God’s Covenant Through Noah 

Here are the main features of God’s Covenant through Noah:

 

         The parties involved in this covenant were God, Noah, his sons, their descendants, every living creature and the earth (see Genesis 9:8-17). This covenant was not just with God’s people.

         This covenant will last forever (Genesis 9:6).

         The details of this covenant are recorded in Genesis 8:20-9:17.

         Some of the main blessings promised by God through this covenant are listed in Genesis 8:21-9:3: “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’ So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be, fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.’”

         This covenant God made through Noah was based on His common grace to all humans – righteous and unrighteous, and not just to the righteous. Such grace was totally unmerited or undeserved. Except for God’s gracious and merciful character expressed in Jesus’ later death, God would not have made this covenant with Noah, his sons and all future humans. This is because all humans deserve physical death because of their personal sins and imputed sin from Adam (see Ezekiel 18:4-32, Romans 1:29-32, 5:15, 5:17 and 6:23). All of us deserve to be punished by death through a flood or some other means.

Note Genesis 8:20-21 is the introduction to the Noahic Covenant and shows that after Noah sacrificed burnt offerings to God, God smelled the soothing aroma of the sacrifices and then pronounced this covenant. God was pleased with these substitutionary blood sacrifices because they were a symbolic representation of Jesus’ future death.

         The Noahic Covenant included commands about multiplying and filling the earth with humans, eating animals, birds and fish, not eating meat with blood in it and capital punishment for murderers (see Genesis 9:1-7). But God’s promise about never destroying all inhabitants on Earth by a flood was not conditioned on obedience to these commands.

         The sign of this covenant does not involve any human participation like that commanded in relation to circumcision (the sign in both the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants) or water baptism (the sign in the New Covenant). The sign in God’s covenant with Noah was a rainbow provided by Him. Some Bible teachers believe the sign of the rainbow will cease at the time of the creation of the New Heavens and Earth.

 

Bible Study Question

 

1.              What are the main features of God’s covenant with Noah?

 

 


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