The covenants of God begin with the covenant made with Noah. According to II Peter 3:3-7, there is a distinction between the “former heavens and earth” and the present heavens and earth. The ones from long ago were created in the beginning and was destroyed, being flooded with water. The “present heavens and earth are reserved for fire and kept for judgment and destruction of ungodly men”. In vs 13 we are told to anticipate new heavens and a new earth in the future. This understanding is foundational to the covenant with Noah.

This covenant is found in Gen. 8:20-9:17. After the flood, Noah exits the ark and builds an altar to the Lord and offers burnt offerings. The Lord makes a promise that the earth will not be flooded again because of man’s sin. This covenant made is with Noah, his sons and all human descendants. It is also made with the living creatures: birds, cattle and beasts of the earth. This is to all the generations.

The specific covenant is that the present earth will remain and while it remains, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter and day and night will continue. This uniformitarianism will establish the boundaries of the present heavens and earth and a flood will never again destroy all life.

The sign of the covenant is the rainbow which will be seen in the cloud and God will see it and remember and it will be the sign that God will keep his covenant. It is traditional in Judaism and Christianity to see and recognize by a blessing or prayer the covenant of God in the rainbow.

This covenant is important because it is used in the scripture to connect with the other four covenants. We will see in each of those covenants a claim that as long as day and night, season and the earth remain, God will maintain the covenants with Abraham, Israel, David and the New Covenant described by Jerimiah. One example will be given here.

In Jeremiah 33:24-26 God claims that the covenant with Abraham, David and Moses (Levitical Priests) will be rejected if and only if His covenant with day and night and his fixed patterns of heaven and earth are not in place. Of course that will not be. This places the other covenants as valid as long as the heavens and earth stand and becomes a significant pattern in the scriptures regarding the continuation of the covenants. It demonstrates that the covenant with Noah is foundational to and joined with the others.
Next we will consider the covenant with Abraham.

H Bruce Stokes, PhD