Jesus says that “as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). Has He given a message to the world today like the message of Noah? The world is going to be destroyed and God has sent some people into the world to preach as Noah preached. In fact, all Christians are called to give a message similar to Noah’s message, in no uncertain tones.
However, Noah’s preaching is not the subject of this article, but rather Noah’s ark-building.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house” (Hebrew 11:7).
Noah not only preached, He worked. He worked with his hands. Mighty trees had to be brought down to the ground, made into timbers, and then put together to build that great boat, which was quite a piece of engineering.
God’s purpose in telling Noah to build the ark was to provide a way of escape, a refuge from the storm that was coming. The only people who survived the flood, survived as a result of Noah’s ark-building.
The time in which we live is as the days of Noah and the world is not preparing for what is coming. As in the days of Noah, they ate and drank, they planted and they builded, they married and were given in marriage (Luke 17:26, 27). So today this country is in the greatest spending spree of history. The feeling is, “People never had it so good.” That is the way it was in the days of Noah.
Today the labor unions are coming into the picture larger and larger. In 1955, the two great branches of the labor movement, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO), combined to form one great union. When that happened, we read over the prophecies and said, “This will mean something in the history of America and the world. Here is an enormous new factor—a political power—13 million working men and women welded into one great movement. Things can happen now that couldn’t have happened here before.”
We didn’t have to be profound thinkers to predict that something might happen. You and I have been given special light from heaven that it is largely through the labor unions that the persecutions, Sunday laws and boycotts of Revelation 13 are going to be fulfilled. (See Selected Messages, Book 2, 141–144.) We saw this great new power – the AFL – CIO – come onto the scene, and we began to look for results. Some of those results are here already—politically, legislatively, industrially, financially.
One hundred and fifty years ago the Lord’s messenger pointed forward to the time when in all our great cities there would be a binding up in bundles by the confederacies and unions formed. The lives of those who refused to unite with these unions would be imperiled. And then she said that the same binding up in confederacies that exists today, existed in Noah’s day.
Although Noah faced these same problems, by following God’s directions, he was led to safety through every one.
Is there need for an ark today? At the coming of Jesus we know that we will be taken away from every danger and go up to heaven. We are going to leave the world. We won’t need any ark to get through that experience.
There is a great time of trouble just before that when the plagues will be falling, when many of God’s people will be in the caves and the rocks of the mountains. How are we going to get along then? We are told that the angels are going to feed us. (See Early Writings, 56). How we are going to live through that awful time of trouble and get out of the world I think we all understand. But there is a time before that called the “little time of trouble” that occurs before probation closes, a time of peril and persecution that follows swiftly after the national Sunday law is passed. How will we get through that?
Revelation 13:16 speaks of the actions of the two-horned beast, the symbol of the United States: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.”
Verse 17 tells what will happen to those who refuse this mark: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
God says in the 14th chapter of Revelation that you must not take this mark or you will drink the wine of the wrath of God. In Revelation 15:2 John sees in heaven the company of saints who have gotten the victory over the beast, and his image, and his mark, and the number of his name.
If there is coming a time before the close of probation when you cannot buy anything to eat, of what help is it going to be to you to have a promise that angels will feed you at some later time in a cave, if you starve to death before that? Is that a practical question?
There was a rainbow on the other side of the flood, but the great thing when the rain began to fall was how to get through that flood! There is a storm coming, just ahead, and many people have little idea how they are going to get through it. The attitude of some is, “Well, the Lord will take us through somehow.” In other words, they just expect to get through that great time of trouble when the plagues are falling, without any preparation of their own.
Now suppose Noah had gone about preaching and saying, “There’s a flood coming! Get ready for it!” And suppose the people had said, “If a flood is coming, what are we going to do?” Just suppose that Noah had answered, “Oh, the Lord will take care of us somehow.”
And picture him saying to his sons, “We just haven’t any time to build a boat, because it is so important to get out and preach and tell the people that the flood is coming.” That would not have been logical, nor would it have been obedient.
It was God who told Noah that the flood was coming. He told him to preach and warn the people and He also said, “Build an ark.” Noah was to practice what he preached. He was to preach what he was practicing. It was all tied up together.
Hear this wonderful statement from The Story of Redemption, page 63: “He was not only to preach, but his example in building the ark was to convince all that he believed what he preached. …
“Every blow struck upon the ark was preaching to the people. Noah directed, he preached, he worked, while the people looked on in amazement and regarded him as a fanatic.” You see, Noah preached with his hammer as well as his vocal cords!
Now, I wonder if God has given you and me any hammering to do while we are preaching and warning people about that storm of persecution that is coming. Is there some practical work involved in preparing for that awful boycott when thousands will be confronted on the one side with the seal of God and on the other with the mark of the beast? I believe there is an answer to that. I find part of it in Selected Messages, Book 2. On page 141 the servant of the Lord says, “The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive. Again and again, the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.”
I am glad that is put in such simple language that anybody can understand it. Let’s start with the last thing it says. “The problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” We won’t be able to do it, the Bible tells us, unless we take the mark of the beast. And page 142 of this book tells us that the labor unions are going to have much to do with it.
In view of that fact, Inspiration says we ought to get out of the cities and move into the country and raise our own provisions—our own food.
On pages 310, 311 of Medical Ministry it says, “To parents who are living in the cities the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; … Get out of the cities as fast as possible.
“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits. … God will help His people find such homes outside of the cities.
“As far as possible, our institutions should be located away from the cities. … It is not God’s will that His people shall settle in the cities. …
“The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land and raise their own fruit and vegetables.”
Friends, you see, this is how the Lord plans for us to get through this preliminary time of trouble. This is the way He plans for us to have something to eat when we cannot buy or sell, a place of refuge in that time when our lives would be in danger in the cities.
God has three ways of caring for us in three different stages of the final events. At the very end, He will take us clear away from the world. Before, that, in the great time of trouble, angels will feed us. But in this first time of trouble we are to get our food by growing it ourselves on the land.
There is a little tract entitled “The Nashville Agricultural and Normal Institute”—that’s the Madison school—published by the Pacific Press in 1908. It was gotten out by Elder W. C. White. On page 11 Professor Magan says: “At first we felt that the school farm was too large. We had planned, in our own minds, an ideal school farm which should be small, but kept so clean and orderly that it would be a model. … When we told Sister White our objections to the size of the farm, she said that the time would come when many that are now living in the cities would be forced to leave, in order to live the truth, and that we should make the farm a place of refuge, where some of these could stop for a while and be taught how to make a living from the soil. Then they would have courage to go out into the country where they could find land, make a home, and educate their children in harmony with God’s law.”
That is the “ark,” friends. There it is! When the storm breaks, when the national Sunday law is passed; when the labor unions are carrying on their oppressive, coercive work; when the Loud Cry is being given and the saints are being hurried out of Sodom, they will need “a place of refuge.” O, let’s build an ark for these dear people!
Let me ask you, do you think this preliminary time of trouble is going to last for more than a few days or weeks? Why, you cannot even grow carrots and harvest them in just a few days and it takes several months to grow sweet potatoes. It takes longer than that to grow strawberries and other small fruits.
Noah’s message was practical. God help us to see that, and if we have a Bible in one hand, to have a hammer or a hoe in the other hand. And we had better know how to use them all—the Bible and the hoe and the hammer! That is the only way we can “make the farm a place of refuge, where some of these could stop for a while, and be taught how to make a living from the soil.”
“A place of refuge.” The Lord wouldn’t tell us to make a place of refuge if there were no refugees going to come to it. Friends, it seems to me that we need to do all our work with that view in our minds—the coming of the refugees. They’re coming. God knows, they’re coming whether we get ready for them or not.
It must have been a wonderful feeling for Shem and Ham and Japheth, as they saw those two elephants come walking up the gangplank. Can’t you hear Noah saying, “Boys, here come the elephants!” And they could answer, “Right this way. We’ll put them right down here!”
And what was there, waiting for them? Why, of course there was hay. The ark was stored with provisions, for they were expecting their guests.
When the refugees come, will you have a place for them? And will there be something in the garden and in the granary for them to eat? Or will you say, “Oh, I’m so sorry! I just don’t have any place to take anybody and we don’t have anything ready to feed them.” Oh, we had better be ready, because the One who knows says they are coming.
Now notice, it takes more than merely living in the country to meet this problem. These refugees are coming out of the cities, and they are coming out to these farms in the country because of a serious problem. They cannot buy anything. They cannot sell.
The time of trouble isn’t here yet. … It is not only making room to house the refugees; it is planting gardens and berry patches and corn and sweet potatoes, not only that we may have some food, but that we may have the “know how” to teach the folks who come.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if some morning the manager would say to you, “Brother, last night some refugees came in from Chicago, and we would like you to take Brother Smith out—he has been working in a factory—he doesn’t know anything about the land—we would like you to show him how to get a living from the soil.”
What would you say? “I don’t know anything about growing food. I just eat the stuff, that’s all!”
Oh, let’s build the ark, what do you say? Let’s remember that the refugees are coming. If we plant a garden or an orchard, remember the refugees, because the Lord has told us they are coming.
Friends, if you and I ever act upon this instruction … we will act upon it by faith, in advance of the storm. There were millions, remember, who were convinced of Noah’s wisdom when it was too late. I thank God that the Holy Spirit is moving upon us to build this ark before it is too late.
But, what kind of an ark is this that we are building? Where do we get the blueprint and the orders? What is it going to look like when we get it done? You can look in the book Medical Ministry and see the whole picture, pages, 308 and 309. The “ark” is a complete little program that God gave our people to establish outside every city. A farm, a school on that farm, a little sanitarium connected with it, an evangelistic center. It is all there.
And God is calling, not only for little institutions but He wants every home to be a place of refuge. Read The Ministry of Healing, pages 192 to 194. You farmers, there is a work for you. You who are builders, mechanics. You who know how to cook, how to sew, how to nurse. Read it. Let God fill your souls with the determination to make your homes places of refuge in the coming crisis.
Do you remember how the allied armies got off the beach at Dunkirk when the enemy seemed to have every way of escape cut off? The big ships were under fire and it looked like doom for those thousands of men, but God had an ark of safety for those men—the little yachts and fishing craft of England. Some could take ten men; some could pack in fifty or more. Every size and speed and capacity was there, little boats plying back and forth in the fog. They moved an army, friends! Those little boats, hundreds of them, saved the lives of an army. That is the picture of how God works.
But those boats had to be there when the crisis came. They had to be seaworthy and loaded with fuel for the voyage and ready for the rescue. That preparation cost something, didn’t it?
It cost Noah to build the ark. In Patriarchs and Prophets, 95, it says, “He gave the world an example of believing just what God says. All that he possessed, he invested in the ark.” How much? “All that he possessed.” Did there come a time when he had to call the family together and say, “Listen, folks, we are going to have to draw out that last money we have in the bank to get another keg of nails”? All that he had he invested.
Furniture, carpets, houses and land—all that he had he invested in the ark. The people of that time were sure that he was a crazy man, that “religion had gone to his head.” But when the rain began to fall, and the waters began to rise, and men were throwing their money everywhere in wild desperation as the flood rose around them, Noah did not have the sorrow of seeing any green-backs that belonged to him floating on those billows. Not one. There was not anything that belonged to Noah that perished in the flood. None of his property; nothing.
We can confidently believe that because it says, “All that he possessed, he invested in the ark.” Noah was right there with everything he possessed, right there in the ark!
O let us concentrate on getting the ark built, if it takes everything we have. Getting all the parts together according to the plan. If you want to help, God needs you, with your own particular talents. Just tell Him, “I want to help build the ark, and the thing that I am most concerned about is not what happens to me—what I get out of it—but what happens to the ark and the people who are going to find refuge in it in a little while.”
And if you say that, and if you will do that, you may find, as Noah did, that the ark you build to save others will be the ark that God will use to carry you and your family safely through the storm!
“This article originally appeared in Another Ark to Build, A Chapel Talk, Sunset Series–1. Although some of the references in the article refer to the specific situation at the time it was written, the principle Elder Frazee expresses is certainly appropriate for today.”
Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. This began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.