As In Noah's Day: Grace To Preach Righteousness

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37, KJV).

I used to understand Christ’s prophetic comparison between Noah’s times and the Time of the End only in terms of the social depravity, the widespread false sense of security, and the universality of judgment.  Recently, however, I was surprised by another aspect of Noah’s days that had been hiding in plain sight.  Have you ever wondered why Jesus called those terrible times prior to the flood “the days of Noah”?  Why not call them the days of the decadent antediluvians?  Does Noah’s name merely occur as a chronological marker, or is there any special significance for God’s end-time people in the life of Noah?  As I reread the story of Noah looking for answers, a pattern of amazing and challenging phrases emerged.  

Surrounded as he was by every evil imaginable, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8, emphasis supplied).  What was the grace that Noah found?  The Word of God describes the working of divine grace in Noah’s life like this:

 “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (6:9).
“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” (6:22).
“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” (7:1).
“And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him” (7:5).
“And God spake unto Noah, saying, go forth […] And Noah went forth” (8:15, 18).

The theme of the Noah narrative is transforming and empowering grace to obey every word of God.  It is saving grace, accessed through faith in God (Ephesians 2:8), as Paul further attests in Hebrews the eleventh chapter:

“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” (verse 7).  Christ signaled a similar point when he said, “…Noe entered into the ark,” (Matthew 24:38).  Noah obeyed God and built and entered the ark before a drop of rain ever fell.  His faith led him to audacious action that staked everything on the Word of God.  So the Scriptures are clear that Noah kept the commandments of God and had the faith of Jesus.  He feared God and gave him glory in extraordinary fashion in an extraordinary hour of judgment.

Imagine what Noah gave up in order to obey every particular of God’s command!  I am certain that “ark-builder” was not his dream career before the Lord called him.  What person in his right mind would build such a ship of epic proportions on dry land, especially when the experts of the day proclaimed a flood to be a scientific impossibility?  Noah spent all his money and 120 years of the prime of his life.  He sacrificed his reputation.  He surrendered any love of human praise and endured the cruelest ridicule.  He did not even have the satisfaction of seeing many converted by his preaching.  In fact, it seemed his message only served to harden the people in their evil ways.  His father Lamech’s premature death was probably the result of persecution.

“He preached, and warned, and entreated the people; but they would not change their course…Their speeches and actions became more vile and corrupt as the period of their probation was closing. The whole world seemed to be against Noah; but he had the testimony from God, "Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation" (ST, February 27, 1879 par. 13). 

Despite all odds, God had a righteous man in the darkest days the world had ever seen.  “As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the son of Man be” (24:37).  Is not this a powerful promise for us today?  Christ offers us tremendous hope, power and purpose!  Noah’s experience is to be ours.  The remnant people of God will have all the grace they need to spend and be spent in warning the world of things “not seen as yet:” the mark of the beast, the seven last plagues, the second coming of Christ in power, the millennium, and the final destruction of the wicked.  They will have all the grace they need to show the way of escape in Jesus, and stand in contrast to the Beast and his image.  They will have all the grace they need to “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12) amidst most unfavorable circumstances, when human depravity has reached its dreadful climax.

The Messenger of the Lord explains in more detail the kinetic nature and purpose of grace as we approach the grand climax of the cosmic conflict:

“The great controversy between good and evil will increase in intensity to the very close of time.  In all ages the wrath of Satan has been manifested against the church of Christ; and God has bestowed His grace and Spirit upon His people to strengthen them to stand against the power of the evil one.  When the apostles of Christ were to bear His gospel to the world and to record it for all future ages, they were especially endowed with the enlightenment of the Spirit. 

But as the church approaches its final deliverance, Satan is to work with greater power.  He comes down “having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). . . For six thousand years that mastermind that once was highest among the angels of God has been wholly bent to the work of deception and ruin.  And all the depths of satanic skill and subtlety acquired, all the cruelty developed, during these struggles of the ages, will be brought to bear against God’s people in the final conflict. 

And in this time of peril the followers of Christ are to bear to the world the warning of the Lord’s second advent; and a people are to be prepared to stand before Him at His coming, “without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14).  At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days.” (The Great Controversy, pp. ix-xi.)

There has never been a time like now.  We need extra measures of grace to be strengthened for the severity of the coming conflict, to be able to sound the alarm to the world, and to be able to stand unashamed before our Judge and King at His coming, clothed in His righteousness.  Notice how the great exertion and sacrifice required by the monumental crisis before us is made possible by the work of divine grace in the life.  Do you feel your need of such transforming grace?  Will you not seek and plead for it while it is still available?  The word of God says “Noah found grace.” That means he had some searching to do.  The prophetess expounds:

“Noah was bearing to the inhabitants of the earth an important message of warning, the reception or rejection of which would decide the destiny of their souls.  He believed God, he believed that he had the truth, and he moved straight forward in the path of faith and obedience, gaining strength from God daily, by communion with him.  Noah was a man of prayer; and in this close connection with God he found all his courage and firmness.” {ST, February 27, 1879 par. 13} 

Noah truly found grace, and his testimony to that effect was his prompt, energetic, and self-sacrificing obedience.  He found grace to be brave and obedient through earnest daily prayer and communion with God.  The results of his intimate connection with Omnipotence permeated his daily life.  Inspiration further affirms:

“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.  All that he possessed, he invested in the ark. . . . Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people” {Conflict and Courage 38.6}.

No wonder the apostle Peter calls Noah a “preacher of righteousness,” (2 Peter 2:5)!  Noah’s life was a sermon of faith.  Hammers and saws speak louder than words.  The construction of the ark gave real teeth to the preaching.  Noah believed God enough to spend 120 years of his life and all of his resources in building an enormous ship down to the final detail.  What are we willing to sacrifice in obedience to God’s call to proclaim the three angel’s messages to a world on the cusp of destruction?

“God has expended amazing sacrifices upon men, and mighty energies for the reclaiming of man from transgression and sin to loyalty and obedience; but I have been shown that He does nothing without the cooperation of human agencies.  Every endowment of grace and power and efficiency has been liberally provided, and the strongest motives presented to arouse and keep living in the human heart the missionary spirit, that divine and human agency may be combined....” {You Shall Receive Power, “Human Cooperation Essential.” Pg 168.2} 

What a promise!  Doesn’t it inspire you to action?  Not one speck of grace, power or efficiency does God hold back!  But the slothful, the careless, the lackluster, the lethargic, the incredulous, the ease loving, the negligent among us will never appropriate nor invest these riches of grace to the glory of God.

“What use have you made of the gift of God?  He has supplied the motive forces of which He has made a lodgment in your hearts, that with patience and hope and untiring vigilance you might set forth Jesus Christ and Him crucified, that you might send the note of warning that Christ is coming the second time with power and great glory, calling men to repent of their sins....” {Ibid 168.3} 

I need such grace.  We all need His grace like never before.  Grace to preach righteousness.  “As in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Let's go!



Kody Kostenko and his wife Lyli love serving the Lord. They are volunteer teachers at  MOVE (missionary outreach volunteer evangelism), a missionary training school in Belize.