Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #6 of Genesis, chapter 9 and we are going to read Genesis 9: 8-9:
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;
We started to talk about this in our last study and we saw that God is establishing His covenant with Noah and his sons and their descendants. This is the earliest covenant. There was mention of this covenant back in Genesis, chapter 6 when God gave Noah instructions to build the ark. This covenant that God is establishing with Noah and his sons predates the covenant made with Abraham by about 2,600 years and it would carry through to Isaac and Jacob, and so forth.
The language of a “covenant” means that God declared a truth or a promise. With Abraham, the covenant had to do with his seed and the land. It says in Genesis 17:2:
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Then it says in in Genesis 17:5-8:
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Here, God makes this covenant with Abraham and He speaks of a multitude of “seed” that will come forth from Abraham. That is part of the covenant. There will be a multitude. The seed of Abraham will be as the stars of the heaven for multitude. Also, the land of Canaan would be given to Abraham and his seed “for an everlasting possession,” so the covenant is an everlasting covenant.
The sign of the covenant given to Abraham was circumcision. The covenant was simply God giving certain truths that would apply to all the people of God. The “seed” is a reference to everyone that God would save. We know that because God tells us about this covenant in Galatians 3:15-17:
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
One thing we see right away is that the reference to “seed” is in the singular tense and it identifies with Christ. Christ would come through the line of Abraham. He was the promised seed. Isaac was a type and figure of Christ. God promised Abraham a “seed,” singular, who would be Jesus. Later in this chapter, it says in Galatians 3:29:
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Every one that God predestinated to salvation is Christ’s. Every one that Christ died for and paid their sin penalty at the foundation of the world belongs to Christ and each one is counted for the “seed” in Christ and heirs of the promise. The people of God are spiritual Jews. We are the spiritual descendants of Abraham. The promise was made to his “seed,” the Lord Jesus Christ and all that are in Him – all the elect.
The promise was not to physical Israel or the physical Jews or ones that were circumcised. There may be someone that was born in the physical line of Abraham and, perhaps, lives in Jerusalem today, but he is not a true believer and, therefore, is not of the “seed.” If he does not believe the entire Bible and he does not believe that Christ is the Messiah, will he receive the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession? Of course, he will not. The physical land of Canaan will be burned up at the end of the world and the individual that does not have Christ as his Saviour has no inheritance in the eternal Promised Land. This individual does not acknowledge God in the flesh as his Saviour, so he is not the elect of God. Anyone that is not saved will be destroyed with this creation at the last day. When the world burns, earthly Jerusalem and the physical land of Canaan will be destroyed. Those physical descendants of Abraham that have not been saved and have not been circumcised in their hearts (through salvation) will be burned along with every other unsaved person, including multitudes of professed Christians and multitudes of Muslims and multitudes of other religions and atheists. They will receive no everlasting possession.
The everlasting possession, as represented by the land of Canaan, is the new heaven and new earth. Only God’s people are the “seed” that are in Christ and are the true spiritual Jews and spiritual descendants of Abraham. The specific promises made to Abraham in that covenant will be fulfilled when the world ends and God’s people are translated out of this world in the resurrection or rapture and placed in the new creation. That will be the everlasting possession. It will not be like this current heaven and earth, but it will be an eternal habitation or possession. There will be no curse upon it and it will not see corruption and, therefore, the people of God will live forever in that glorious place.
So, when we are reading the word “covenant” it indicates promises that God makes and He always keeps His promises. He always keeps His covenants. For instance, it says in Hebrews 6:13-18:
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us…
God’s Word is full of promises and whenever God makes a promise or even whenever God has said anything, it is part of the covenant with mankind and it also part of the covenant He has made with those He has saved out of mankind. We can see this when we look at the word “covenant,” for instance, in Exodus 24:7-8:
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that JEHOVAH hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which JEHOVAH hath made with you concerning all these words.
This refers to ancient Israel. They heard the Law of God, the Book of the Covenant, and that Law was filled with commands and stipulations that must be obeyed. This was the covenant God made with Israel: obey and be blessed or disobey and be cursed. They entered in to a covenant with God and they said, “All that JEHOVAH hath said will we do, and be obedient.” Of course, they could not keep the covenant. That is man’s great failing. They have no ability to maintain the covenant that the Law of God placed upon them. It says in Exodus 34:27-28:
And JEHOVAH said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with JEHOVAH forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
The “book of the law” is the covenant and the Ten Commandments are the covenant; they are a figure that represents the whole Bible. The number “10” points to the completeness of whatever is in view and, in this case, it is the completeness of the commandments of God. God gives the completeness of His commandments in the 66 Books of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The last “jot and tittle” was written in the last word of the last Book, the Book of Revelation. Then God ended His communication with mankind regarding the giving of the Law – the commandments of God were finished. That is what the Ten Commandments represent. They represent the entire Word of God, the Holy Bible, and that is the covenant. It says in Romans, chapter 7 that all mankind is married to the Law of God and mankind is obligated to keep the Law and to be faithful to that covenant between man and the Word of God.
We know that mankind is unable to do this perfectly and that is why God refers to people as “adulterers and adulteresses.” They break the Law. Notice what God says in Isaiah, chapter 24 where God emphasizes His judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth. It says in Isaiah 24:5:
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
It is not like they broke the covenant with Abraham, but they broke the covenant made with mankind. We see the implication of this regarding the covenant in Genesis, chapter 9:9-13:
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.
God has a covenant with His people. He has a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and with Noah and his seed; He has a covenant with animals, the highest form of creation besides mankind. Then God says that He has a covenant with earth. God has a covenant with all living creatures. He has a covenant with mankind, the highest form of His creatures and made in the image of God. Therefore, man has a special relationship with God, even in his fallen state. God still considers man a responsible agent that is obligated to keep the covenant God made with him. That covenant is the Law of God.
That is why there are nations of people that never heard the written Word of God, the Bible, but they have the Law of God written upon their hearts and they have the heavens that declare the glory of God. Mankind intuitively knows there is “right and wrong,” as far as adultery, lying, stealing, murder, and so forth. Mankind has these things written on their hearts, so there is no excuse, as God says in Romans, chapter 1. We tend to think there is an excuse for people that never heard the commandments of God in the Bible and, yet, God does not accept that as an excuse. It says in Romans 1:17-20:
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
There is no justification. There is no way of dismissing the condemnation of the Law against mankind for breaking the everlasting covenant. It is an everlasting covenant because the Word of God is everlasting and the whole Word of God is the covenant. Mankind has transgressed and broken that covenant.
In Genesis, chapter 9 there is a focus on God speaking and promising that after the flood He will never again cut off all flesh by the waters of a flood. This is the declaration of God. Of course, everything God says is true and faithful. He is entering in to a covenant with mankind concerning this point and this seems to be the primary emphasis in Genesis 9, where it says in Genesis 9:11:
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood…
Some people try to say, “God cannot end the world and cut off all flesh at the end of time because He has said He would not do it after the flood, in Genesis, chapter 9.” They are saying it would be a violation of the covenant God made at that time if He later ended the world and destroyed all the people, the animals and the earth itself, but they are reading with “rose-colored glasses” and seeing things they want to see. Very definitely, God specified what He meant. God did not simply say, “Neither shall all flesh be cut off any more,” but He said, “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.” If the Lord planned on bringing about the final destruction of this earth with another flood, then that would be a violation of His covenant or His Word, but He will not do that. There will not be another worldwide flood, but if God destroys the world with fire (as He says He will do, in 2Peter, chapter 3), then He has not violated His covenant. He will be destroyed unsaved people, all the animals and the earth by fire, so there is no violation. God has upheld the decree He made in Genesis, chapter 9 for over seven thousand years; there has never been another worldwide flood.
God is very careful concerning what He says and when He says something He certainly means it. He will never violate His own Law, which would be a violation of His own covenant. This is one of the reasons the Bible tells us that God magnifies His Word (the Law) above all His name. He is bound by His own covenant or the Laws that He stipulates. Any Law that God makes is a covenant between Him and mankind, whether it be the covenant made with Abraham regarding his seed and the land or whether it be the covenant made with Noah and his seed regarding not destroying the earth again with the waters of a flood. God keeps His Law perfectly. God is under His own Law.
Another example is the Law that says that if you marry, you are married until death: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” God is under that Law. It is a covenant He has made that has application for mankind in this world, but it also has an ongoing, eternal application between God’s elect, the bride, and God as the Husband. It will continue into the wonderful eternal future that awaits us. God will uphold that covenant forever and ever because His Law demands it. His Law decrees it and God has magnified His Law, the covenant, above His name. Because He is God, the Almighty Everlasting One who has given the Law, He will not say, “I am above it. It does not apply to me. It has no constraint upon me.” God submits to it. He enters in to a covenant with mankind, the earth or whatever His Word has declared.