During the 2016 Christmas season, Answers in Genesis lit up its full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark with the colors of the rainbow. That seemingly innocuous act created a storm of protest from people pushing the LGBT agenda. Homosexuals were incensed that a Christian apologetics ministry would “steal” the emblem of their movement. After all, they had adopted the rainbow as their symbol and logo way back in 1978.
But in reality, they’re the ones who hijacked the rainbow. Gay activists were the real thieves, as they undermined and suppressed this sign of God’s continual covenant with mankind. John MacArthur’s sermon “God’s Rainbow Covenant” highlights the divine message that still holds true today.
As John explains, the stars and planets contain no coded messages for astrologers and apocalyptic opportunists to decipher. Yet we can look to the sky for a message from God. It’s found in the rainbow, God’s sign to mankind that He is presently restraining His wrath.
“God’s Rainbow Covenant” takes us back to the very first rainbow, found in Genesis 9:8–17. There the Lord explains its perpetual meaning. Just after the global flood, God placed His rainbow in the sky, signifying His covenant with Noah’s family and the rest of humanity who would descend from them (Genesis 9:9). It was the first covenant between God and man to remind all of us that there “shall never again . . . be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11). God has “set [His] bow in the cloud” (Genesis 9:13), as “the sign . . . for all successive generations” (Genesis 9:12) that “never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:15).
For descendants of Noah living in the church age, rainbows continually serve as reminders that God is presently withholding His judgment while the gospel call goes out to this sinful world. As John explains:
Every time you see a rainbow, it represents the victory of grace over judgment. What does this world deserve? Judgment. What does it get? Grace. Because this is the age when God has hung up His bow, the triumph of mercy over wrath. This is the age for us to go to the ends of the earth and tell them of God and His mercy, God and His grace. . . .
There will be a final wrath to come in which the universe will be destroyed by fire and all sinners will perish. Between the Flood and that final time is this period of grace. And the bow of God, the bow of a warrior, hangs . . . over the earth against the clouds of judgment as the beauty of grace touching heaven at its arc and touching earth at its ends—telling all humanity that God is gracious to sinners.
“God’s Rainbow Covenant” reminds us that there is nothing sentimental, mystical, or political to be found in the rainbow. Instead, we are exhorted to consider the true, historical origins—and the present-day implications—of God’s first everlasting covenant with mankind.
Click here to listen to “God’s Rainbow Covenant.”