Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainbows and Unicorns: The Beautiful Side of God

In the late 80's, my children and I were relatively new Christians. We were determined to be as dedicated as we could be, so we tried to obey everything in the scriptures we could find. We believed without question that the Lord Jesus had paid it all, so we were not oriented towards 'works salvation', but like many new Christians who are on fire for the Lord, we wanted to obey completely. With a little less discernment in those beginning years, we were not always carefully adapting to who to listen to and who not: we listened often to radio programs exposing one of 16 or 17 commonly exposed cults, admonitions about whether mighty mouse might be metaphorically encouraging crack cocaine when he sniffed flowers for power, and we heard all about how Madeleine Murray Ohare wanted to forbid Christian programming forever, and how Proctor and Gamble were really occultist because of their old logo.

Witchcraft was a popular topic 20 or so years ago, and testimonies were given by those who had been in covens, or come out of satanic cults or wicca, but even then, we listened with a grain of salt, because we were daily in the Word, and began sifting the wheat from the chaff. A very popular book back then called "The Beautiful Side of Evil" came out inciting riot against Rainbows and Unicorns, etc, as sinister symbols of the New Age. One day when we expected a visit from a local 'cult hobbyist' who wanted to start a newsletter, we knocked the horn off my daughter's unicorn pencil holder just to make sure we weren't typecast. I'm not sure she ever forgave me, because she really liked that pencil holder, and well, in the end, it was the cult guy that turned out not to be kosher.

Now, we were true believing Christians back then, and I've held strongly to my faith for 25 years, so we cut out TV, (which was a right choice), homeschooled, and really walked the walk, ridding the house of what was not right nor pleasing to the Lord, and we had a pretty peaceful household. I am not advocating throwing all that away and returning to the world at all, because I have seen the difference when things which counter the Word of God are brought into one's life, and there is a real power of the demonic which attaches itself to things like occultism and the dark arts, and holding on to that sort of stuff is like an invitation to chaos and the demonic.

I do feel the need though to remark on the opposite extreme, when we become so legalistic towards a few things, like rainbows and Unicorns, that some people will not allow a sleepover for a child if their friend has unicorn blankets. Some christians would not read nor see "Chronicles of Narnia" because they had fauns and the like, even though they represented believers that are sort of 'half and half', even knowing the great faith and understanding of C.S. Lewis. What I am striking for is balance, in thoroughly obeying the Word and casting out idolatry and elements of 'darkness' but not being so foolish as to throw away the depth of understanding that God offers, even using the same things.

I am not talking about cartoons like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" or sitcoms about teen witches and vampires: I still even today, even with a doctorate in Psychology do not agree with that influence, seeing it as a 'boiling frog' which begins a serious dissension in thinking about the world, but there are these two things which I would like to take back from the whole hysteria, and put them back in the Bible where they came from and belong: Rainbows, and Unicorns.

Can rainbows be used as occult symbols? Sure: and they can be used on candy, and on logos, and toys, and Rainbow brite dolls if they are still around, and on 3d pencils, etc. etc. etc. The use of rainbows though is too significant in the Word of God to ignore, nor to allow a 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' mentality.

When Noah landed on dry ground, the few saved out of the many, the beginning of the line of Shem, and the re-establishment of the human race and the confirmation of the covenant begun from when Adam and Eve left the Garden, God sets a rainbow in sky as a seal on the covenant, that he will no more destroy all flesh in a flood. While there are only a few mentions of rainbows in the Bible, each is a seal of the Noahic covenant, or mentioned in conjunction with the throne of God:

Gen 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Gen 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
Gen 9:16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.

This is not to be ignored, nor assigned to some Christian taboo because today alot of occultists use it symbolically. That bow in the cloud was:

1. A sign of God's Love
2. A sign of the Everlasting Covenant
3. A sign of God's Glory
4. A seal on the covenant, meaning, it was immutable.

The bow is seen again as an element of the likeness of God's glory:

Eze 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

And is mentioned with regard to the throne and glory of God:

Rev 4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and [there was] a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
Rev 10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

In earlier days, closer to the time of Noah, in the years of replenishing the earth, we can only imagine how wondrous it must have been to see that bow in the sky, in the clouds. Every time it appeared, with prism colors, it was God showing his seal of his Covenant with man: a tangible, God given ensign of salvation and deliverance. A foreshadowing of glory yet to be revealed in the clouds. Even now, rather than search our children's closets when they go to school or out to play for their 'rainbow' stash, shouldn't we 'take back the rainbow' and hold it for the gift it is: the sign of God with us and for us. The sign of an everlasting covenant!


Contrary to some modern bible translations, unicorn(s) really are in the Bible, and were most likely a real species, but the greatest reference to a unicorn in scripture, points to the Messiah:

Num 24:8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce [them] through with his arrows.

The reference is part of Balaam's prophecy which turned to a blessing of Israel, and her Messiah. A similar passage is:

Num 23:22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

A 'horn' in scripture is a symbol of power: even Moses is spoken of as sporting horns. The unicorn is in Hebrew, 'Re'em', which some lexicons denote as an extinct and wild animal. The word 'horn' is in the useage at hand, qeren, which can mean e.g. a ram's horn, but can also refer to rays of light, as in a radiant array. In Dt 33:17 Jacob in his blessings mentions Joseph, a type of Messiah,as pushing back the nations with the horn of a unicorn.

Deu 33:17 His glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh.

Unicorns are used also as a metaphor of the uniqueness of the glory of God:

Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

and the 'horns of the unicorns', particularly of 'the' unicorn, is the singular power of the Son of God. The 'horns' of the altar (same word) are the place of the blood anointing of the sacrifice for sin. (!)

David correlates his God given glory, as the King of Israel with power over enmity with a unicorn:

Psa 92:10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

A number of other passages refer to this unique, powerful, free and remarkable creature, and the symbol of the unicorn representing Messiah has been generally agreed upon since very early.

God is not Mocked: Rendering unto God, the things of God
There will be those no doubt that will misrepresent what I am saying and say that I have backslidden and am advocating New Age thinking , for that is the unfortunate state of affairs in Church today: we always want to think the worst. It was God, though, who set the bow in the cloud: it was God who ordained the metaphor of the unicorn in His Word, and one can never suggest that because those in the dark arts may take and run with a Christian or Jewish symbol, that it in any way makes the symbol occultic: it rather makes the misunderstanding occultic.

As time proceeds, and satanic thought and practice becomes more and more prevalent, not just the 'spooky' stuff portrayed these days, but concepts which really overthrow any orientation toward 'The Mind of Christ', it will be more and more important to reserve Christian concepts and metaphor from being misunderstood, or adopted out from under us. New Age use of unicorns, does not need to undermine a Biblical understanding, nor overthrow us in our thinking. This does not mean we start purchasing New Age crystals with glowing unicorns, or consume massive doses of 'Princess Shira' riding unicorns (she still around?), but that whether it is Rainbows, Unicorns, dragons, leviathan, or any other reference to unusual things in the Word of God, we think about such things in terms of careful Bible study,and teach our children not to 'fear' such symbols, but teach them to know the difference between their biblical and right use and meaning vs. the way worldly people use them or the way those in satanic cults use them.

I say, take back the things that belong to God, like the beautiful side of rainbows and unicorns, and learn discernment instead of attitudes which the world will never understand, and may unnecessarily polarize Christians, who are already more than seen as a 'peculiar people'. One can always use the misunderstanding as a segue into discussing the wondrous seal of the Covenant, from the singular and unique one with the horn of power who will push back nations.

Why are there so many songs about Rainbows? hmm?