I received a question from an Abounding Grace Radio listener asking the following about the rainbow:
I am tired of seeing the rainbow stolen by LGBTQ activists to support what is against what God says about human sexuality. Why aren’t we doing more to reclaim the beautiful sign that has taken from us and turned into something that supports sin?
Great question. Christians have experienced frustration and confusion over what to do with the rainbow now that it has become the flag in support for the LGBTQ community. One prominent evangelical theologian has encouraged Christians to reclaim the rainbow from the lawlessness it now supports. I have witnessed many Christians who sport the very same t-shirts sold by LGBTQ activists claiming that such an action is one of defiance to the movement.
THE GREAT COUNTERFEIT
The very important point that gets overlooked is that the LGBTQ rainbow and God’s rainbow are not the same thing. Christians need to think a bit differently as to what has happened with the use of the rainbow. Satan is a great counterfeit. In fact, it is universally understood that Revelation 13 describes, in apocalyptic terms, a counterfeit trinity: a dragon, a beast, and a false prophet. In the case of the rainbow, this is exactly what has happened, we are looking at a great counterfeit.
The rainbow was popularized as an official symbol of the gay community in the early 1970s. Consider the two authoritative constructions of the rainbow from the LGBTQ community:
1. The first flag had eight colors, consider the number and meaning:
2. The accepted designation for each color of the rainbow is believed to have originated when a San Francisco artist, Gilbert Baker designed the gay pride flag as having six stripes, each one having its own meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for the human spirit.
Here is Gilbert’s rainbow:
It is remarkable to note the number chosen in each case, the first rainbow had eight colors, the official rainbow has six. This is not a mere coincidence. Theologically, Satan has offered us, again, a counterfeit way and a counterfeit sign that promises a way of happiness apart from God.
THE GREAT ORIGINAL
The point should not be missed: These rainbows are not the same. There is an important number discrepancy in the two rainbows.
It is universally known that every time we gaze upon a rainbow in the sky, placarded before our eyes is the great original set by our creator, generally received in seven colors. To be sure, scientists today use spectrometers to discern many colors in the rainbow. For centuries, however, as believed by Isaac Newton himself, what is most observed to the naked eye is seven colors.
Since the number seven retains vast theological significance as indicating perfection and authenticity, it shouldn’t be a surprise that God would, in his providence, build into his creation an important ordering of these things to show his authentic imprint when our eyes gaze upon the rainbow.
The more important point is the theological one. God’s rainbow and LGBTQ one have radically different meanings. Each offers a way of promised freedom while one supports sin, the other–mercy. After God flooded the earth in judgment, he smelled the sacrifice of Noah and made a promise:
And God said, This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 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 (Gen 9:12–13).
God showed kindness by putting a rainbow up in the sky, a covenant sign, and declared that he would never, in like fashion, destroy the world again with a flood. It was a symbol of forbearance and kindness to the world, anticipating the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a sign telling all people that the Lord is merciful, compassionate, and long-suffering, not desiring the death of the wicked and but that people should turn to Jesus and live.
To confuse everything, the movement before us has taken this sign, and used it to mock God’s patience and forbearance.
So what does this mean for Christians in their use of the rainbow? Our message should be clear: the LGBTQ movement is a counterfeit way, with a counterfeit sign, which is being used to take a stand against the Lord and his Christ. It is offering another way of autonomy from the Lord with the lie that a way happiness can be achieved apart from our creator.
This should help Christians to appreciate the use of the rainbow as God designed it and not as it has been perverted to rebel against the Lord. What an opportunity we have, then, to explain the Christian gospel of Jesus Christ every time God sets his bow in nature itself. There, before our eyes is great original, and there, offered to us, is the sign of the way to true happiness.