The world is in gross darkness. The people know not what truth is. We are indeed living in the last days, the remnant portion of the history of this world. There are biblical, biographical parallels from which we can learn lessons. They help us see what we must be and can be, in this day and age, as God’s people. Ellen White wrote, “History will repeat itself.” The Signs of the Times, February 22, 1910. Those are no idle words. Those words have been inspired, and they were for you and me.
As we look back over the past, we see how men and women reacted to similar circumstances that we find ourselves in today, and the way they reacted is the way that we can react in harmony with God’s will. We can learn lessons; we can become strengthened and inspired by looking at their lives.
Without Him, We can do Nothing
Jesus made a statement that we should never forget. On the way to Gethsemane, He said to His disciples, “I am the vine, [ye are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.
Jesus is the source of all true reform. If we are seeking to reform without Jesus or by merely making a profession in Jesus, we will be on the road to fanaticism. It is as simple as that. If we are going to have our lives transformed and reformed to harmonize with the light that He has given to us, we are going to have to be walking in full agreement with Him. We are going to have to know Him as a personal Saviour. We are going to have to know His voice speaking to our hearts. We are going to have to receive the grace that He wants to give to us, individually. We are going to have to know that experience. Without Jesus, no amount of knowing what we must be or can be is worth anything.
It will lead us into either the road of fanaticism or of presumption, one of the two. We do not want to be fanatical. We surely do not want to presume upon our God who has been so gracious to give to us such wonderful light in which to walk.
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30.
Invitation Still Extended
Jesus Christ is giving this invitation at this very moment, at this very hour. You see, the door of probation has not yet closed; this invitation is still extended. It is the voice of Jesus from the Most Holy Place, and He says, “Come unto Me.”
Some day, this invitation will no longer be given. Men and women will seek to hear it, but it will no longer be spoken. God is very earnest with us, because He sees in the near future that the door is going to close.
God inspired Ezekiel to write the following words for the children of Israel, the professed people of God in his day. “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it [the land], they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 14:14. It is amazing how God can zoom in and focus on the individual. Has God changed? No, He has not changed. The same holds true for us within His professed body that we call the church today.
Ezekiel refers to Noah, Daniel, and then Job. In this article we will concentrate on Noah. We will look at what God expects of us today and what He expected of men and women in Noah’s time. As we look at Noah’s experience, we see what we can become, by the grace of God. What Noah was in his day, we can be in our day.
By the sixth chapter of Genesis, approximately 2,000 years of mankind’s history had transpired. At this point, we come to Noah’s time. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 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. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:1–4.
The time in which Noah lived revealed only two classes of people, the sons of God and the daughters of men. God had a professed people in that day. A mingling began to take place between these two classes. An apostasy was taking place among God’s people. When we have an intermingling, we lose Bible truth; we experience a compromise of truth. Eventually we compromise the truth so much that we do not understand what is truth anymore. That is what we see happening today.
Paul says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” Romans 1:21, 25.
Denying the Power
The antediluvians were people who lived before the flood. These people turned from God to serve themselves, but they continued to profess to be Christians, believers in God.
We know that the days in which Noah lived were evil. But let us draw a parallel to our day. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . . .” 11 Timothy 3:1–5.
About whom was this speaking? The people in the church, the professed Christians in the last days. It says they have a form of godliness. The world does not have a form of godliness. Why has this happened in these last days? They have become just like the people in Noah’s day. It happened the same way! When they intermingled they became just like the world.
The Parallel to Our Day
“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.” Genesis 6:5. Not only did God see this in the unbelieving world, but also He began to see it constantly among His professed people.
“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Verse 6.
Sin touches the heart of our heavenly Father—not just a whole world of sin, but one man in sin grieves our Father’s heart. That is what is being revealed here. Tremendous sorrow is here brought to view. Jesus is grieving over the sin of men—not only a world, but also one man.
We see that wickedness continually grew. It was a wicked world, a wicked time. It became so bad that even God repented that He had created man. Those were the times, as we just read in 11 Timothy 3, that parallel with our day. The world has become exceedingly wicked.
A Perfect Man
What was Noah’s experience? Singular to say the least. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8. We know that grace is unmerited favor. Noah did not earn this grace, but he walked in it.
“Noah was a just man.” Verse 9. He was a just man in an unjust world. What does just mean? Righteous. He was a righteous man in an unrighteous world.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he [speaking of Jesus] is righteous.” 1 John 3:7. To be righteous is to do righteousness—right doing, doing what is right for the right reason at the right time.
Noah, living in a world of injustice, was just. Living in a world of unrighteousness, was righteous. Why? Because he chose to do what was right as God revealed it to him. What else was his experience? Noah was “perfect in his generations.” Genesis 6:9. He was a perfect man.
The word perfect means wholeness. To be holy is to be whole, wholehearted. That is perfection. A perfect man is a wholehearted man, 100 percent consistent. In a world that was totally inconsistent with God, Noah was 100 percent consistent.
As we look at the life of this man—living in a similar time and under similar conditions as do we—it should encourage us to know we can live the life that God has set before us today. If God helped Noah live like that, He can help us live like that.
“And Noah walked with God.” Verse 9. He walked with God! How did Noah walk with God? “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3. The inference is that if you are going to walk together, you are going to be in perfect agreement. Agreement is another word for covenant. What was in the ark in the most holy place? The Law of God. God’s Law is His covenant. If we are walking in perfect agreement with Him, we are in perfect harmony with His Law.
Condemning the World
Noah was a commandment-keeper. Paul talks about Noah. Remember, this man lived this kind of experience in a very polluted and contaminated environment. “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; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7.
Noah condemned the world. How do we condemn the world? Do we condemn the world by going to them and saying, You are not doing what God says and cursed be you? That is how some Christians believe that you condemn the world. How did Noah condemn the world in his day? He simply did what God told him to do.
Noah walked with God by faith! “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 11 Corinthians 5:7. He did not see God; God did not talk to him audibly. God did talk to him in visions and dreams; but Noah did not see Him.
Another parallel that we have with Noah is that he was given a warning message to give to the world. Notice how Noah gave his message. “While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He gave the world an example of believing just what God says.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 95. He gave an example. That means that he lived everything that God told him.
If you were to walk over to the ark back in Noah’s day and look at the workmanship that Noah was doing on the ark, what would you see? Carelessness? No! Noah was very careful in what he did. He was working for God, and everything that he did, he did in an excellent manner. Everything was in its place. Everything was done carefully and thoroughly.
But here is something more interesting. When you left the ark and went back home to eat lunch at Noah’s place, what do you think you found? Neatness and orderliness. Noah was walking with God constantly! Wholeness, wholeheartedly! That means everywhere, all the time.
Called by God
Noah was everything God intended for him to be at all times, and God is calling us to be such a people. He honored God’s truth everywhere and in everything he did. Are we living up to the truth in all that we do everywhere? “Belief in the near coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven will not cause the true Christian to become neglectful and careless of the ordinary business of life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 309.
That entails everything that we do around our houses. “Their work will not be done carelessly and dishonestly, but with fidelity, promptness, and thoroughness. Those who flatter themselves that careless inattention to the things of this life is an evidence of their spirituality and of their separation from the world are under a great deception. Their veracity, faithfulness, and integrity are tested and proved in temporal things. If they are faithful in that which is least they will be faithful in much. I have been shown that here is where many will fail to bear the test. They develop their true character in the management of temporal concerns.” Ibid.
That is called practical godliness. You allow God to work in your hearts, and the truth becomes everywhere evident in your life—not only when in church or out witnessing to others, but if someone comes into our home, they would see the truth everywhere evident. If we are going to walk with God, we are going to be like God. He is a God of order. He is a God of carefulness, a God of thoroughness.
Noah stood alone, and there is coming a day when you and I will have to stand alone. “It was not multitudes or majorities that were on the side of right. The world was arrayed against God’s justice and His laws, and Noah was regarded as a fanatic.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 96.
We have already found that, if we are walking with Jesus, we are not a fanatic. If we are a reformed Christian walking with Jesus, we will look, from the world’s standpoint, like a fanatic, but from heaven’s standpoint we are walking with God.
“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.” Ibid. Wholeheartedness is revealed here, though he stood alone.
Let us look at the parallel of Noah’s time and our time. Jesus spoke the words, “But as the days of Noe [Noah] [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37–39.
In these verses, Jesus makes the parallel with our day. He says, What it was in Noah’s day, it will be in the last days just before I come. And we saw the wickedness there, the apostasy, the compromise, the presumption, the rebellion, the injustice, and the violence—all of it to the point that it grieved God that He had even created man on the face of this earth. Jesus said, Before I come again, the world will be exactly like it was in the days of Noah.
Message of Warning for the World
This is where the parallel takes on reality. In Revelation 14:6–12 we find a message of warning that God gives to this world. We know this message as the Three Angels’ Messages. Noah had a message of warning, and we have one. Do our lives warn people? If this message is not only being given but also being lived, our lives will be a warning to people.
Two classes of people are brought to view in Revelation 14:11, 12. There are those who receive the mark of the beast and those who keep the commandments of God. We just saw that Noah, in his day, was walking with God and keeping God’s Law. He was in harmony with God’s will. God is going to have a people on the face of this earth in the last days who are going to be walking in harmony with His Law. They are going to be contrasted against those who rebel against God’s Law, who rebel against God’s light. Let us never forget that in Noah’s day there were professed followers of God who were taken in the flood. There will be professed Seventh-day Adventists who receive the last plagues. There is a correlation here that should alarm us.
The center of controversy in Noah’s day was the Law of God. We know that the fourth commandment especially is going to be one of the outstanding features of the controversy of the last days.
In Revelation 14, we are told of a small remnant, a little company who choose to follow God. In fact, Ellen White uses the phrase “little company.” (See Testimonies, vol. 9, 231.) That should alarm a denomination of nine million members! A little company in Noah’s day was one little household of eight persons. It is hard to understand. But God says, As in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.
History is going to be repeated. God said it would be just like it was in the days of Noah. As you survey the world, you can see that history has repeated itself; we indeed live in a world just like Noah’s world. We have a church just like Noah’s professed church.
On one hand you have a small company that chooses to follow God, and on the other hand you have the rest of the world, following one another. Just like it was in the days of Noah—the little company, the ones that are in the ark, will be saved. That is all that God reveals to us. It is sad, yet it can be joyous, because we can be a part of the little company.
Serving God Wholeheartedly
God wants us to be like Noah. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Genesis 6:22.
Noah was wholehearted, not only in regard to the building of the ark, but in all that God asked him to do. When God revealed light to him on a subject, he walked right into that light, and he kept going in the light. That is how Noah walked with God, and that is how Noah found grace in the sight of God. “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Genesis 7:1.
God is looking at what we are doing with the light. Do we acknowledge the light? Are we walking in it? God sees us. He sees us as we really are. If we are not living the message, we cannot be giving the message, because, if we are giving a message but not living it, we would be giving a wrong message. The only way we can live the message is to have it in our hearts and in our lives.
Do You Know Him?
Are there things that you need to put in order in your heart and in your home to measure up to Noah’s experience? The days of Noah were a solemn period of history, but the time in which we live is even more solemn, because it is the end of everything. In Noah’s time, there was a continuation, a second chance for the little company. This time there is no continuation; the door of mercy will be forever closed.
“We are living in the most solemn period of this world’s history. The destiny of earth’s teeming multitudes is about to be decided. Our own future well-being and also the salvation of other souls depend upon the course which we now pursue. We need to be guided by the Spirit of truth.” The Great Controversy, 601.
Craig Meeker directs the Bible Correspondence School for Steps to Life Ministry. He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.