Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, or at least that is how the saying goes. However, that wasn’t true for my family after a big storm. Rainbow chasing in our red Volkswagen van (with a bright yellow sun painted on the front) was a highlight of my childhood. My mom would zip around town, hitting puddles at a high rate of speed. I would be laughing hysterically as a massive wave hit the windshield. Rolling his eyes, I think dad was a little scared, even though he never said so.
It was great fun! We were trying to find the end of the rainbow before anyone else. There was a pot of gold at stake and we were poor. Needless to say, it never happened. However, to this day I am still giddy when I spot a rainbow in the sky!
The Bow In The Sky
Standing out in stark contrast to a stormy sky, the rainbow invokes a sense of wonder and happiness when spotted, seemingly bursting out from nowhere. I can hardly imagine the awe Noah must have felt when seeing the first rainbow. After being sequestered on the Ark for a year, the beauty of the rainbow would have been spectacular to behold. Hearing the promise from God which accompanied it would have been comforting after all he and his family had endured.
I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.Genesis 9:13-15
For Noah and his family, seeing this symbol must have been an incredible relief the next time storm clouds gathered. Because we are a culture which no longer understands the true meaning of the rainbow (a God given symbol), I believe the importance of its appearing is lost on us. The fact is, the very existence of a rainbow is a reminder of devastation due to sin; past judgement on the world because “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
The Bow In Heaven
The rainbow in the sky will always stand for the covenant made with Noah, his future descendants and the world in general. This covenant is not dependent upon mankind doing anything. Rather it is an everlasting covenant (Genesis 9:16) made by God, accompanied by a symbol, proclaiming His faithfulness to keep His promises. However the book of Revelation features another rainbow…one in Heaven.
Immediately I (John) was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.Revelation 4:2-3
The One who is enveloped in a rainbow is the same One who is holy, holy, holy. God is worthy to receive glory and honor and power because He created all things and by His will they exist and were created (Revelation 4:8,11). It was God’s creation which was destroyed by Him through the flood He sent. It is His creation which will be destroyed by fire in the judgement to come.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.2 Peter 3:10
The Surety Of God’s Promises
Since the days of Noah, the rainbow has been a sign of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises. His word does not fail and judgement is coming as He has declared through scripture. In the mean time, God is still extending mercy to mankind through Jesus Christ His Son.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:8-9
What a message of hope for those who are dead in their sin and enemies of God! Yes, God will be faithful to carry out the promised judgement. However, He has also declared He is faithful and just to forgive the sin of anyone who will confess their sin and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Believe and repent while there is still time to do so, for whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved!
The Comfort Of God’s Promises
For those in Christ, there is no fear of the judgement to come. By faith, Noah built and entered the ark unto salvation. He was sheltered from the judgement poured out on all flesh through the flood. By faith, we have entered into the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus Christ. We lay hold of Christ as the propitiation for our sin and find deliverance from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
The destruction by fire is in fact good news for those of us who groan under the weight of our sin and that of all humanity. Why? Because it isn’t the end of the story.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”Revelation 21:3-5
Praise God next time you see a rainbow. The covenant making and keeping God has set the bow in the sky as a testimony to His faithfulness. He will do all that He has promised!
On a separate note, I want to let you know I will be taking a break from writing a monthly blog. I have a new CD project to begin recording. I will be devoting all of my creative efforts to that in the months to come. For more information on the project, see the previous blog post here. Lord willing, the next update I send out will include a link for the newly completed project entitled “Abide”. Until then, may the Lord bless you as 2024 unfolds!