In part 1 of this brief series, we have examined how the LGBT symbol of the rainbow flag is a sign of their community’s pride in their identity, whereas the primary symbol of the Christian community is a symbol of shame, depicting the death of Jesus, the necessary sacrifice given because of who Christians know themselves to be. In part 2, we learn that the Christian community also has the rainbow sign in its repertoire of symbols. And while the rainbow of Noah’s day was symbol of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises, it was also a symbol that God is a God of war who lays aside his war-bow in the sky to remind us of why the flood judgment had to fall. The rainbow reminds the Christian of his humble position of being saved by grace and that the judgment of God is inescapable except aboard the one vessel that has absorbed the wrath of God.
So in this final installment, we will look furthering the reality that God is not some soft, toothless, grandpa-in-the-sky and how it is reinforced when we look at the two places in the Bible where the rainbow appears again. The first place after the Noah story that it shows up is in Ezekiel 1.28 where the prophet is being given a vision of Yahweh (the Old Testament covenant name for God) on His chariot-throne. In this vision, as the awesome, terrifying experience with God on his chariot-throne is coming to an end, the radiance is described this way: “Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.” And the second place the rainbow appears is in a scene very similar, namely the apostle John’s vision of God’s throne room in Revelation 4: “3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” Notice that in both of these visions, God is on His throne and looks through the rainbow as he evaluates what is before Him. But the important part for us to see is the fact that books of Ezekiel and Revelation both depict for us some pretty clear visions of God bringing judgment on the earth as He looks through the rainbow. However, take note of who the judgment falls on. The Book of Ezekiel is a prophecy of woe primarily against God’s people for their disobedience, and Revelation also chronicles a series of judgments about to befall the Jewish nation for their rejection and murder of their covenant mediator, Jesus of Nazareth (Note: this interpretation understands Revelation to be written during Caesar Nero’s reign prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD).
So what does this mean for the church today? It means that, for those Christians who are adopting the LGBT symbol of pride – the rainbow flag – you are adopting a very dangerous posture before a holy God. You are displaying pride and celebrating rebellion. This is a high-handed violation of the third commandment. You are members of God’s covenant people – members of His church – and you are using a symbol of His covenant Word to approve of rebellion against His covenant Word. And while the rainbow is a covenant symbol that promises that God has will never again flood the earth, He has shown that He can look through that very same rainbow, take up His warbow again and bring judgment on His people for their rebellion. As Ezekiel preached in a parable depicting God’s judgment for His people’s treachery: “48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done… 52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.”
May God grant His church repentance. All of us.