God Is Present with Us

KEY VERSE: “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was … the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” —Ezekiel 1:28

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 1:4-6, 15-20, 26-28

IN this appearance to the Prophet Ezekiel, God’s throne was associated with a rainbow. In another vision, somewhat similar, which is recorded in the Book of Revelation, God is shown sitting as the great and ultimate ruler of our world. And in this scene “there was a rainbow round about the throne.”—Rev. 4:3,4

Why a rainbow? In the rainbow covenant to Noah, God expressed his basic intention for man’s salvation. The first dispensation of man’s existence on the earth had been a tragic experience of over sixteen centuries. Conditions of evil had worsened with the expanding population until “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only, evil continually.” (Gen. 6:6) As tragic as it, was for man, and even for the angels who became involved in man’s affairs, it no doubt serves as a valuable object lesson showing the rapidity with which sin will deprave and degrade the mind and heart if allowed to continue unchecked. Mankind’s fallen condition left him hopeless, except for the promise of God’s help.

But God’s assistance at that time came in a way we would perhaps least expect. Except for Noah and his family, the entire population of that dispensation or world, was destroyed from off the face of the earth in a Flood. Did this represent God’s final solution to that problem? No! Not at all! The Apostle Peter wrote that while God “spared not the old world, but saved Noah … bringing in the Flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Pet. 2:5), this was the Creator’s way of reserving them in death “unto the day of judgment to be punished [curtailed].” (vs. 9) The word punished in this text is not translated correctly in our King James Version. The original Greek word means ‘to curtail’. Certainly this rendering conforms to the facts of the matter. During the time those generations previously lived, nothing was done to curtail their downward course in sin, God having reserved this for a future day.

That God’s final answer to the problem of Adamic sin in mankind is not their destruction was so beautifully expressed when a fresh start began with Noah and his family. As the new dispensation began, God expressed again his covenant with man, the first to be spoken since his expulsion from Eden. The token of the covenant he gave through Noah is still with us today, and it will continue as long as the sun, the earth and the rain remain. God said, “It shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud. … And I will remember my covenant.”—Gen. 9:14-16

Many millions of rainbows have repeated those words uttered so many thousands of years ago, and yet the outworkings of sin continue to threaten the extinction of our race. Peter warned that the seeming long delay in God’s plan would cause many to doubt these ancient promises of God, and to scoff at them. (I Pet. 3:4) But he says “the Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (vs. 9) This is a wonderful statement of God’s intention! It not only reflects his great patience in allowing the much-needed lesson of sin during the long past and present, but also speaks of a great hope for a future world of righteousness, wherein all will have an ample opportunity to turn from sin and gain life.

God’s purposes have never wavered in this respect. How the glory of God has indeed shone unto us through his covenants.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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