About the Rainbow!

The way, the truth and the life!

Since time immemorial words and symbols have been hijacked, abused and misused. For instance, the word gay used to mean happy, alas, that is no longer the case. Words are important, but so too are symbols and especially biblical ones. Take the rainbow for example. “I have 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 that 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 see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:13-17). And in the apocalypse, we are told a rainbow adorns the throne of God, “and around the throne was a rainbow” (Revelation 4:3). God’s rainbow is connected to his covenant of grace.

When it’s an LGBTQ flag. The rainbow symbol appears, however, to have been hijacked. By the LGBTQ movement. LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer, and is used to designate the sexual or gender identities of a particular community. The symbol of this community is referred to as the rainbow flag. Now, if I presented you with an American flag, and especially if you were a native of that country, that had only forty-nine stars on it would you say that it was still an American flag? I didn’t think so. Now some Christians talk about taking the rainbow back from the LGBTQ community, but they have no need to worry, the symbol of LGBTQ is something short of the real deal, it doesn’t depict the rainbow at all. The LGBTQ symbol has only six colours, God’s rainbow has seven colours. Now words and symbols are important as stated but so too are numbers, especially so when it comes to the Bible’s apocalyptic literature as we shall see in due course.

The number six in biblical apocalyptic language is the number for man without God, fallen man (Romans 3:23). It’s the number of man having deviated from the path of God, gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). Man is born a deviant (and not just sexually) and remains alienated from God and his covenant until he is regenerated (John 3:5), and brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:12-13).

The six-fold flag symbolises incompleteness, the number of completeness being seven. The incompleteness is of course man “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). It depicts all that man seeks to build in this world, the kingdom of man without God. This also is a deviance, for God did not make man for man’s sake but for God and to glorify and enjoy God forever. Man without God will never be complete.

The number six tripled, i.e., 666, that infamous number over which believer and unbeliever often ponder the meaning of, is simply the completeness of fallen man’s apostasy. When will the end be the question is often asked? When the cup of mankind’s iniquity is full. When sinful men can no longer think up ways of sinning against their Maker when man’s apostasy is complete the sword of justice will fall in all the fullness of God’s furious wrath.

Further, the six-fold flag identifies with the Beast (Revelation 13:1). Instead of identifying with God and his covenant people they stand beneath another banner. To fly a flag has to do with identification. If I fly an American flag or British flag from my house top, I am identifying myself with either of those countries. If I fly the six-fold LGBTQ from my house top who am I identifying with? The Beast, the Antichrist, Satan’s end-time agent on earth. As opposed to identifying with God in Christ I would be choosing to identify myself with the deceitful, deviant character of Satan himself. For he is the arch-deviant.

Further, the number of seals, six in all, in the apocalypse depict the completeness of judgment upon an apostate, deviant humanity. So although the six-fold flag of the LGBTQ community trumpets their own agenda of sexual deviance, whether they are aware of it or not, and I think it not accidental, their six-fold symbol signifies something much much deeper. An entrenched wicked deviation and rebellion against Almighty God that will be faced with the fury of God’s justice.

First, it harks back to a time of severe judgment on a then apostate world. The judgment of the worldwide flood in Noah’s day. It is to be noted that the Lord Jesus Christ himself warns us that as it was back then, in Noah’s day, so it would be when returned, “just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27). So when we see God’s rainbow during or following a shower of rain it is a poignant reminder that God once judged humanity’s wickedness, and will do so again.

It is also a reminder to us that God is in control of all events that take place in his created world. There are no accidents. There is not a sparrow falls to the ground without Divine permission (Matthew 10:29). God’s holy displeasure is being revealed today in many circumstances that are brushed aside as just being natural. His wrath is being revealed (Romans 1:18). Where? In major incidents storms, earthquakes etc., but also in human affairs and behaviour, all such as God gives men and women over to as a consequence of their suppression of the truth in unrighteousness.

For each and every judgment recorded in Scripture, whether major or minor, it is a foretaste of the big one to come. The final judgment at the end of the age. When the cup of iniquity is filled up. Then it will be seen by all creation that God was right and man’s deviant way was wrong. God’s judgment will be vindicated, he will be seen to be absolutely just and justified in judging his deviant creatures.

I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh” (Genesis 9:15). The rainbow that God has installed in his creation is a declaration of his covenant of grace, that he is conciliatory, when he sees the rainbow he will remember his covenant affirmed with Noah.

The seven-fold colours of God’s rainbow are significant also. The number seven in biblical apocalyptic numerics signifies completeness in terms of God’s covenantal dealings with his elect. In God’s covenant of grace, everything is provided for his believing children. If I might put it like this, when God calls a person into a covenant relationship with himself, he throws a package into his lap. It contains all the gifts needed, regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, sanctification and glorification, a complete package. It takes him from his deviant life and restores him to God in Christ. It’s a complete salvation.

God’s rainbow appears as though it reaches down from heaven. For this is the origin of grace and mercy, it is from God. Man’s religion is a religion of works, man seeking to reach up to God by his own efforts. God in his covenant grace reaches down to man in his Son Jesus accomplishing what man cannot do for himself.

Lastly, God’s rainbow appears as though it unites heaven and earth. This is, of course, God’s purpose in redemption, “through Christ to reconcile all things to himself” (Colossians 1:20). All this will be the completed, the finished article, and all accomplished by the blood of the cross. Heaven and earth will be as one.

So you see, don’t you. The symbol is important, very much. And it is important that the symbol is the correct one, God’s seven-coloured rainbow is God’s symbol. Not the six-coloured filthy rag of the LGBTQ community, the symbol of man’s deviance from God, sexually and every which other way, totally debased.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practise such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practise them” (Romans 1:24-32).

So God’s rainbow is a reminder to all flesh of man’s deceit and its consequent judgment. But also the alluring symbol and call of grace to be reconciled to God through Christ Jesus. It is designed as all the works of God are, to lead men to repentance through the unchangeable riches of his grace, causing men to be reborn, renewed, restored from the path of deviance, and from the filthy rags of his own righteousness to the glory of God.

(© James R Hamilton, October 2017)
Sermon Audio


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