Jan 31-Feb 6 (Genesis 6–11; Moses 8) Come Follow Me Insights with Taylor and Tyler – powered by Happy Scribe
And I’m Tyler.
This is the Book of Mormon Central’s Come Follow me Insights.
Today, Genesis six through eleven and Moses chapter eight.
So let’s take just a second and revisit the Book of Mormon Moses from a 30,000 foot overview just so that we’re all oriented the same. Remember that Moses chapters one through eight are the equivalents of the Joseph Smith translation for Genesis one through chapter six, verse 13. So remember, way back at the beginning of this year, we covered Moses chapter one, which doesn’t appear in the Genesis account. And then we got a whole bunch of additional information concerning Enoch in chapter six and seven of Moses that also don’t appear in the Book of Genesis. And so what you’re going to find as we introduce Noah today in chapter eight, it’s going to cut off at the very end of Moses eight is the equivalent of what you’re going to get in Genesis chapter six, verse 13. So if you want that to be a little clearer to you in the future, you could just make a note of this in your Pearl of Great Price, as well as turn to your Bible, go to Genesis chapter six, verse 13. You could draw a physical line there and then draw a little arrow up that says JST, Moses or something to show this is the cut off.
Now, moving forward, you’ll notice that you then get some pretty sizable Joseph translation changes that don’t appear in your footnote directly. It’ll just point you back to the appendix in the very back of your Bible right before the maps. So that’s where you’re going to get the first insertions in the appendix of the Bible of those JST editions, because previous to that, we didn’t need to use them there because we have the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, which represents the entirety of the Joseph Smith translation up to that point. So with that Foundation, let’s jump into chapter eight of Moses. We’ll work our way all the way through Moses eight, and then we’ll jump over into the Genesis account in chapter six. So what you get here is this beginning of chapter eight is the genealogy. So it gives us from Enoch to Methuselah to Lamech, and then to Noah, and then from Noah, it gives you his son’s names in verse twelve, JP or Jfeth and Shem and Ham. And so you’ve got this genealogy chart taking you clear back to Enoch from Noah. The key to me is in verse 13, and Noah and his sons harkened unto the Lord and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God.
Isn’t that interesting that all of us are children of God, but the qualifier in the scriptures to become the sons and daughters of God. There seems to be this qualifying factor of we actually give heed to, we hearken to, we follow, we trust God, then we become sons of God. Why don’t the scriptures just say, well, we’re already all sons of God? Why are they making this distinction? I like that. I like the fact that we are all children of our heavenly parents, but we become even more qualified as children of God when we hearken, when we obey, when we follow.
I can add to this, we have the phrase that Jesus is the beloved Son. Well, we’re all loved of our heavenly parents. It’s not like Jesus is the only one of the millions and billions of spirit children that our heavenly parents have created, that they only love him. And it’s interesting, the word beloved literally means the 100% fully loved. And it’s not that they don’t fully love all of us, but that beloved is a designation that he fully heeded the Lord, and so he is fully beloved. Now we are loved by God, and as we take action and show that we are fully in line with God’s will, we also become beloved. This might be another way of thinking about this also.
I think a good reminder to us that what the Lord is seeking to do is help us build multi generational faith wherever possible. We can’t take away agency. We can’t force anyone to do the things that God has asked us to do. But it’s that focus on trying to build that faith in such a way that it will literally lead to intergenerational, Covenant, path, loyalty to God. It’s beautifully laid out here on the page. Now notice how it shifts. So Noah’s sons have children and their children. So these are Noah’s grandchildren begin to intermarry with the people of the world. And verse 16. Noah prophesied and taught the things of God even as it was in the beginning. So he’s not sitting back watching bad things happen, saying, wow, this is terrible. He’s proactively trying to prophesy and teach and cry repentance.
And he’s not teaching a new gospel even as it was from the beginning. He’s teaching the very things that Adam would have known, the very things that we have in the restoration. To me, I think that even Alma would say, Gosh, I completely recognize this message. It’s the simple truths of the gospel that save us. It’s not the wild speculations that might make our ears scratch at the back of some Sunday school class, but it’s being focused on the saving doctrines that get us focused on that Jesus is our savior and the only way that we can be saved is through him. And we have to hearken to him.
Beautiful. Now look at verse 17. And the Lord said unto Noah, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die, yet his days shall be 120 years. And if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them. That whole idea is the overlay for this whole flood narrative. This flood story is God isn’t trying to destroy all of his children. God’s not getting great joy out of destruction. You’ll notice if you take him literally to his word. Here in verse 17, God is pleading with these people through his Prophet Noah for 120 years, pleading with them to repent and to follow this gospel that had been given to Adam and then to Enoch, and subsequently now on down the line to Noah. And yet the people are choosing not to repent, hence the flood. Now that, to me is the essence of today’s lesson is, do I really think that I have everything I need and I’ve got everything in control, and I don’t need God. I don’t need to know what he wants for me or what he’s asking me to do. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I want God to know what I want him to do and what I demand that he does. And if he doesn’t do it, then I’m going to be angry and upset and offended at him. It’s that whole idea of creating a God after my own image or my own likeness, or I’m creating a God. Even if I’m not fashioning an idol for him, I’m still doing that in this context of saying, I don’t want to learn of God, I want God to learn of me. I don’t want to obey God. I want God to obey me. I want to make my demands and have them met. So as we move forward in today’s lesson, there are a lot of things that we could get focused on that might be tangential or that might be really important to some people, but we’re going to stay laser focused on seeking to put God first in our lives. Let God prevail and figure out what he wants us to do and try to do that to the best of our ability in meekness and humility.
So it’s interesting if we look carefully, both at Moses eight and Genesis six, we actually get some hints around some of the messages God wants us to walk away with from the story. Now, we’ve talked in past lessons that the name is the lesson, so we should investigate for a minute the meaning of the word Noah. So if you can run on the board these words rest and comfort. Let’s take a look at what we get in Moses, chapter eight, verse nine. Now, when Noah is born, he gets this name he’s called Noah. Why this son shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands because of the Earth which the Lord hath cursed. So there’s something inherent in the name no, which actually his name literally means rest or comfort, is that comfort comes from listening to God’s chosen servants and being prepared against the floods of life that will inevitably happen to everybody. All of us suffer in some way. And where does comfort come from? It comes from Jesus. Let’s actually turn back to Genesis, chapter six. Similarly, the ancient Bible writers, these inspired writers also gave us this lesson. Look what they say here.
Verse eight, Genesis six, verse eight. But Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord. Now, it turns out that in Hebrew, if you take the name Noah and turn it backwards, these two Hebrew letters, ten, literally mean Grace. So right here, the inspired writers are telling us that we should be looking for the Grace of God. So Noah’s name is a signal throughout this text and the story that we should be looking to how God brings rest and comfort to the world and how his Grace attends those who are on his Covenant path. Those really are the key messages that we should be looking for. There are other gospel principles. And instead of taking our time debating the so called science, geology, religion, which is not why God preserved this story. He wasn’t trying to answer geological questions. He was trying to message to his people something about him and about them. It’s all about his characteristics and the characteristics that we should aspire to if we’re on the Covenant path.
It’s beautiful. Now, you’ll notice in verse 18 the opposite of everything Taylor just got through talking about. It’s. This foil to Noah, which is the people’s response. Look at verse 18. In those days, there were Giants on the Earth and they sought Noah to take away his life. But the Lord was with Noah and the power of the Lord was upon him. It’s interesting that they’re living in a day when there’s apparently not a lot of religious freedom. He’s preaching this. And instead of just ignoring him or sidelining him or stiff arming him, they’re actually wanting to kill him because of what he’s saying and how he’s following the Lord’s directions here. But look at verse 19. So we’ve got the problem in 18, which, by the way, most of you watching this today, you’re probably not thinking to yourself, yes, I know exactly what it’s like to be Noah. The minute I leave my house, people are trying to kill me because of my belief. That’s probably not the case for most of you watching this. And yet most of you watching this do live in a world that is not very friendly to your devotion to God and doesn’t applaud you for trying to be faithful on the Covenant path to your religion.
Look at verse 19. So the problem is in verse 18, let’s look at the solution. And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his gospel unto the children of man, even as it was given unto Enoch. You’ll notice you’ll notice some lessons here. God did not say, oh, Noah, this is hard. This is making you kind of unpopular. This is putting your life in danger. Tell you what, we’re not going to make you do that anymore. We’re going to let you have a break here. God isn’t in the business of trying to make our life as smooth sailing, painfree and popular as absolutely possible. That doesn’t seem to be the scriptural pattern. It seems that when he has a job to be done, he gives it. And whether or not that’s a popular job for that Prophet or for those people, that’s not part of the equation of heaven. It doesn’t seem to be God’s purpose. You see, God is trying to help us become more like him and in the process, more like his son, Jesus Christ. And if you look at the Savior’s life as a pattern, it wasn’t exactly a life filled with public popularity at all times, in all things, in all places that he found himself.
And yet he continued to move forward and do God’s will up until the very end when he could finally say, It is finished. That’s what our goal is for us individually and for us collectively is that we can persevere with the help of the Lord. It’s the Lord who ordained no one. It’s the Lord who’s appointed us in our individual capacities, wherever you may live, to be able to accomplish his purposes in the ways that he has ordained. Look at verse 20. It came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent, but they harkened not unto his words. Mark that because we’re going to see the contrast with Noah a little bit later. When we get into Genesis six and seven, they hearkened not unto his words. And then they come and they make all of their big statement to him of, look, we’re not doing anything egregiously terrible. We’re good people, we’re marrying, we’re having children, we’re living life. It’s all good.
And notice they self identify in verse 21. Behold, we are the sons of God we already learned earlier. Ultimately, it’s only God who gives that designation, and it’s based on faithfulness. So if you give yourself a false designation, you may act falsely. But if you actually let God truly identify who you are, then you can walk truly wonderful.
So did you notice something at the bottom of verse 20 compared to the bottom of verse 21? It says, but they hearkened not unto his words. And then at the bottom of verse 21, and they harken not unto the words of Noah. That’s significant. They’re not listening to the words of the living Prophet. Why? What are the reasons? They don’t give all the reasons, but I think it’s pretty clear here that they think they’re smarter than Noah. They think they’re probably doing things the right way. And Noah’s misinformed. Noah’s the bad guy in this case, in their mind. And in the process, they’re slowly cutting themselves off from the power that God was willing to give them and the Salvation and the Grace and the rest and the comfort. They’re slowly cutting themselves off by that because they think they’re smarter than God’s Prophet. I don’t know about you, but when I say we think the oh God, for a Prophet to guide us in these latter days. I don’t just think of the Prophet Joseph Smith or past prophets. I think of the current Prophet and how grateful I am to have 15 prophets seers and Revelators to guide us in these latter days and to give us the directions that we need today from heaven to move forward to the best of our ability on the Covenant path, both individually and collectively as a whole group.
Now look at the description in verse 22. This verse is one of the most sobering verses in the entire story. It says and God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the Earth. Now notice the qualifying words here and every man. What’s that percentage, 100% was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. So do you notice if you cut yourself off from God’s words that come through scriptures and from the living prophets, what are you left with? You’re left with the imagination of the thoughts of his heart. And it’s very easy to have those imaginations and those thoughts and those desires, those appetites, those passions, those feelings. It’s very easy to have those turn you downward away from God and into pleasure seeking, power seeking worldly kinds of appetites being fed and filled selfaggrandizement putting other people down.
Acquiring power for your own purposes. What’s interesting is that even though God actually has to wipe the slate clean of creation with the flood kind of start over. Noah’s a new Adam. We see in the Babylon story, the Tower of Babel. Excuse me, the Tower of Babel story is repeated. They have this wild imagination. They’re going to build their way up into heaven. And it’s just like humans don’t seem to ever get it. Our fallen nature sometimes is such heavy gravity to pull us down from the higher levels of God and following his word.
Amazing. Now you’ll notice this pattern in the scriptural story as it comes out. It doesn’t just give you all of the bad at once. You’ll notice it’s giving you a problem. Then it’s giving you God’s solution, then it’s giving you the people’s response which leads to a deeper problem, which then leads to God’s solution. And then the people’s response, it keeps bouncing back and forth. So we just got the terrible description of what the Earth was like at the time of no inverse 21 and 22. Now look at 23 and 24. And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people. You’ll notice God didn’t say, okay, the gospel that I gave to Adam and to Enos that’s not working. Something different. Let’s teach a new gospel. He’s not doing that. And brothers and sisters, you and I live in a world today, in the 21st century that I think in some ways we could read back in verse 22 and say, yeah, we’re struggling collectively as a world with wickedness, with everyone being lifted up in the imagination of their thoughts. And some of those are only continually evil. We could say we can relate to some of this struggle.
So what is the solution? Verse 23 he continued his preaching, saying, Harken, and give heed unto my words. And what are the words? Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers. And Ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that Ye may have all things made manifest. And if you do notice, the floods will come in upon you. Nevertheless, they harkened not. There it is again. They hearkened not. But did you notice the message? Faith, the belief, the repentance, the baptism. And did you catch it? We’re back, I don’t know, 2324 hundred years before Christ is going to be born. And what are they being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith taught that even Adam was baptized and now Noah is preaching this baptism. It’s not a new ordinance that was introduced by John the Baptist in the first century. The gospel of Jesus Christ seems to have always been. And if you read section 138, what the spirits in prison are being taught by the missionaries from Spirit Paradise, they’re being taught these same things. Faith in the Lord, repentance baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost being given in that ordinance of confirmation, it’s the same message.
It’s the same solution. Whether you’re living or whether you’re dead, whether you’re back in the third century BC or in the 21st century Ad, it’s the same message. We have to believe in Christ. We have to repent of our sins, get baptized and get the gift of the Holy Ghost and then stay on that Covenant path because it’s guaranteed not to be a smooth, level sidewalk with a nice guardrail protecting us from all opposition, accident and harm along the way. There are going to be struggles on this path.
So this word believe is significant. The Hebrew would be the word related to the word Amen. When we say Amen, it literally is a transliteration of the Hebrew word that means to believe or to trust or to be faithful. When God tells us to believe, he’s actually saying I want you to trust me, I want you to have faith in me. I want you to be faithful. And we’ve talked about Covenant faithfulness and we’ll see just here in a minute that Noah himself had been covenantly, loyal and faithful to God. So if you wonder what could I do in my life to be faithful, loyal, to show that I trust God, I believe you could repent, get baptized, or if you’ve been baptized, partake in a Sacrament purposely every week and declare at the end of that Sacrament prayer. Amen. I trust God that he can save me. And I choose that. I want to be faithful to him. There’s so many ways that we can show our belief. We can love our neighbors. We can take time to listen and empathize with those who are hurting. We can take time to fix the problems that we have caused other people.
That’s called repentance or to fix the problems people have caused us. That’s called forgiveness. There’s many ways that we can show belief. It’s beautiful.
Now look at verse 25, and it repented Noah. And his heart was pain that the Lord had made man on the Earth and it grieved him at the heart. Now, most of you listening to that would think, okay, this is just a profits lament. He’s a little bit frustrated. I mean, if we take it literally again, at his word, 120 years of preaching this to the people and they just refuse to obey. And three times there it told us that they harken not.
And we think, Ammon’s, 14 year mission was a long mission.
My goodness. So it repented Noah, that God had created the Earth and man on the Earth. Just for contrast, the power of the Joseph Smith translation here, if you read that equivalent verse over in Genesis chapter six, it says this and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the Earth and it grieved him at his heart. Which if you take that King James language, that particular translation at face value, take it literally. It sounds like God is up in heaven scratching his head, saying, I messed up, okay?
I got to confess my sins.
I shouldn’t have created this Earth. It was a blunder. It’s a failed experiment versus the Lord repenting for having made man on the Earth and grieving in his heart. Joseph Smith changes it to it repented Noah that God had done this.
It’s brilliant. Joseph Smith did not know Hebrew when he did this. Any guess as to what the underlying word in Hebrew is here that is used for repentance. It’s a variant of the name Noah. So there’s a word play going on here that it literally actually means Noah comforted himself. He kind of felt sorry, but was still able to comfort himself in the fact that the world is not where it should be. So again, the inspired writers and here Joseph Smith is getting inspiration about how this originally should have read that there really isn’t there’s a word play going on in Hebrew that Noah. It means to comfort. And when you do in the intensive form, it actually means to repent, to get to a place of comfort through repentance. That’s kind of cool.
That’s amazing. And look at verse 26 to tie into that 26 and 27. The Lord said, I will destroy man. Keep in mind it was Noah who is feeling this sadness that God has created man and the Earth and the Lord’s response is, I will destroy man whom I’ve created from off the face of the Earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things and the foul of the air. For it repented Noah that I have created them and that I have made them. And he has called upon me, for they have sought his life. So he’s plead with me and God listened to his Prophet. 27 and thus Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord. For Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation. And he walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Hem and Jaffhus.
So these are really important words. We often read this, we’re like, oh, he was perfect. He never created, never had a mistake. So let me just erase this and add some other covenantal terms. It turns out all these words that we find here all have a Covenant of connection in the Old Testament. Each of these words has to do with being covenantly loyal to God. So when they use the word perfect in the Bible, it’s actually not about this person has never made a mistake. It means that they have been loyal to God. Just means again, they’ve been faithfully loyal to God. Walking with God means you have been loyal with them. And so you can see, for 120 years, Noah was very loyal to God to teach the truth in the face of difficulty. And because of that, we have this description of what Noah is, what kind of man he is. He was a just man, meaning he’d been loyal to God by living and teaching the message. He was perfect in his generation, again, meaning he had been fully loyal to God. And this is one of the meanings of the word perfect, that we can be loyal to God.
And again, if you want to achieve perfection, it only comes to Jesus Christ. But you can be covenantly perfect in the sense of regularly participating in the Sacrament and ongoingly showing that you are covenantly loyal and faithful to God. So these words are all really significant. You should Mary them. And as you’re reading the Old Testament and other parts of scripture, look for these words perfect and just and walk and just know that often they’re dealing with the Covenant of loyalty that God needs from his people.
That’s wonderful. Now, as we shift into the last few verses of chapter eight, you’ll notice the conclusion to the Joseph translation that we have contained self contained. Here in the Pearl grade price. It says, the Earth was corrupt before God and it was filled with violence. Now we’ve seen in other places in scripture where the prophecies regarding the Lord’s second coming will use sometimes phrases like, as it was in the days of Noah, it will be in the last days. This idea of violence, corruption, verse 29. Behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the Earth. And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me, for the Earth is filled with violence. And behold, I will destroy all flesh from off the Earth. Some have wondered why God would be so cruel as how they’ll put it, why would he do that? Why would he destroy them? Is it possible you’ve probably heard this concept from a couple of our past Church leaders, this idea that would it really be merciful for God to continue to send spirit children down to the Earth, to be born into that setting where basically they really don’t have a chance to grow up and discover the gospel and live it or stay on the Covenant path?
So that’s one way that this experience has been interpreted as it’s a great act of mercy to give a fresh start, to have a new beginning, which, by the way, in a Hebrew context, they love numbers. Right. And so seven is a complete, whole, perfect number. You’ve got the seven days of creation. It’s that complete cycle. It’s done, it’s finished. It’s lacking nothing at that point. Right. Well, then eight becomes a beautiful symbol for a new beginning, a fresh start, a new look. I love the fact that God in the latter days has established that it’s at eight years old that we baptize our children to give them a new beginning. They have seven years where for all intents and purposes, they can practice, they can learn early in life the principles of repentance and forgiveness when they basically got a free pass, rather. And then at age eight, we give them a new beginning. Isn’t it a beautiful symbol that as we now jump into the actual flood story, it’s eight people that the scriptures list as being saved and that are going to provide that new beginning for all of humanity? It’s Noah and his wife.
We know her name is Joan of Arc. Don’t write that down. That was a very evil attempt at humor. We don’t know his wife’s name, and then we know his three sons and their wives. So it’s a total of eight people giving us this new beginning to life. So automatically you and I don’t have to stay forced into just reading a story from the third century BC. We want to understand it to the best of our ability back then, but we can pull it forward in time and say, hey, there’s value in me and you today understanding these principles of God providing us with a new beginning. And as Taylor has already mentioned, if you’ve already been baptized, keep in mind, in the Mary days of the Church, they would often get rebaptized for a variety of reasons. There are people who are baptized multiple times. You could be baptized into a United order in a particular location. You would get re baptized at times if you had left the Church without getting excommunicated. Now you’ve come back, you want to recommit. President Brigham Young asked a whole group of them to get rebaptised on one occasion.
Kind of a recomitment. Well, you and I get that opportunity without going into the baptismal font every Sunday. We have an opportunity at the close of another seven day cycle of the week, we get a new beginning on the 8th day, which then becomes day one of the new cycle. I can start fresh. I don’t have to stay bound to the things listed in 28, 29, 30 or back in 21 and 22 in my own life, not looking at other people’s in the world’s problems at large, but my problems, the struggles I’m facing, it’s a beautiful opportunity for us to take these scriptures a little more personally this week.
Let me add a little bit more to this about actually how numbers work in the Bible. They’re actually confusing, and it seems like they’re not always accurate to what we would expect. But it turns out the ancient people seem to be working on a base 60 counting system. The technical term is site suggestimal most of us today use a base ten. You got ten fingers and it goes ten, 100,000 anciently. It was 6120 out to 360 and beyond. And it’s interesting how they would do the counting. And this kind of ties into the 120 years that Noah’s preaching. You might notice your fingers, you’ve got three segments on each finger. And if you use your thumb as a pointer, you got 123-45, 67, 89, 10, 11, 12. Interesting. So that’s twelve. Do that again, 243-6486. You get to 60. You can count to 60 on just two hands. Very powerful. You’ll notice that often you’ll find repetitions of numbers related to 60 or 120. For example, the fact that Noah preaches for 120 years might in part be related to the size of decimal system, that it’s three times 40. And in the numbering system, 40 means just a really long time.
I mean, Jesus is in the wilderness for 40 days, the Israelites for 40 years, and maybe it was exactly 40 days and 40 years. We don’t know. But the scriptures seem to use 40 to symbolize a long time. But what if you have a long time?
40 times 340 becomes supertily a long time.
So Noah may have been preaching for 120 years. He may have been preaching longer or less. It’s a really long time. But even notice that you get to 360 with his county method, which is almost the number of days in the year. It’s a number of degrees in a circle. So it actually is a very powerful way to actually order the world through numbers. Now, I have to say that the numbers in the Bible don’t always cohere to this. You’ll see some of this going on. That what we have in these stories are often symbols. They’re trying to convey these doctrinal principles, as Tyler was talking about, that God has these new beginnings. Or maybe you’ll spend 40 days of your life, quote, unquote, wandering the wilderness, struggling with some difficulty before you enter into the promised land of a new beginning. And maybe you’re like Moses, who gets to live 120 years, just like Noah preached for 120 years. And again, maybe Moses really lived 120 years, or maybe he had three long periods of life, one in Egypt, 40 years, 40 years out in the Medina, and then 40 years leading the Israelites into the promised land.
So I share that perspective, because sometimes when we read the Bible, which is like entering into a foreign country, the numbers can be a little overwhelming and confuse us. And our recommendation is try to get too fixated on that, and let’s try to stay focused on the principles that God is trying to invite us back into his presence and to use the stories of past people. And we can learn from their choices what were the consequences of those who were faithful, those who weren’t faithful? What were the consequences? And we can learn vicariously to choose. Well, beautiful.
Now let’s jump into Moses chapter six. We’re going to pick it up in verse 14 again, if you want to make a little line there, you can this is the beginning of the part that is not included in Moses chapter eight. So it begins by saying, make thee an arc of Gopher wood room shall thou make in the arc, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch. So we’re getting this description of we want the arc to be waterproof. We’re going to pitch it on the outside and on the inside with this pitch. And quite frankly, we could get all excited about the scientific reasoning and rationale for why we would use tar on the inside and the outside and what the links would be and reconstruct it. That would be fun for some people. But in my mind, I want to keep saying, what in the world is God trying to teach us? Because keep in mind, these scriptures were given very anciently to people originally for a particular reason. But God has preserved them. They’ve come down to us today. So while they were given to those people back then in antiquity, and they were for them then, they are also for us today.
And so we have to keep asking the question, what did God intend for us to get from these stories? I don’t know that he intended for us to have it be a handbook, like you had said, on geology, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, or how to build both or how to build the ideal art or debate.
Like, how many animals could you fit in a boat? God is basically just saying there’s a plan here to save people.
And there’s a bunch of details. But if we just step back and say God actually has a plan to save his faithful people.
So there’s little details. But guess what? The details will be different for you and for me today because the circumstances are different. And so he might give you specific things for how you can get into the good boat Zion or help build it and be saved. And we probably don’t have to bring a lot of tar and pitch.
So look at verse 15. He gives the length and the breadth and the height. Verse 16, a window shalt thou make to the Ark, and in a qubit thou shalt finish it above, and the door of the Ark shall thou set in the side thereof. And then he describes a lower, second and third stories inside of it. Those of you who like marking your scriptures physically, you could make a little note there in chapter 16, verse 16, or verse 16, footnote A, where it mentions the window. You’ll notice the Hebrew word down there so far. Am I pronouncing that?
Okay, well, I’m not an ancient Hebrew, but it’s all hard to me.
Some rabbis believed it was a precious stone that shown in the Ark. Fascinating. Because if you look at the timing here, you get Noah and the flood and then you get the next story in chapter eleven that we’re going to finish today’s episode with in the Tower of Babel story. And I said the Tower of Babel, where you get your first connection over to the New World with the Book of Mormon people, the Jaredites. And what does the brother of Jared end up doing to fix his light problem? When the Lord told him, what would thou have me do? That you’ll have light in your vessels? And he had fashioned those smooth stones and then asked God to touch them. Is it possible that a few I don’t know exactly how long it is a few hundred years before the brother of Jared, Noah is kind of the big Prophet of his dispensation, stands at the head of that dispensation. Is it possible that he’s been reading his scriptures, knows the stories, hearkens back to what Noah did so to solve problems that the brother of Jared is facing? He looks to the Prophet and looks to the solutions that God has already provided through his Prophet and then follows the Prophet and finds light and life in his own struggles.
They’re in the barges a few hundred years removed from this experience.
Bright shining stones, touched by God perhaps is what this window first in verse 16. And all of us have access to something metaphorically the same. It’s the spirit of God, the gifts of the spirit. And I actually find it significant that Joseph Smith brought forth Revelation and the Book of Mormon by bright shining stones that offer us Salvation, just like God save people in the time of Noah through what this may be, a bright shining stone and the brother of Jared and his people. I just love how God just peppers his storyline with these themes that continue to come out, which is about if you follow me, you will have light and that will bring you Salvation.
It’s beautiful how simple technique. God uses these stones, a farm boy, simple people to do his work and to Mary it forth into the world.
I love it by small and simple things or great things brought to pass. I heard that was an important question somewhere.
I think Alma 37 might agree with you on that. Now go with verse 18. But with thee will I establish my Covenant, and thou shalt come into the Ark, thou and thy sons and thy wife and thy son’s wives. With thee there’s the eight that are mentioned. Look at the Joseph Smith translation in your footnote there footnote 18 A. But with thee will I establish my Covenant, even as I have sworn unto thy father, Enoch, that of thy posterity shall come all nations. And then he finishes with and thou shalt come into the Ark. So it’s this beautiful carrying on of a promise that God has given to Enoch. And we know that God gave that promise to Adam and Eve before. And it keeps getting passed down, it keeps getting renewed, it keeps experiencing this new beginning with each dispensation or in some cases each generation that God is saying, yeah, I promised this to your fathers before and that’s important. And that’ll help you, that’ll bless you. But even more important, I’m giving it to you today. And I think that the message for me is I love looking at the genealogy pedigree charts for me and my wife and Consequently for our children and seeing the legacy of faith and all the covenants and the promises that have been made up through there and then back into the Scriptures to these great people of old.
But brothers and sisters, those promises given to these people back then or even to people in my genealogy pedigree chart, they only can bless me so much until I make them my promises as well, until I claim them like Noah was seeking after them. And next week, like Abraham was going to seek after them there’s power and not sitting back and waiting for these covenants to come and hit us over the head, but rather go and seek them, to seek the Lord early and often and do our best to find connections to those covenants. Now let’s finish this chapter with verse 22. Something that is powerful in my mind is so simple that it’s easy to overlook. But it’s back to the small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him. Did you notice? Thus did Noah. Noah did all that God has commanded him. So did he. So it repeats it. God makes the command and he did it. He does it. It’s not like the people. In contrast, back there in Moses, chapter eight, were on three occasions, it says, and they hearkened not unto his word.
They didn’t listen to him, they didn’t obey, they didn’t follow, whereas Noah did. Now check out chapter seven, verse five, and Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. I don’t know. I don’t think that Moses has a problem repeating himself as this story is being written down. I think there’s an emphasis being added to this idea of obedience to God that we’ve got to trust him and do according to the things which he has commanded us. And now back to Taylor’s numbering thing, verse six. Noah was 600 years old when the flood of waters was upon the Earth. They love the nice round numbers, the ability to encapsulate a big passage of time in something 30 round.
Well, today we might say he’s a century old. So in a size adjustable system where it’s like base 6600 would be that nice round number. We’re not saying, no, it wasn’t 600 years old. We’re just saying that the Bible writers may have been using these numbering systems to kind of convey something about how old he was, that it just registers like today, we say that person is a century old, that’s 100 years. 100 years is a long time for us, 600. We don’t really compute back then. It did compute for them even see the 40, right. 40 days it rains. Now, maybe it really rained for 40 days. I lived in places where that’s happened, but it also just may mean a very long time, which in the scriptures 40 symbolizes a really long time.
That’s right. You’ll notice that the flood comes in the Ark. Chapter seven talks about two and two of all flesh. But it’s later on where you get the description of the seven clean animals, not two, because we’re going to perform sacrifices when the Ark lands. And that’s a problematic if we’ve only got two. Verse 17, the flood was 40 days, as Taylor said, upon the Earth and the waters increased and bear up the Ark and it was lift up above the Earth. The water is prevailed and were increased greatly upon the Earth. And the Ark went upon the face of the waters.
You look at verse 24, it prevails upon Earth the waters for 150 days. Again, if you do that size adjustable, counting 30, 69,000, 2050 again, it’s another 30 basis number.
So then as we’re coming to the end of that experience, he sends forth the Raven in chapter eight, verse seven, and then the Dove in verse nine, and the Dove comes back, and then another seven days, he sends out the Dove. And this time she had an olive leaf plucked off in her beak in verse eleven.
You guys remember what Noah’s name means? It means rest. And actually, if you were reading this in the Hebrew, you would actually find Noah’s name repeated a number of places where it’s actually not referring to him. But it’s actually using the word rest. For example, the Ark rests on the mountaintop. When he sent out the bird at first couldn’t find a place to rest its foot. So the theme is being purposely baked into the literary format of the text, that it’s about rest, that God will bring rest. And if you stay on God’s Covenant path, eventually the floodwaters of the suffering of your life will recede and you will be at rest. That is actually everything about what Noah’s name means. And even though we know the story happened for us today, the symbolism is we’re all like a Noah looking to find our rest in the Lord.
Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast and of every clean foul and offered burnt offerings on the altar as he’s now off the arc. You’ll notice the footnote there takes you to Genesis nine four through six in the appendix. That happens to be the very first entry of the larger Joseph translation adjustments in the back chapter nine, verse four through six. Notice the adjustment that Joseph adds here. And Noah built in an altar unto the Lord and took a very clean beast and of every clean foul and offered burnt offerings on the altar and gave thanks unto the Lord and rejoiced in his heart. And the Lord Spake unto Noah. And he blessed him. And Noah smelled a sweet savor, and he said in his heart, I will call on the name of the Lord, that he will not again curse the ground anymore for man’s sake, for the imagination of the man’s heart is evil from his youth, and that he will not again Smite anymore every living thing as he hath done while the Earth remaineth. That’s a pretty big promise which now leads us over into chapter nine, where you get God blessing, Noah and his sons, and he said, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth.
You’ll notice that was the very first command given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it’s still enforced today. The same command that had been given in the beginning and here at this new beginning, and it’s given at a new beginning of a new family unit every time a man and a woman kneel across the altar in the temples of our God. I love that idea of we need family to be able to fulfill God’s plan for us. And again, we’ve talked about this before. We realize not everybody has that opportunity or not everybody gets that ideal. Some people have a real situation in their life that prevents that ideal from occurring. We understand that with God, all things will be made right in the end. Now God gives them a sign in verse ten through 16 of the rainbow being established as a sign of that Covenant that he won’t. Well, let’s just read verse twelve. And God said, this is the token of the Covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you for perpetual generations. So it’s this ongoing sign. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a Covenant between me and the Earth.
And he promises that he will not destroy all flesh anymore. In the bottom of verse 15.
I love this word token. Listen to the words, at least in English. The root word for token comes from the same word where we get to teach, to show, to explain. So Jesus or God as a great teacher, has an ongoing teaching moment, an object lesson that is there after every time it rains or missed it’s. His reminder, his teaching object lesson that he made this Covenant to know and all knows posterity, which includes all of us, that he will never again destroy the Earth of the flood. And God holds to his promises. So I just love how God teaches us not just in word.
But also visually with the world around us that he created powerful now as they move out from there. Verse 19. These are the three sons of Noah, and of them was the whole Earth overspread solar biblical account talks about Shem, Jacob and Ham spreading out and multiplying and replenishing the Earth. Now that brings us to chapter eleven, our last chapter for today. This contains the story of the great tower that we often refer to as the Tower of Babel. It’s the next story after the flood. So you’ve got these people notice verse one, the whole Earth was of one language and of one speech. And keep in mind, we’re getting a parallel account of this story from Genesis eleven over in Ether, chapter one in the Book of Mormon, because that’s where Jared and the brother of Jared and their families are rooted into our biblical narrative. Verse two says it came to pass as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plane in the land of Chenar, and they dwelt there. And so then they say, hey, let’s make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone and slime, had they for mortar.
And so verse four says, Go to let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole Earth. Which is so ironic that they want a name that is going to unify them, lest they be scattered. And the grand irony is from that group that there is a large group of people, it’s going to be scattered upon the whole face of the Earth. These Jaredites are going to leave and literally be scattered in a really good way to the promised land. Now, most depictions of the Tower of Babel show this big tower structure that they’re trying as if you’re building this big tower to go to heaven, and it could be that way. It could be. I don’t know. I just know from a lot of research that’s been done back in Mesopotamia, back in antiquity. One of our colleagues, George Pierce and his wife, Crystal Pierce, have done a lot of research into this time period. And they found, I think it’s over two dozen examples of towers and temple like structures in ancient Mesopotamia where they start seeing some of the things that are written about how they were used and what the people’s intent with the towers were.
And as they’ve done this research, it seems that it’s not as much that they’re trying to physically climb up to heaven as much as they’re building tiers of large structures. And on the top, however tall they’re called zigarat. However tall your cigarette is or your tower, your temple is, it’s in this uppermost one where you place things like a bed, a golden table. You provide a place where the gods are going to be able to have their needs met when they come down to the Earth to visit men and the underworld. It’s kind of this connecting point for them, but the whole point that you get in the Book of Mormon with the brother of Jared and Jared and the people leaving because of the wickedness. The beautiful insight. One of the many beautiful insights I’ve gained from George and Crystal’s piece is this idea that these people were saying, God is not all powerful. God is not sovereign, and we are going to provide things for God. We’re going to make God come to become like us, which is such a fascinating switch from what our temples today are intending to do, which is create these connecting points for us to come and learn of God here, to become like him, rather than having God become like us.
It’s no, I need to learn God’s language. I need to see things from God’s perspective, not the other way around, which is this struggle at the Tower of Babel is they’re trying to bring God down to our level rather than what we try to do in the house of the Lord, which is bring us closer and closer and closer to God’s level to learn his language. And then as we go out into the world to be able to share that light and goodness with people around us.
Those are great insights. You are familiar with these terms, Bob Elle and Baby Elon, they’re both interrelated. Bob means gate and L means God. Babylon actually means the gate of the gods. So this is a gateway for humans to get access to the gods who come down and interact with them. And Babylon was essentially a temple city full of lots of temples to lots of different pagan deities. And it’s not like Genesis Eleven is telling us what we should aspire to these types of temples. It’s simply this name that people thought they had access to God I also point out some interesting things. Bible writers are absolutely inspired by the way they construct the text. Genesis eleven is the end of one portion of the Bible. Genesis twelve begins, and the turning point is Genesis eleven and twelve. These two chapters are very interesting if you compare them. One chapter focuses on a large mass of unnamed people who want to create a name for themselves that will endure forever. And yet in Genesis Twelve, you have one man who God appoints and says, I will make your name great. And so if you read these two stories for comparative and contrastive purposes, it’s very instructive.
Are we going to be like the people of Babylon, trying to make God like us and therefore build ourselves monuments that are supposed to last the ages? So our name will endure forever? Or do we let God give us a name that endures forever? And the story of Abraham, which will be getting to in the upcoming weeks, is all about how God will guide people to have an everlasting name. And Abraham is just a powerful example of it. And we all can be, as children of Abraham, like him, to get a name that will endure forever. That’s one of the key insights we have in comparing these two chapters that are literally put back to back, I think in part for this very purpose.
Yeah. So as we come to the conclusion of this particular episode, our prayer is that the Holy Ghost is able to teach each individual whatever lesson is needed for your situation, whether you’re on an arc in a serious storm, the likes of which you’ve never known before, or whether you feel like you’re in a society like Jared and his brother and their families were where it feels like everything is being done for the wrong reasons and you’re struggling to find your place, whatever it may be. Can we just end by saying, we think thee, oh God, for a profit to guide us in these latter days? But it doesn’t do us any good to have a Prophet if we don’t listen, if we don’t hearken, if we don’t pay attention to what’s being said and do our very best to seek heaven’s aid in following those directions that come to us, if we really think that they’re others smarter than the profits, whether that be other people or ourselves, then we’re probably not going to be very much different than some of the people we’ve read about here. Who our life may not end is for sure, not going to end in a flood of water, but it might end in a flood of discouragement or disappointment or failed hopes and dreams, because we created a God after our own image.
And then he didn’t meet those expectations, and he didn’t come down and speak our language because we didn’t spend the time to learn his and to come to the safety of his house or onto the safety of his boat. So as we move forward into the rest of this year, may the Lord’s blessings be with us to help us stay on the good ship Zion and to come to his house. US is our prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen know that you’re loved and spread light and goodness.