© 2023 United Church of God Australia
All correspondence and questions should be sent to . Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to .
The Flood in the days of Noah was one of the greatest events in the history of the world. The Bible states all humanity was destroyed except for the eight people who were on the ark (II Peter 2:5, Matthew 24:39).
The story begins in Genesis 6. Mankind had chosen the way represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and evil dominated their whole society. In order to save humanity from its misguided choices, God decided to start over again with only eight people.
He instructed Noah, who still ‘walked with God” (Genesis 6:9) to build an ark for that purpose (verses 13-14). The ark was immense. It was 300 cubits long. If we accept a cubit as being about 18 inches, the ark would have been 450 feet long, which is much longer than a football field. It would have also been around 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.
In Genesis 7:2 God told Noah to take all the beasts of the field into the ark. Seven pairs of each clean animal and a pair of each unclean animal were to be taken into the ark, proving the laws of clean and unclean foods were known to mankind long before Moses. (See our free study guide What Does The Bible Teach About Clean And Unclean Meats for more information concerning this topic https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/what-does-the-bible-teach-about-clean-and-unclean-meats )
God then brought the Flood on the earth and the ark floated on the waters. In Genesis 7:19-22 we are told "all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered" and the highest mountains were immersed in 15 cubits of water, which is approximately 22 feet. The scriptures are very clear – all mankind and animals that breathed air (excluding fish of course) died!
After the worldwide flood God set a rainbow in the clouds to be a sign He would never again destroy the earth by flood (Genesis 9:12-15). If the Flood had been local and not worldwide, then God did not fulfill His word. There have been many local floods, which have killed many people since the Genesis Flood.
There are stories about the flood in many ancient civilizations, including the Mayans, Indians, Greeks, Chinese and many others. Most of them have the common theme that God (or the gods) got angry with mankind and destroyed almost everyone with a flood. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (article "The Deluge of Noah") gives details of the Babylonian flood story: "Xisuthrus was warned beforehand by the deity Cronos, and told to build a ship and take with him his friends and relations and all the different animals with all necessary food and trust himself fearlessly to the deep, whereupon he built 'a vessel 5 stadia (3,000 feet) long and 2 stadia (1,200 feet) broad.' After the flood subsided Xisuthrus, like Noah, sent out birds which returned to him again."
When Noah believed God and began to build the huge ark, can you imagine the ridicule he faced as he tried to warn people? The Bible indicates Noah may have preached to and warned mankind for 120 years before the Flood took place (Genesis 6:3), giving mankind ample time to heed His warning and repent.
In 2 Peter 3:11 the Apostle Peter states that since the earth has been destroyed by a flood and the world is again to be destroyed by fire, we should be aware of how we conduct ourselves. The Flood is a warning, and the message of repentance Noah preached at that time is also a message to our modern world.
Christ and John the Baptist repeated this message in the New Testament. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees they must repent, and if they didn't, God would destroy them, which happened in 69 and 70 A.D. when Jerusalem and the Jewish nation were defeated by the Romans (Matthew 3:7-11).
As it was in Noah's day before the flood, we are told in the last days before Christ’s return to this earth there will be “scoffers” (2 Peter 3:3-6) who will lose sight of biblical truth and vainly believe their own false theories (Romans 1:20-22). There are important lessons that we can learn from the story of Noah. God rewards righteousness, and the wicked will ultimately be destroyed.
United News (July 2000)