Three Rainbows In The Bible: 3 of God’s Awe-Inspiring Promises to His Children

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Rainbows in the Bible hold such promise. Such hope, don’t they? We find several examples of rainbow symbolism in the Bible. Let’s look at Bible verses about the three rainbows in the Bible and what they mean.

Rainbows are such an incredible phenomenon to witness. It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen them; they leave me in awe each and every time. I have to stop and praise God for His creative beauty and extraordinary power.

Of course, scientifically, rainbows are “an arch of colors formed in the sky in certain circumstances, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere.”

Science aside, rainbows symbolize so much more to God’s children and reveal a bit about His characteristics.

We won’t cover the meaning behind colors in the Bible in this post, but you can read more in this in-depth post.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary says that rainbows in the Bible are: 

“the token of the covenant which God made with Noah when he came forth from the ark that the waters should no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. The right interpretation of (Genesis 9:13) seems to be that God took the rainbow, which had hitherto been but a beautiful object shining in the heavens when the suns rays fell on falling rain, and consecrated it as the sign of his love and the witness of his promise. Ecclesiastes. 43:11.

The rainbow is a symbol of God’s faithfulness and mercy. The “rainbow around the throne” (Revelation 4:3 ) is seen as the symbol of hope and the bright emblem of mercy and love, all the more accurate as a symbol because it is reflected from the storm itself.”

And while many other instances of Bible symbolism occur more often in the Bible, rainbows are mentioned just seven times.

imge of rainbow in clouds for the post Three Rainbows In The Bible: 3 of God's Awe-Inspiring Promises to His Children

What Does the Bible Say About Rainbows:  The Great Flood

The first mention of rainbows in the Bible occurs in Genesis:

 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Genesis 9:13 (ESV)

In this mention, we are in the midst of the story of the Great Flood. God sets a rainbow in the sky as a covenant to us. His promise to His children. A rainbow is designed to reassure us that God has remembered His promise when we see one.

I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”  

God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:15-17 (ESV)

God has promised never to destroy the Earth again with a flood. A rainbow serves as a powerful reminder of God’s promise of this to us.

A Word about Covenants Made By God

God made a covenant with Noah, who represented all future people. The book of Genesis tells how God made a covenant with His people and called them to promise theirs in return.

The Bible speaks of seven or eight different covenants He makes with His children throughout history, from when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden right up until Jesus’ resurrection, the “new covenant.” 

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 12:24 (ESV)

The agreement between two or more parties to do something is called a covenant. The name of this statement is in legal terms, and it’s often used to assure that the fulfillment will be met with those who have agreed upon its performance.

The church is where members agree to act together in harmony with the precepts of our gospel. A covenant establishes this relationship between two parties, similar to if you were signing your name on a government document.

Rainbows in the Bible: The Second Mention: Ezekiel’s Vision

The second mention of rainbows in the Bible takes place in Ezekiel. In this chapter, Ezekiel has a vision of heavenly and angelic beings and cherubim appointed as guardians of the holiness of God.

 Like the appearance of the bow in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 1:28 (ESV)

Ezekiel was privileged to see a vision of God in heaven and the brightness of God was seen as a rainbow. The rainbow is seen as a part of the manifestation of God in Revelation 4:3 and Revelation 10:1. Enduring Word has a good short study on cherubim that you may wish to check out.

It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word for Rainbow is קֶשֶׁת — Qeshet. Keshet is also used to describe a war bow.

When you think of a bow used in war, it needs, essentially two things:  the bow and an arrow. Without the arrow, it cannot serve as a weapon. (For sports imagery in the Bible, see this post.)

The symbol of the rainbow, a bow without an arrow, is therefore a symbol of the mercy of God. A symbol that shows that while God can destroy the earth with a flood, He has promised not to do that ever again.

You may enjoy this short video by a rabbi about the meaning of the word rainbow in the Bible and what it signifies.

Ezekiel 1:28 confirms Exodus 34:6-7 and shows us that God’s glory was not merely a brightness around Him but was His character. How fitting then that the rainbow should be an integral part in manifesting that character to all those blessed with a vision of God manifested in heaven.

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 

 Exodus 34:6-7 (ESV)

Where Else Can We Find Rainbows in the Bible?

The arc of colors in a rainbow has religious significance for early Hebrew people. God asked Moses to use the colors blue, purple, and scarlet in his curtains for a portable temple that Israelites would use on their way into the promised land.

“Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them.

Exodus 26:1 (ESV)

The colors of Aaron were blue, purple, and scarlet. These are the same as those worn by high priests ordained by God Himself.

Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.

Exodus 28:1-5 (ESV)

These colors worn by priests and in a cloth on the ark of Covenant represented atonement, seeking a better relationship between God and His people.

Ezekiel declared the magnificent rainbow that he saw in his vision as a symbol of God’s glory. 

Like the appearance of the bow in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 1:28 (ESV)

The rainbows that dot the sky are a pinnacle of God’s astounding creation. They shine in rainy or partly-shining skies and can be seen as signals from him, waiting to peek out at us when we need hope most! A rainbow is a reminder that God is faithful even during the stormy times of our life. 

John’s book of Revelation speaks about God’s glory and power at the end of earthly times.

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And 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.

Revelation 4:1-3 (ESV)

The Three Meaning of Rainbows in the Bible

There are three overarching meanings of rainbows in God’s Word:

God’s Promises To Us

In Genesis, the rainbow symbolizes God’s promise to never destroy the earth again with a worldwide flood. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. A rainbow is a reminder of that.

Creation

Rainbows have been a symbol of creation since Genesis. The rainbow symbolizes God as the masterful Creator of earth and nature. 

Bridges

The rainbow also signifies a bridge—for example, a bridge from earth to heaven, a beautiful, happier place.

image of rainbow in background of wheat field for the post Three Rainbows In The Bible: 3 of God's Awe-Inspiring Promises to His Children

Rainbows in the Bible Remind Us of the Gospel

The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection should cause us to rejoice because it means that God sent his own Son for all of humanity and escaped judgment by being hidden with Christ in God. 

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:3 (ESV)

because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him

1 Peter 3:20-22 (ESV)

And because of the gospel, we can respond to God’s grace with faithful surrender. This leads us into salvation and a relationship with God.

 As Paul wrote:

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 

Romans 10:9-10  (ESV)

A Prayer to Remember God’s Promises

Dear God,

Thank you for the many promises you have given us through your Holy Word.

The Lord is always with you; your strength will bring us through. We know we can count on you and your promises. 

God, help me be mindful of the promises You have made for my life. Please remind me and guide me all day long as I stand on Your word!

Please remind us to meditate on your promises, especially when life gets tough, or we go through difficult times.

Your faithfulness is a breath of fresh air, and I am refreshed by your promises.

We are always in your hands. We know that no matter what we face, it will be easier with our faith in you and the promises You have made for us.

Let us trust you daily as we cling to your promises for hope and guidance. Thank you, Father, for your grace and your eternal love.

The form you have selected does not exist.

When You See A Rainbow

The next time you see a rainbow, appreciate its beauty, then consider what the rainbow means.

We have been blessed to have revealed to us just a glimpse of God’s character. A reminder of His promises to us despite the hardship and difficulties we face. 

Let it be a remembrance that while we deserve judgment and death, God is merciful and has given us eternal life. Moreover, he is faithful to keep His promises to us for eternity, just as he made and kept His promises to the Israelites thousands of years ago.

Click the image below to downloand and print Bible verses about rainbows.

Bible verses about rainbows

You may enjoy one of these recommended resources:

Squinting to See the Rainbow: Trusting the Promises of God in Our Darkest Days by Dwight and Tabitha Easler 

A Rainbow for God: Coloring Book by Nancy Groves

Remember and be awed by His breathtaking creation and that He is the Masterful Creator of heaven and earth.

If you see a rainbow, take a picture and share it on social media with the hashtags: #Godspromises #rainbowsWONC, and be sure to thank our Heavenly Father for His abundant blessings and kept promises.

Because of Him,

Sue

ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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11 Comments

  1. Hey, I saw the most amazing rainbow on Dahboo0077 channel today, it touched my soul. Thank you for scriptures, many prayers/blessings!

  2. Hi, you wrote:
    “And, while many other instances of Bible symbolism occur more often in the Bible, rainbows are mentioned just seven times.”

    Just like to check with you which version you were using.

    From the NKJV, I have only 6 times:
    1. Gen 9:13
    2. Gen 9:14
    3. Gen 9:16
    4. Eze 1:28
    5. Rev 4:3
    6. Rev 10:1

    Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this article. I have one question, where does Bridge fit in in scripture? I see the other too.
    Thanks for your response.

    1. Hi, Margie – I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve not, yet written or studied bridges, but I’ll consider it for a future post. Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed day!

      1. Today I woke up and the first thing i did was to text good morning to the person i love the most in this world. Who saved me from becoming a monster. And i have strong feelings towards her and she knows it (nothing s*xual but pure love). And she knows about my feelings and because of her bad experience in her past relationship restraint her from giving a chance to me and always try to push me away…

        As I said before today also i texted good morning to her and she replied with text saying morning.. The next thing happened was she video called me ( we both never actually met and talked in person coz she live abroad and she dont want me to go there and meet her becoz she scared of me getting disappointed and getting hurt, becoz she have no such feelings for me.. Not The way I love her) and showed me a full arch rainbow on sky and told me there was noone der to show this, so she called me and she was so excited to see the rainbow… And I am also exicited to see the rainbow because I love the nature as it is and its wonders..

        Later I was just trying to remember what exactly causes the rainbow to form and i kept on reading about it, the reflection, refraction and dispersion.. Then came the mythological sections, alot of myths regarding rainbows and god… Then I saw this post and I saw the writer is responding to the comment so on a curious note I would like to ask the writer.. Does this actually mean anything? All the bible thing and myths and stuffs.. If You believe its true to the word in bible then connect the story I told you above to the bible words.

        Hope you ll reply
        Thank you

        1. Hi, Jason – thank you for writing and sharing your story. Rainbows are a symobolim of God’s promise to us, His children. It would be impossible for me to connect your particular story to scripture. God has a plan for each of us. He may have been pointing out His promises or it may just be a random connection. Only God knows. Do you know Jesus? I would be happy to talk with you via email or phone and explore this deeper. Thank you for stopping by and have a blessed day

    2. Well my first thought would be that Jesus is the bridge that finishes our connection to God. Since we sinful in our nature, Jesus “bridges the gap” between us and our Heavenly Father. … Of Course, I’m not a theologian 📖by any means, ⛪ but I hope that helps and encourages you! Blessings my friend. 🙏🙋🏽‍♀️🙏

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