Rainbows and Epistles ~ Sent by God
The rainbow, the symbol of the covenant with Noah, is typical of our Lord Jesus, who is the Lord’s witness to the people. When may we expect to see the token of the covenant? The rainbow is only to be seen painted upon a cloud. When the sinner’s conscience is dark with clouds, when he remembers his past sin, and mourneth and lamenteth before God, Jesus Christ is revealed to him as the covenant Rainbow, displaying all the glorious hues of the divine character and betokening peace. To the believer, when his trials and temptations surround him, it is sweet to behold the person of our Lord Jesus Christ-to see Him bleeding, living, rising, and pleading for us. God’s rainbow is hung over the cloud of our sins, our sorrows, and our woes, to prophesy deliverance. Nor does a cloud alone give a rainbow, there must be the crystal drops to reflect the light of the sun. So, our sorrows must not only threaten, but they must really fall upon us. There had been no Christ for us if the vengeance of God had been merely a threatening cloud: punishment must fall in terrible drops upon the Surety. Until there is a real anguish in the sinner’s conscience, there is no Christ for him; until the chastisement which he feels becomes grievous, he cannot see Jesus. But there must also be a sun; for clouds and drops of rain make not rainbows unless the sun shineth. Beloved, our God, who is as the sun to us, always shines, but we do not always see Him-clouds hide His face; but no matter what drops may be falling, or what clouds may be threatening, if He does but shine there will be a rainbow at once. It is said that when we see the rainbow the shower is over. Certain it is, that when Christ comes, our troubles remove; when we behold Jesus, our sins vanish, and our doubts and fears subside. When Jesus walks the waters of the sea, how profound the calm!
The word “epistle” comes directly from the Greek επιστολη (epistole) which denotes a letter as “something sent.” It is from the same root as “apostle” which appears in the opening salutation of exactly one-half of the books in this group, such as the first verse of the first Epistle, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1).
I have always rejoiced in knowing that each believer is like an epistle, a letter sent by God, into a dark and dying world. He has called us out and we die to ourselves and live for Him and then He sends us back as a testimony, a letter, an epistle to others…yes, apostles…separated unto the gospel. How wonderful is this!