As human history progressed after the time of Adam and Eve, man became increasingly wicked. Things reached the stage when civilisation was so morally corrupt that God decided to destroy that system of things, with the exception of Noah and his family (Gen. 6:5-8). He was told to make an ark in which he and representatives of all the animals would live during the time when the world was being destroyed by flooding. In passing, there is scientific reason to believe that this huge flood did literally occur, apart from the clear statements of Scripture! Notice that the earth (i.e. this literal planet) was not destroyed, just the wicked human set-up which was upon it: “all flesh died that moved upon the earth” (Gen. 7:21). Jesus (Mt. 24:37) and Peter (2 Pet. 3:6-12) both saw the judgment on Noah’s world as having similarities with what will occur at Christ’s second coming. Thus the desperate wickedness of man in Noah’s time is matched by our present world, which is about to be punished at Christ’s return.
Because of the gross sinfulness of man and the programme of self-destruction this planet has embarked upon, there has arisen a belief, even among Christians, that this earth will be destroyed. This idea clearly demonstrates a misunderstanding of the fact that God is actively concerned with the affairs of this planet, and that soon Jesus Christ will return to establish God’s Kingdom here on the earth. If man is to be allowed to destroy this planet then these promises just cannot be kept. Considerable evidence that God’s Kingdom will be on the earth is found in Study 4.7 and Study 5. Meanwhile, the following should be proof enough that the earth and solar system will not be destroyed.
But right back in Genesis God had promised all this to Noah. As he began to live again in the new world created by the flood, perhaps Noah feared that there could be another wholesale destruction. Whenever it started raining after the flood, this thought must have come to his mind. And so God made a covenant (a series of promises) that this would never happen again.
“I, behold, I establish my covenant with you...I will
establish my covenant with you (notice the emphasis on “I” - the wonder of
God choosing to make promises to mortal man!); neither shall all flesh be
cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a
flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:9 12).
This covenant was confirmed by the rainbow.
“When I bring a cloud (of rain) over the earth, the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant...between me and you...the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth...This (rainbow) is the token of the covenant” (Gen. 9:13-17).
Because it is an eternal covenant between God and the people and animals of the earth, it follows that the earth must have people and animals living on it forever. This in itself is proof that God’s Kingdom will be on earth rather than in heaven.
Thus the promise to Noah speaks
of the Gospel of the Kingdom; it demonstrates how God’s attention is focused
on this planet, and how He has an eternal purpose with it. Even in wrath He
remembers mercy (Hab. 3:2), and such is His love that He even cares for His
animal creation (1 Cor. 9:9 cf. Jonah 4:11).