“Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:11-13, N.K.J.V.)
No portion of the Bible has been attacked and denied more than its opening chapters concerning the seven 24-hour days of the creation week, the literalness of the story of Adam and Eve, and the whole story of Noah, the ark, and the worldwide flood. For example, a theory has been set forth in recent years that the great flood was actually a localized event that only involved the flooding of the Black Sea. But does any theory that relegates the flood of Noah to a localized flood actually hold water (pun intended)? No, it doesn’t.
As Christian apologist Dave Hunt has pointed out, the fact that rainbows are seen all over the world proves that the great flood really was a worldwide deluge. He argues that if the flood was localized to the Black Sea (or anywhere else, for that matter), rainbows would only appear in that part of the world as a phenomenon unique to that area. Therefore, since rainbows can be found all over the globe, the floodwaters must have been found all over the globe.
Hunt also notes that 2 Peter 3:5-13 teaches that God will one day destroy this earth again, this time not with water but with fire. Following this fiery destruction, God will usher in a “new earth” (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). According to Hunt, if the fiery destruction of the end times will be an event that involves the entire planet, the preceding bookend event (the great flood) must also have involved the entire planet.
For the record, some commentators interpret the “new earth” to be a brand spanking new planet, one that replaces the obliterated former earth in the universe. Others understand “new earth” to refer to this same earth completely purged of all vestiges of sin, the phrase being akin to the born-again Christian being described as a “new creation” who has seen old things pass away and all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I myself hold to the latter interpretation, my primary reason being that God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants as an everlasting possession forever (Genesis 13:14-15; 17:7). Also, that interpretation aligns better with the fact that God didn’t obliterate the planet by way of the flood.
To get back to the point, though, the rainbow is the covenant sign of God’s promise to never again destroy the earth by way of water. So the next time you see a rainbow, don’t casually dismiss it or relegate it to life’s category of the humdrum. No, a rainbow is special. It’s important. It’s BIBLICAL. It shows that its creator is a God who makes promises and keeps them. Thousands of years may pass, but God never forgets His promises.
As further evidence of this, guess what God’s throne in heaven has around it. If you answered, “A rainbow,” you’re correct (Revelation 4:1-3). It’s an emerald rainbow, to be precise, and it extends in a circle all the way around God’s throne. This rainbow being green symbolizes life, in this case the eternal life that every saved believer will experience throughout eternity. The rainbow being circular symbolizes completion, the believer’s salvation at last being fully claimed, realized, and manifested.
Needless to say, the emerald rainbow around God’s heavenly throne is the ultimate rainbow that anyone can ever see. If you lay your eyes on it, you’ll know beyond the shadow of all doubt that you are a member of God’s eternal family and a citizen of His eternal kingdom. Whatever pain and sorrow you experienced on the earth will be over at that moment, and you’ll be able to say like David, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). But until we Christians get to see that heavenly rainbow, we’ll just have to settle for the earthly version. Really, though, considering the history and the promise behind the earthly version, that’s no small consolation prize.