Rainbow Children

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Friday, February 19, 2016
(Ezekiel 1:28) As the appearance of the bow 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. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. Today's text concludes the first chapter of Ezekiel in which (as he said), “...the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (EZE 1:1). His description of heavenly things here notes that the bright appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD was as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain. This vision concurs with that which the Apostle John was later given: (REV 4:2) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. (REV 4:3) 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. The appearance of the bow is significant since it speaks a promise of great mercy and hope of survival. After God destroyed the sinful world with a flood in the days of Noah, He set a bow in the cloud as a token of His covenant to never again destroy the earth in that manner (GEN 9:12-15). He then declared: (GEN 9:16) And the bow 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. The omniscient God is not prone to forgetting things (an exception being sins He has forgiven under the New Testament, HEB 10:17), but it is a comfort to know that the visible token He has given us of His faithfulness is one that He Himself looks upon. Consider this soberly the next time you see a rainbow: God is not holding back those mighty waters because He is beholding the goodness of men but rather beholding His bow, something He alone did. Mind also that there was no rainbow until after the Flood: the bow only appeared after sin was judged. How sad that in our generation sinners have hijacked the rainbow and made it into an emblem of their perverse agenda, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness (c/w JUDE 1:4). But the rainbow is only a token of no worldwide judgment of sinners by water, not fire (2PE 3:5-12). The Book of Isaiah is a virtual gospel record. The Apostle Paul alludes to this fact where he quotes from Isaiah in ROM 10:16. Isaiah's prophecies of Christ and New Testament realities are rich and numerous. The way to understand Isaiah (and the Old Testament in general) is through the teachings of the apostles of Jesus Christ, especially Paul. Paul makes it clear that God's eternal interest as touching Israel was with the elect children of promise within Israel, not Israel as a whole. See ROM 9:6-8 and its context. With the above in mind, it is noteworthy that in the middle of the chapter that is immediately after the most vivid O.T. prophecy of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for sinners (ISA 53:1-12), the following is declared to God's church: (ISA 54:8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (ISA 54:9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (ISA 54:10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. Here is a sworn promise of everlasting benefits of kindness, mercy and peace that outlasts the earth, and it is not based upon creature obedience but Creator faithfulness, as with the promise associated with the rainbow in GEN 9:12-16. These words obviously cannot apply to all the nation of Israel but only to the “...vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles...” (ROM 9:22-29). ISA 54 begins with a prophecy that Paul applies to the heaven-born children of promise, Jew or Gentile (ISA 54:1 c/w GAL 4:27-29). It concludes with a declaration, “...and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (ISA 54:17). They have not an inherent righteousness or a righteousness according to the works of the law, but one given them by God. Compare this with PHIL 3:9. ISA 54:13 declares, “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD...” This is the New Covenant wherein God Himself teaches men inwardly as part of their eternal salvation: (HEB 8:10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (HEB 8:11) And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (HEB 8:12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. ISA 54 shouts the message of the New Testament, “GRACE, MERCY!” It shouts, “HOPE OF SURVIVAL!” It shouts, “SECURITY!” since its benefits are bow-oriented like the post-Flood covenant. Jesus Christ is described by John as a mighty angel with a rainbow upon his head (REV 10:1 c/w REV 1:15-16). Since Jesus is God (1TI 3:16), God need look no further than Himself for a bow. God looks not upon the performance of His purchased possession but to Jesus Christ to remember His everlasting covenant to them (HEB 13:20). Jesus performed perfectly for them, gave them His righteousness, and paid off their sin debt with His blood. Believer, are you thankful that your future is secured by God's promise rather than by your performance? Listen to King David: (2SAM 23:5) Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. The bow appeared in Noah's day only after sin was judged. Our sins have been judged in Christ (2CO 5:21; GAL 3:13), and the bow of the God-man ascended “...into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (HEB 9:24). We are the true children of the rainbow.

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