The rainbow had depth and substance!
This afternoon I saw a rainbow in the sky just east of Milan. It amazed me, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Usually rainbows seem ethereal, almost mirage-like, but this one it had depth and substance. I was on a bus, and as we drove, it was like I could see many different sides of the rainbow.
The other really amazing thing about this rainbow was the timing of it. Just this morning in my quiet time God led me to the first chapter of Ezekiel, where I read:
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking, (Ezekiel 1:28, emphasis mine).
And then the Lord reminded me of Revelation 4:3, where John describes his first sight of God on His throne:
And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne, (emphasis mine).
The first time I read this, I didn’t understand how a rainbow can encircle anything, given that it’s never more than a semicircle. But then I learned that Heaven exists in dimensions beyond ours (click here for a good demonstration of the fourth dimension). The rainbow that encircles God’s throne is a multi-dimensional rainbow, and therefore it is a full circle.
So on the bus as I sat gazing at the rainbow, God revealed to me that when He gave the rainbow as a covenant to Noah, He was putting His own throne up as the guarantee that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood. And then I also realized that whenever we see a rainbow, we are seeing a reflection of God’s throne—His presence!—on earth.
When I was a small child I lived next door to my grandparents in the small town of Hereford, Texas. One day I saw a rainbow, and the end of it was just on the other side of the fence, in my grandparents’ yard. Their yard was fenced because they sold farm equipment, so I had to run down to the gate to get into their yard. But when I got to the spot where I had seen the rainbow, it had moved to our yard, instead. Back and forth I ran all afternoon, chasing that elusive rainbow. God was playing with me!
On our recent trip to Kosovo, we saw rainbow after rainbow on the road between Albania and Kosovo (see On the Rainbow Road to Pristina). And on my trip to Israel, when we were traveling about in northern Israel, near the Syrian and Lebanese borders, there was a fat rainbow just outside my window that kept pace with the van all day. Nobody else saw it, but I knew that God was showing me that He was with me.
So what is the significance of rainbows? Rainbows are encouraging. They are a sign of God’s presence, since the rainbow in Heaven encircles God’s very throne. If God is for us—and with us!—who can be against us? God is good!