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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 151-200 (Found - Inclusiveness)

F.E. Marsh :: 170. God's Covenant with Noah

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GENESIS 9:1-17

A COVENANT usually means a compact between two parties, delivered in solemn form, and requiring mutual engagements. As employed in Scripture, from the nature of the case, it must also be extended to mean God’s promise by which He binds Himself to His creatures without terms, absolutely (Jer. 33:20; Ex. 34:10). Gesenius derives the term from the verb “to cut” (Isa. 57:8, margin), as it is a Hebrew phrase “to cut a covenant,” and it was customary for the purpose of ratifying such, to divide an animal in parts (Gen. 15:10, 17). Others derive it from the verb “to eat together,” thus explaining the phrase “covenant of salt” (Num. 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5).

  1. Divine Covenant. “I, behold, I,” &c. (Gen 9:9). The origin of the covenant is in God Himself. He also is the One who undertakes to fulfil all the conditions of the covenant. As illustrating this, notice how often the Lord uses the pronoun “I.” “Thou shalt” is a command, but no power to perform. “I will” is the Lord acting as we trust Him, and fulfilling His own word.
  2. Sure Covenant. God assures Noah there shall not “any more” be a flood, &c. Note the “any more’s” of Gen 9:11, and the “no more” of Gen 9:15. When the Lord says “no more” there is an end to the matter, and we may be sure that He will fully fulfil His word. When we have a “Thus saith the Lord” for anything we have a rock upon which we can build, and no storm can overthrow us. Notice three “no more’s” of the New Testament as illustrating: Atonement (Heb. 10:18, 26). Absolution (Heb. 10:17; 8:8). Abiding (John 15:4).
  3. Ratified Covenant. The bow in the cloud is God’s sign and seal that He will surely keep to His covenant. God has set the bow of Christ’s atonement in the dark cloud of our sin. He has set the bow of His consolation in the dark cloud of trial; the bow of His promise in the cloud of difficulty; and the bow of His coming again in the dark cloud of bereavement. Law says, “How can we render thanks enough for this superadded pearl in our diadem of encouragements! We are thus led to look for our bow on the cloud of every threatening storm. In the world of nature it is not always visible; but in the world of grace it ever shines. When the darkest clouds thicken around us the Sun of Righteousness is neither set nor has eclipse, and His ready smile converts the drops into an arch of peace.”
  4. Extent of the Covenant. “Every living creature,” &c. (Gen 9:15). The covenant extends to “all flesh.” The animal creation was destroyed, excepting those who were in the ark, but God says it shall not be so again. The animal creation has come under the curse of sin, but under Christ and in the Millennium it will be “delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19-23), and the scene depicted in Isaiah 11 shall be literally fulfilled.
  5. Perpetual Covenant. “Everlasting covenant” (Gen 9:16), that is, to last until it shall be needed no more. We cannot apply the adjective “everlasting” to nothing. As long as the covenant is needed it is in force. When the conditions that called forth the covenant no longer exist, then it can no longer apply. This, which would at first sight seem to be against “eternal punishment,” is really an illustration of it, for the sinner can never cease to be; therefore the punishment (whatever it is) is always applied. How comforting it should be to the child of God that he is related to the eternal God, saved in an eternal salvation, quickened in an eternal life, comforted with eternal consolation, indwelt by the eternal Spirit, united to the eternal Saviour, kept for an eternal inheritance, and secured by an eternal covenant.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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