And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have confirmed between Me and every creature on earth.” (Genesis 9:12-17)
Biblical history is best understood as a series of covenants. The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. A Biblical covenant is an agreement between God and Man, to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities. Covenants can give us a grand view of the Lord’s plan.
The Bible speaks of seven different covenants. In this message, we examine the Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants.
The Noahic Covenant
By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
The Noahic Covenant was an unconditional covenant between God and Noah (specifically) and humanity (generally). After the Flood, God promised humanity that He would never again destroy all life on earth with a Flood. God gave the rainbow as the sign of the covenant, a promise that the entire earth would never again flood and a reminder that God can and will judge sin.
The wickedness of man was great, the earth had become filled with violence, and God was grieved. However, one man named Noah found grace in the eyes of God. About 2,350 B. C. God destroyed the wicked by flooding the earth with water. During the flood, he saved Noah and his family by protecting them in a large boat along with animals of every kind. After the flood waters had receded, God confirmed a covenant with Noah:
“I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life.
Whoever sheds man’s blood,
his blood will be shed by man,
for God made man in His image.
But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”
Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, “Understand that I am confirming My covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you—birds, livestock, and all wildlife of the earth that are with you—all the animals of the earth that came out of the ark. I confirm My covenant with you that never again will every creature be wiped out by the waters of a flood; there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have confirmed between Me and every creature on earth.” (Genesis 9:8-17)
The Abrahamic Covenant
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)
I will make you into a great nation,
I will bless you,
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse those who treat you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:2-3)
About 2,000 B. C. God appeared to a man named Abram and told him to leave where he was and to go into another land that God would show him. Abram had faith in God, obeyed him, and this pleased God.
After these events, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield;
your reward will be very great.
But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Look, You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.”
Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6)
God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham (which means father of many nations). God told Abraham that in his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed, because he obeyed God’s voice. Abraham gave birth to Isaac, Isaac gave birth to Jacob, and Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Israel had twelve sons who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. Another provision in the Abrahamic Covenant is that the families of the world will be blessed through the physical line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). This is a reference to the Messiah, who would come from the line of Abraham.
The Judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah
Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.” Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.” (Genesis 18:17-21)
What merited the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not just the sin of homosexuality, but the widespread culture and promotion of a wicked and violent lifestyle. It reached the point were the Lord had to intervene, just like He did in the time of Noah. The citizens had degenerated to the level of total depravity. They held a gay pride march directly to Lot’s house:
The two angels entered Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting at Sodom’s gate. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed with his face to the ground and said, “My lords, turn aside to your servant’s house, wash your feet, and spend the night. Then you can get up early and go on your way.”
“No,” they said. “We would rather spend the night in the square.” But he urged them so strongly that they followed him and went into his house. He prepared a feast and baked unleavened bread for them, and they ate.
Before they went to bed, the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, the whole population, surrounded the house. They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (Genesis 19:1-5)
The Lord was never vague on His law concerning wickedness. Judgement is coming:
You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. You are not to have sexual intercourse with any animal, defiling yourself with it; a woman is not to present herself to an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.
“Do not defile yourselves by any of these practices, for the nations I am driving out before you have defiled themselves by all these things. The land has become defiled, so I am punishing it for its sin, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants. But you are to keep My statutes and ordinances. You must not commit any of these detestable things—not the native or the foreigner who lives among you. For the men who were in the land prior to you have committed all these detestable things, and the land has become defiled. If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it has vomited out the nations that were before you. Any person who does any of these detestable practices must be cut off from his people. You must keep My instruction to not do any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you, so that you do not defile yourselves by them; I am Yahweh your God.” (Leviticus 18:22-30)
Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”
And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?”
So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:22-37)
The Judgement of Nineveh
Rather than compare Sodom and Gomorrah to other ancient cultures and seek to justify their sexual immorality, they should be compared to Nineveh during the time of Jonah. The people of Nineveh were also wicked and violent and yet they were spared because they repented of their evil ways and called on God for forgiveness.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command.
Now Nineveh was an extremely large city, a three-day walk. Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” The men of Nineveh believed in God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least.
When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he issued a decree in Nineveh:
By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence he is doing. Who knows? God may turn and relent; He may turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.
Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it. (Jonah 3:1-10)
The men and women of Sodom had known and been physically rescued by Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 14:14-16. They had seen him worship God with Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-20) and refuse to financially benefit from Sodom’s riches (Genesis 14:21-24). And they also had Lot living among them, who though weak was described as a righteous man by the Apostle Peter.
The people of Sodom ignored all of these things, and rather than be forewarned by them and repent, they continued sinning. While their sexual sins again were highlighted in Genesis 19, the real object of their sin is revealed in the pre-destruction polemic against them several chapters earlier: “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD” (Genesis 13:13; cf. Psalm 51:4).
We need to keep in mind that it was God, the righteous judge (2 Timothy 4:8) who condemned Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities on the plain. Although their sins of pride, sexual immorality, inhospitality, and cruelty were committed against other people—ultimately, they were a direct offense against God. All sin is an offense to God and demonstrates mankind’s rebellion against him. But there is hope for all mankind because God has provided a way of salvation and is patient with us “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
Sodom was a paradise on earth – green and fertile with a healthy climate. Its opulence and comfort are what attracted Lot to live there rather than remaining with his holy uncle Abraham in Hebron. There was plenty of money in Sodom, and the more money they had the more corrupt and miserly they became. The area influenced the populace so much that God could not even find one worthy person in all of the city or the four other surrounding towns that were destroyed with it.
Nineveh was very similar to Sodom. It was the main metropolis of the ancient Assyrian empire, located where the city of Mosul, Iraq is today. In the Fertile Crescent located between the Tigris River where Nineveh was situated and the Euphrates River, Nineveh too was a thriving city. But, like Sodom, their money and comforts went to their heads and they too became socially and morally corrupt. God, in His love for all His creations – even the evil – gives them a chance to change their ways. Instead of sending natural disasters to Nineveh, God sent them the Prophet Jonah to warn them that their destruction is imminent and that they now face the same verdict that Sodom and Gomorrah faced.
The King of Nineveh immediately took action. He took off his regal gold-embroidered cloak, got off his throne, donned sackcloth and sat on the floor in complete penitence. The entire populace followed suit. Not only did the people fast, but even the livestock refrained from eating. Nineveh’s spiritual revolution for the good made such an impression in the Heavenly Court that all stern decrees were rendered null and void.
Rapture and the Judgment of the Nations
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment; and if He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and if He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin, making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly; and if He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral (for as he lived among them, that righteous man tormented himself day by day with the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority. (2 Peter 2:4-10)
The Rapture and the judgement of the nations is imminent. We all need to repent and become spiritually ready.
Below is the 2021 National Prayer for America supplied by the National Day of Prayer Organization.
Lord, we look up and see the billions of stars You created, and we praise You. We look around and see the billions of people You created in Your image; uniquely, fearfully, wonderfully, and we thank You. Wrap us in Your Spirit and unite us in Your family, Lord.
Thank You for loving us first. In Your love for the whole world, You sent Your Son to save us.
Jesus, in You alone we have abundant and everlasting life. Thank You for teaching and leading us to love and live, fruitful, and faithful. In Your life, death, resurrection, and ascension, You are our Lord, our love, our life, and our liberty. You came to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” You have freed us from the penalty and shame of our sin; free to live life as You designed and Your destiny for our Nation.
Spirit, search us, convict us, as we repent for our sin and the sins of America. Please cleanse, fill, and send us. We rejoice, knowing that Your forgiveness makes us acceptable and effective vessels for Your love, life and liberty in our family, church, education, workplace, military, government, art, entertainment, and media.
We pray that America will be united in love to serve You with all our hearts, all our ways, and all of our days. Unite us to pray, love; to live and walk by the Spirit. Conform and transform us as we pray and proclaim, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
God does not make promises that He cannot keep, and that is Good News for us!
“Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:
“The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says: I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. Take note! I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—note this—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name. (Revelation 3:7-13)
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”
It got me thinking about how a wicked generation would only receive the sign of Jonah. Hmmm. Is something going to happen to give warning? As in the story of Jonah? 3 days and 3 nights? Yes – our LORD Jesus emphasized the 3 days and 3 nights He would spend in the bowels of the earth – but I believe there are more layers to this.
Will Israel be given a 3 day warning? Will the entire world be given a 3 day warning? Therefore fulfilling the scripture that informs us that we will be able “to see THAT day approaching”. All sorts of thoughts have started to crowd in. Thank you for a wonderful post.
Fay, May 16, 2021