Genesis 6; Moses 8 The Preface to the Flood
We can use these two chapters to create a composite account of the developments that led to the Flood:
- When Enoch was 65 years old, his son Methuselah was born. Some time after that the Lord called Enoch to preach repentance to a wicked people (Moses 6:25-29).
- But the wickedness continued, and the Lord sent “a great famine” among the land in an attempt to help the people turn to Him and repent. By contrast, Enoch established the city of Zion, which he led until he was 430 years old, when they were taken up by God (Moses 7:13, 16-21; 8:1, 4).
- Enoch’s son Methuselah was righteous, but he was not taken into heaven with the city of Zion because he was left on earth to carry on Enoch’s posterity; the Lord having promised to Enoch that Noah and “all the kingdoms of the earth” would be “the fruit of his loins” (Moses 8:2-3).
- Noah was born, being Enoch’s great grandson through Methuselah and Lamech (Moses 8:5-9). Lamech hoped for comfort through Noah (whose name means “rest” or “relief”) due to their “work and toil” that resulted from the Lord’s cursing of the ground and its resulting famine (verse 9).
- Noah received the priesthood at age 10 and was given the calling to declare the gospel and call the people to repentance, as Enoch had done (Moses 8:16, 19; D&C 107:52).
- Noah’s sons Japheth, Shem, and Ham were born when Noah was age 450, 492, and 500, respectively (Moses 8:12; in the various scripture accounts, the years of births, deaths, and other events do not always correlate; see Genesis 5:3-32; 9:28-29; 11:10-26, 32; D&C 107:40-52; Moses 6:8-25; 8:1, 5-12).
Next, we can deduce several reasons why the Lord chose to remove all His children from mortality (except Noah and his family) and transfer them to the spirit world, where He could work with them there:
- Although Noah and his sons were righteous and “were called the sons of God” (Moses 8:13; see also Genesis 6:8-9; Moses 8:27); the daughters of Noah’s sons “sold themselves” and were married to the unrighteous “sons of men” (Moses 8:14-15). Also, some of the “sons of God” married “the daughters of men” (Genesis 6:2, 4). These developments can be taken to mean that they abandoned the true gospel and chose to be married and live outside the covenant (see also Deuteronomy 7:3-4).
- The Lord declared that His spirit “shall not always strive with man.” (To “strive” means to make great effort to achieve something; to work, struggle, or fight vigorously.) But God’s children on earth were not responsive to the Lord’s efforts, so He warned them that they would have 120 years to repent before He would “send in the floods upon them” (Genesis 6:3; Moses 8:17).
- Noah’s calls to repentance went unheeded (Moses 8:20), and the people sought to kill Noah (Moses 8:26).
- “Every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually” (Moses 8:22; Genesis 6:5). Compare this to D&C 121:45.
- The earth was “corrupt” and “filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11-13; Moses 8:28-30; note that “filled with violence” is mentioned four times in these verses).
According to Moses 8:21, what foolish “reasons” or “proof” did the wicked give for not needing to repent? (See also 2 Nephi 28:19-28). Noah warned the people that a world-wide flood was coming to destroy them, “nevertheless they hearkened not” (Moses 8:24).
How is this similar to our world today, wherein generations of prophets have warned of a worldwide destruction by earthquake, fire, and other phenomena, which will accompany the Second Coming? Read Malachi 4:1; Matthew 24:37-39; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:41-46; D&C 64:23-24; D&C 101:23-26.
Noah continued to teach faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost (Moses 8:23-24). Moses 7:27 tells us that between the translation of the city of Enoch and the Flood, angels were teaching men on earth, and those who became righteous were also “caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.” The Lord determined to “destroy man,” along with the “beasts, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air” (Genesis 6:7, 13, 17; 7:21-23; Moses 8:26). This would include Noah’s unrepentant grandchildren (see Moses 8:13-15).
Read 2 Nephi 26:24 and consider, “In what ways was the Flood an act of love on God’s part?”
Genesis 6:14-22; Genesis 7-8 Noah’s Ark
Many people—including some who are religious and otherwise believe in the Bible—think that the story of Noah, the ark, and the Flood is a fictional fantasy or myth; but the book of Moses, as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, helps us to understand that these things literally happened.
A “cubit” (verse 15) is about 1.5 feet; therefore the ark was approximately 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Noah was to build the ark in a way that it could carry male and female of every “sort” of animal (species; verses 19-20), including food (verse 21; Genesis 7:2-3 indicates that some species were taken into the ark “by sevens”). Noah was 600 years old when the Flood began (Genesis 7:6, 11), having preached repentance for some 120 years (Moses 8:17). The family of Noah was in the ark about one year (see Genesis 8:4-5, 13-14).
What do you learn about Noah from Genesis 6:22; Genesis 7:5; Genesis 8:20; and Moses 8:27?
Genesis 9 Starting Over
After the Flood, the family of Noah began all things on the earth once again, as in the days of Adam and Eve. Find in verses 1-7 the various instructions and commandments the Lord gave them. Note that the JST adds the following to verses 3-5: “And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands” (JST, Genesis 9:11).
Genesis 11:1-9 Babel
The Lord had promised that He would never again cleanse the earth by flood (see Genesis 9:11-13; see also JST Genesis 9:21-24). In this chapter—only about one-hundred years after the Flood—men began again to practice wickedness, carrying out a plan to build a tower that would reach heaven, in order to “make [themselves] a name” (verse 4), indicating their immense vanity and pride. Rather than striving to make ourselves a name, we are invited to take Christs’ name upon ourselves (see Mosiah 5:5-12).
The Lord observed, “now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (verse 6). This attitude of the people is similar to the imaginings and efforts of many in our day.
According to Genesis 11:7-9, what were the two things the Lord decided to do as His response to their wickedness? The Book of Mormon shows that one group was led by the Lord to the Americas, becoming known as the Jaredites (see Ether 1:33-43).
Genesis 11:10-31 Abraham
We have now concluded our study of the first two-thousand years (approximately) of God’s work among mankind, utilizing less than twenty pages of scripture. The next two-thousand years are covered throughout the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament; comprising over 1,500 pages of scripture.
Genesis 11:10-26 is the genealogy from Noah’s son Shem to Abram (Abraham), the next great prophet of the Old Testament (verses 10-26). The story line is set with this background: Abraham’s wife Sarai (Sarah) “was barren; she had no child” (verse 30). Abram and Sarai leave Ur of the Chaldees and settle for a time in Haran, with the ultimate plan “to go into the land of Canaan” (verse 31). All their travels were directed by the Lord, in order to fulfill His purposes.
If the scholars are correct:
- Ur is thought to be in the location of today’s Iraq, at the northwestern end of the Persian Gulf.
- Haran would be in the southeast of modern-day Turkey.
- Canaan was the name of the land that is now Israel.
- All this would make their journey an exceedingly long, northwest-turning-southwest arc (thus avoiding the impossible Arabian and Negev deserts).
- Their travel was approximately 700 miles from Ur to Haran, then another 600 miles from Haran to Canaan.
- We also know that Abraham later traveled to Egypt—about another 400 miles—and then returned to Canaan (see Genesis 12:10; 13:1, 3; see also Abraham 2:3, 15, 21).