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What Is the Meaning of Rainbow in the Bible?

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With current cultural narratives, it is important that we ground ourselves in biblical truths. And while the rainbow is being used as a prominent symbol to promote a movement, the biblical meaning of rainbow becomes more imperative. For us Christians, the meaning of rainbow is linked to the story of Noah. We, therefore, know that the rainbow is the symbol of God’s promise that He would never again destroy the earth with water. However, did you know that there is a deeper Biblical significance to rainbows in the Bible? The covenant in the account of Noah is only the beginning.

The Rainbow, a Reminder of a Covenant

When we think about the Biblical meaning of rainbows, our minds will automatically take us back to Sunday school. Our beloved Bible teachers would have told us that after the flood seceded God sent a rainbow as a promise that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. And they were right. The Bible account of this covenant between God and his creation can be found in Genesis 9:12-17.

Seeing a rainbow never gets old. It is a marvelous natural phenomenon that will usually be followed by “ooohs” and “aaahs.” The best rainbows I ever saw were in Honolulu. They were absolutely breathtaking. But there is more to Bible rainbows than just the covenant that God made after the flood. Rainbows are a representation of God’s glory.

The Meaning of Rainbow in the Bible and the Glory of God

If we want to have a full understanding of the meaning of rainbow in the Bible, we have to look into other parts of the Bible outside of the account of Noah. There are two other significant verses referencing rainbows, Revelation 4:3 and Ezekiel 1:28.

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Revelation 4:3  says,

And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. (ESV)

This verse is describing the throne of God and it very specifically says that there was a rainbow around the throne with the prevalent color green.

The second verse, Ezekiel 1:28, says,

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (ESV)

This verse tells us that the glory of God, as it appeared to Ezekiel, was in the form of a rainbow.

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Let that sink in for a little bit. When we see a rainbow, it should not only serve as a reminder of God’s covenant with man and creation, it is also a representation of His glory.

When we see a rainbow, it should not only serve as a reminder of God's covenant with man and creation, it is also a representation of His glory. Share on X

God Does Not Share His Glory

As I reflected on this truth, my mind quickly recalled this verse in Isaiah 42.8.

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 42:8

God does not share his glory. It is His and his alone. As Christians, we need to give it the respect it is due. We cannot allow ourselves to use the rainbow for purposes that run contrary to God’s word, including using it to represent any movement that celebrates behavior God rejects.

The Rainbow and Light

On a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I was re-educated about the correlation between light and color. My girls were enthralled as they manipulated light and mirrors to create what? You guessed it. Rainbows.

I John 1:5 says,

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This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (ESV)

God is light and do you know what light is?  Visible light is made up of seven wavelength groups which the human eye translates into seven colors!

Can you guess what those colors are?

The colors of the rainbow!!! And what is black (or darkness)?  It is the absence of light!!

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I love it when science and the Bible come together!

Reclaiming the Rainbow

Why does this matter? Frankly, because we are missing an opportunity to draw our children back to God.

Current Western culture has coopted the rainbow to represent everything, but God. I believe that it is just another tool the Enemy uses to draw our children away from their Creator. Of course, there is the use of the rainbow by the LGBTQ community, but for our younger children, there are other misrepresentations that we need to be aware of.

I will be the first to say that when my daughters were young and they thought of rainbows, God was not the first thing on their minds. It was unicorns. I have contributed to that misrepresentation. I gave my daughter a birthday party with the works, a unicorn piñata, rainbow-colored decorations, and of course, a rainbow-colored cake.

What I missed was an opportunity to remind my child what a rainbow really means and where its beauty emanates. It is definitely not from unicorns, but from the Creator Himself.

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And there is a myriad of other characters and toys that are brilliantly marketed to our daughters, taking advantage of their natural attraction to rainbows. But as parents, we have to take action to reclaim the meaning of the rainbow for our kids.

For older kids, the rainbow, in their minds, is associated with the LGBTQ movement. We need to be having conversations about what a rainbow really means, why it matters, and why it is so beautiful…….because it represents the Glory of our Creator.

Other similar word study articles that might interest you:

Ezer: Meaning and Biblical Usage

Galatians 3:8: Neithr Male Nor Female

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What Is the Meaning of “Maranatha” in the Bible?

What is the Meaning of “Virtuous” in the Bible?

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