The Noahic Covenant
In the Noahic Covenant, God told Noah and his sons the following: “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:9-11).
And the Lord gave a sign in the Noahic Covenant: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow 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; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
“The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:12-17).
God desired to give Noah and his descendants, in the Noahic Covenant, a strong affirmation of the continuance of the human race and the animal kingdom. Territories might be destroyed and humans and animals may be killed in a large extent, but never again would there be a universal destruction of the earth by a flood.
However, this promise does not mean that God will never destroy the earth again by a different method other than water. The Lord foretold that He will, in justice, destroy the earth for the wickedness of its inhabitants by fire at the end of time (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 11; Revelation 20:9).
God gave the rainbow as a token of His Noahic Covenant, for man looks for signs (Matthew 24:3; 1 Corinthians 1:22). So, God in His mercy provided them with one. The rainbow, as a natural phenomenon, was a proper symbol of God’s promise never to destroy the earth again by a flood.
As the climatic conditions of the earth would be very different after the Flood, and rains would replace the dew to water the ground, something was needed to calm the fears of men each time rain began to fall. Thus, the rainbow is a proof to man that the rain will bring goodness and not universal destruction.
The rainbow surrounds God’s throne (Revelation 4:3). And it represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is a sign of the mercy of God toward the repentant sinner. “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5).
The Noahic Covenant and the setting of the rainbow as a token of God’s promise that there would never be a universal flood, implies that the rainbow was seen for the first time. This is an indication that there was no rain before the Flood because the rainbow is formed by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s light through the raindrops on which the rays fall.
The Noahic Covenant between God and Noah serves as a constant reminder to the consequences of sin. God created the world perfect but because of sin, earth was destroyed. But now a new beginning was made possible through God’s grace (John 3:16). Only the obedient members of the antediluvians had survived the Flood. And now, there is hope to escape the final destruction for all those that choose to obey God.
In His service,