As a youth minister and avid environmentalist, I love bringing these two aspects of my life together. This is especially true in my Bible Study classes since not many believers understand just how nearly everything in nature is linked to the Bible and has meaning. For this week’s class, we covered rainbows. To start the session, I asked my attendees what they knew about rainbows in the Bible. Many stated the story of Noah’s Ark, but no one got this specific question right – how many times is rainbow mentioned in the Bible?
If you are looking for an in-depth look article about rainbows and their Biblical significance, this piece is perfect for you. In it, I deeply analyzed how rainbows appeared in the Bible and what meaning was placed on them. I also looked into the age-old question of whether or not rainbows existed before Noah’s Flood using helpful scholarly resources. This is a read you will definitely enjoy.
Where in The Bible Does It Say A Rainbow Is God’s Promise?
In Genesis 9:13, the Lord says that the rainbow is a sign of His promise. Shortly after the flood God sent to destroy Earth’s inhabitants, Noah left the Ark to find a rainbow. God told him the natural phenomenon would now be a reminder of the covenant He has with His people and Earth. He promised that He would never again destroy the Earth by flood. In this instance, the promise was not to Noah and his family alone. Instead, Noah represented all the future nations, and so the covenant was made with his descendants, including us.
Before the Lord made this consecration, the rainbow was an ordinary yet beautiful occurrence with no tangible meaning. After the flood in Genesis, it became a significant symbol of God’s word and faithfulness.
Where Are Rainbows Mentioned in The Bible?
Rainbows are mentioned for the first time in Genesis 9:8-16. In these texts, God consecrates rainbows as a symbol of His promise to the world after a deadly flood that killed everyone on Earth. Ultimately, they are seen as a sign of God’s covenant.
For the second time, rainbows feature in Ezekiel 1:28. Here, Ezekiel had a vision of God, Heaven, cherubim, and angels as the appointed guardians. To explain the radiance of these Heavenly beings, Ezekiel compares it to the appearance of a rainbow after a cloudy day. Just as the rainbow brings light after gloom, so is the glory and appearance of angels and God.
To explain God’s glory and manifestation, rainbows are again mentioned in Revelation 10:1 and Revelation 4:3. These texts describe how rainbows surrounded the Lord and His throne and His angels, which connotates rainbows’ goodness.
When Does Rainbow First Appear in The Bible?
‘Rainbow’ first appears in the book of Genesis, specifically in Genesis 9:13. The rainbow comes at the end of the Great Flood as an emblem of God’s promise between Him and His children – us. The Lord made a rainbow to reassure His people who had survived the disaster that He would never destroy the Earth by another flood (Genesis 9:15-17). The ninth chapter of Genesis gives a comprehensive backdrop of how the flood came to be. God sent a worldwide flood to destroy the sinful planet’s inhabitants who had forsaken Him. In His mercy, He allowed Noah and his seven family members to be saved by building a great ark. After the destruction, the Lord set a rainbow to promise that He would never send another flood like that again.
What Is the Meaning of The Rainbow in The Bible?
In the Bible, rainbows are believed to mean good fortune, glory, and hope. Many parts of the Bible, like Ezekiel 30:3, infer that clouds are metaphorically dark and represent tragedy. Likewise, during Noah’s time, clouds brought the Earth’s destruction. After storms and clouds, rainbows appear, and this is seen as a good omen or a sign of light. Also, rainbows have been used in several Biblical Scriptures (Revelation 10:1 and Revelation 4:3) to describe angels and God’s radiant appearance.
Some interpreters also believe that the colors of the rainbow held symbolic meaning in the Bible. For example, Moses was asked to use blue, purple, and red for the curtains of his portable temple, which the Israelites used while traveling to the promised land (Exodus 26:1). Aaron also used these same rainbow colors to serve as a priest (Exodus 28: 1-5).
What Do Rainbows Represent in The Bible?
First, rainbows are Biblically seen as representations of God’s promise and faithfulness. Genesis 9:13 explains how after the Great Flood that wiped out humanity and all of Earth’s creatures (except for the Ark’s inhabitants), a rainbow was formed by God to promise He would never send another Great Flood again. Each time Christians see a rainbow, they are reminded of God’s covenant and how He keeps His word.
Rainbows also represent God’s mercy. Revelation 4:3 describes a “rainbow around a throne” in Heaven. The rainbow, in this context, radiates light as a symbol of mercy and hope for those facing judgment. Theologians also propound that rainbows are a sign of God’s grace and mercy because, in Hebrew, it is known as Qeshet, which translates to a ‘war bow .’War bows comprise a bow and arrow, but a rainbow’s shape seems to resemble only the bow. Some believe that this connotates peace and mercy instead of war.
Rainbows are also believed to represent a conciliation of people. A covenant is a promise between two individuals. Since God used rainbows as a sign of his covenant with us, it is also seen as a bridge between two parties.
Were Rainbows There Before Noah’s Flood?
According to Christian scholars such as Dr. Tommy Mitchell from Answers in Genesis, rainbows existed before Noah’s flood. In his writings, he tables the notion that Genesis 9:13 does not imply God had never made a rainbow before. It simply states He set His bow in the cloud, but there is no indication that this was the first time. Mitchell further explains that this verse only marked the beginning of rainbows being God’s promise. He thinks the rainbow was likely already existing and only took on a new meaning after the flood. It is similar to how the cross was already a symbol, but after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, it gained Biblical significance.
Bible Verses About Rainbows
Here are some Bible verses about rainbows:
- Genesis 9:8-16 – In this Scripture, the Lord set a rainbow in the clouds and declared that from that moment henceforth, the rainbow shall act as a reminder of His covenant with the Earth and His creations. According to His promise, He will never use a flood to destroy the world again.
- Revelation 4:3 – God’s throne is said to have a rainbow encircling it which connotates the favor that rainbows have in the Lord’s eyes.
- Revelation 10:1 – Here, an angel of God is described as having a rainbow around his head like a halo. Since angels are God’s guardians, it is clear that rainbows are seen as positive omens.
- Ezekiel 1:28 – In this verse, Ezekiel has a vision of the Lord in Heaven. He states that surrounding the Almighty was radiance like rainbows coming out of dark clouds on a rainy day. This implies that rainbows bring light and represent goodness.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.