Biblical Rainbows
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Biblical Rainbows

What is the significance of rainbows in the Bible?

Biblical Rainbows

Rainbows. We all know and love them. We see them featured everywhere, even down to Lucky Charms cereal boxes. There is a deeper meaning behind the common weather sight, however. The deeper meaning spawns from the Bible, God’s letter to us. One would think that with something as amazing as this, the Bible would be full of analogies relating other beautiful things to the colorful band, but no. Rainbows are mentioned a mere seven times in the entire Bible, all of these mentions spanning a shocking 5 books.

The first time rainbows are mentioned is in the first book, Genesis in chapter 9. This is actually four of the seven mentions. In chapter 9 of this book we are in the midst of exploring the story of Noah and flood. God is, at this point, giving Noah the run down of the flood. two of every creature is to be on the ark (really, Noah? Couldn’t have left the roaches behind?) and that it would be the only flood of its kind. To solidify his promise with Noah, God then says the following in verses 12-16, the rainbows being mentioned 13, 14, and 16.

[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. [14] Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, [15] I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. [16] Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

In this God is using the rainbow as a promise. An everlasting promise. A covenant. Between us and God, the maker of the universe. Seriously though. An everlasting covenant? This covenant will last longer than Buzz Lightyear's “Infinity and beyond!”

The second place that brings rainbows into the Bible is Ezekiel 1:28. In this chapter Ezekiel has a vision of heavenly beings, cherubim, angelic beings that were appointed as guardians of the holiness of God. The description of the cherubim truly is interesting (Seriously Ezekiel, what’s with the fascination on the wheels?) and while I won’t be putting the entire chapter below, I do recommend you to read the entirety of Ezekiel chapter 1.

[28] Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

How the rainbow is being mentioned in Ezekiel 1:28 is now not in a way for an everlasting covenant, but this time to describe something as awesome or awe inspiring. Something that is worth our time and interest, even our full focus and attention.

The last mention of rainbows in the Bible belong to the last book of the Bible, Revelations. Rainbows are in two separate chapters for this book, chapter 4 verse 3, and then chapter 10 verse 1.

[3] And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.

Here we actually get a dazzling description of God himself. Or rather, a description of God’s glory. God was so magnificent and splendorous that John is unable to describe what God’s physical appearance. John was left only with the ability to describe how amazing God was and is and will continue to be.

[1] Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

In this verse we have yet another type of angel being described, this time it is most commonly assumed to be an archangel. Later on in the chapter it goes on to tell us about the sheer power of this angel, describing how thunder responded to him and how he could stand on the seas.

To sum up the rainbows of the Bible and bring it in a full circle, every time rainbows are mentioned in the Bible there is an event so large that it warrants either a covenant with the creator, one of His heavenly hosts, or the creator Himself. So next time you see a rainbow, pause and reflect on the meaning on what you’re seeing.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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