Posts Tagged ‘Noahide Covenant’

Noah's ArkAs I mentioned in part one, the Bible identifies the rainbow as the sign of God’s Covenant with Noah, and through Noah with all of creation.

Indeed, the notion of a Covenant, which involves kinship via oath, is of paramount importance in the Bible.  Many people know of God’s various Covenants with Israel throughout the Old Testament, as well as their ultimate fulfillment in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

A lot of people even have at least a vague familiarity with God’s original Covenant with Adam — and therefore with all of mankind — which involved the pledge of steadfast love on His part, as well as the promise of a Redeemer.

But in between Adam and Israel, there was another Covenant that few of us understand.  We know the story pretty well, but we tend to miss the meaning behind it.

We shouldn’t get too caught up in questions about whether there was a literal flood that destroyed the whole world, whether a man literally built a boat that fit two of every kind of animal, or whether the rainbow first appeared only after the Flood was over.  The important thing to get out of the story of Noah’s Ark is that in God’s plan of salvation, it expresses His Covenant with the nations.

Confusion_of_TonguesThe fact that Noah’s story is followed immediately by the story of the Tower of Babel is significant.  Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say:

After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part … This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel … The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel … Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (CCC 56-58).

And so we can see the rainbow as a sign, inscribed into the canvass of nature, of God’s provident care for all people of all times and places in the world’s various nations, each with its own Guardian Angel.  So when the various cultures I alluded to in my first post betrayed vague notions of the rainbow as a “link” between heaven and earth, they were perhaps not too far off.

God’s next “move” is to take Abraham from among the nations, and from him to form a Nation that is to serve as a “light” to all other nations — that is, Israel.  Through various Covenants and their central signs — including circumcision, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Temple in Jerusalem — God prepares this unique nation for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh.

For the gentiles, the rainbow is the sign of the Covenant meant to prepare them for the Gospel, to prepare their hearts to welcome the Redeemer Who will unite all nations in His Kingdom, the Church.

Now, with the rainbow’s Covenantal associations in place, we can “jump ship” from the Ark into the land of the leprechauns!

Read Full Post »