Noach: God's Rainbow
Updated: Apr 10
I hope that you all enjoyed the festival season that has just passed.
It’s been awhile since we’ve posted some Torah notes and as I was revisiting my old notes on ‘Noach,’ I thought we’d start up again with this little thought from Genesis 9 regarding God’s covenant and the rainbow.
Considering the times we live in, I couldn’t help but mention the rainbow….
The relevant verses are;
Genesis 9:12–16 (The Scriptures)
12 And Elohim said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for all generations to come:
13 “I shall set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
14 “And it shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud,
15 and I shall remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and never again let the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 “And the rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I shall see it, to remember the everlasting covenant between Elohim and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
Biblically, the rainbow is very profound and when it is seen in the sky it should be a reminder to us all of the story of Noah. Most importantly, it should serve as a reminder of God’s covenant and how despite everything that he ‘remembers’ his covenant with all flesh. Much like how God ‘remembered’ Israel when we cried out in Egypt and how due to ‘remembering’ that covenant, became Israel’s saviour.
It is an important symbol.
Ezekiel illuminates the symbolism of the rainbow a little further for us;
Ezekiel 1:28 (The Scriptures)
28 As the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the esteem of יהוה. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
So the glory (esteem) of God is likened to that of a rainbow, and we know that Yeshua is the likeness of God and is therefore connected to the appearance of a rainbow, God’s glory.
On this, the guys at First Fruits of Zion say;
Like the rainbow, Yeshua reflects the radiance of the glory of God. A rainbow appears when light intersects airborne moisture. The moisture in the atmosphere causes the light to refract, splitting it into multiple colours that we can see. In the language of the Torah ‘the bow will be seen in the cloud’. When heaven and earth intersect in this manner, they produce a beautiful refraction and splendid display of divine glory. When the heavenly word intersects on earthly man, it refracts into a beautiful demonstration of God’s glory on earth called the Messiah.
So Yeshua is that rainbow, the Glory of God.
But there is another side to the rainbow that we need to heed because it is also a symbol of warning.
Looking into the Hebrew (and it’s not hard to get this in the English too) the word for rainbow, qeseth, is also a word that speaks of a ‘bow’, as in, a bow and arrow.
From the Strong’s;
7198. קֶשֶׁת qesheth, keh’-sheth; from 7185 in the orig. sense (of 6983) of bending; a bow, for shooting (hence, fig. strength) or the iris:— × arch (-er), + arrow, bow ([-man, -shot]).
Reading Isaiah we can understand that the ‘arrow’ used in the bow is the Messiah.
Isaiah 49:2 (The Scriptures)
2 And He made My mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of His hand He hid Me, and made Me a polished shaft. In His quiver He hid Me.”
In time to come, we shall see this bow, and this arrow, in the clouds.
Matthew 24:30 (The Scriptures)
30 “And then the sign of the Son of Aḏam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem (glory).
Notice again that connection with glory, the Messiah, and the rainbow.
One last connection; because the glory of God is the likeness of God, as we saw from Ezekiel, and rabbinically speaking, the word qeseth is actually understood to mean just that, the word ‘likeness’.
Thus it shall be, ‘when [God] brings a cloud over the earth, [the Messiah, the Glory of God and the likeness of God]; the rainbow, shall be seen in the cloud’.
Take heed for God says;
Isaiah 42:8 (The Scriptures)
8 “I am יהוה, that is My Name, and My glory I do not give to another...
Thus the rainbow belongs to God, and to God alone.