The Amazing Rainbow
The study of God’s rainbow in the Bible is very interesting, and largely unknown! It is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis Nine, three times in that chapter.
Firstly, an amazing fact is this: There is no Hebrew word for – Rainbow! In the Hebrew, the original word is – Qeset – meaning – Bow – as in an archer’s bow with an arrow. But since it is clear that its meaning is an actual rainbow, all English translators have simply inserted the common English word – Rainbow – instead of a more accurate translation of simply – bow.
Under- whelmed so far? Well here is the connection: In the three other mentions of this same word in the Bible, it is also translated as a rainbow in most, but in those, it is a full circle.
- Ezekiel 1:26-28
- Revelation 4:1-13
- Revelation 10:1
(The exception is possibly Ezekiel 1:26-28 as it may be a partial circle, a full circle not clearly seen) But in Genesis Nine, it is the only place where the bow – or rainbow – is a semi-circle!
Also, in those other mentions of a rainbow full circle, they involve God’s judgment or wrath, either during, or soon coming. However, the Genesis account is unique in that the bow is seen after God’s judgment. OK, here it is in plain English:
The Rainbow – or God’s bow – can be thought of as an archer’s bow with God’s arrow of judgment upon evil and evil mankind. God’s full judgment arrow is depicted as a full circle bow, shooting in all directions. (There is no escaping it!) But in Genesis nine, it is a semi-circle bow, and it is pointing upwards, away from the earth! God already shot his arrow of judgment with the flood, and gave the semi-circle bow as a promise that his wrath was now pointed the other way, for now!
(See these verses for the connection of God, his bow/arrow and judgment: Psalms 7:12 / Lamentations 2:4)
The rainbow – bow is also linked with grace:
- Rainbows are a joint product of storm & sunshine – grace is God’s love in the midst of sin and evil.
- Rainbows are the result of the sun shining on droplets of water – grace can be thought of as God’s love shining and reflecting off the droplets of blood shed by Jesus.
- Rainbows have various hues of light – God’s grace is varied and manifold ( I Peter 4:10)
- Rainbows are the union of heaven and earth – God’s grace brings the union of God and man.
- Rainbows are visible signs for everyone – God’s grace has appeared for everyone to see and believe. ( Titus 2:11)
Well there you have a short view of Biblical rainbows! Now, the next time you see one after a summer rain, gave at it in wonder and awe, and give thanks to God for his promises and grace!