I saw a rainbow the other day. I just love rainbows! I love thinking about the promise they represent, of God's mercy in light of His rightful judgment on us. What a glorious reminder of His eternal covenant with His people!
When I was writing the Bible study on Heaven a few years ago, I learned something about rainbows that made them even more significant to me. This truth from God's Word is beyond exciting, y 'all. Whenever I teach about it, I am pretty much overwhelmed with delight. God truly is above and beyond what we can imagine!
Let me share with you what He taught me about rainbows...
Revelation 4:2,3 tells us Immediately I was in the Spirit and behold a throne was standing in Heaven and One sitting on the throne, and He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
There is way too much in this passage to cover in one post (you can download the Bible study from this site, and listen to the audio series if you want more info) so we are just going to laser in on the phrase "and there was a rainbow around the throne". Just in that phrase, God gives us a boat load of precious truth!
First, the back-story...
A rainbow was the sign that God gave the world after He flooded the earth in judgment that He would never again destroy all flesh with water. Many of us are familiar with the story of Noah from the book of Genesis (9:9-17)
9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you,10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 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. 16 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.” 17 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.”
A rainbow is formed when light shines through a prism. The light of His holiness and judgment shining through the prism of mercy and love...a rainbow. So every time we see a rainbow, we are reminded of God's promise of mercy, of the beautiful symbol of His covenant with us. From earth, we see the rainbow as a half-arc, stretching from one side of the horizon to the other.
Beautiful, yes...but only half. In this life, we cannot see what we will see in Heaven - that rainbow will be complete! The rainbow will go all around His Throne! Here, we see in part, but One Day we shall see fully - that rainbow will be a circle because His promise will be complete!
The full circle rainbow around His Throne will be the result of the light of God's Holiness being filtered through the prism of the Cross. Without the Cross, there could be no rainbow...we would all be destroyed by His righteous judgment. But the Cross is the prism of mercy that diffuses His judgment against us, surrounding His Throne...mercy triumphs over judgment...and in Heaven, it will be complete! In Heaven, His mercy is eternally and fully displayed...the rainbow surrounding His Throne.
Because of His great mercy, in this life, we can approach His Throne confidently (even boldly!) in prayer, knowing we will not destroyed or even ignored but rather received with joy and assurance. That rainbow we see here on earth - even as a half-arc - reminds us of that great and glorious promise.
But One Day, when this life is over, we will be able to stand before His Throne, to see Him face to face, worshiping, unafraid of His judgment, rejoicing! The circle of His promise will be complete. Mercy wins. The rainbow shines forever!