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Basic 1864 Statements Concerning the Flood
The Beginning of the Great Deluge
Upon the eighth day the heavens gathered blackness. The muttering thunders, and vivid lightning flashes, began to terrify man and beast. The rain descended from the clouds above them. This was something they had never witnessed, and their hearts began to faint with fear. The beasts were roving about in the wildest terror, and their varied voices seemed to mourn out their own destiny and the fate of man. The storm increased in violence until water seemed to come from heaven like mighty cataracts. The boundaries of rivers broke away, and the waters rushed to the valleys. The foundations of the great deep also were broken up. Jets of water would burst up from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and then they would bury themselves deep in the earth.
The people beheld the destruction, first of the works of their hands. Their splendid buildings, their beautifully arranged gardens and groves, where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven. Their ruins were scattered everywhere. . . .
The violence of the storm increased, and there were mingled with the warring of the elements the wailing of the people who had despised the authority of God. Trees, buildings, rocks, and earth, were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. And even Satan himself, who was compelled to be amid the warring elements, feared for his own existence. . . .
The animals exposed to the tempest rushed toward man, choosing the society of human beings, as though expecting help of them. Some of the people would bind their children and themselves upon powerful beasts knowing that they would be tenacious for life and would climb the highest points to escape the rising water. The storm does not abate its fury — the waters increase faster than at first. Some fasten themselves to lofty trees upon the highest points of land, but these trees are torn up by the roots, and carried with violence through the air, and appear as though angrily hurled, with stones and earth, into the foaming waters which nearly reached the highest points of land. The loftiest highs are at length reached, and man and beast alike perish by the waters of the flood. — 3SG 69-72. (1SP 73-76.)
The Earth at the End of the Flood
The whole surface of the earth was changed at the flood. A third dreadful curse now rested upon it in consequence of man’s transgression. The beautiful trees and shrubbery bearing flowers were destroyed, yet Noah preserved seed and took it with him in the ark, and God by His miraculous power preserved a few of the different kinds of trees and shrubs alive for future generations. Soon after the flood trees and plants seemed to spring out of the very rocks. In God’s providence seeds were scattered and driven into the crevices of the rocks and there securely hid for the future use of man.
The waters had been fifteen cubits above the highest mountains. The Lord remembered Noah, and as the waters decreased He caused the ark to rest upon the top of a cluster of mountains, which God in His power had preserved and made them to stand fast all through that violent storm. These mountains were but a little distance apart, and the ark moved about and rested upon one, then another of these mountains, and was no more driven upon the boundless ocean. This gave great relief to Noah and all within the ark. As the mountains and hills appeared they were in a broken, rough condition, and all around them appeared like a sea of roiled water or soft mud.
The Burial of Animal and Plant Life After the Flood
In the time of the flood the people and beasts also gathered to the highest points of land, and as the waters returned from off the earth, dead bodies were left upon high mountains, and upon the hills as well as upon the plains. Upon the surface of the earth were the bodies of men and beasts. But God would not have these to remain upon the face of the earth to decompose and pollute the atmosphere, therefore He made of the earth a vast burying ground. He caused a powerful wind to pass over the earth for the purpose of drying up the waters, which moved them with great force — in some instances carrying away the tops of mountains like mighty avalanches, forming huge hills and high mountains where there were none to be seen before, and burying the dead bodies with trees, stones, and earth. These mountains and hills increased in size and became more irregular in shape by collection of stones, ledges, trees, and earth which were driven upon and around them. The precious wood, stone, silver and gold that had made rich, and adorned the world before the flood, which the inhabitants had idolized, was sunk beneath the surface of the earth. The waters which had broken forth with such great power, had moved earth and rocks, and heaped them upon earth’s treasures, and in many instances formed mountains above them to hide them from the sight and search of men. . . .
The beautiful, regular-shaped mountains had disappeared. Stones, ledges, and ragged rocks appeared upon some parts of the earth which were before out of sight. Where had been hills and mountains, no traces of them were visible. Where had been beautiful plains covered with verdure and lovely plants, hills and mountains were formed of stones, trees, and earth, above the bodies of men and beasts. The whole surface of the earth presented an appearance of disorder. Some parts of the earth were more disfigured than the others. Where once had been earth’s richest treasures of gold, silver and precious stones, was seen the heaviest marks of the curse. And countries which were not inhabited, and those portions of the earth where there had been the least crime, the curse rested more lightly.
Before the flood there were immense forests. The trees were many times larger than any trees which we now see. They were of great durability. They would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. At the time of the flood these forests were torn up or broken down and buried in the earth. In some places large quantities of these immense trees were thrown together and covered with stones and earth by the commotions of the flood. They have since petrified and become coal, which accounts for the large coal beds which are now found. This coal has produced oil. — 3SG 76-79. (1SP 79-82.)
The Ark by Itself Could Not Have Withstood the Violence of the Flood
The ark was made of the cypress or gopher wood, which would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. It was a building of great durability which no wisdom of man could invent. God was the designer, and Noah His master builder.
After Noah had done all in his power to make every part of the work correct, it was impossible that it could of itself withstand the violence of the storm which God in His fierce anger was to bring upon the earth. The work of completing the building was a slow process. Every piece of timber was closely fitted, and every seam covered with pitch. All that men could do was done to make the work perfect; yet after all, God alone could preserve the building upon the angry, heaving billows, by His miraculous power. — 3SG 66.
The Reactions of the Animals in the Ark to the Fury of the Flood
The ark was severely rocked and tossed about. The beasts within expressed by their varied noises the wildest terror, yet amid all the warring of the elements, the surging of the waters, and the hurling about of trees and rocks, the ark rode safely. Angels that excel in strength guided the ark and preserved it from harm. Every moment during the frightful storm of forty days and forty nights the preservation of the ark was a miracle of almighty power. — 3SG 70.
1890 Statements Concerning the Flood
The Beginning of the Great Deluge
Upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, “Can it be that Noah was in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?” Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground.
The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. . . .
As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God. Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence. . . .
The beasts, exposed to the tempest, rushed toward man, as though expecting help from him. Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that these were tenacious of life, and would climb to the highest points to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty trees on the summit of hills or mountains; but the trees were uprooted, and with their burden of living beings were hurled into the seething billows. One spot after another that promised safety was abandoned. As the waters rose higher and higher, the people fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast would struggle together for a foothold, until both were swept away. — PP 99, 100.
Changes on the Earth’s Surface at the End of the Flood
The entire surface of the earth was changed at the flood. A third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of sin. As the water began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded by a vast, turbid sea. Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to remain to decompose and pollute the air, therefore He made of the earth a vast burial ground. A violent wind which was caused to blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the mountains and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the bodies of the dead. By the same means the silver and gold, the choice wood and precious stones, which had enriched and adorned the world before the flood, and which the inhabitants had idolized, were concealed from the sight and search of men, the violent action of the waters piling earth and rocks upon these treasures, and in some cases even forming mountains above them. . . .
The earth presented an appearance of confusion and desolation impossible to describe. The mountains, once so beautiful in their perfect symmetry, had become broken and irregular. Stones, ledges, and ragged rocks were now scattered upon the surface of the earth. In many places hills and mountains had disappeared, leaving no trace where they once stood; and plains had given place to mountain ranges. These changes were more marked in some places than in others. Where once had been earth’s richest treasures of gold, silver, and precious stones, were seen the heaviest marks of the curse. And upon countries that were not inhabited, and those where there had been the least crime, the curse rested more lightly.
At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. — PP 107, 108.
Other Statements Concerning the Flood
How the Antediluvians Reacted to Noah’s Message
I found my mind again and again drawn out to contemplate the case of Noah, who with his family found refuge in the ark. He had faith; he obeyed God. His faith led him to make ready for a refuge from the terrible storm that God had told him would come upon the wicked inhabitants of the old world. Noah obeyed God implicitly. It was a heavy cross for him to move out by faith in preparing that ark, building it on dry land. But he did according to all the Lord commanded him. He did not pick and choose among the precepts and commandments of God those things that were agreeable and for his present comfort and convenience, and reject those that required self-denial, which if he obeyed would make him the subject of sport and derision of the godless. This course of Noah will be the course of everyone who has genuine faith. As soon as he knows the will of God, he will do it. He does not consult his will, his own choice, but although to obey . . . [means] sacrifice and . . . loss of friends, of property, of name and life itself, he will carefully and conscientiously walk in the path which God has indicated.
It was through Noah’s consistent faith and works combined that condemned the world. He not only preached the present truth appropriate for that time, but he acted every sermon. Had he never lifted his voice in warning, his works, his holy character among the corrupt and ungodly would have been condemning sermons to the unbelieving and dissolute of that age. He bore himself with a Christlike patience and meekness under the provoking insults, taunts and mockery. His voice was often heard in prayer to God for His power and help that he might do all the commandments of God. This was a condemning power to the unbelieving.
But the time comes when the last appeal of Noah is made to the guilty race. He bids them yet once again heed the message of warning and find refuge in the ark. He stretches out his hands in supplication with voice full of sympathy. With quivering lip and tearful eye, he tells them his work is done, but the loud coarse mocking and scoffs and insults more determined are heaped upon Noah. “Enthusiast, fanatic, crazy!” falls upon his ear. He bids them all farewell. He and his family enter the ark and God shut the door. That door that shut Noah in, shut out the world. It was a shut door in Noah’s time. And the Lord shut him in. Up to that time, God had opened a door whereby the inhabitants of the old world might find refuge if they believed the message sent to them from God. But that door was now shut and no man could open it. Probation was ended.
The long forbearance of God had ceased, the figures in the books of God’s reckoning had been accumulating, the cup of the unjust was full. Mercy then ceased and justice took the sword of vengeance. The door shut, hope for the world dead; the last warning rejected, the golden opportunity past, forever past. The last appeal has been made by the man of righteousness, the forbearance of God exhausted and how terrible now is His wrath.
The unbelievers saw the beasts and fowls and animals of all kinds, of themselves enter the ark. This was something they could not explain. They saw Noah and his family go in, and a premonition of something they cannot comprehend thrills through them as they see that wondrous door of the ark shut not by human hands.
In a few days the rain began to fall. The waters cover the surface of the earth, while the inhabitants leave the groves where there are beautiful things, objects [which their] wisdom has made for idolatry. They leave their mansions, the works of gold and temples of precious stones, bemoaning the loss of the luxuries. The waters continue to rise higher and higher. They are filled with remorse, but not repentance, filled with hatred, and some with sorrow, as convictions bring the sermons of Noah vividly to their minds. The denunciations of God against their practices, ring in their ears as they are compelled to flee from one place to another, always seeking a foothold higher for safety. The last refuge is reached. They look abroad upon a world of water. How gladly would they now welcome that voice which invited them to find shelter in the ark. How glad would they be to listen now to the prayers offered in their behalf by faithful Noah — prayers which they mocked at and put far off the evil day. The sweet voice of mercy no longer is heard. The door is shut. But Noah and his family are safe in the ark under the protecting care of the God of the storm and tempest.
A divine hand guided the ark in safety amid the roar of the tempest, the thunderous voice and the sharp lightning’s gleam, trees uprooted were thrown into the boiling, seething waters, wrecks of palaces, temples, were tossing about upon the waters, but the ark was safe. — Ms. 17, 1885.
Beauties of the Antediluvian World Compared with Beauty Today
If the worship and devotion to God were as great even as the devotion to selfish pleasure and above the worship of the creature it [Copenhagen, Denmark] would be a most remarkable place. But as I look upon these beautiful things in nature and art I call to mind beautiful Eden which was Adam’s home. Their yielding to temptation, their transgression of the law of God, lost for them beautiful Eden.
Oh, sin! How it blights and mars everything! The beautiful groves and forests and rich and varied scenery of the world before it was deluged with the flood made it surpassingly lovely, but there was a blight because of sin. Men transgressed the law of God, and the Lord said He would destroy man, for the thoughts and imaginations of his heart were evil, and only evil, continually. They put God out of their thoughts. All their mind was engrossed in selfish enjoyment to gratify their own desires and leave the God of heaven out of their thoughts. They corrupted their ways before God and their evil works defiled the beautiful earth. They worshipped the things their own hands had made, and violence and crime became almost universal; and the Lord washed the earth of the moral pollution with a flood. — Ms. 25, 1885.
Antediluvians Branded Noah a Fanatic
In the time of the flood nearly all the inhabitants of the world thought that they were right and that Noah was wrong. They claimed that they knew more than that faithful servant of God, and thus closed their ears to words of truth, and darkness came upon them. There were those then, as today, who explained away the truth by false science. They branded Noah a fanatic. They explained to the people the foolishness of Noah’s statement that a rain would come upon the earth, when no signs of such had ever existed. God’s message was to come to them through Noah, but they laughed and mocked at his words, and said, Does he not speak in parables? But their unbelief did not prevent the flood, and they finally drank the waters that covered the earth. We do not want to be like them. . . .
The whole world perished in the flood. Only three were saved at the destruction of Sodom, but they had the warning. We must not follow the majority, for if we do so, we shall not see heaven. — Ms. 43, 1886.
Enoch’s Walk with God Amid Corruption of Antediluvian World
We know that the Lord has always had a light in the world. Noah in his day was the light to that crooked and perverse generation. We know that God gave him special light; it was to tell the world that a flood was coming upon the earth and that they must find refuge in the ark. But how few heeded this warning!
We take another case: There was Enoch. What a blessed thing it is that we have an Enoch! It is stated that he walked with God three hundred years. Notwithstanding the corruption [that] was so great all around him, yet he walked with God, and his light shone out to that degenerate age. And if Enoch walked with God then amid corruption, why cannot men and women walk with God today, in this age of the world? — Ms 83, 1886.
Population of Antediluvian World Was Vast
Noah fulfilled the will of God in bearing God’s message to an impenitent, pleasure-loving, corrupt people — the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Only eight of that vast population accepted the warning, fled for refuge into the ark and were saved. — Letter 19b, 1874.
Of the vast population in the world before the flood, only eight persons were saved from the general destruction. — RH Sept. 25, 1888.
Reaction of Antediluvians to the Flood
At the end of seven days clouds began to gather. This was a new sight; for the people had never seen clouds. Previous to this time no rain had fallen; the earth had been watered by a mist. Thicker and thicker gathered the clouds, and soon rain began to fall. Still the people tried to think
that this was nothing very alarming. But soon it seemed as if the windows of heaven had been opened, for the rain poured down in torrents. For a time the ground drank up the rain, but soon the water began to rise, and day by day it rose higher and higher. Each morning as the people found the rain still falling they looked at one another in despair, and each night they repeated the words, “Raining still!” Thus it was, morning and evening.
For forty days and forty nights the rain poured down. The water entered the houses and drove the people to the temples which they had erected for their idolatrous worship. But the temples were swept away. The crust of the earth was broken, and the water that had been concealed in its bowels burst forth. Large stones were thrown into the air.
Everywhere could be seen human beings fleeing in search of a refuge. The time had come when they would have been only too glad to accept an invitation to enter the ark. Filled with anguish they cried, “Oh, for a place of safety!” Some shrieked to Noah, pleading for admission into the ark. But amid the furious blast of the tempest their voices were unheard. Some clung to the ark till they were washed away by the dashing waves. God had shut in those who believed His word, and no others could enter.
Parents with their children sought the highest branches of the trees yet standing; but no sooner had they reached this refuge than the wind flung trees and people into the foaming, seething water. Terrified animals and terrified human beings climbed the highest mountains, only to be swept together into the angry flood. — ST April 10, 1901.
Evidence of Changes Made by the Flood
God Presides Over All the Earth
On our journey westward [across the United States] we have been watching to catch everything new and interesting in the scenery. We have looked upon the lofty, terraced mountains in their majestic beauty, with their rocky battlements resembling grand old castles. These mountains speak to us of the desolating wrath of God in vindication of His broken law; for they were heaved up by the stormy convulsions of the flood. They are like mighty waves that at the voice of God stood still — stiffened billows, arrested in their proudest swell. These towering mountains belong to God; He presides over their rocky fastness. The wealth of their mines is His also, and so are the deep places of the earth. — RH Feb. 24, 1885.
Rocks Bear Witness to Destruction of the World by Water
When our Creator formed the world to be a habitation for man, its arrangements were prepared by the God of wisdom to help the mental as well as the physical wants of man. The great Architect has formed and fashioned the scenes of nature that they may have an important bearing upon man’s intellectual and moral character. These are to be God’s school to educate the mind and morals. Here the mind may have a vast field for study in the display of the majestic works of the Infinite One.
The rocks are among the precious things of earth, containing treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the rocks and mountains are registered the fact that God did destroy the wicked from off the earth by a flood, and the broken surface of the earth reveals, in the gigantic rocks and towering mountains, that the Lord’s power has done this because of the wickedness of men in the transgression of His law. The ever-varying scenery that meets the eye is the work of the God of wisdom, that in His stupendous works men may discern that there is a living God whose power is unlimited. The marvelous works of majesty are to refine the soul and to soften the roughness of man’s nature, to help him in character building. — Ms 73, 1886.
John the Revelator Beheld on Patmos Evidences of the Flood
The apostle [John] beheld around him [on the island of Patmos] the witness of the flood, which deluged the earth because the inhabitants [of the antediluvian world] ventured to transgress the law of God. The rocks, thrown up from the great deep and from the earth, by the breaking forth of the waters, brought vividly to his mind the terrors of that awful outpouring of God’s wrath. — RH March 1, 1881.
Rocks Bearing Appearance of Great Age
Rocks, rocks everywhere [near Cheyenne, Wyoming], bearing the appearance of great age. Rocks cast up like fortifications seem as though placed by a workman. I see at this moment immense rocks of singular shape composed of sand and coarse gravel. — Letter 26, 1872.