Of every clean beast - So we find the distinction between clean and unclean animals existed long before the Mosaic law. This distinction seems to have been originally designed to mark those animals which were proper for sacrifice and food, from those that were not. See Leviticus 11.
- The Ark Was Entered
2. טהור ṭâhôr “clean, fit for food or sacrifice.”
4. יקוּם yeqûm “standing thing; what grows up, whether animal or plant.” Compare קמה qāmâh “stalk, or standing corn.”
Here is found the command to enter the ark. The general direction in the preceding chapter was given many years ago, before the ark was commenced. Now, when it is completed, a more specific command is issued. “For thee have I seen righteous before me.” Noah has accepted the mercy of God, is therefore set right in point of law, and walks aright in point of practice. The Lord recognizes this indication of an adopted and renewed son. “In this age” he and his were the solitary family so characterized.
Of all clean cattle. - Here the distinction of clean and unclean animals meets us without any previous notice. How it became known to Noah we are not informed. From the former direction it appears that the animals were to enter by pairs. Now it is further arranged that there are to be seven pairs of the clean cattle and fowl, and only one pair of the unclean.
Seven days after the issue of the command the rain is to commence, and continue for forty days and nights without ceasing. “Every standing thing” means every plant and animal on the land.
The execution of the command is recorded and fully particularized with the additional circumstance of the age of Noah. “The son of six hundred years,” in his six hundredth year. “Went they unto Noah.” They seem to have come under the influence of a special instinct, so that Noah did not require to gather them. Seven days were employed in receiving them, and storing provisions for them.
The flesh of dead animals was not the original food for man. Man was permitted to eat it after the Flood because all vegetation had been destroyed. But the curse pronounced upon man and the earth and every living thing has made strange and wonderful changes. Since the Flood the human race has been shortening its period of existence. Physical, mental, and moral degeneracy is rapidly increasing in these latter days.—Manuscript 3, 1897. 3SM 289.1Read in context »
Angels were sent to collect from the forest and field the beasts which God had created. Angels went before these animals, and they followed, two and two, male and female, and clean beasts by sevens. These beasts, from the most ferocious, down to the most gentle and harmless, peacefully and solemnly marched into the ark. The sky seemed clouded with birds of every description. They came flying to the ark, two and two, male and female, and the clean birds by sevens. The world looked on with wonder—some with fear, but they had become so hardened by rebellion that this most signal manifestation of God's power had but a momentary influence upon them. For seven days these animals were coming into the ark, and Noah was arranging them in the places prepared for them. SR 65.1
And as the doomed race beheld the sun shining in its glory and the earth clad in almost its Eden beauty, they drove away their rising fears by boisterous merriment, and by their deeds of violence seemed to be encouraging upon themselves the visitation of the already awakened wrath of God. SR 65.2
Everything was now ready for the closing of the ark, which could not have been done by Noah from within. An angel is seen by the scoffing multitude descending from heaven, clothed with brightness like the lightning. He closes that massive outer door, and then takes his course upward to heaven again. SR 65.3
Seven days were the family of Noah in the ark before the rain began to descend upon the earth. In this time they were arranging for their long stay while the waters should be upon the earth. And these were days of blasphemous merriment by the unbelieving multitude. They thought, because the prophecy of Noah was not fulfilled immediately after he entered the ark, that he was deceived and that it was impossible that the world could be destroyed by a flood. Previous to this there had been no rain upon the earth. A mist had risen from the waters, which God caused to descend at night like dew, reviving vegetation and causing it to flourish. SR 65.4Read in context »
There was hope for all the inhabitants of the Noachic world to enter the ark before the door was closed. After it was closed, those who entered were severely tried, for they were in the ark a full week before the rain came. O what fearful scoffing and mocking and defiance of God there was by those who had refused to enter! But after the week was ended, the rain began to fall gently. This was a new thing. The rain continued until every living thing was destroyed from the face of the earth. But one family—the family that entered the ark—was saved. TDG 56.4Read in context »
The people who lived before the flood ate animal food, and gratified their lusts until their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. Then the third dreadful curse rested upon the earth. The first curse was pronounced upon the posterity of Adam and upon the earth, because of disobedience. The second curse came upon the ground after Cain slew his brother Abel. The third most dreadful curse from God, came upon the earth at the flood. 4aSG 121.1
After the flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator, and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And he permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood the race began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years. There were a class of very large animals which perished at the flood. God knew that the strength of man would decrease, and these mammoth animals could not be controlled by feeble man. 4aSG 121.2
Sin has prevailed since the fall. While a few have remained faithful to God, the great majority have corrupted their ways before him. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was on account of their great wickedness. They gave loose rein to their intemperate appetites, then to their corrupt passions, until they were so debased, and their sins were so abominable, that their cup of iniquity was full, and they were consumed with fire from heaven. 4aSG 121.3
When the Lord brought his people from Egyptian bondage, he led them through the wilderness to prove them, and try them. He promised to be their God, and to take them to himself as his peculiar treasure. He did not prohibit their eating meat, but withheld it from them in a great measure. He gave them food which he designed that they should have, which was healthy, and of which they could eat freely. He rained their bread from Heaven, and gave them purest water out of the flinty rock. He made a covenant with them, that if they would obey him in all things, he would put no disease upon them. But the Israelites were not satisfied with the food which God gave them. They murmured against Moses and against God, and wished themselves back in Egypt, where they could sit by the flesh pots. God in his anger gave them flesh to gratify their lustful appetite, and great numbers of them died in the act of eating the meat for which they had lusted. While it was yet between their teeth the curse of God came upon them. God here teaches his people that he is displeased with their permitting their appetite to control them. The Israelites at times would prefer slavery, and even death, rather than to be deprived of meat. 4aSG 121.4Read in context »