Read for This Week’s Study
Memory Text:“ ‘But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be’ ” (Matthew 24:37, NKJV).
T hen the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5, NKJV). The verb “saw” (Gen. 6:5) brings the reader back to each step of God’s initial Creation. But what God sees now, instead of tov, “good,” is ra‘, “evil” (Gen. 6:5). It is as if God regretted that He had created the world, now full of ra‘ (Gen. 6:6, 7).
And yet, God’s regret contains elements of salvation, as well. The Hebrew word for “sorry” (nakham) is echoed in the name of Noah (Noakh), which means “comfort” (Gen. 5:29). Thus, God’s response to this wickedness has two sides. It contains the threat of justice, leading to destruction for some; and yet, His response promises comfort and mercy, leading to salvation, as well, for others.
This “double voice” already was heard with Cain and Abel/Seth, and it was repeated through the contrast between the two lines of Seth (the “sons of God”) and Cain (the “sons of men”). Now we hear it again as God differentiates between Noah and the rest of humankind.
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April 23.
Supplemental EGW Notes
[In the days of Noah] the human race yet retained much of its early vigor. But a few generations had passed since Adam had access to the tree which was to prolong life; and man’s existence was still measured by centuries. Had that long-lived people, with their rare powers to plan and execute, devoted themselves to the service of God, they would have made their Creator’s name a praise in the earth, and would have answered the purpose for which He gave them life. But they failed to do this. There were many giants, men of great stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the most cunning and wonderful works; but their guilt in giving loose rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability.
God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images.—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 90, 91.
Of the antediluvians we read, “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 God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:5, 13).
God warned the inhabitants of the old world of what He purposed to do in cleansing the earth of its impurity. But they laughed to scorn what they regarded as a superstitious prediction. They mocked at Noah’s warning of a coming flood. When Christ was upon the earth He gave warning of what was coming upon Jerusalem because the people had rejected truth, despising the messages that God had sent. But His warning was unheeded.
The Lord has sent us, by His ambassadors, messages of warning, declaring that the end of all things is at hand. Some will listen to these warnings, but by the vast majority they will be disregarded.
Thus will it be when Christ comes. Farmers, merchants, lawyers, tradesmen, will be wholly engrossed in business, and upon them the day of the Lord will come as a snare.—In Heavenly Places, p. 343.
The above quotations are taken from Ellen G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons, published by Pacific Press Publishing Association. Used by permission.