A Close Look at the Songs of Zion: When the Flood Waters Rise

by | Dec 19, 2022 | Music & Singalongs | 0 comments

While many of us have a favorite hymn from the beautifully inspired hymns of praise that have touched our hearts and brought tears to our eyes, The Songs of Zion are unique to our Church. They are songs that belong to a new time; they belong to a new era; they belong to our people. They are songs sent from the throne of God as a gift to The Church of Jesus Christ. They are inspirational and related to Christ and His promises of the latter-day times and events. This gift was given to our late Sister Arlene Buffington, as our songs of hope and joy, looking forward to the fulfillment of the kingdom of Zion, bathed in the latter-day glory of the restoration.

Today I’d like to consider No. 40. When the Flood Waters Rise by looking at the meaning and application of the song, because it’s too easy to sing without paying attention to the words and their meaning.


Verse 1 

Lo, the Great Ark of Safety, her doors open wide, 

And all who that enter find safety inside. 

There’s nothing alive on the waters of sin, 

And the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Ye must enter in.”

Verse 2 

Oh, the wind sounds a warning, the Ark sends a plea, 

“If you would be saved, then you must come to Me.” 

So scorn not the warning, for life quickly flies; 

They’ll be nobody laughing when the flood waters rise.

Verse 3 

With a life spent in wasting, with life spent in vain, 

With eating and drinking, with dreaming to gain. 

There’ll be nobody dreaming when the last dreamer dies, 

They’ll be no more time wasting when the flood waters rise.


For it’s too late to run when the tide rushes in, 

And there’s no man escaping the wages of sin. 

‘Tis written, these words on the darkening skies, 

Says, “There’s nothing can stand when the flood waters rise.

©1980 Arlene Lea Buffington 

Many of the messages from the Apostles over the recent years have referenced the importance of serving the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth, committing our lives and will to Him, and living more righteously as we engage and prepare for the latter-day work of the restored gospel. As we all discern the signs of the times, we are encouraged to prepare our hearts for the things that yet await The Church of Jesus Christ. 

While Noah’s ark provided a physical place of refuge, protection, and safety against the rising flood waters (Genesis chapters 6-8), we also recognize that the ark is a type of Christ, and this song further illustrates this. The Bible tells us that the world in Noah’s day had become so corrupt, filled with wickedness, evil, and violence, that God decided to cleanse it. The image of Christ portrayed in the ark offers many parallels.

  • Noah was instructed to make a single door in the side of the ark; it was the only entrance into the ark, and access was controlled by God. Likewise, Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9).
  • Noah was also instructed to cover the ark with a covering of pitch within and without. The pitch sealed the ark and made it watertight so that all inside would be saved. The words of King Benjamin reaffirm the salvation that comes through Christ, stating, “remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ…” (Helaman 5:9).
  • Finally, the ark carried all of its passengers safely to the destination that God had prepared for them (also see Ether chapter 6).

While we don’t have possession of the physical ark, we have been given a Great Ark of Safety — Christ and His Church! Interesting isn’t it, that this song was given in 1980 and in April 2022, the Priesthood of the Church accepted a vision as a revelation from God that has a parallel message! In the latter portion of that vision, the angel Gabriel said, “…Look now and what do you see?” I saw the World Operations Center of The Church of Jesus Christ in Greensburg, PA, and the Saints of God gathering there. They were running to the building to get inside as if to seek safety or shelter. I then saw a white wall erected around the conference center. It was an impenetrable barrier.

The Angel again spoke saying “Son of the latter day, see now how the Lord protects His own, how when you find yourself in the haven of God’s house, the Father, the Creator will protect and will preserve. “See now, see now, how you must flee to this haven, how you must find yourself within the confines of this safe place, safe by the hand of the Lord!

“Son of the latter day, what do you see?” I saw the auditorium of the conference center. There were gold plates, the records of The Book of Mormon and the sealed portion of the Brother of Jared sitting on the sacrament table. All eyes were focused on them. The Angel then said, “Son of the latter day, see now the truth that will come forth and be presented before you, before those who have found themselves anchored, anchored, anchored, in this haven of rest, this place of safety, this ark of safety that the Father has created. And see now how when this comes forth, it will deliver light unto the world! And then, and then, will you see the dawn break! And then, and then, will you see the miraculous glory of our Lord Jesus Christ descend now upon the people of God!

…the Gift of Tongues came forth followed by the Word of the Lord stating: “Thus saith the Father: Hear now the words of My servant Gabriel who has given this message to you. See now what is before you and know that your heart must be sure and your heart must be right and you must be anchored, anchored, anchored, to the principles of My Son, Jesus Christ, the Rock of Salvation that was given through Him and the sacrifice! Are you there? Is your vision clear? Are your eyes focused? Is there love in your heart or is there malice? Cleanse it now! Cleanse it now that you may see and you may be part, thus saith the Lord.” The experience ended.

The Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the entire Priesthood encourage us to stay within the Great Ark of Safety, The Church, (not the physical church building, but the impenetrable barrier that is our relationship with Christ and His Church). We’re admonished to clear our vision (focus) and purge our heart of malice, filling them instead with the love of God in order to see and participate in God’s unfolding plan and kingdom with Jesus. And we’re encouraged to study the scriptures—in particular, those that help us to understand the events that will befall our nation and the world as the Lord unfolds His plan. While many of these scriptures are difficult to understand, it’s important that everyone acquires a heartfelt understanding of them as we attend our scripture study lessons and worship services. Finally, this vision demonstrates God’s power to protect and preserve those who serve Him — just as the song tells us.

So while we’re affected by conditions of the world and the judgment upon it, the Lord will deliver His people. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever! We truly have a Great Ark of Safety — being held in the arms of Christ and being members of His Church. 

May God bless you.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.



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