Many times, we have listened to the resounding voices of cascading waters and enjoyed the roar of a rushing torrent. It is pleasant to sit and watch the everchanging pattern formed by the waterfall as the light reflected from it, as from a mirror, adds life and change as it tumbles along. When, finally, a rainbow appears in the mist at the base of the falls we are reminded once more of God’s covenant, for the rainbow was given by God for a perpetual sign as a reminder always that the earth will never again be destroyed by the waters of a flood (Gen. 9:11-15).
The rainbow was the token, or sign, of God’s first covenant made with man. The question immediately arises – How could this be so, for we know the rainbow is a natural phenomenon following every sun shower. What were the changes which transpired as the result of the Deluge that caused the rainbow to serve as a sign to succeeding generations?
Two things are essential to produce a rainbow – the sun and watery mist or rain. Without falling water and the sunshine the rainbow could not appear. The Bible informs us that prior to the Deluge there was no rain, only a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground (Gen. 2:5-6). Job describes the sky above as spread out like a molten looking glass (Job 37:18). In the Book of Genesis “the waters above the firmament” are referred to (Gen. 1:7), which were a great watery canopy whirling in its orbit, high above the earth.
Summer and winter, with seedtime and harvest, did not come into being until after the Deluge (Gen. 8:22). Prior to the descent of the great canopy above the firmament, the sun and moon were not called by those names. They were referred to as “a greater light” by day and “a lesser light” by night (Gen. 1:16) furnishing illumination for the planet. Thus, these two heavenly bodies lighted up the watery expanse and the rays of the sun were unable to reach the earth as they do now and produce the phenomenon we recognize as the rainbow.
The skeptic, the agnostic and the atheist, as well as some so-called Christians, do not acknowledge the rainbow as a token of faith because of their unbelief. What they are failing to realize is that their very unbelief is a tacit acknowledgment of their total ignorance of facts so clearly set forth in the Scriptures. If men would simply believe what the Bible presents, they would be able to properly evaluate the full meaning of the rainbow that forms every time they behold the sun’s rays diffused in mist or rain. Its colorful splendor flung across the sky proclaims anew the faithfulness of our God to His covenant with mankind.
What is said concerning this first token of a covenant made by God with man can be said as well of the covenant God made with His friend Abraham, which was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. The keeping of the Abrahamic Covenant is as certain as seedtime and harvest.
Also, the National Covenant that God made with His people, the seed of Abraham, at Mount Sinai, when He constituted them His Kingdom people, has never been abrogated. It is still in full force, even though multitudes of Christians are unaware of its operation today.
God made a covenant with His servant David with the intent that his throne would be established in perpetuity. This covenant is still in force, with a descendant of the House of David occupying that throne today. As a sign that this would be so, the Lord declared through the Prophet Jeremiah, “If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant” (Jer. 33:20-21). Day and night and seedtime and harvest continue; therefore, the covenant God made concerning the Throne of David is still in force.
If any one of the covenants of God, which were signed, sealed and witnessed, could be broken, we would have no assurance that the terms of the New Covenant would be honored. However, God’s Word in inviolable and He is fulfilling the terms of all His covenants. To recognize this is the beginning of understanding of the mighty purposes of our God.
Through the Prophet Jeremiah the Lord has made known the terms of the New Covenant which will come into full force “after those days.” Among its provisions, the Lord has stated through the prophet: “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33). Since we who believe know we worship a covenant-keeping God, we can assert along with the Psalmist (Ps. 119:160): “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
Written by Howard Rand, courtesy Documentary Studies