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125 God's Covenant with All Life Genesis 9 Part 1

Updated: May 14, 2023

In this podcast we review the many covenants that God has made with his people. We discuss the importance of blood as well as the rainbow that God used to assure his people that he would never again destroy the world with a flood.

126 Genesis 9 a
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Genesis 9 God’s Covenant with all Life

God’s first post flood speech

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables

God only blesses Noah and his sons by name in the flood account. Women, while saved in the ark are not blessed or named.

There is a timeline progression in the food given man. In the garden it was fruit (2:16), outside the garden it was grains (3:18), after the flood it includes animals (9:3). People were probably eating animals before the flood as 7 pairs of clean animals were taken into the ark but it is now regulated with the exclusion of blood. Now all life will be afraid of man. Terror and fear are now part of the relationship between man and animals. Is this because man will now eat birds, animals and fish? This seems to be the reason since in the ark man and animals must have had a good relationship to survive over a year at such close quarters.

4 But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.

Blood is prohibited in no uncertain terms here and elsewhere (Leviticus 3:17; 7:26-27; 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23; 14:21). Those who ate blood were to be executed.

The health reason for the prohibition is the excretoty or waste particles and hormones contained in the blood of an animal about to be killed. USDA-mandated warnings found in modern-day menus: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.” In ancient cultures, the risk could have been even higher, given the lower standards for food safety.

The moral reason is that the blood ransomed the guilty from guilt and punishment when it was poured out as part of the sacrifice.

Generally, the shed blood is seen as prefiguring the blood of Jesus but the Hebrews did not seem to connect the death of the sacrifices with Messiah’s death. When Jesus arrived as the Messiah his contemporaries believed Messiah would live forever (Podcast 109-John 12:34 based on Psalm 89:4, 36; 130:4).

The early church wanted Christians to abstain from blood consumption and sexual promiscuity (Acts 15:20) to distance themselves from pagan practices.

Draining the blood meant that the animal was unconscious and was thus a humane way of ensuring the animal died with minimal suffering.

5 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image.

The reason given for executing murderers is the victims carry the image of God and this makes their life sacred. This law, no doubt, parallels the law of Egypt where the Pharaoh’s life was sacred. Notice there is no prohibition for man killing animals.

7 Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

This is a repetition of Geneses 1:28 and the first verse of this chapter. This statement is in contrast to the killing rules. The intent is to focus on life not on death.

What would have happened to the world population if there was no limitation or death. Some animals fill the space they have and then stop producing offspring. In other instances predators increase to control the population. Today we have 8 billion people on the planet. Were the Old Testament curses of wild animals, war, famine and disease (Ezekiel 14:21) there to limit the population? Robert Malthus (1766- 1834), the father of economics, used three of these curses, war, famine and disease, in his theory of population limitation.

God’s second post flood speech

8 Then God told Noah and his sons, 9 “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

This covenant does not have conditions. It consists of a unilateral or sovereign promise made by God to man and animals that a universal flood would never occur again. God does not take responsibility for the flood. He promises

"Both Noah and Abraham represent new beginnings in the course of events recorded in Genesis. Both are marked by God’s promise of blessing and his gift of the covenant." [Sailhamer, "Genesis," p. 91.]

Here are some of the covenants made with Seth’s and Shem’s line that we know about.

Creation covenant (Genesis 1:28), Salvation covenant (Genesis 3:15), Noah covenant (Genesis 9, Abram covenant (Genesis 15), Jacob covenant (Genesis 28:13-19), Mosaic/Old covenant (Exodus 3:17; 19:5-6), Joshua covenant (Joshua 1:1-5), Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7: 8-29), New covenant (Jeremiah 31:31- 34), Christ/New covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13)

12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you andwith all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

Human beings are always seeking to explain their environments. This is what science is all about. It is an attempt to move from myth and magic to objective explanation of observed phenomenon. For example, the predictive ability of astronomy is a radical improvement on the predictive ability of astrology.

Verses 12-17 are an explanation of why we have a rainbow after the flood. The rainbow is a world wide phenomenon adding to the evidence that the flood was universal. This Covenant sign parallels the Sabbath covenant and the idea of a permanent male-female relationship

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