The Scarlet Thread of Blood in Noah’s Covenant

The Scarlet Thread of Blood in Noah’s Covenant

Scarlet Thread – God’s Blood Covenant with Noah.

Glory be to Jesus, Who in bitter pains, poured for me the life-blood, from His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal, in that blood I find, blest be His compassion, infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages, be the precious steam, which from endless torments, did the world redeem.

Lift ye then your voices, swell the mighty flood; louder still and louder, praise the precious blood.” (Friedrich Filitz).

Glory Be to Jesus – Christian Song with Lyrics (

The scarlet thread that is sewn into Holy Scripture from beginning to end is unmistakable. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Bible is blood-centric, that there is an overriding theme of blood wherever we look. We don’t need to be super-detectives to discover blood patterns in the Word. The Scripture seems practically preoccupied with blood, and one could be excused for observing that God seems to be out for blood. We find out why this is the case in Leviticus 17:11 and 13… “The life of all flesh is in its blood. The life is in the blood.” The Word of God seems preoccupied with blood only because God is preoccupied with life. God is out for blood only in the sense that He is out for Life. The Bible is blood-centric only because God is life-centric. In fact, the term “scarlet thread” is not strong enough. Instead, the Bible has a powerful crimson tsunami flowing through its pages from Genesis through Revelation, from before creation to the New Creation.

In this Bible study we will take a good look at the blood-stories in Scripture, from the divine sacrifice before the foundation of the world, to the animal sacrifice in the Garden of Eden; from the bloodshed in the first family, to the blood-themed covenant between God and Noah; from the Nile River, to the Passover in Egypt; from the bloody mess in the Tabernacle, to the Scarlet Worm that hinted at Jesus. Yes, there seem to be blood-splatters all over the floors and walls of Scripture. Through it all, the precious blood of Jesus is the centerpiece.

“But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:4-6). 

Noah seemed to be flourishing in his relationship with God while all around him humanity had descended to the worst of human behavior. The entire world was depraved, violent, cruel, and even the imaginations of the people were evil. We’re not sure how Noah managed to be blameless in a wicked generation, but he did. The Amplified Bible put it that Noah “walked in habitual fellowship with God.” (Genesis 6:9). He found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Peter stated that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), that he “warned the world of God’s righteous judgment.” (NLT). When literally everyone else was going in one direction, Noah was going in the opposite direction. He was going upstream in a downstream world. It wasn’t long before Noah found himself floating happily on that stream.

Noah’s main claim to fame was his unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s instructions to build a huge boat on dry land, distant from all water, with not a cloud in sight. Noah was miles away from any navigable water, and yet he complied with everything God asked of him. “During the whole sequence of events, Noah is not reported as saying a single word. Instead we read, four times, of his silent obedience.” (Rabbi Sacks, in his commentary on Genesis). There is no doubt Noah was ridiculed and laughed at. Certainly many if not most questioned his sanity while he worked at building this boat with his three sons. Why are you building this monstrosity, people would jeer? It sure is a funny-looking house! But Noah kept plugging away on this long-term project that was assigned by God. Scholars claim that it took Noah and his family 120 years to build the ark. That was the length of the grace period that God mentioned in Genesis 6:3. Peter confirmed that in 1 Peter 3:20, “God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.” God wanted to give the people plenty of time to repent, to turn their lives around from their wicked ways. Noah preached righteousness, but we aren’t sure if it was in words or deeds. His life during those construction years would have been a powerful example for sure. Maybe he was letting his obedience do the talking. Maybe he didn’t need to say much. Noah’s life was prophetic, if not his words. But Noah was definitely a “letter of the law” type of believer. He obeyed the rules, didn’t question anything, and that was that.

After 120 years, Noah ended up with a giant boat constructed exactly to God’s specifications:

  1. 450′ long, which is the length of one and a half football fields;
  2. 75′ wide, which made the boat exactly six times longer than it was wide, the same ratio used for modern shipbuilding;
  3. 45′ feet high, which is equal to a four-story building;
  4. three interior decks, which is large enough to contain 45,000 animals according to experts;
  5. the overall size of the ark was the same as an average battleship of World War I.

Noah and his family remained in the boat for over a year in all, taking care of the animals and offering sacrifices to the Lord. So on the one hand, is there any wonder Noah was included in the Hebrew Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11?

Interestingly, Peter called Noah a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), which implies that he must have tried to warn the sinful population that they were doomed unless they turned their lives around. Maybe he did his preaching through his obvious obedience, we don’t know. Yes, Noah was a “righteous” man, but he never seemed to be effective beyond whatever simple instructions were given by God. He never had the courage to question God about the Flood, or challenge God’s actions in any way. Once he heard that the whole human race was going to be wiped out, why didn’t Noah do what Abraham did: bargain with God for just a few of those lives? Why didn’t Noah respond to God like Moses and advocate for those were going to lose their lives to God’s anger? Also, Noah’s blameless character didn’t seem to make his goodness attractive. He didn’t make his righteousness stick to those around him. Noah didn’t have any influence. Noah may have had personal character, but it didn’t affect anyone else. Noah simply wasn’t a very effective leader when the world desperately needed one. That’s why I think Noah is an odd person to be a hero of the faith. He didn’t let his little light shine. Noah was righteous and faithful to the letter, but he did not demonstrate the magnanimous heart of God. As Rabbi Sacks commented in his commentary, “Though Noah was a righteous man, he was not a hero. Noah does not save humanity. He saves only himself, his family, and the animals he takes with him in the ark. He does as he is commanded. But obedience is not enough. In Judaism, God does not demand blind obedience. If God sought no more than mindless submission to the divine will, He would have created robots and machines. God wants us to be mature, deliberative, to do His will because we understand or because we trust Him when we do not understand.”

Once everyone left the ark, Noah built an altar to Yahweh. On the altar Noah sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord, sacrificing some of those clean animals rescued for that purpose as directed by God before the flood (Gen. 7:2-3). Yahweh loved the sweet aroma of the thanksgiving sacrifice (8:21), and made an astounding promise to Noah, and all his descendants, and thus to the world at large:

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. And you,[a] be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

And then God promised that He would never again curse the ground for man’s sake; that He would never again destroy every living thing; that nature would be predictable and thus facilitate man’s use of it for food. There will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, the seasons of the year, and day and night. Nature itself would be cooperative so mankind could rightfully use it for the benefit of humanity. God established His first covenant with mankind at this time (9:9), and said it was an everlasting covenant between God and mankind, and between God and every living creature, “for perpetual generations.”

God made His promises through this blood-centric Covenant, and now it was Noah’s turn to accept his promises. Noah was obligated in the Covenant to recognize the sanctity of all blood, to especially respect human blood because of each human being made in God’s image.

Through rabbinic tradition, this promise with Noah evolved into a universal set of moral laws known as the Noahide Covenant, or the Laws of Noah. These seven laws were produced later in history, in the spirit of God’s intentions and God’s words in Genesis. The Noahide covenant is an official rabbinic follow-up to God’s promises to Noah, his descendants, and all living creatures. The seven Laws of Noah are:

(1.) No idolatry.

(2.) No cursing God’s name or taking it in vain.

(3.) No murder. “Whoever sheds human blood will his own blood be shed.” (9:6).

(4.) No adultery or fornication.

(5.) No stealing or theft.

(6.) No eating of flesh from a living animal or ingesting its blood.

(7.) Establish courts of justice.

Ingesting Blood. It is easy to glance over the important command of God that blood is not to be ingested in any way. The eating/drinking of blood was considered immoral, idolatrous, and unhealthy. And blood has been forbidden as food ever since. Blood ingestion was an aspect of pagan worship, for one thing. Also, forbidding blood as food had a number of health benefits that are recognized to this day. Blood is a breeding ground for the growth of many bacteria harmful to humans, and blood-borne diseases are easily given to anyone who drinks blood. Some of those diseases include hepatitis, HIV, malaria, and all manners of sexually transmitted diseases. When one drinks blood, there is also an overwhelming likelihood of what is called “iron overload” into the bloodstream, which is extremely harmful to various organs in the human body. Anyone ingesting human blood is courting disaster, and of course God knew that when He forbade doing so with Noah.

These seven laws of the Noahide Covenant were to apply to all humanity. They were universal laws to all people. Jewish tradition claims that “the life to come” is promised only to those “righteous Gentiles” that follow this Noahide Covenant. Rabbinic tradition claims that these seven laws of Noah were first given to Adam in the Garden, but it went unrecorded. These laws were finally made official later in history under the terms of the Noahide Covenant. The official blessing said by Yahweh over Noah also duplicated His words to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.” (9:1).

1 What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

2 For my pardon this I see:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing this my plea:
nothing but the blood of Jesus. [Refrain]

3 Nothing can for sin atone:
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done:
nothing but the blood of Jesus. [Refrain]

4 This is all my hope and peace
nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness:
nothing but the blood of Jesus. [Refrain] (Robert Lowry). 

This worship music is too wonderful; it’s so much fun that it’s ridiculous! It’s definitely worth 12 minutes of your time.