After the floods of judgment receded in Noah’s time God gave a promise to Him and it was represented by a rainbow.
God told Noah
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
– Genesis 9:8-12
I had always wondered what the rainbow signified growing up as a Christian. Until the revelations of God’s grace began to flood my heart I started to receive and learn of the true nature of God. This has led me through various moments of awe in really getting to know how has employed every means to express His love towards man even from the Old Testament. Jesus came and gave us full dose because he was the brightness of the glory of the Father.
It you take note what the scripture above says that Rainbow was a sign of the covenant.
The Hebrew word for rainbow is qesheth which means an archer’s bow. I discovered that in ancient times that when a warrior wants to surrender that if he is an archer that he turns his facing as an act of peace or peace.
God’s promise to Noah was symbolized by Him surrendering his tool of judgment for His peace guarantee the covenant.
The rainbow is a bow, yet without arrows, and is not turned downwards towards the earth, but upwards towards heaven. It is a picture of heaven receiving the judgment for sin that righteousness would be imparted towards the man in various shades of colours. This is the picture of the New covenant.
As Bible scholar John Gill states concerning the rainbow, “as it has in it a variety of beautiful colors, it may represent Christ, who is full of grace and truth, and fairer than the children of men; and may be considered as a symbol of peace and reconciliation by him, whom God looks unto, and remembers the covenant of his grace he has made with him and his chosen ones in him; and who is the rainbow round about the throne of God, and the way of access unto it.” *
The rainbow was picture and type of Jesus in the Old testament. It is a covenant of grace. God surrendered not because He is weak and defeated but He wants His mercy to prevail so that His goodness will lead us to Him.
Another interesting thing about the rainbow is the fact that is colorful. This makes it a beauty to behold. But there is more to it than the colours because of what it represents.
Peter said in 1 Peter 4:10:
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Peter used the word “manifold” in describing the grace of God. The Greek word for manifold is “poikilos”. The word can also be translated as “divers”, as in “divers kinds of tongues”, used to describe the many different dialects of tongues that can be spoken.
In this verse he speaks of every Christian receiving the gift of grace, and how each one is then responsible to minister that grace to one another, “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”. Now, it is God’s grace that is colorful, that manifests in different people as they minister to many different cultures and situations.
Many times people limit God and His grace, placing Him within the box of our religion, culture, our race, our status, our denomination, etc. His grace is so beyond our ability to fathom, and beyond our ability to use up. The finished work of the cross provides for every single need and God parcels out His grace not according to man’s worth, but according to His love.
When John had a revelation of heaven, he saw something that further enlightens the heart of the true nature of God.
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was[a] 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
God decorated His throne with the rainbow and not with tools of war to exact judgment. He garnished his office with a hung-up bow to let you know that you can come boldly to Him without fear or reservation. We don’t find a ledger or calendar of sins on his wall but the sign of the covenant of His peace. Halleluyah!
Isaiah prophesied of our times he said in Isaiah 54:8-10:
“In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the LORD your Redeemer. 9″For this is like the days of Noah to Me, When I swore that the waters of Noah Would not flood the earth again; So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you Nor will I rebuke you. 10″For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you”.
Jesus came and fulfilled all of the demands of the law and voluntarily laid down His life as the perfect sacrifice for the sin of the world. God’s anger plunged into the heart of His Son, He was propitiated, or satisfied and we no longer have to see Him as “The angry God”.
This new covenant is just like the waters of Noah where His covenant of peace will not be shaken. You are eternally secure in Him and He has nothing against you.
God’s rainbow represented a covenant of promise to Noah. God’s rainbow of grace still hangs in heaven and it now represents the covenant promise between Father and Son. You are in Christ, so His colorful grace is in you.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, adapted from Online Bible