And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature … 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 God 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. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature … And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.(Genesis 9:8-16)
Stepping off of the Ark into the cataclysmically transformed earth, Noah and his family would have seen radical environmental changes. There was no longer a canopy of vapor above them, now they would be exposed to direct sunlight. Instead clouds roiled over head.
As the storm clouds receded and the sun gleamed through the clouds, a stunning sevenfold prism of color appeared in the form of an arc over the earth. The new conditions allowed for the appearance of the rainbow.
God told Noah that the rainbow was the token and sign of His unconditional covenant with the earth itself and with every living creature, that never again would He flood the whole earth, cutting off all life on earth as He had before. As long as the earth remains in its present form, never again would He smite every living thing, life would continue till the final consummation of all things.
Not only would man see the token, but God says that He would see it, and remind himself of this covenant of mercy. In fact both Ezekiel and John the apostle tell us that they saw in their visions of God, that a rainbow completely surrounds God’s throne in Heaven.
As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.(Ezekiel 1:28)
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.(Revelation 4:2-3)
In every direction that God looks, he sees us through the prism of mercy. The Rainbow looks like a bridge, from Heaven to earth, God calls it “My bow”, and promises to look at it and remember to have mercy on sinful man. In a beautiful way, the rainbow is a teaching about the grace of God. After the terrible storm, glory! In Judgment and wrath, He remembers mercy.
The rainbow is a Divine sermon, that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Like the stars it is a testimony to the glory and beauty of God. The pure, white light which streams from His Holy presence, is filtered and separated through the glorious cloud which stands between God and man, yet flowing through to this sinful world in stunningly beautiful prime colors.
Here on earth, we only see half of the bow, for we know only in part here, and see through a glass darkly, but the bow is a complete circle in heaven, around the throne of the Father.Love , beauty and holy generosity truly triumph over human sinfulness and guilt.
The rainbow testifies powerfully for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that there truly is a higher, purer and better city for all of us!