Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #5 of Genesis, chapter 9 and we are going to read Genesis 9: 7:
And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
This verse may seem like it is overdoing it as far as God commanding Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply. God had already said in Genesis 9:1:
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
We went through the verses where the Lord emphasized not eating flesh with the blood and where He declared that if anyone shed another person’s blood, his blood must be shed. Then He goes right back to commanding, “And, you, be ye fruitful, and multiply.” And if that were not enough, He adds, “bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” They were told to multiply twice in this verse after they had already been commanded to multiply, in verse 1. Why is the Lord stressing His command to “multiply” to this degree? Why is it so significant? We can be sure God is highlighting this idea. This is the Bible and God’s Word is Law and if God says something just once, it is the Law. There is no need for God to say it a second and third time or many times. When this happens, we know we should look closer at what God is saying. We are going to do that.
We have already discussed the physical aspects of this command to multiply. Man is subject to the Law of God because all human beings are “married” to the Law of God, in our fallen condition. God’s elect are made “dead to the law” upon salvation, so they could be married to the Lord Jesus Christ. All those that remain unsaved are still married to the Law of God. This is spelled out in Romans, chapter 7. There is a spiritual marriage between mankind and the Word of God, the Bible, and when mankind transgresses His Law God views them as adulterous and they have committed spiritual fornication against God and His Word. When God gives a command, all human beings are subject to it. All the unsaved are subject to His command because they are subject to the Law of God and all the elect are subject to it in the sense that they have a desire to do the will of God: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” The elect have a different relationship to the Law because of their salvation and they have a good desire to do the will of God to show forth their love for Christ. The unsaved are bound to the law and obligated to keep it and when they disobey the Law is pronouncing death upon them: “The wages of sin is death.”
So, God is commanding all human beings, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” This works itself out through marriage. If an individual is unmarried and living with someone and they begin to have children, some might say, “I am being obedient to God. I am being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth.” However, this Law must be understood in light of everything the Bible says and God stipulates elsewhere that children are a blessing that He gives through marriage. Anyone having sexual relationship outside of marriage is committing spiritual adultery. Yes, children can be conceived and born into the world in that way, but that is not what God means when He says, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
We have already talked about the fact that a child of God desires to do the will of God and they will not engage in birth control and they certainly would not abort their child. They will submit to the Law of God and leave childbearing in God’s hands. They will say, “Whatever your will is, Lord, whether we have one child or 10, but will not do anything to usurp your authority. You control it and you are the one that blesses the physical union to bring forth children.”
We recognize this regarding physical fruitfulness, but since God is repeating it, we need to look once more at the command to be fruitful and multiply. The word “multiply” is Strong’s #7235 and it is used twice in verse 7 and it was used in verse 1. When we look at this word, we find that it is also used in relationship to “spiritual multiplication.” It says in Deuteronomy 8:1:
All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which JEHOVAH sware unto your fathers.
We see the same word translated as “multiply,” but notice how it is being used regarding obeying God’s commandments. If you obey His commandments, you may live and multiply and possess the Promised Land. There are two ways to obey God’s commandments. One way is to place yourself under the whole Law; you are married to the Law and the Law demands faithfulness on every point of the Law. However, no one can do this and that will always result in failure and coming under the condemnation of the Law. The “jealous husband” will stone the transgressor to death, spiritually speaking, because of the breaking of the Law. The second way to obey God’s commandments is for God to save that person and give him a new heart and a new spirit that is perfect and able to keep the Law of God without sin. That is what the new born again heart does and that is why we are told in 1John that the person that is born again is “without sin.” There is no sin because it is a resurrected heart, just as our resurrected bodies that we will get at the end of this world will be perfect and without sin. In this life, when God saves us we have no sin in our soul existence and, therefore, we keep God’s commandments and we “live” and “multiply” and we “go in and possess the land.” We have citizenship in the kingdom of God and we are just waiting for that final day of transference when our bodies will be “new” and we enter in to the new heaven and new earth.
It is said again in Deuteronomy 30:16:
In that I command thee this day to love JEHOVAH thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and JEHOVAH thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
Again, we see that to love God and walk in His ways and to keep His commandments is what leads to us “multiplying” in a spiritual sense. It is the way by which entry is gained into the Promised Land, the kingdom of God.
It says in Exodus 1:7:
And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
This is an historical and physical reference to the multiplication of the people of Israel during their captivity in the land of Egypt, but it spiritually points to the multiplication of spiritual Israel in this world (as typified by Egypt) as God saves people over the course of time out of every nation. We see the same reference to words like “fruitful,” “multiplied” and “increased abundantly.” To see it even more clearly, it says Genesis 17:1-2:
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, JEHOVAH appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Here, we see in verse 1 how it relates to the verses we read in Deuteronomy 8:1 and Deuteronomy 30:16, regarding keeping God’s commandments in order to live and multiply. Here, God speaks of us being “perfect” and the only way to be perfect is to keep every Law or commandment. The only way that can be accomplished is through salvation. After God saves us, we have the ability in our new souls to be perfect and to keep His commandments. Anyone attempting to become saved through keeping the Law will come under the Law’s condemnation. Notice that is says, “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.”
It goes on to say in Genesis 17:6:
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
A similar statement is made in Genesis 22:15-18:
And the angel of JEHOVAH called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith JEHOVAH, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
This is the promise or the covenant God made with Abraham concerning his “seed.” We will take a closer look at this later, but the seed was used in the singular tense back in Genesis, chapter 17, which pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ, but all the elect are in Christ and we are counted for the “seed,” plural tense. That is what God had in mind when He said, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven.” The only way God can multiply the seed of the elect is through the sending forth of the Gospel into the world and blessing that Word to the ears of those that hear it: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That is why we read of God’s wonderful completion of His salvation program in Revelation 7:9-10:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
The great multitude became saved and we are told later in this chapter that they are those that came out of “great tribulation.” God multiplied the “seed” until the last one whose name had been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life had become saved, so when Genesis 9:7 says, “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein,” it does have a spiritual dimension. It points to the sending forth of the Gospel and as people were “begotten” through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit blessed the Word to the heart of the elect and they became saved. They were begotten or born again and the Word of God has been “fruitful” and God’s people have been “fruitful” in their faithfulness in sharing the Word that resulted in the new birth for many. So, this commandment to Noah was looking forward thousands of years and it would be in effect all during the Old Testament period and the New Testament period of the church age and, especially, during the last 17 years of the Great Tribulation during the Latter Rain period when the great multitude were saved. There was multiplying of the seed and God’s people would be fruitful and obedient to this command.
Let us go on to Genesis 9:8-15:
And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 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. 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. 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: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 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.
I will stop reading there. God is speaking to Noah, once again, and to his sons, saying: “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you.” It sounds very much like the covenant God would make with Abraham over 2,500 years later. God will make the covenant with Abram and will change his name to Abraham and the covenant will be with his seed (singular). Here in Genesis, chapter 9 the covenant is with Noah and his seed and his sons and all the later descendants. In Genesis 9, verse 9 the Hebrew word translated as “seed” is in the plural tense, not the singular tense. God apparently reserved that for the later declaration He would make to Abraham, but the covenant idea is the same picture. Noah is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, so God makes the covenant with Noah and his seed. Noah’s sons would represent the elect people of God, just as Christ is the “seed” and all the elect in Him are counted for the “seed.”
We saw this at an earlier time back in Genesis, chapter 6 where we saw the word translated as “covenant.” It says in Genesis 6:18:
But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
When we looked at this verse we saw that God was picturing His salvation program. It is the covenant of the Gospel or the Word of God and it was foretelling all that would enter in to the ark or all that would ever become saved. It was prefiguring predestination and God’s entire salvation program. These are the ones God makes a covenant with, as it pictures Christ and His elect people. So, we have an early covenant that was made with a child of God, as Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, just as God would make the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It represents the covenant made with all the people of God.
The sign of the covenant made with Abraham was circumcision. The sign or token of the covenant made with Noah was the “bow” placed in the clouds, as it says in Genesis 9:13: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” God made a covenant with Noah and He made a covenant with the animals and He made a covenant with the earth and He testified that He would not again destroy the world with a flood. God has upheld His end of that covenant all through history. There have been local floods and, perhaps, even some cities and town have flooded. People can die in floods when there has been a hurricane or storm, but insofar as the entire world is concerned, there has never been another incident of a worldwide flood. God had made special preparation to carry out the flood of Noah’s day and He has no plans to repeat it. When we see rains storms today, we can look up in the sky and sometimes we see a rainbow. It is a reminder to us that in the year 4989BC, which was over seven thousand years ago, God set His bow in the clouds. We read nothing about a rainbow before this time, so God implemented rainbows from 4989BC to our present time.
In certain weather conditions a rainbow appears and God is the author of the rainbow. He designed it. He causes it and it makes an appearance and when we see a rainbow it is a wondrous thing. It is full of colors and it is very attractive and it causes our eyes to look up to the sky and we say to friends or family, “Wow! Look at that rainbow!” Whether people are aware of it, or not, the rainbow was set there by God as a testimony and promise that He would not again destroy the earth with a flood. Of course, that does not mean He will not destroy the world by fire, as 2Peter reveals that this earth and creation will be destroyed by a fire, but never again by a flood.