The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth. (Genesis 9:16-17)
God said, “I have given my bow in the cloud … for a token of the covenant,” between God and the earth. He set in the firmament — that which divides what is above from what is a below — as a physical manifestation of this covenant. In other words the physical manifestation of God’s promise to mankind appears as an arc that connects heaven with the earth. Furthermore, this physical manifestation of His promise is symbolic of the glory of God. The prophet Ezekiel wrote:
“Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” (Ezekiel 1:28)
Thus we are to understand that the rainbow is something that serves as a reflection of God’s glory, which is interesting considering that the rainbow is composed of “fire and water.” More literally, it is a reflection of the sun (fire) in a wet atmosphere (water). These two elements work together and manifest as a rainbow through the refraction and reflection of light. The point: it is to the glory of God to allow these two elements to work together and produce the sign indicating that the Creator has made peace with earth. These two distinct “entities” manifest as one in order to remind us that God has no desire to destroy man, but to the contrary, desires that man should live.
That brings us to this observation: the rainbow speaks of the Messiah and His purpose — God took on the form of flesh to save mankind. Messiah was the physical manifestation of God’s glory demonstrating that heaven and earth could be at peace. John’s Gospel says that, as the Word personified, we “beheld His glory” (Jan 1:14). Paul said that, in Christ, “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16) for the purpose of connecting heaven with earth.
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
So the next time you observe a rainbow, remember that it serves as a reflection of God’s glory and His heart, reminding us that He is merciful and dedicated to our best interests. So much so that He was willing to send His own Son to suffer on our behalf that we who are of the earth might be made one with the One who dwells in heaven.
Blessings and Shalom,