OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 6
Moses 8:19-30; Genesis 6-9; 11:1-9
- The people reject Noah's call to repentance. Noah builds an ark.
- The Lord cleanses the earth with a flood.
- The people build the tower of Babel.
A study of this lesson should help us desire to live worthily and
avoid the evils of the world.
The People Reject Noah's Call To Repentance - Noah Builds
WHO IS NOAH?
- Enoch was the 4th great-grandson of Adam.
Joseph Smith: "Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next
in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office,
and was the father of all living in this day, and to him was given the
dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven."
Joseph Fielding Smith: "Summarizing the facts - Joseph Smith
revealed that Gabriel was Noah; Luke declared that it was the angel Gabriel
who appeared to Zacharias and Mary; and the Lord has declared that Elias
appeared to Zacharias and Joseph Smith. Therefore, Elias is Noah."
(Answers to Gospel Questions 3:141)
- Enoch saw Noah and his children in vision: "And Enoch also
saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should
be saved with a temporal salvation" (Moses 7:42).
- Methuselah was the son of Enoch. He was "not taken,
that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch;
for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of
his loins" (Moses 8:2).
- At the youthful age of 187, Methuselah "begat" Lamech
- At the age of 182, Lamech "begat" Noah (Moses 8:8-9).
WHAT WAS THE CONDITION OF THE WORLD IN NOAH'S DAY?
- Genesis 6:5-6: "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."
Moses 8:28: "The earth was corrupt before God, and it was filled
Neal A. Maxwell: "The picture one gets of the dispensation
of Noah is of a people who were increasingly wicked and who felt increasingly
self-sufficient. Their attitude was described as follows: 'And every man
was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only
evil continually' (Moses 8:22)." (Things As They Really Are, p76)
- It is important to note that the Joseph Smith Translation reads different
than Genesis: "And the Lord said, I will destroy man who I have
created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping
things, and the fowls of the air. For it repenteth Noah that I have created
them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me, for they have
sought his life." ( JST 8:14-15)
- This is one example of how important truths were distorted in the handing
down and translation of the Bible. The Lord need not repent of his creation.
It was part of his plan.
WHAT SIMILARITIES CAN YOU SEE BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF NOAH'S DAY AND THE
PEOPLE OF OUR DAY?
HOW COULD THEY HAVE AVOIDED DESTRUCTION?
- READ MOSES 8:23-24.
- Heed the words of the prophet.
- Repent & be baptized.
IS IT ANY DIFFERENT FOR US TODAY? AND WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF WE
DO NOT REPENT?
- Matthew 24:38-39: "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."
- Neal A. Maxwell: "Long ago it was prophesied that the last
days would be rampant with selfishness and the other cardinal sins, just
as in the days of Noah (see Matthew 24:37-39; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Society
in the days of Noah, scriptures advise, was 'corrupt before God' and 'filled
with violence' (Genesis 6:11-12; Moses 8:28). Corruption and violence—does
that sound familiar? Both of these awful conditions crest today because
of surging individual selfishness. When thus engulfed, no wonder mens'
hearts in our day will fail them because of fear (see Luke 21:26; D&C
45:26). Even the faithful can expect a few fibrillations." (Men
and Women of Christ, p9)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The coming of the flood of Noah, and with
it the "end of the world" for the carnal civilization of that
day, is a perfect type of the coming of the Lord, and the end of the world
for the wicked of the latter-days. In both days all the normal activities
of life continue until Deity intervenes to stay the mounting mass of iniquity."
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:667)
- READ D&C 97:21-26. The indignation of the Lord is kindled.
The Ark - A Type For Our Day
- The Lord commanded Noah, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood"
In his General Conference address, Elder W. Don Ladd said, "We
all need to build a personal ark, to fortify ourselves ourselves against
this rising tide of evil, to protect ourselves and our families against
the floodwaters of iniquity around us. And we shouldn't wait until it starts
raining, but prepare in advance." (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p29)
- WHY WAS NOAH COMMANDED TO MAKE AN ARK?
- The Lord would destroy all men upon the earth with a flood (Gen. 6:17).
- "But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt
come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives
with thee" (Gen. 6:18).
- WHAT KIND OF ARK DO YOU SUPPOSE ELDER LADD IS TALKING ABOUT BUILDING?
- Elder Ladd: "The key is to accept the invitation of our prophet...'to
live with ever more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus
Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion He displayed'."
(Ensign, Nov. 1994, p29)
- WHAT SPECIFIC THINGS DO WE NEED TO BE DOING TO KEEP THE FLOOD WATERS
OF WICKEDNESS OUT OF OUR FAMILY ARK?
Elder Ladd suggested that we should not wait until it starts raining.
I think the rain has started. Look at what is happening all around us.
Watch the news. Look at the lifestyles of so many around us. That which
was once taboo is common and accepted. We must strengthen our ark with
every available tool. The time for preparation is not past, but we can
wait no longer. We must act. We cannot be like the people of Noah's time
and think that this is a passing storm. It will not pass until the Lord
returns in glory.
WHAT ABOUT TEMPORAL PREPARATION?
- Study the words of eternal life in the scriptures and from the prophets.
- Frequent and sincere prayer.
- Regular church attendance and being attentive while there.
- Family home evening. Family prayer.
- Temple attendance.
- Teach and abide by the principles in the pamphlet For The Strength
- Keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Noah was obedient to the Lord, both in spiritual preparation and physical
- WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE DOING? BUILDING AN ARK OR MAYBE A SMALL YACHT?
- In the October 1995 General Conference, Elder L. Tom Perry listed four
things we should be doing to build and strengthen our physical "ark"
(Ensign, Nov. 1995, pp46-47):
Ezra Taft Benson: "The revelation to produce and store food
may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was
to the people in the days of Noah." (Ensign, Nov. 1987, p49)
How prepared are you for personal calamity or a major disaster? I have
heard the quotation, "When opportunity knocks, the time for preparation
is past." So it is with the temporal floods that may engulf us. Any
of us could be in an accident and not be able to work for a period of time.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live in an area that is subject to infrequent,
yet powerful earthquakes. How will we do when and if such a disaster occurs?
We can prepare today. We cannot prepare after the loss of income or after
Elder Ladd continued: "When it starts raining, it is too late
to begin building the ark.... We...need to listen to the Lord's spokesmen.
We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will sure
come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and
temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. Our arks will float
on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing
for the future." (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p29)
Spencer W. Kimball on Noah's preparations for the flood: "As
yet there was no evidence of rain and flood. His people mocked and called
him a fool. His preaching fell on deaf ears. His warnings were considered
irrational. There was no precedent, never had it been known that a deluge
could cover the earth. How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the
sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. The ark
was finished. The floods came. The disobedient and rebellious were drowned.
The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building."
(Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp5-6)
- Gain an adequate education - learn a trade to enable you to provide
for your family.
- Live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day.
- Avoid excessive debt.
- Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain
The Lord Cleanses The Earth With A Flood
READ GENESIS 7:11-13, 17-21. The flood.
The flood - an act of mercy.
- Brother Victor L. Ludlow listed five reasons why the flood was an act
of mercy (see Unlocking The Old Testament, pp8-9):
- The wicked would have less time in this phase of their existence to
commit further sins.
- God's prophets had already demonstrated his power and witnessed his
judgments; to have allowed more witnesses would have brought the people
under greater accountability.
- God's spirit children still residing in his presence needed a more
pure spiritual environment in which to come.
- The earth itself was a living entity and desired a rest from wickedness
(see Moses 7:48-49)
- The earth needed to go through its own baptism of water preparatory
for a later baptism of fire and eventual celestialization.
HOW COULD THE FLOOD COVER THE ENTIRE EARTH, INCLUDING MOUNTAINS (Gen.
7:19)? WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS IMMERSION?
- John Taylor: "I would like to know by what known law the immersion
of the globe could be accomplished. It is explained here in a few words:
'The windows of heaven were opened' that is, the waters that exist throughout
the space surrounding the earth from whence come these clouds from which
the rain descends. That was one cause. Another cause was 'the fountains
of the great deep were broken up' - that is something beyond the oceans,
something outside of the seas, some reservoirs of which we have no knowledge,
were made to contribute to this event, and the waters were let loose by
the hand and by the power of God; for God said He would bring a flood upon
the earth and He brought it, but He had to let loose the fountains of the
great deep, and pour out the waters from there, and when the flood commenced
to subside, we are told 'that the fountains also of the deep and the windows
of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the
waters returned from off the earth.' Where did they go to? From whence
they came. Now, I will show you something else on the back of that. Some
people talk very philosophically about tidal waves coming along. But the
question is - How could you get a tidal wave out of the Pacific ocean,
say, to cover the Sierra Nevadas? But the Bible does not tell us it was
a tidal wave. It simply tells that -all the high hills that were under
the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail;
and the mountains were covered.' That is, the earth was immersed. It was
a period of baptism." (JD 26:74-75)
- The Flood was a baptism for the earth: Orson Pratt declared: "The
first ordinance instituted for the cleansing of the earth, was that of
immersion in water; it was buried in the liquid element, and all things
sinful upon the face of the earth were washed away. As it came forth from
the ocean floor, like the new-born child. it was innocent; it rose to newness
of life. It was its second birth from the womb of mighty waters-a new world
issuing from the ruins of the old, clothed with all the innocence of this
first creation." (cited in Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20)
- Brigham Young: "The earth, in its present condition and situation,
is not a fit habitation for the sanctified; but it abides the law of its
creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the
Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon."
(cited in Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20)
WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING NOAH DID AFTER LEAVING THE ARK?
- "And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every
clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the
altar" (Gen. 8:20).
HOW CAN WE SHOW OUR GRATITUDE TO THE LORD WHEN HE HELPS US THROUGH
A DIFFICULT SITUATION?
- The Joseph Smith Translation goes on to say, "and gave thanks
unto the Lord, and rejoiced in his heart." (JST Gen. 9:4)
The Lord Covenants With Noah
- Genesis 9:11: "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither
shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall
there any more be a flood to destroy the earth."
- WHAT WAS THE TOKEN OF THE LORD'S COVENANT WITH NOAH?
Joseph Smith: "I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming;
and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said, 'In the days of Noah
I set a bow in the heavens as a sign and token that in any year that the
bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time
and harvest during that year: but whenever you see the bow withdrawn, it
shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress
among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant'."
- "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token
of a covenant between me and the earth" (Gen. 9:13).
The People Build The Tower Of Babel
After the flood, the descendants of Noah and his three sons began to
multiply and re-people the earth. According to Genesis 1:1, "the
whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." Orson Pratt
indicates that this language was the language of Adam: "...it is
that same language that was spoken for nearly two thousand years after
the creation; that was spoken by Adam and by his children, from generation
to generation that came down to the flood, and was taught extensively among
the children of Noah until the Lord by a direct miracle caused the people
to forget their own mother tongue" (JD 3:100).
READ GENESIS 11:4. The people determine to build a tower.
WHY DID THE DESCENDANTS OF NOAH DECIDE TO BUILD A TOWER?
- They wanted to be able to climb up to heaven.
They wanted to make a name for themselves.
- Hugh Nibley: "An investigation of the oldest temples...concludes
that those high structures were also 'gigantic altars,' built both to attract
the attention of the powers above...and to provide 'the stairways which
the god, in answer to these prayers, used in order to descend to the earth.
. . . He comes bringing a renewal of life in all its forms.' From the first,
it would seem, men built altars in the hopes of establishing contact with
heaven, and built high towers for the same purpose (see Genesis 11:4)."
(Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 4:360)
- Orson F. Whitney: "The people who built the Tower of Babel
are said to have done so in order that its top might 'reach unto heaven.'
It was to prevent them from accomplishing this purpose, that the Lord confounded
their language. Tradition credits Joseph Smith with the statement that
the 'heaven' they had in view was the translated city." (Saturday
Night Thoughts, p.101)
- This is an interesting though. Certainly, these people had knowledge
of the city of Enoch. I would think that Noah often taught his family of
his great grand-father and the city of righteousness he established. He
probably spoke of it in the fondest of terms. Noah was one who suffered
the destruction of an evil world and often wished that he could be in such
a place. The story of Enoch was passed from generation to generation and
became part of the history of these people, even after wickedness returned
to the world. Rather than live a righteous life, these people somehow believed
they could find Zion, the city of Enoch, by building a tower that reached
into the heavens.
- WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH BY "MAKING A NAME"
- V4 says "...and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered
abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
- It would appear that a prophet had already testified to the people
of Babel that if they did not repent, that there would be a scattering.
Maybe they felt that if they built this tower to 'heaven' or the city of
'Enoch' the Lord would honor them by not scattering them. It would seem
that they felt there was a better way to accomplish their ends than living
- The Hebrew word for "name" is "shem". Among the
meanings for this Hebrew word is "reputation, fame, glory". Possibly
this is what the people were trying to achieve.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAKING A NAME FOR OURSELVES AND TAKING
UPON US THE NAME OF CHRIST?
- I think it is really a difference between striving for the earthly
and striving for the eternal. What is the center of our life?
- A name for ourselves: achieving wealth and the things of the
earth; power; glory and the honors of men; following our own earthly pursuits.
We may achieve greatness in this life, but it will go with us to the grave.
- Taking upon us the name of Christ: Christ and the gospel is
the focus of our life; we strive to honor him; we seek to obey his will
rather than our temporal desires. Though we may have little in this life,
we will have made a name for ourselves in the eternities.
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES FOR PURSUING THIS UNRIGHTEOUS COURSE OF REACHING
- Their language was confounded (v7). WHY?
They were scattered abroad (v8).
- V6: "and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they
have imagined to do."
- It was a way to confound their efforts to build the tower and commit
greater evil. It may be that this perfect language enabled them to communicate
more efficiently that we find possible. Maybe they were no longer entitled
to speak this pure language. According to Orson Pratt,
our means of communication is inefficient and imperfect (click on Orson
Pratt for the quotation).
WHY CAN'T WE REACH HEAVEN ON OUR OWN OR BY HUMAN METHODS?
- "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and
broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which
go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The course leading to eternal life is both
strait and straight. It is straight because it has an invariable direction
-- always it is the same. There are no diversions, crooked paths, or tangents
leading to the kingdom of God. It is strait because it is narrow and restricted,
a course where full obedience to the full law is required." (Mormon
The people who built the tower of Babel were punished because they tried
to reach heaven by worldly means. Conversely, Noah and his family were
saved from the blood because they lived according to God's commandments.
The only way for us to reach heaven--to return to live with our Heavenly
Father--is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live righteously,
as Noah did, having faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, receiving sacred
ordinances and enduring to the end of our lives. If we do these things,
we will rise above evil and be able to return to the presence of god.
- Lesson 7: Abraham 1:1-4; 2:1-11; Genesis 12:1-8; 17:1-9.
- Additional reading: Genesis 15; D&C 132:19-24, 29-32; "Abraham,
Covenant of," Bible Dictionary, page 602.
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