THE NOAHIC COVENANT (Part I)

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1 THE NOAHIC COVENANT (Part I) Noah holds a unique position in Scripture as the bridge between two periods in time, - creation to the flood, and from the flood to the end of the present age. The apostle Peter described the years that spanned from creation to the flood, II Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. He followed that up by describing the period since then, 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. Noah was the link between these two ages. He was saved out of the old, and the Lord brought him into the new. From Adam to Noah the Edenic Covenant was in operation, i.e. the conditional covenant that depended upon Adam and Eve and their descendants to keep the conditions God had set out. However, they failed miserably, and their sinful rebellion increased so that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). This meant the Edenic Covenant was in ruins, - it had been shattered by man s defiance of God It was obsolete. There followed a significant period of years, - from the creation of the world to the Flood. During that time Scripture makes no mention of another covenant. There were some occasions when the grace of God shone in the hearts of a minority, but generally v.11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. It is relevant, at this point, to ask how long ago we are referring to... and actually, the Bible gives us the answer as to when exactly the flood was so we can place Noah in the proper period of history. Now, of course, there are many who would dispute the validity of the records of Scripture. However, if we say we believe God s Word to be inspired and without error then we will accept what it teaches us from its opening verse!... Therefore, we can be confident with what God clearly sets out in His Word for us to believe! God created the heavens and the earth (the year of the world) Gen. 1-2 Year 0 Anno Mundi Adam became the father of Seth at 130 Gen. 5: =130 Seth became the father of Enosh at 105 Gen. 5: =235 Enosh became the father of Cainan at 90 Gen. 5: =325 Cainan became the father of Mahalalel at 70 Gen. 5: =395 Mahalalel became the father of Jared at 65 Gen. 5: =460

2 Jared became the father of Enoch at 162 Gen. 5: =622 Enoch became the father of Methuselah at 65 Gen. 5: =687 Methuselah became the father of Lamech at 187 Gen. 5: =874 Lamech became the father of Noah at 182 Gen. 5: =1056 The Flood began when Noah was 600 Gen. 7: =1656 According to these calculations 1,656 years elapsed from the creation until the Flood. Now, we must acknowledge we cannot claim absolute exactness, because, - for example, - when Gen. 5:3 declares Adam became the father of Seth at 130 he could have been 130 years old and one month or he could have been 130 years old and eleven months Therefore, we must allow for some adjustment within an acceptable framework. A highly-respected and leading source that is used comes from the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher ( ). From the literal reading of Scripture, - accompanied with relevant and reliable historical sources, - he rigidly used the dates given in the Bible to present the earth being created in 4004 BC. Obviously, this is ridiculously at odds with modern science, but for those of us who adhere to a young earth, it is consistent with what the Bible teaches. Incidentally, one of the most influential scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton ( ), also calculated the world to have been formed c. 4000BC. Judaism teaches a similar dating, is the year 5775 Anno Mundi, since the creation of the world. The Early Church Fathers taught a comparable timescale, as did all the Reformers. It wasn t until the so-called Age of Enlightenment in the late seventeenth century that science began to promote the dawn of creation in terms of ever-increasing numbers of years. However, the Bible presents the figures we have mentioned, and if we claim to accept the Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, then we are bound to uphold what it teaches. Therefore, working on the timescale given by Ussher s adherence to the strict Biblical dating, we can do some sums Ussher s calculated date for the creation of the world 4004 BC From creation to the 600 th year of Noah, i.e. when the Flood came 1656 years Therefore, on these calculations, the date for the Flood is = 2348 BC We are in the year 2014, so add , to arrive at 4362 years Now, since there was no year zero, - i.e. our calendar jumps from 1BC to 1AD, - according to the Biblical details, the Flood occurred 4361 years ago. That also means, according to the same Biblical figures, the world was only created in or around 6,017 years ago. 2

3 3 So, during those opening 1,656 years since creation to the Flood, - and bearing in mind some of those early years were untainted by sin, - God s patience was wearing thin because of man s rebellion. Peter explained, - and the best way to understand Scripture is when Scripture explains itself, - the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing (I Peter 3:19). In other words, God waited in order to give the ungodly the opportunity to repent of their sins. And we know that because Noah was a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5). However, the people would not listen, - his preaching requiring repentance was to no avail, he prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world (Heb. 11:7). No matter what he did and what he preached, the people continued to wallow in their sin until God s patience ran out and, as a consequence, the ungodly were swept from the earth in the flood and so ended the first great period in the history of the world. All the world was judged, for the Flood extended worldwide. That is the reason, then, for Noah being set apart by God for the unconditional covenant God would make with him. Every individual of the human race, - with the exception of Noah and his family, - would perish under God s wrath. Then, in due time the Flood waters subsided, and the ark rested on one of the mountains of Ararat in the highest region of modern-day Turkey. Noah and his family disembarked and, once again, he and his offspring were given the responsibilities God had previously given to Adam and Eve to care for His creation. The first thing Noah did was to honour and acknowledge Jehovah keeping and sustaining power. You see, before the flood God had informed him of His intentions, Gen. 6:17 behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish [future tense] my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And the Lord also required something more, 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

4 4 So, after the Lord saw Noah doing what he was told to do, and after the Lord did what He said He would do by bringing the flood upon the earth, He established Noah once more, and Noah recognised the faithfulness of God towards him and his family, Gen. 8:20 Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. He expressed his gratitude to God for the rich grace and favour shown towards him. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. God, then, entered into a covenant relationship with the new head of the human race. Noah and his family were few in number, their means were very meagre and sparse, challenging days lay ahead, but the Lord promised, 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. He made a covenant with Noah that has continued to this very day not to bring another such flood. 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. This is the background to the covenant with Noah. God preserved Noah from out of the first earth and into the second. He established him when the waters subsided and he began working on the dry earth once more. Through Noah, the promise God had made in Gen. 3:15 (I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel) would continue. God did not start all over again as if He had made a mistake, or as if man s sin problem was beyond His control. No, He had a purpose in the Flood, and He also had a purpose in keeping Noah and his family.

5 5 We have not examined the covenant yet. We have merely considered the solemn circumstances leading up to it We shall examine the covenant in our next study. But here is a word of encouragement This was a covenant founded upon grace, 6:8 Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It was also an unconditional covenant for God s Name was the signatory. The saving of Noah s family from the Flood depended upon nothing other than God s grace and that was the basis of the covenant. God s grace alone. That is the hope of every believer, - God s free and sovereign grace, Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Like the ark, His unconditional covenant of grace will bring His redeemed out of this present dispensation and into the new. II Peter 3:10 the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation. Noah trusted the covenant-making and the covenant-keeping God. Yes indeed, and may the Lord find that same confidence in His people here too. Amen.

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