The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 7: The Flood
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A similar condition of things exists now. That which is lawful
in itself is carried to excess. Appetite is indulged without restraint.
Professed followers of Christ are today eating and drinking with
the drunken, while their names stand in honored church records.
Intemperance benumbs the moral and spiritual powers and prepares
the way for indulgence of the lower passions. Multitudes
feel under no moral obligation to curb their sensual desires, and
they become the slaves of lust. Men are living for the pleasures [p. 102] of sense; for this world and this life alone. Extravagance pervades
all circles of society. Integrity is sacrificed for luxury and display.
They that make haste to be rich pervert justice and oppress the
poor, and "slaves and souls of men" are still bought and sold.
Fraud and bribery and theft stalk unrebuked in high places and
in low. The issues of the press teem with records of murder—crimes
so cold-blooded and causeless that it seems as though
every instinct of humanity were blotted out. And these atrocities
have become of so common occurrence that they hardly elicit a
comment or awaken surprise. The spirit of anarchy is permeating
all nations, and the outbreaks that from time to time excite the
horror of the world are but indications of the pent-up fires of
passion and lawlessness that, having once escaped control, will
fill the earth with woe and desolation. The picture which Inspiration
has given of the antediluvian world represents too truly the
condition to which modern society is fast hastening. Even now,
in the present century, and in professedly Christian lands, there
are crimes daily perpetrated as black and terrible as those for
which the old-world sinners were destroyed.
Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the
people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened
destruction. As the time of Christ's second appearing draws near,
the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare
for that great event. Multitudes have been living in
transgression of God's law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey
its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance
toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many
feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin.
Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of
God's moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the
authority of His law.
Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only
eight souls believed and obeyed God's word through Noah. For
a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned
the world of the coming destruction, but his message was
rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver
shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to
repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these
warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, "There shall
come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and [p. 103] saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers
fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning."
2 Peter 3:3, 4. Do we not hear these very words repeated, not
merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the
pulpits of our land? "There is no cause for alarm," they cry.
"Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and
righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all
things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be
disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists." But this
doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings
of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question,
"When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of
the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we
may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: "The
Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils." 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that "in the last days
perilous times shall come." 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a
startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a
form of godliness.
As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians
gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those
who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the
minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any
should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see
the same repeated in our day? While God's servants are giving
the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is
absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant
round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents
the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can
save them from the coming destruction.
In Noah's day philosophers declared that it was impossible
for the world to be destroyed by water; so now there are men of
science who endeavor to show that the world cannot be destroyed
by fire—that this would be inconsistent with the laws of nature.
But the God of nature, the Maker and Controller of her laws, can
use the works of His hands to serve His own purpose.
When great and wise men had proved to their satisfaction that
it was impossible for the world to be destroyed by water, when [p. 104] the fears of the people were quieted, when all regarded Noah's
prophecy as a delusion, and looked upon him as a fanatic—then
it was that God's time had come. "The fountains of the great
deep" were "broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened,"
and the scoffers were overwhelmed in the waters of the Flood.
With all their boasted philosophy, men found too late that their
wisdom was foolishness, that the Lawgiver is greater than the
laws of nature, and that Omnipotence is at no loss for means to
accomplish His purposes. "As it was in the days of Noah," "even
thus shall it be in the days when the Son of man is revealed."
Luke 17:26, 30. "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in
the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great
noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also
and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3:10.
When the reasoning of philosophy has banished the fear of God's
judgments; when religious teachers are pointing forward to long
ages of peace and prosperity, and the world are absorbed in their
rounds of business and pleasure, planting and building, feasting
and merrymaking, rejecting God's warnings and mocking His
messengers—then it is that sudden destruction cometh upon them,
and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
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