Just recently I wrote an article in other blog site (http://www.christianblog.com). It is about the rainbow connection in our Christian life.
Rainbow is beautiful, being transient and aesthetically pleasing as aptly described in a line from a song “…the colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky…” But rainbow is more than this… it is also very meaningful and significant to us as Christians.
Sir Isaac Newton, explained how a ray of light is diffracted into the colors through a glass prism that led to our understanding of light. But do we care enough to know its origin and not miss its meaning? I do, so I made an effort to study and write this humble article about rainbows. Although I must admit this article is partly inspired by the blog I read recently- Covenant of Salt –Part I and II. Upon reading the article, the Covenant of Rainbow comes to mind.
My fascination with rainbows started in early childhood. Every time, a rainbow appeared , I am overwhelmed . I always feel happy and lighthearted when I looked at the rainbow. My mother could not tear me away from the window. I would stay there long after the rainbow is gone. As a kid, I learned about the origin of the rainbow based on the story of Noah’s ark. But as gain maturity in my spiritual belief, I begin to attached greater significance to rainbows. Rainbows never cease to fascinate me, but this time there is a renewed feeling of comfort and assurance, that God is up there and is watching us.
Contrary from what I gathered from one of my sources, I found out that there were numerous references to rainbows in the bible , in fact from the beginning (Genesis) and to the end (Revelations. In the first book of Genesis (Genesis 9:13-14), ; then in the book of Ezekiel (1:27-28) and on the last book (Revelation 4:3; 10:1). The term rainbow or bow appeared three times in the book of Genesis; once in Ezekiel; and twice in Revelation in two separate chapters. On the Genesis account, the rainbow came in the wake of the cataclysmic deluge the earth and men were subjected to. The rainbow symbolized the covenant God made with man not to destroy the world in such a way again (A.Boreano). In this covenant God establishes the principles for all government: (1) Sanctity of all human life established. Man responsible to protect life, even to capital punishment. (2) A Promise that another universal flood will not occur and the ground will not be cursed further. (3) Man's relationship to the animals and to nature is confirmed (Gen. 8:22, 9:2). (4) Man, oo y a vegetarian before the flood, is now allowed to eat meat (Lambert Dolphin)). And the covenant of Rainbow was made when the Lord pleased with Noah’s sacrifice promised to himself: 'I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.' And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man's brother I will require 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, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.'
"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 'Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.' God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth." (Gen. 8:21-9:17). This is the origin of the rainbow.
In other reference to the rainbow in the bible, it portrayed the radiance presence of God and his might in Ezekiel : “ The figure seemed to be shining like bronze in the middle of a fire. It shone all over with a bright light that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the Lord” (Eze.1:27-28); and at the climatic time of Christ's return, the cloud pictured by the great upheaval in the heaven and earth will be followed by the new covenant that the rainbow in the book of Revelation pictures him, with “ his face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald ( Rev. 4:3)."
"Then I saw another mighty angel coming down out of heaven. He was wrapped in a cloud and had a rainbow around his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like columns of fire” (Rev.10:1).
Biblical Significance of the Rainbow
Rainbow is a symbol of God’s covenant, love, glory and mercy. I am surprised that there is not enough literature relating to the biblical significance of rainbow. The rainbow is more than a phenomenon at the time of Noah – it is a symbol of God’s covenant. In the seven colors of the rainbow, beginning with red and ending with purple, God was displaying a natural miracle that demonstrated the complete redemption and salvation of man. In Ezekiel, the rainbow manifests as I mentioned earlier, the radiance presence of God:” It shone all over with a bright light that had in it all the colors of the rainbow. This was the dazzling light which shows the presence of the Lord” (Eze.1:27-28); and in Revelation, symbolizes the glory, majesty and honor of Jesus Christ : “ his face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald ( Rev. 4:3)."
The rainbow most significantly demonstrates most gloriously the grace of God. The pure white light from the unapproachable holiness of His throne (1 Tim 6:16) is refracted, as it were, through the glory clouds surrounding His presence (1 Kings 8:10-11), breaking into all the glorious colors of God's creation. In wrath, he remembers mercy. the glory follows the sufferings; and where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (H. Morris)".
How many times do we look at the beautiful rainbow and thank God for keeping his promise. How many times do we look at the beautiful rainbow and remember our responsibility and part in the covenant. Have we upheld the sanctity of life? Have we been good stewards of what God has given us to rule and govern?
When we look on a rainbow. God looks with us, as he promised to remember his covenant. When we, as individuals, look at a rainbow and we remember also this same covenant there is a meeting of minds.
The rainbow should remind us of Noah an obedient man who made a voluntary sacrifice in which God was well pleased. This resulted in a pledge to preserve the earth. This is the gospel. The gospel has two parts, the salvation as a result of an obedient man and the promise of the kingdom on an earth where there is no more curse (Isaiah 51:3, Rev22:3).
Rainbow is a symbol of the process of salvation. We see God is the light (I John 1:5). We see humans 'drawn out' (or separated) from the 'sea' of nations (Acts 15:14) to form 'clouds' and God's glory shines as spiritual enlightenment through them, as the rain from the cloud comes down on the earth in 'showers' of blessing (Psalm 72:6, Rev.5:9-10). When we see this, then we see the meaning of the rainbow, the immense beauty of the promise of the first covenant