The Rainbow Speaks
Never is the "complete" rainbow seen on the earth. This reminds us of the words of Paul: "Now we see in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be away."
And God said: "I do set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remem. her my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the rainbow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth" (Genesis, 9).
God’s rainbow implies promises! One of the many things that characterize God and man and set them apart is the fact that God is true and man is untrue. For God makes promises and God keeps His promises. While, on the other hand, man makes promises and breaks his promises. True are the words found in Joshua: "Ye know in all your hearts and in your souls that not one thing which the Lord your God has promised has ever failed; all have been fulfilled, and not one promise has failed."
Three things are essential for one to view a rainbow: (1) rain, (2) clouds, and (3) sunshine. The three work in harmony with one another and complement one another. Inasmuch as clouds play such an important part in the rainbow’s message, think it important to inject at this point a word concerning them. Job of old cried on one occasion, "Can anyone tinder- stand the spreading of the clouds?" The answer is, "Yes." Yes, through Christian foresight. With the cloud of fear that en. velops our life, there is God’s rainbow of comfort. He voices the, declaration that "I will never leave or forsake thee," and truly; as the hymn writer expressed it, "No, Never Alone."
With the cloud of doubt that might arise, there is the rainbow of hope; with the cloud of danger, there i the rainbow of safety. ALWAYS, at the proper time, God causes HIS bow to appear.
Remember that the rainbow surrounds the clouds. Underscore this with the blackest of emphasis—the rainbow always encircles the clouds. This, I think, is most significant! Also, THE CLOUDS ARE FORMED FROM THE EARTH; THE RAINBOW IS FORMED IN THE HEAVENS which bends away from the earth. This may be reminding us to look up to whence cometh our help.
Although I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this statement, it is said that from an airplane flying in the sky, the rainbow can be seen in its entirety. From the earth, none of us has seen a complete rainbow. Have you? if this be true that from the air one can see the complete rainbow, maybe, just maybe, this is what Paul had in mind, as is penned in I Corinthians 13:9, 10: "Now we see in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be away."
God’s rainbow (and it is God’s, not man’s) is a token, a covenant to the fact that the earth shall never again be destroyed by flood. But it is more than that! It is in effect that which symbolizes the utter truth of God’s word—thus making Him true to all that He has promised. BUT, what has He promised? What is involved in Psalm 105 when we read, ‘God remembered His promises"? What is He to remember? What does He want us to claim as His thildren through faith in His Son?
It is interesting to note that throughout the Scripture, there is the word PROMISE that frequently appears. If we would then concern ourselves with that which was attached to the context, we would find what God has promised. Let’s examine the sentences in which is found the word promise. Then, when we view the rainbow, we shall know in a fuller manner the promise of our God.
God has promised us, according to I Timothy 4:8, a
for we read... "having the promise of the life that now is." This includes only the immediate second—that second which is now in the past. All God has promised us in this regard is the life that now is—this very moment. This is why the present life is so important, for there is a pr9vision through Jesus of a future eternal life. For we find: " . . . also the promise of that which is to come" (Titus 1:2). "In hope of eternal life which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Again, I John 2:25: "And this is the promise that he hadi promised us, even eternal life." The present hour is important, for "now is the day of salvation" for that eternal life which God has promised all who are faithful.
Still, there is a promise of a
of our Lord This second coming is to some the forerunner of this eternal life, and to others it is in effect the end of time. The Lord is going to come again, whether one wants Him to come or not. For you see, He has promised it, according to 2 Peter 3:1-4. Jesus said He would come again—and He will!
Much space is given to the second coming in the Bible; c..tainly enough for us to believe in it. The circumstances surrounding His coming and that which He will do when He appears IS SECONDARY to His coming! That HE IS COMING is the supreme fact, and that is seen in the rainbow.
The question is, what if it were today? His coming could well be now. He has promised a return. "Blessed be the Lord, thit hath given rest unto his people’. . . according to all that he promised; there hath not failed ONE WORD of all his good promises, which he promised" (I Kings 8:56).
The rainbow speaks of another promise—that being
A Crown of Life
which we are told about in the writings of James the brother of Jesus: "Blessed is he who endures temptation, for when he has stood the test, he will gain the crown of life which is promised to all who love Him."
What this "crown of life" means, no one can say dogmatically. Perhaps it is to culminate in the future; perhaps it is a promise for the present time. We cannot discount the fact that it could concern the profession of our faith. The truth might be embodied in the fact that the writer of Hebrews has left us: "Let us hold fast ihe profession of faith without wavering, for he is faithful promised." Also, it could be embodied in the Holy Spirit in our lives: " . . . having the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33).
The fact remains that this is a promise of God, the promise of a crown of life. Someday we will understand, but now we see through a, glass distorted.
A New Heaven and a New Earth
is still another promise of God. "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." The meaning of this is not fully known. The full meaning is beyond our comprehension—we can only speculate—still it is a promise made by God that we should bear in mind.
Because so many promises of God have not been named as such in the Bible, we come to a category labeled the
Many Unnamed Blessings
"The Lord God of your fathers blesses you as he has promised you." There are the countless unnamed blessings that God has bestowed upon us. It is, as it were, the handing to us of a blank check with the authorized signature. The authorized signature of a check from the Bank of God would be signed in blood, namely, the blood of the Christ. These checks will be honored in the time of need. Every promise is a "pay bearer on demand." What we need is faith to present it at God’s throne.
These, as well as the others specifically named above, are your promises given by God. Your personal promises! Promises given by God, who cannot lie. Just as God made a special promise to Hagar, Isaac and Jacob, they too, were all kept. Even as in the darkest moment, the promises made to David and Solomon ail were realized, so, in keeping with God’s faithfulness we too receive such a promise. In Galatians we read: "these are the promises given to those who believe and not one shall fail."
As the rainbow fades away, we would speak that the word rainbow is found not only in the first book of the Bible but, most appropriately, in the last book: "And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper, and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." John said, "and I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon His head and His face was as it were the sun.
Yes, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," there is that which is likened to a pot of gold, namely, heaven—the presence of God, the living God. The prophet Ezekiel once said, "As the appear. ing of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." The rainbow speaks of the many promises of God—the greatest being a promise of salyation. For this promise to be claimed, one must see himself as a sinner, realizing that He (Jesus) is the way to a more complete life. By accepting Him, His way, His standard, His salvation, we see the full meaning of the rainbow.
Because of His love—HIS RAINBOW! "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of ;he flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (II Corinthians 7:11)
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