God Established a Covenant with Men with a Rainbow as Its Token
(Gen 9:11-13) And I will establish my covenant with you, 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. And said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Next, let’s look at the verses concerning “God established a covenant with men with a rainbow as its token.”
Most people know what a rainbow is and have heard something of the story about the rainbow. As to the story about the rainbow in the , some believe it, others regard it as a legend, and still others simply do not believe it. No matter what, all the things related to the rainbow that happened throughout the story were the things God did and the things that happened in the course of God’s managing mankind. These things are recorded in the Bible exactly as they happened. Although how God’s heart felt at that time and what God’s intention was in speaking these words are not told in these records, much less can anyone realize how God felt when He spoke these words, yet the mind God had in the whole course of doing this thing is expressed among the words and between the lines, and it seems that God’s mind at that time is all revealed on paper vividly through each and every of these words of God.
God’s mind is what mankind should care about and know the most, because God’s mind has everything to do with man’s knowledge about God, and man’s knowledge about God is an indispensable link in his entering into life. Then what was God’s mind while these things happened?
The God-created mankind, a mankind who had originally been very good in God’s eyes and very close to God, was cut off by a flood after they disobeyed God. Such a mankind disappeared in a twinkling; was God grieved over that? Of course, He was grieved! What was the expression of His grief? What is the account of it in the Bible? It is as recorded in this verse: And I will establish my covenant with you, 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. In this simple word God’s mind was revealed: He was deeply grieved over this destruction of the world; in human terms, He was very sad. We may picture it: After the world was destroyed by the flood, what did the earth originally full of life look like then? What did the earth originally full of human beings look like then? It was desolate, no living things existed, and water was everywhere, on which things were floating about messily. Was such a scene God’s original intention in creating the world? Certainly not! God’s original intention was to see that the whole earth would be full of life and see that the mankind created by Him would worship Him, and at least it was not that only one man, Noah, would worship Him, and only one man, Noah, could be called by Him to accomplish His commission. At the moment when mankind disappeared, what God saw was not what He had originally intended to see but just the opposite. How could God’s heart not be grieved? So, when He was manifesting His disposition and expressing His feelings, He made a decision. What was the decision? He would establish a covenant with men with a bow in the cloud (Note: it was the rainbow we see), promising that He would not destroy mankind any more with a flood, and at the same time telling men that God had destroyed the world with a flood and letting men forever remember why God had done such a thing.
Was that destruction of the world what God desired? It was certainly not what God desired! As for the miserable condition on the earth after the destruction of the world, we can imagine a little about it, but what the scene God saw at that time was like is far beyond our imagination. It can be said that of the people today or the people then, none can imagine or understand how God felt in His heart when He saw that scene, when He saw the world after the destruction of it by the flood. Mankind’s disobedience had forced God to do so, but God’s heart was hurt because of that destruction of the world by a flood. This fact no one understood, and no one could feel it. So God established a covenant with men, that is, by an oath, He told men to remember that God had done such a thing and told men that God would never again destroy the world in such a way in the future. In this “covenant,” we see God’s heart and see that when God destroyed that mankind, God’s heart was in agony. To put it in human language, when God destroyed mankind and when God saw mankind disappear, God’s heart was weeping tears and dripping blood. Isn’t this all that can be said? Although these words are words mankind uses to describe man’s feeling, yet because human language is too short, I think it is not wrong or exaggerated to describe God’s heart and God’s feeling with such words, and at least they can make you understand vividly and properly how God’s heart felt at that time. When you see a rainbow again, what will you think about? At least you will think that God once sorrowed over destroying the world by a flood, and think that although God hated that world and hated that mankind, yet when He destroyed the mankind He had made with His own hands, He felt pain in His heart, felt it hard to give them up, felt He had no other choice, and felt it hard to do that. The only comfort to Him was the eight members of Noah’s family. It was because of Noah’s cooperation that the painstaking effort and price He had expended in creating all things had not been wasted after all. It was the only thing that could appease His wound while He was grieved. From then on, God placed His expectations for mankind all on the whole family of Noah, and He hoped that they would live under His rather than in His curse, hoped that they would never again see God’s destruction of the world with a flood, and hoped that they would not be destroyed.
Which part of God’s disposition should we know about here? God hated mankind because mankind had been at enmity with God. But in God’s heart, His care, concern, and mercy for mankind had never changed, and even though He had destroyed mankind, such a heart of His remained unchanged. When mankind was full of corruption and disobeyed God to a degree, God had to destroy this mankind because of His disposition and His substance and according to His principle. However, because of His substance, God still had pity on mankind, and He even tried every way to retrieve mankind so that mankind could continue to live. Yet men stood in opposition to God, and they continued to disobey God and refused to accept God’s salvation, that is, they refused to accept God’s kindness. No matter how God called and warned them and no matter how God supplied and helped them and how God tolerated them, they did not understand, feel grateful, or pay attention. When God was sorrowful, He still remembered to show men the utmost tolerance and wait for men to turn back. When the limit had been reached, He would do what He should do without any hesitation. That is to say, from the moment God planned to destroy mankind to the moment God’s work of destroying mankind formally began, there was a period of time, a course. This course was given for mankind to turn back, and it was the last opportunity God gave to men. So, what did God do in the period before the destruction of mankind? God did a great many works of warning and exhortation. No matter how grieved or sad God was in His heart, what He did on mankind was constantly showing concern for them, taking care of them, and showing abundant mercy to them. Then what have we seen here? No doubt, we have seen that God’s love for mankind is true and it is not on the lips but is real and practical and can be touched and experienced, and in it there is no hypocrisy, no mixture, no deception, and no pretension. God has never used any deceptive means or created a false impression for mankind to see that He is lovely, and God has never given false testimony for man to see His loveliness or given it to advertise His loveliness and holiness. Then aren’t these aspects of God’s disposition worthy for man to love? Aren’t they worthy for man to worship? Aren’t they worthy for man to treasure? Speaking of which, I’d like to ask you now: After hearing these words, do you think that God’s greatness is an empty phrase on a sheet of paper? Do you think that God’s loveliness is an empty word? No, certainly not! God’s supremacy, God’s greatness, God’s holiness, God’s tolerance, God’s love, and so on, all these bits and pieces of God’s disposition and substance have been fulfilled in each work done by God and expressed in God’s will for mankind, and they have also been fulfilled on everyone and expressed on everyone. Whether you have felt it or not, God has been taking every care of everyone, and has been warming the heart of everyone and arousing the spirit of everyone with His sincere heart, with His wisdom, and in various ways. Such a fact is beyond all doubt. No matter how many people are present, every one of you has different experiences of and feelings about God’s tolerance and patience and God’s loveliness. These experiences of God and these feelings or knowledge about God, all these positive things are received from God anyway. So, through everyone’s experiences and knowledge of God, plus our interpretation of these Bible passages today, do you have a more true and proper knowledge of God?
After reading this story and knowing about some disposition God expressed in this thing, what new knowledge of God do you have? Can it enable you to have a deeper knowledge about God and God’s heart? Now, when you read the story of Noah again, don’t you have a different feeling? According to your opinion, wouldn’t it be unnecessary to fellowship about these Bible verses? Now when we have fellowshipped about them like this, do you feel it necessary to fellowship these words? It is necessary, isn’t it? Although what we have read are stories, they are the authentic records of the works God once did. My intention is not for you to know about the details of these stories or the details of this figure or for you to study this figure, much less for you to turn back to study the Bible. Are you clear? Then are these stories helpful to you in knowing God? In this story, what new knowledge about God have you gained? Brothers and sisters from the church in Hong Kong, give your answer. (I have seen that God’s love is what none of us corrupt human beings possesses.) Brothers and sisters from the church in South Korea, give your answer. (God’s love for man is true. In God’s love for man there is God’s disposition, God’s greatness, holiness, and supremacy, and God’s tolerance. Through such stories we can better realize them. They are all God’s disposition and are worthy for us to understand in a deeper way.) (From what was fellowshipped just now, on the one hand, I have seen God’s righteous and holy disposition, and on the other hand, I have seen God’s concern for mankind and God’s mercy for man, and seen that in everything done by God and in God’s every thought and idea were expressed God’s love and concern for man.) (My former knowledge is that God destroyed the world with a flood because mankind had become evil to a degree, as if it was because God loathed such a mankind that He destroyed them. Today, when talking about the story of Noah, God says that God’s heart was bleeding. Only then do I know that actually God was not willing to give up that mankind, and it was because mankind was too disobedient that God had no alternative but to destroy them, and that God was actually very sad in His heart at that time. From this I see that in God’s disposition there is God’s care and concern for mankind. This is what I could not realize before. Before, I thought that it was because mankind was too evil that God destroyed them. I only had such a superficial knowledge.) Very good! Go on. (After listening, I have much feeling. I have read the Bible before, but I have never got such an effect of knowing God as I have got today through God directly dissecting all these. God led us to read the Bible like this, so that I have known that before man was corrupted, God’s substance was love for mankind and care for mankind, and after mankind was corrupted, even when it comes to today in the end time, God’s love and care have not changed although He has righteous disposition. Thus it can be seen that God’s love has been there from the creation of the world until today, and whether man has been corrupted or not, this substance never changes.) (Today I have seen that God’s substance will not change with time or working place, and I have also seen that everything God did, whether it was His creation of the world or His destruction of the world after mankind’s corruption, had significance, and there was God’s disposition in it. So I have seen that God’s love is boundless and immeasurable, and I have also seen the care and the mercy God had for mankind when He destroyed the world, as spoken of by other brothers and sisters just now.) (These are indeed things I have not realized before. Today, after listening, I feel that God is truly faithful, trustworthy, and reliable, and indeed exists, and I can truly realize in my heart that God’s disposition and God’s love are just so practical and real. This is what I feel today after listening.) Very good! It can be seen that you all have taken what you listened to into your heart.
In all the Bible verses, including all the Bible stories we have fellowshipped about today, have you noticed a fact: Did God ever express His mind or express His love and care for mankind with His own words? Is there such a record that God conveyed how He was concerned about and loved mankind in plain words? No! Right? Many of you have read the Bible or books apart from the Bible. Has anyone ever read such words? The answer is definite: No! That is, in the records of the Bible, including the words of God or the accounts of the works of God, God never expressed His state of mind or expressed His love and care for mankind in His own way in any age or any period, and God never expressed His state of mind or His feelings by speaking or by any action. Isn’t that a fact? Why do I say so? Why do I speak of this thing? Because here there is also God’s loveliness and God’s disposition in it.
God created mankind, and He treats mankind as His nearest relation, as His dearest one spoken of by mankind, rather than a plaything, whether mankind has been corrupted or mankind can follow Him. Although God says that He is the and mankind is the created being, and this word sounds as if there is some difference between them in rank, in fact, all that God has done for mankind is far beyond this relationship. God loves mankind, takes care of mankind, and shows concern for mankind, and He also unfailingly supplies mankind; in His heart He has never felt that these are extra things or felt that these are things doing great credit to Him, nor has He ever felt that His saving mankind, supplying mankind, and bestowing everything to mankind is a great contribution to mankind. He just supplies mankind silently and quietly like this in His own way and with His own substance and with what He has and is. No matter how much supply and help man has received from Him, He does not have any thought or action of taking credit from man. This is determined by God’s substance, and this is precisely a true expression of God’s disposition. Therefore, whether in the Bible or in any other books, we have not found that God was expressing His mind or ever found that God was expressing or explaining to man why He did so and why He took such care of mankind in order for man to feel deeply grateful for His kindness and praise Him. Even when He is sad and when He feels extremely grieved, He does not forget His responsibility for mankind or forget to show concern for mankind, but just silently endures such “sadness” and “grief” Himself. Contrary to that, He has always been supplying mankind like this. Even though mankind often has some manifestations of praising God or testifying God, this is not what God has demanded from man, because God has never intended to exchange any kindness to man for man’s gratitude for Him or man’s repayment of Him. However, those who can fear God and shun evil and who can truly follow God, those who can listen to His word and be faithful to Him, and those who can obey Him often receive His blessings. Such blessings are given by God without any reserve, and moreover, the blessings they receive from God are often beyond their imagination and beyond what they can get in return by what they have done or by the price they have paid. When they enjoy God’s blessings, is there anyone among them who pays attention to what God is doing? Is there anyone who cares about how God feels in His heart? Is there anyone who tries to understand the grief God suffers? Accurately speaking, there is no one! Can mankind, including Noah, understand God’s grief at that moment? Can they understand why God established that covenant? They can’t! Man cannot understand God’s grief, not because man cannot feel “God’s grief” or because there is a distance or a difference in position between God and man, but because man simply does not care about any feeling of God. Man thinks that God is independent and He does not need man’s care, understanding, or consideration; that because God is God, He does not have grief and does not have pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, and He will not be sad or sorrowful or even shed tears; and that because He is God, He does not need any expression in emotion or need any consolation in emotion, and even if He needs such things in a certain situation, He can manage on His own and does not need man’s “help,” but on the contrary, the “weak and small” man needs God’s comfort, supply, and encouragement, and even needs to be consoled in emotion at any time and in any place. In the depth of man’s heart is hidden such a thing as this: Man is the “weak,” man needs God’s care in every way, and man should receive every “care” from God and should demand from God anything he should get; God is the “strong,” He possesses “everything,” and He should be man’s guardian and blesser, and because He is already God, He has “far-reaching supernatural power” and does not need to get anything from man.
Because man disregards any expression of God, man can never feel God’s sorrow, God’s suffering, or God’s joy. But all the manifestations of man are in God’s eyes and are known by God like the back of His hand. Anytime and anywhere God supplies everyone’s needs and observes the change of everyone’s mind, and thus comforts and exhorts everyone and guides and illuminates everyone. With regard to all these God does on man and all the price He pays for man, can man from the Bible or from all God’s present words find a passage which clearly says that God wants to demand something from man? No! On the contrary, no matter how man disregards God’s mind, God still leads man again and again and supplies and helps man again and again for man to walk in God’s ways, so that man can receive from God the pleasant God has prepared for man. God will bestow what He has and is, His grace, His mercy, and all His rewards without any reserve to those who love and follow Him. However, He never shows the grief He suffers or His mind to man; moreover, God never blames anyone for being not considerate of Him or not trying to know about His will, and He just endures all these silently and waits for the day man can understand.
Why have I said these words here? What have you seen from these words? In God’s substance and disposition there is something that man most easily ignores. Moreover, it is something that no man, including the great men and the good men in man’s eyes, possesses, nor does the “god” in man’s imagination possess it; only God possesses it. What is it? It is God’s selflessness. Speaking of selflessness, you may think that you are also very selfless, because in treating your children, you have never bargained with them or been narrow-minded toward them. Or you think that you are also selfless toward your parents. No matter what you think, at least you have a concept of the word “selfless” and think that the word “selfless” is positive and it is very noble to be a selfless man, and if you can be selfless, you feel yourself very great. But no one can see God’s selflessness from all things, from people, matters, and things, or from God’s work. Why is this? It is because man is too selfish! Why do I say so? Man lives in the physical world; although you follow God, you never see or realize how God supplies you, how God loves you, and how God is concerned about you. What do you see? What you see is the one who has a blood relationship with you and who loves or is fond of you, what you see are the things advantageous to your flesh, and what you care about are the people you like and the things you like. This is man’s so-called selflessness. However, such a “selfless” man has never tried to care about God who bestows life to him. Man’s “selflessness,” compared with God’s, becomes selfish and base. The “selflessness” in man’s mind is empty and impractical, is with mixture, is incompatible with God, and has nothing to do with God. Man’s “selflessness” is for man himself, while God’s “selflessness” is a true expression of God’s substance. It is precisely because of God’s selflessness that man receives unfailing supply from God. Today you may not have very deep feelings on the topic I am talking about and you only agree with a nod, but when you try to understand God’s heart in your heart, unconsciously you will discover this: In this world, among the people, matters, and things you can feel, only God’s selflessness is true and is real and practical, because only God’s love for you is unconditional and unblemished, and except for God’s selflessness, the so-called selflessness of anyone is hypocritical and superficial, and it is not genuine but with purposes, intents, and dealings and cannot stand the test, and it can even be said to be dirty and base. Do you agree with this word?
I know that these subjects are very strange to you, and a period of their sinking in is required before you can truly understand them. The more you feel they are strange issues and the more you feel they are strange subjects, the more it proves that they are the subjects you lack in your hearts. If I never spoke about these subjects, could any of you know something of them? I think you would never be able to know. This is certain. No matter how much you can understand or know them, these subjects I am talking about are what man lacks the most and are what man should know the most. These subjects are very important to everyone, and they are the most valuable treasures and are also life, and are things necessary for you to walk the way ahead of you. If you do not have these words as a guide, do not have the knowledge of God’s disposition, and do not have the knowledge of God’s substance, you will always have a question mark against God in your heart. As you know nothing about God, how can you believe in God successfully? As you simply do not know God’s pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, do not know God’s will, and do not know God’s mind, not knowing what God is thinking about and not knowing over what things God grieves or at what things God rejoices, how can you possibly care for God’s heart?
Whenever God is grieved, what God faces are a group of human beings who simply take no notice of Him and are human beings who follow Him and claim to love Him but who do not pay any attention to any of His feelings. How could His heart not be grieved? In God’s work and management, although God works on and speaks to everyone with sincerity and He is face to face with man without any reserve or hiding at all, on the contrary, everyone who follows Him is closed to Him, and no one is willing to draw near to Him on his own initiative or to know about His heart or pay attention to His feelings on his own initiative, and even those who want to be the “intimates of God” also do not want to draw near to Him, to care for His heart, or to know about Him. When God rejoices or when He is happy, no one shares His joy with Him; when God is misunderstood, no one comforts His sorrowful heart; and when His heart feels sorrowful, no one wants to listen to His pouring out. In the several thousand years of God’s work and management, there has not been anyone who knows about God’s pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy or anyone who understands or feels God’s pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy, much less anyone who keeps God company sharing His pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy with Him. God is lonely; God is lonely! God is lonely not only because corrupt mankind stands in opposition to Him, but even more because those who pursue to be spiritual, pursue to know God, and pursue to understand God and even those who are willing to spend their whole life for Him do not know His mind, do not know about His disposition, and do not know about His pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy.
At the end of the story of Noah, we see that God expressed His heart of that very moment in an “extraordinary way.” This way was very unusual, and it was God establishing a covenant with men. In this way God proclaimed that the destruction of the world by the flood had ended then. Outwardly, the matter of “establishing a covenant” was a very common thing, and it was nothing other than to restrict both parties from breaking the rules in doing things by the words so as to achieve the purpose of protecting the interests of both parties. In form, it was a very common thing, but as far as God’s intention in doing this thing and its significance were concerned, it was a true expression of God’s disposition and God’s mind. If you put aside and neglect this word and if I do not tell you the truth of the matter, then mankind will indeed never know God’s mind in it. In your imagination, when God established the covenant, He might be smiling or He might be looking serious. No matter what most common look God had in man’s imagination, there is no one who can see God’s heart or see God’s sorrow, much less is there anyone who can see God’s loneliness. There was no one who could be trusted by God or was worthy for God to trust as one to whom God could express His mind and pour out His sorrow, so God had no alternative but to do such an action. Outwardly, God did an easy thing to say good-bye to the former mankind, settle up the past things, and put a perfect end to the destruction of the world by the flood, but He hid His sorrow then deep in the depth of His heart. When God had no one to pour out His heart to, He established a covenant with men and told men that He would no more destroy the world with a flood and that when the bow appeared, it was to remind men that there had happened such a thing and warn men not to do evil things. Under a situation in which God was so sorrowful, He did not forget man but still showed such concern for man. Wasn’t that God’s love and selflessness? However, when a man feels pain, what will he think about? Isn’t that the time he needs God most? At such a moment, he always wants to pull God over and let God comfort him. No matter when, God will not let man down, and God will help him come out of his difficult situation and live in the light. Even though God has been supplying man like this, in man’s heart God is no more than man’s reassurance and comforting agent. When God is sorrowful and when God’s heart is wounded, it is undoubtedly an extravagant desire to God that there is a created being or any man to keep Him company or to comfort Him. Because man has never paid any attention to God’s feelings, God has never demanded or extravagantly hoped that someone will comfort Him, and He only expresses His heart in His own way. In man’s eyes, it is nothing for God to undergo some suffering. But when you truly want to know about God and when you can truly realize God’s thoughtful kind intention in doing everything, you will be able to feel God’s greatness and feel God’s selflessness. Although God established the covenant with men with a rainbow, God never told anyone why He had done so and why He had established the covenant, that is, He never told anyone His true mind. This was because no one could understand how deep God’s love is for the mankind He created with His own hands or realize in what agony His heart was when He destroyed mankind. Therefore, even if He had told man His feelings, man could not have borne this “trust.” Being sorrowful, He still continued His next step of work. God always bestows the best aspect and the best things all to man, while He Himself endures all sufferings silently. However, God never voices these sufferings openly, but endures them and waits silently. God’s endurance does not mean that He is unfeeling, numb, or at the end of His resources, nor is it a manifestation of being cowardly, but rather, it means that God’s love and substance are originally selfless, and it is a natural expression of His substance and disposition and is also a true reflection of the identity of God—the true Creator.
Speaking of this, some people may misunderstand My meaning: You describe God’s heart in such a detailed and emotional way; do you intend to let man sympathize with God? Do I have such an intent? (No!) The only purpose I want to achieve by speaking these words is so that you will know more about God, knowing about the bits of God, knowing about God’s pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy, and knowing that God’s substance and God’s disposition are expressed in His work truly and practically and bit by bit and that they are not something described by man with empty words, with letters and doctrines, or by his imaginations. That is to say, God and God’s substance exist practically, and they are not pictures, not imaginations, and not things conceived by man, much less things fabricated by man. Now, have you realized this? If you have, the words I speak today have achieved the result.
Today we have talked about three subjects. I think that everyone has gained a great deal in the fellowship about these three subjects. I can say with certainty that the mind of God I have told about or the disposition and substance of God I have spoken about in these three subjects have overturned people’s imagination and knowledge about God, even overturned all people’s belief in God, and all the more overturned the image of the god admired by everyone in his heart. Anyway, I hope that the dispositions of God you have known from the verses of these three parts are all helpful to you, and I also hope that you will ponder over them again carefully after you go back. That’s all for today. See you again!
May 18, 2014
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself (1)”
in A Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh