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GOD’S COVENANT WITH NOAH
I. QUAR., LESSON IV., JAN. 28, GEN. 9:8-17
Golden Text—”I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”—Gen. 9:13
With the deluge the Apostle Peter says the first world, the first heavens and earth, passed away—i.e., that dispensation, that order of things came to an end. (2 Pet. 2:5.) That was the dispensation in which the angels were permitted to mingle with men, assuming the human form for that purpose, the object being to influence and help mankind to retrieve their great loss by the fall. This, God knew they could not do; but in his wisdom he permitted the endeavor, foreseeing the ultimate utility of such an experiment.
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The immediate result was the corruption of some of the angels (Jude 6,7), who, leaving their first estate, took to themselves wives of the daughters of men; and by these mixed marriages a mongrel race of “giants” was produced, who, having the unimpaired vitality of their fathers and the human nature of their mothers were indeed “mighty men of renown”—”giants” in both physical and intellectual strength, especially as compared with the fallen and rapidly degenerating human race.—Jude 6,7; Gen. 6:2,4.
The account of the deluge is not merely a Bible narrative, but is corroborated by the traditions of all races of the human family
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except the black race. It is found in India, China, Japan, Persia, among the native Indians of America and the natives of the Pacific Islands. What are known as the Deluge Tablets were found not long since among the ruins of the great stone library of Nineveh. The accounts given by these harmonize in many respects with the Scriptural account.
The extreme wickedness of these men and of the world in general, as described by the inspired writer, seems indicative of almost total depravity—”And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY imagination of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL, CONTINUALLY. (Gen. 6:5.) So God determined to wipe them all from the face of the earth, saving Noah, who “was perfect in his generations,” and his family; that is, he was not of the mixed race, but was of pure Adamic stock; and his heart was right before God.—Gen. 6:9.
With Noah, after the flood, God again established his covenant, as he had done with Adam at the beginning, giving to him dominion over the earth, as he had done with Adam. (Gen. 9:1-12.) And here again, as at the beginning, he indicates the true nature of the marriage relation—a union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, which order began to be violated very early in the world’s downward history.—Gen. 4:19.
The rainbow in the clouds was given as a sign of God’s covenant with man, that the earth should never again be destroyed by a flood of waters. So ended the first dispensation, or the first world, the heavens and earth that then were, as Peter describes it (2 Pet. 3:6); and so began the second dispensation, “this present evil world” (2 Pet. 3:7; Gal. 1:4), the heavens and earth which now are, which are soon to pass away with a great noise, which are to be burned up with the fire of God’s jealousy, and whose elements are to melt with fervent heat; for, like that first great dispensation, it also has become corrupt. (2 Pet. 3:10-12; Zeph. 1:18.) And when this present evil world will have thus passed away, then the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, shall appear.—2 Pet. 3:13.
In this destruction of worlds it will be seen, as the Prophet also declares (Eccl. 1:4; Psa. 104:5; 119:90); that “the earth abideth forever.” The same physical earth remains, and is the scene of all these great revolutionary changes, which so completely destroy the preceding order of things as to justify the mention of them under the significant symbols of a new heavens and a new earth. See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., Chap. iv.
While the present world—this present order of things—is also doomed to pass away, and will be replaced by another new dispensation, the new heavens and earth, God’s promise, of which the bow in the clouds was a pledge, will be kept: he will never again destroy the world with a flood of waters; but it is written that all the earth shall be consumed with fire: not a literal fire, but the fire of God’s jealousy (Zeph. 3:8)—a symbolic fire, a great calamity, which will completely destroy the present order of things, civil, social and religious.
— January 15, 1894 —