Genesis 6-9 The world was growing in wickedness, and the very righteous of the world had been taken up to join the people of Enoch: “…the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion” ( Moses 7:27 ). It says in Genesis 6:1-2 that the “sons of God” were marrying the “daughters of men.” This statement is reversed in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses: “And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God. And when these men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of men saw that those daughters were fair, and they took them wives, even as they chose. And the Lord said unto Noah: The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice” (Moses 8:13-15).
Noah preached to them for decades, but they were complacent: “And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words; And also, after that they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah. And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my 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 ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not. And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart” (Book of Moses, 8:20-25).
There are important differences between the Book of Moses verses and the biblical verses. Joseph Smith was commanded by God to begin working on a new translation of the Bible, and these verses were received by revelation as Joseph worked on the Old Testament.
- It repented Noah, not God. God has never regretted giving His children mortal bodies, since it’s a necessary step towards salvation and exaltation. God and Christ are perfect and have no need to repent.
- All the patriarchs preached of Jesus Christ who should come, and they baptized in His name. This information has been deleted from the Old Testament.
Joseph Smith said, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors. As it read [ Genesis 6:6 ], ‘It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth;’ which I do not believe. But it ought to read, ‘It repented Noah that God made man.’” ( Teachings, p. 327.)Joseph Smith also revealed some things about Noah. The patriarchs were “fore-ordained” in the Pre-Mortal Life to their roles here in mortality. They had identities before they were born onto the earth and after they died, continuing their ministry to God’s children on earth. Joseph Smith revealed that Adam is the arch-angel Michael. He also revealed that Noah is the arch-angel Gabriel. As such, “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 his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven. . . .’ [Smith, Teachings, pp. 157–58.]
Luke reveals the coming of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias to inform him that his wife would bear a son. He also appeared to Mary and announced the birth of our Lord and Savior. “Gabriel then is Noah according to this revelation.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:138–41.)
“Noah, who built the ark, was one of God’s greatest servants, chosen before he was born as were others of the prophets. He was no eccentric, as many have supposed. Neither was he a mythical figure created only in legend. Noah was real. . . . Let no one downgrade the life and mission of this great prophet. Noah was so near perfect in his day that he literally walked and talked with God. . . .Few men in any age were as great as Noah. In many respects he was like Adam, the first man. Both served as ministering angels in the presence of God even after their mortal experience. Adam was Michael, the archangel, but Noah was Gabriel, one of those nearest to God. Of all the hosts of heaven, he was chosen to open the Christian era by announcing to Mary that she would become the mother of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He even designated the name by which the Redeemer should be known here on earth, saying He would be the Son of God. . . .(Mark E. Petersen, Noah and the Flood , 1–4.)
Genesis 6:10 — Shem, Ham, and Japheth
The typical way of referring to Noah’s sons is in the order given in Genesis, that is, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The book of Moses, however, records that Japheth was the first one of the three sons born, Shem the second, and Ham the last: “And Noah was four hundred and fifty years old, and begat Japheth; and forty-two years afterward he begat Shem of her who was the mother of Japheth, and when he was five hundred years old he begat Ham” (Moses 8:12).
The ark was designed to float, not sail. It was about the size of a modern ice breaker — about 450 feet long. It had no need of being launched, since it was lifted off its footings by the rising flood.
The earth is a living thing with a spirit. All living things were created spiritually before they were created temporally. The destiny of the earth is first to be baptized by water (the flood), then by fire (at Christ’s Second Coming, and then having fulfilled the purpose of its creation, to be sanctified.
“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.’” (Orson Pratt, in Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20.)
“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” (Brigham Young, in Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:20).
Joseph Smith saw a vision of the three kingdoms of heaven — the Celestial, Terrestrial, and the Telestial Kingdoms. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76.) The earth in its sanctified state will be the abode of those who inherit the highest, or celestial glory.
One might ask, “When are people wicked enough that God will destroy them.” The Lord calls this condition “being ripened in iniquity.” A society that is wicked enough to be destroyed has the following qualities.
- The righteous can no longer dwell in the society without being corrupted. Sometimes the wicked cast out the righteous. This is a huge mistake, because it is the presence of the righteous in their midst that protects them from the wrath of God. Sometimes the Lord calls the righteous out of the midst of the wicked, so that He can unleash His wrath upon them.
- A child cannot grow up in the society in righteousness. The influence of the society is so wicked, that the child doesn’t stand a chance.
“It was just and merciful too to those people guilty of the iniquity. Why? Because by taking away their earthly existence he (God) prevented them from entailing their sins upon their posterity and degenerating them, and also prevented them from committing further acts of wickedness.” (John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 19:158–59.)
Where did the Ark come to Rest?
At the time of Adam and Eve, there was only one landmass on the earth. The continents separated later (1 Chronicles 1: 19). The Lord has revealed to modern prophets that the location of the Garden of Eden is what is now the American midwest, and that the area Adam and Eve first settled upon being banished from the Garden centers around what is now Independence, Missouri. (The Lord has revealed through modern revelation that at the coming of the Savior, the continents will be rejoined into one landmass — see Doctrine and Covenants, Section 133.)
The Bible says that they landed on Mount Ararat when the ark finally came to rest. No location for Mount Ararat is given in the scriptures. The traditional site is a mountain found in northeastern Turkey near the border of Russia. Commenting on the distance traveled, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said
“We read that it was in the seventeenth day of the second month when the great deep was broken up, and the rain was forty days. The Ark landed at Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, therefore there were five full months of travel when the Lord drove the Ark to its final destiny. Without any question a considerable distance separated the point where the Ark commenced the journey and where it landed. There can be no question to contradict the fact that during the flood great changes were made on the face of the earth. The land surface was in the process of division into continents. The rivers mentioned in Genesis were rivers that existed in the garden of Eden long before the land was divided into continents and islands. [ Genesis 2:11 .]” ( Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:94.)
The rainbow is a symbol of the covenant the Lord made with Enoch and with Noah — that in due time Enoch’s city of Zion would return to the earth:“And I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto Enoch, concerning the remnants of your posterity. And God made a covenant with Noah, and said, This shall be the token of the covenant I make between me and you, and for every living creature with you, for perpetual generations; I will set my bow in the cloud; and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
“And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant, which I have made between me and you, for every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
“And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; And the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch. And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth.” ( JST, Genesis 9:17–25 .)
“The Lord hath set the bow in the cloud for a sign that while it shall be seen, seed time and harvest, summer and winter shall not fail; but when it shall disappear, woe to that generation, for behold the end cometh quickly” (Smith, Teachings, p. 305).
“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’” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 340–41).
Next article: Noah to Babel.