Tag Archives: Righteousness

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


What is God?

Bluebell Lane

As a church we understand how demanding the economic downturn has been for everyone, how painful it continues to be for lots of folk. Truly, we live in what we can only call stressful times and as Christians we are not immune to it either. With the world’s economy in free-fall; rising unemployment; the shifting of the moral goalposts in our nation, the hangover of debt; damaged relationships, and no end in sight. Where can we find stability, when everything everywhere is in such a state of flux? If we just had something, someone that doesn’t shift like the shadows in the night; a rock on which to place our feet; a hope that doesn’t disappoint and perhaps a joy that’s not dependent upon circumstances, bank balances or the seasons that come and go. The question is, where is such to be found?

The Bible alone reveals the character of God. It says he is absolutely, utterly sovereign. That means he is the first cause of everything and in control of all events in the universe he created. Most Christians though pay mere lip-service to this. What does the Bible mean then when it says God is sovereign? That he is God. He does as he pleases, when he pleases, in the heavens and the earth which he created. Evolution is a denial not only of God, but his sovereignty, and leaves you with nothing but blind chance and the purposelessness that’s so prevalent in our society and leads to so much of the despair we witness. It means God is sovereign over everything, the good and the bad. Yes, God is sovereign in salvation too. He works in us to do of his good pleasure. He chooses some to salvation and others not (Romans 9:21). He sent his Son to die for some and not others. He gives faith to some and not to others. He opens the hearts of some to believe and hardens others.

God is sovereign over sin. He willed it in the beginning (Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27-28), and he rules, governs and uses it all for his own purpose. It must be so or God is not God. Of course only faith can receive this. Even believers balk at this, pride, self-righteousness and illusions of grandeur get in the way. But faith, believing the truth about God, as taught in the Bible will find that rock, that stability, that hope that will not disappoint, in a God who is, absolutely, utterly sovereign.

The first words of Scripture declare that God has made a beginning, thereby appointing a distinction between the beginning of a matter and its further course. One’s birth is different from one’s further life, so is one’s conversion from one’s later life of faith. This distinction’s seen in all of life, a distinction that comes not by itself but is appointed by God. All things on earth have not just their career but their beginning, all things. This is important because the wise of the world try to demonstrate that the world has no beginning. But Scripture again and again points to that beginning from which the rest derives its progress. The world’s bent on obliterating that beginning; denying it in order to proclaim the lie that the world has always been and is as eternal as God.

Many people ask the question, is there a God? That’s the wrong question, because the answer’s known, the Bible’s clear, “God’s shown it to us” (Romans 1:19). Truth is people can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman. We have an inbuilt tendency not to want to find God. No the question we ought to be asking is, not is there, but what is God? That is, in relation to ourselves. Friend or foe? The Bible tells us that God’s attitude is one of constant displeasure because of man’s hell- bent efforts to obliterate, deny, not just that beginning, but even God himself. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), unbelief keeps us in his displeasure, therefore from all the goodness, stability and hope that we so much need in our modern society.

The speech of God’s holy displeasure’s heard all over the world we live in, call them what you will, natural disasters, whatever. What do you call the economic disaster hanging over the world? What do you call the rioting, killing and looting in our towns and cities? What do you call the out-of-control social problems that leave our public social services over-laden, at breaking point? Oh we know so much, so clever, the origins of the universe, life, we have scientific answers to everything, except those social problems; except the unrest that’s only just emerging; except how to live with one another; except how to live with ourselves. So, so empty. No fuel left in the tank of life. We’re blown about with every wind of political change. Like a cork on the waves, tossed to and fro, no stability, no hope. One set back after another, the bills and the bank statements coming through the door, when the redundancy notice is served, no hope.

This ungodly world talks much about peace, in Iraq, Afghanistan, peace where there’s nothing but continual fighting and war. True peace is the fruit of having peace with God (Romans 5:1). The Bible tells us that there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 57:21). Peace, peace when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). There is only one way to peace with God and therefore to peace within ourselves. Through Jesus Christ, God’s Son from heaven. For all who believe in him, he says, “peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).