reaching toward the ark, and some entreaties, but it was too late. They began to move their families, and they climbed up to the very highest points of land, but the storm increased until families and beasts would find the highest points of land and struggle for refuge there. They would climb into the highest trees thinking to find refuge there, but these trees would be uprooted and they would be buried in the waters of the earth. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 14

Thus the inhabitants of that long-lived race perished in the flood, and even the beasts perished, except those that were in the ark. Christ said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the son of man be. 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.” [Luke 17:26, 27.] Well, thus shall it be when Christ shall be revealed at His second coming. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 15

The law of God was first transgressed by Satan in heaven. He has kept up his controversy upon that point till the present time, and will until the close of time. The test that was brought to bear upon the representative men in past ages will be brought to bear upon men in this age. Will men acknowledge the government of the God of the universe and honor that government? Did it make the inhabitants of the old world any better by trampling upon the law of Jehovah? Did it improve their condition to separate themselves from the law of their Creator? Will it make men and women any better in this age to put their feet upon God’s holy law and transgress it? 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 16

The very same results that were seen in the transgression of God’s law by the inhabitants of the Noachic world will be seen upon the inhabitants of this generation. The rights and property, and even the lives of men, were not respected then, but violated. The thoughts and imaginations of the heart were evil continually. They worshiped anything and everything but God. So it is in this age of the world—deception, infidelity, and idolatry prevail to an alarming extent. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 17

Does it make a nation happy to put away the laws of God? The countries here have their laws, and the safety of the inhabitants of these countries are due to their obedience to these laws, and you know how strictly they require that these laws shall be observed. You see an officer by the side of a man who wears the shackles upon his hands and feet, and you know that that man has transgressed the laws of the land. He forfeited his liberty and was put in prison because he transgressed the laws of the country. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 18

And shall man advocate that the Lord of the universe has no law to govern His kingdom? Is it the doctrine of Jesus Christ or of heaven that the law of God has no binding claims upon the children of men? Why, the law of ten commandments is the great moral standard of righteousness in heaven and upon the earth. This great law is the foundation to all laws, to all nations, and to all families. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 19

What a piece of workmanship of the devil it is to say that the law <of God> is done away, and is no more binding upon the human race. We know that the murderer, the adulterer, and the thief get in trouble with this law at once. They are the ones that would like to have this law swept away so they could have free license to all their imaginations and wickedness. We do not think, as we see a man attended by an officer of justice, that he has been keeping the law, but that he has been transgressing it. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 20

Every soul of us living upon the face of the earth must have our test and trials. Circumstances will occur in the providence of God when we will be called to vindicate our faith. We shall give decided evidence which side we are on. We shall either be decidedly the vindicators of God’s holy law, or on the side of the transgressors. We shall be tested as Noah was tested. Because the corruption was nearly universal in his age, did he then argue that it would not pay for him to stand separate and alone for God’s law? He took his position as God’s nobleman on the side of right because it was right. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 21

We shall understand something of what it is to be tested in the near future. There will be laws of the land that will interfere with our obedience to the laws of God, and then the test will come [as to] whose side we are on, on the side of God or the side of those that are against God? We want every one of us to be prepared for that which is come upon our world. You cannot, any one of you, at once jump into the position to stand the test of God. It is by patient continuance in well-doing that you gain the element of character that will enable to you to stand the test at last. It is by persevering integrity of soul day by day, and by calling upon God, that we get strength to stand the test. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 22

There will be every influence that will lead us to make light of God’s requirements. But if we are prepared to meet the Son of man when He shall come in the clouds of heaven, we must be getting ready for it now. We are to have the white robes of character without spot before the throne of God. We want a living faith and a living religion. We want that our faith shall be made perfect by our works. And of those who are crying, “Only believe, only believe, and you shall be saved,” we want to inquire, “What shall we believe? What is the testing faith for this time?” 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 23

You see that Christ has warned us that false teachers would come with false doctrines, and we want to know what to believe. There is a sure test. It is: If they speak not according to the law and to the testimonies, it is because there is no light in them. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 24

There was one in the parable that Christ gives us, who begged that someone from the dead might go to his brethren and warn them that they might believe. But Christ tells them, “They have Moses and the prophets, and if they will not believe them, neither would they believe though one rose from the dead.” [Luke 16:29, 31.] Thus you see that there is a standard of righteousness and that is God’s immutable law. We are to compare every doctrine and every faith with this great standard of righteousness. The faith is to be tested by this because faith is not always of the right kind. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 25

We read that the devil believed and trembled, but that faith did not save him. [James 2:19.] We want that faith that has the Bible foundation for it—that faith that grasps a living Saviour and a living God. Paul says that he had taught them, from house to house, repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ [Acts 20:20, 21]—repentance toward God because the sinner is in trouble with the Father; he has transgressed His law, [and] faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ because there is no saving power in the law to pardon the sinner. The blood of Christ alone can cleanse the sinner from every stain of sin. Had they acknowledged that law, it would have pointed out to them in the old world what sin was, and they would not have dared to sin. If the people of this age would acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them, they would fear to commit these crimes. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 26

Who among this company, amid the moral pollution and corruption of this degenerate age, will stand as representatives of God? Of whom will it be said—as it was of Enoch, Abraham, and Noah—that they pleased God? Why, He is a God of power and grace, and He will clothe every one of us with salvation if we will only throw ourselves upon His mercy. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 27

He has concealed in the bowels of the earth His weapons that He will use in purifying the earth. He said He would no more cleanse the earth by bringing a flood upon it, but He has fires concealed in the bowels of the earth that will unite with the fires from heaven and purify this earth. And God is gathering out and binding up those who love and serve Him, and the wicked are being bound in bundles, ready for the fires of the last day. It depends wholly upon us which bundles we will be in, whether we will be with the good wheat or bound in bundles for the fires of the last day. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 28

We need never expect that all the world is to be converted, and that our faith and obedience to the commandments of God will become popular. But we want now to be obtaining a fitness for the future immortal life. Guard faithfully your thoughts and your imaginations. Have the thoughts and the imaginations upon God and heaven and heavenly things. Be growing up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. You want to represent Christ in character; you want to reflect a light to the world that will it be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. You want individually to preserve lives of piety and reverence to God. And you may be strong in God and in the power of His might, qualified to do His work. And you may be prepared to be translated to heaven as Enoch was, without seeing death. The eternal reward is to be given to those who are faithful and obedient to God. If you show your obedience here, you will show your obedience there as loyal to the God of heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 29

May God help us that we may receive the eternal weight of glory at last, because we have been obedient to His commandments. 4LtMs, Ms 86, 1886, par. 30