Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What Is The Noahic Covenant? - Genesis 9:12-17 Bible Commentary

What is the Noahic Covenant? The Noahic Covenant is a promise that God made shortly after the global flood described in Genesis 7 and 8. Its contents are rather simple: God promised to never again send a global flood to destroy every creature (man and animal) living upon the earth.

The Noahic Covenant is called "Noahic" because the covenant is specifically for people who are related to Noah. Since Noah and his family were the only ones to live through the flood, you can be certain of the fact that the Noahic Covenant also applies to you. It does not matter who you are or what the color of your skin is, your lineage (in some way or another) can be traced back to Noah. In fact, everyone who has ever lived in the post-flood world can trace their lineage back to Noah (and ultimately back Adam, the first man on Earth).

Even if you have never read the flood narrative in the Bible, you probably know a few things about the flood from various other sources. First, you probably know that there was a guy named Noah. Second, you probably know there was a boat, a lot of animals, and a flood. And third, you probably know that there was a rainbow. But what did the rainbow mean?

Simply put, the rainbow was (and still is) the sign of the Noahic covenant. After the flood, God turned the rainbow into a visible reminder that He would never again flood the entire earth. As the book of Genesis states:
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth." (Genesis 9:12-17)
One common objection against the Noahic Covenant is that floods kill people all around the world on a regular basis. Such floods, however, are merely local floods, and the Noahic covenant has nothing to say about local floods. The only thing that God promised in the Noahic Covenant is that He would never send another flood to destroy all flesh (Genesis 9:15)— in other words, God only promised to never again send a global flood.

Another possible misunderstanding of the Noahic Covenant is to conclude that God promised to never again destroy all flesh. This is a misunderstanding, because God only promised not to do so through the means of a global flood. The day is in fact coming when God will bring an end to all flesh on the earth. The next time, however, He will not do this with a global flood, but with fire:
By the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

Related Posts:
God's Covenant With Noah: Promised - Genesis 6:18
God's Covenant With Noah: Fulfilled - Genesis 9:8-11
How Man's Diet Changed After The Flood - Genesis 9:3-4
God Chooses To Be More Merciful To The Post-Flood World - Genesis 8:21

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