Bible Question:

What is the meaning of the rainbow?

Bible Answer:

The Bible tells us that the rainbow did not occur until after Noah’s flood. God gave it to us as a promise that He would never destroy the earth with a flood again. The meaning of the rainbow is that it was given as a reminder of God’s promise.

And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:11-15 (NASB)

The rainbow was not only a promise from God but it was a reminder to us of God’s faithfulness. That is the meaning of the rainbow.

Half Circle Rainbow

The Rainbow

At the words of Genesis 9:11-15 seem unimportant. But there is a surprise for us – a scientific fact – when we realize the Bible tells us that there was no rain before the flood (Genesis 2:5 and Genesis 7:4, 12). When God caused the flood to occur, He also brought the first rain. Then God caused rainbows to start appearing in the sky when rain occurs. This is a remarkable statement that is consistent with science, since rainbows will appear only when water droplets are airborne. That is why we can see rainbows in water fountains and in the mist after a rain storm.

When rain or mist is present a rainbow can appear. When it does appear, it is actually a full circle. A rainbow appears when sunlight reflects off the inside of a water drop. The full circle cannot usually be seen from the ground but only from above the earth. Someone in an airplane can see the full bow. This means that we may not see the full bow, but God will always see it. It is also interesting to discover that rainbows contain all of the colors of the spectrum with the inner part of the bow being violet and the outer red. What a light show for God!

Something Significant

From a scientific viewpoint, this is a surprising statement. The Bible did not say the rainbow occurred before rain starting appearing on the earth but afterwards. Clouds did not appear before the flood but after the flood. God’s design for a rainbow requires rain. The Bible and science are consistent.


Why did God place violet in the inner portion of the rainbow and red in the outer portion? Is it possible that God uses red as a reminder of Jesus’ blood which was shed when He died and violet as a reminder of His future eternal Kingdom? Whatever the reason, God has created a wonderful wonder in the sky to remind us of His faithfulness to us.

Suggested Links:

Did it rain before the great flood of Noah?
Was there rain before and after Noah’s flood in Genesis?
What happened to the flood waters of Noah’s day?
What happened to the flood waters of Noah’s day?
Vision of God
Is heaven described in the book of Revelation?