12 God said, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I am drawing up between me and you and every living thing with you, on behalf of every future generation. 13 I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember the covenant between me and you and every living being among all the creatures. Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures. 16 The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I have set up between me and all creatures on earth.”
Genesis 9:8-17 CEB
Jared Byas in “Genesis for Normal People” notes that the “bow” God set in the cloud as a rainbow after the Genesis flood was actually an archery bow - God’s archery bow. With this understanding, as God hung up His weapon, He did so with the curve downwards, so if an arrow was placed upon it, it would shoot upwards towards Heaven. God gives Himself a reminder of why He will never again flood the Earth - because He turned His weaponry away from us, and scandalously towards Himself.
The story of Noah’s ark is a picture, referenced in 1 Peter 3:18-22 as corresponding as a figure with the work of Jesus on the cross for our redemption. And the language here - that God is going to set this bow in the clouds between Himself and the Earth, to remind Himself of His covenant of mercy with mankind, is a foreshadowing of Jesus who was also placed between God and the Earth, who of Himself said in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (Further explained by the next verse which says, “He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”) Jesus also said in John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
Jesus in His crucifixion became the bridge placed between Heaven and Earth, just like the rainbow - and in so doing, the door was swung open for those who believe in Him to have eternal life. Again, what a scandal, that God would do such a thing. How does it even begin to make sense? Yet in what the Bible calls “the foolishness of the cross”, the gospel message of Jesus’s crucifixion for us shines with a vibrancy of many colors, of all the colors of the rainbow. And in this, the image of the bow itself speaks of what Paul later calls, “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10) or more literally from the Greek, the multi-COLORED wisdom of God - which in the message of the gospel will shine forever in all its beauty for both man and God to behold.
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Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to see the multi-colored wisdom of your gospel ever more. Thank you for your covenant through your precious Son Jesus Christ and your scandalous wisdom of placing Him between Heaven and Earth on a cross for us. Amen
Heather authors the blog, "All Things Are Yours" about her explorations in various corners of Christendom. Her motto is "Truth in Tension with Itself" and she considers herself a Charis-mergent believer. She's also a certified biology teacher, and enjoys writing about the Bible and theistic evolution. She is single and looking; please send applications for suitorship attached to a labrador retriever puppy to her address, available upon request.