Noah and the Blood Covenant

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Leviticus 17:11-12
11 ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’

Noah is the first believer in scripture to overtly offer God innocent animal sacrifice, making him the first literally revealed man of blood covenant in the Bible. This article will show how this world renowned patriarch’s salvation through the Great Flood is rooted in the blood covenant of atonement that foreshadowed Jesus Christ.

Written by Moses, the Bible’s book of beginnings, “Genesis,” moves quickly through 11 chapters before spending the rest of its revelation and the rest of the Old Testament on the family of Abraham that was blessed by God to bring mankind’s redeemer Jesus Christ into the earth.  We see Abram and God making mankind’s redeeming covenant, walking through innocent blood (Genesis 15:8-21).  But Noah is the first man revealed in Scripture at God’s ordained altar of sacrificial blood, which every succeeding patriarch and priest understood was the way God chose to deal with sin.

Genesis 8:21
21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”

In Genesis 1-11 we are quickly informed of the creation of the heavens, earth, mankind, and the earth’s animals; mankind’s transgression that separated him from God; a great flood that purged sinful man from the earth, and the dispersion of the nations who all shared a common language before their rebellion at the Tower of Babel sent them   packing with different languages throughout the earth.  There are few details in the 11 quick chapters that teach man where we came from, and why we are here now. The rest of the book of Genesis from chapter 12 on focuses on another man of blood covenant, Abraham, whose family lineage would fill the rest of the Old Testament.

Blood Covenant
The first thing we see Noah doing after releasing the animals when stepping off the ark was blood covenant sacrifice on an altar he had obviously built before. Mizbeach is the Hebrew word for “altar,” which means, a slaughtering platter.

Genesis 8:13-22
13 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark.

mount-ararat-noahs-ark20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night Shall not cease.”

Reading backward to Genesis from Leviticus, the Old Testament student can see that the Old Testament Patriarchs, beginning with Adam and Eve’s son Abel had one, to atone for their sin.

3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.

Understanding blood covenant from succeeding Scripture, the Bible student knows that Abel offered the firstlings of his flock and their fat portions on an altar, which God was pleased with.  He wasn’t please with Cain, because Cain did not.

Leviticus 6:12
The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it.

In fact, Jesus said in Luke 11: 51 that Abel was a prophet. So this second born son of Adam was not only a worshiper on the altar of blood sacrifice, but a preacher of it.

49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’

We can presume that Cain and Abel’s  parents, mankind’s progenitors, learned of the atoning rite from God, who covered them with animal skins right after they sinned in Genesis 3:21: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”

Genesis 6:9 tells us Noah was a righteous, blameless man, who walked with God, because he was a man of blood covenant.  As we are justified today through our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood (Romans 3:23-25), Noah and those who offered innocent blood on behalf of their sin were also justified. This is the high wisdom of God’s redemption from death that He established in the garden.

tabernaceReading backward in Scripture from Leviticus, where Moses brought blood covenant public,  we can see how Job was a man of the altar in Job 1:5 (mizbeach, slaughtering platter) who didn’t offer again after we see him doing so in chapter 1, until chapter 42; Jacob built altars, so did Isaac, and of course Abraham.  Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and fat portions to atone for sin. Cain did not. When Moses went public with bereth we see the tabernacle  surrounding tent, the bronze altar, the water cleansing laver, and the Holy of Holies present a gospel of the “eye” revelation of God’s atonement for sin. Paul tells us in Hebrews 9:23 the tabernacle in the wilderness was an exact copy of God’s throne room in heaven.  Read the entire chapter to understand blood covenant and the priesthood God established through Moses in the wilderness. Pretty astounding stuff. Each of the tabernacle sacrifices commanded by God displayed a ceremonial cleansing for the sinful offerer, all of which were shadows and types of God’s sacrificial lamb who forgave the sins of the world.

John 1:29
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The Bible’s blood sacrifice Old Testament foreshadowing pointed to Jesus, who John the Baptist said was the LambAltar IV images of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29).  Our Lord Jesus’ altar was the cross. As we move into this year’s Easter season, we can rejoice that Noah shed God’s bereth’s blood sacrifice for his sins, sparing the world for we who can now be saved through innocent sacrifice of Jesus’ blood in it.


A Word to the Wise Is Sufficient

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