How does God’s rainbow differ from the “rainbow” flag used by the LGBT community? Are they the same?
Looking out the front door of Molokai Baptist Church.
We recently received a question about the LGBT flag and if it is the same as the biblical rainbow. Let’s take a look at that and see what we find.
First, let’s talk about the rainbow from a biblical perspective. In Genesis 9:8-17 we’re given the origin of the rainbow. There we’re told that God place the rainbow in the sky as a symbol of God’s promise to Noah and his sons that He would never destroy the earth by flood waters again.
That’s a pretty simple, straight forward history. Now let’s take a look at the way that man has used the rainbow.
In the late 1400s, a Christian reformer, Thomas Muntzer (1489–1525) preached holding a rainbow flag in his hand. A statue of Muntzer, holding a rainbow flag, stands in Stolberg, Germany. In the 16th century, during the German Peasant’s War, a rainbow flag with an image of peasants’ boots was used to represent hope for social change.
There’s also evidence of a pre-Columbian rainbow flag, a Buddhist rainbow flag, a rainbow flag representing the Cooperative Movement of the 1920s and the Peace Movement of the 1960s. Rainbow color flags were also used by the Bene Ohr Jewish movement, U.S.A. (1961), the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (1996) and Ecuadoran and Russian political parties.
In 1978 San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker created his version of the rainbow flag in response to a local activist’s call for the need of a community symbol. Baker dyed and sewed the material for the first flag himself and it had 8 colors. This multi-colored flag morphed into a banner of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement, which is commonly referred to today as LGBT.
Each of the colors had a specific meaning:
On November 27, 1978, the openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk was assassinated. As a consequence the demand for the flag greatly increased. So, in order to meet the demand, the Paramount Flag Company began selling a version of the flag using stock rainbow fabric consisting of seven stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, and violet. Baker eventually dropped the hot pink color because he couldn’t find the fabric.
In 1979 the flag was hung vertically from the lamp posts of San Francisco’s Market Street. Because of the width of the seven stripe flag the center stripe was covered up by the post itself. In order to fix this problem they changed the design to have an even number of stripes so they dropped the turquoise stripe. That left them with the six stripe version of the flag that we see today consisting of — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
So, even though the LGBT flag might be called by the name of God’s token of promise to all mankind, it’s NOT a true rainbow. God’s rainbow has always had seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
God’s rainbow doesn’t have to change colors because of a lack of “fabric” or not fitting on a lamp post. No, God’s rainbow still is a promise that He will not destroy man by flood waters ever again. Next time it will be by fire!
Seven has always been the number of colors used in rainbow flags throughout the centuries, so a flag with fewer than seven colors isn’t really a rainbow flag…it’s just a multi-colored flag.
Throughout human history, we find those things which are in opposition to God’s will and ways are often simply counterfeit copies. Such copies might come close, but they always fall short. All false religions have enough truth to sound good, but they all teach lies often using subtle twists of the truth. That was Satan’s ploy in the Garden. He tempted Eve not by presenting a totally false teaching but by twisting God’s Word. With subtle deception, he created confusion and caused Eve to forget God’s words and commit sin.
Satan never presents himself in truth, as the accuser that he is. Instead he is able to transform himself into an “angel of light,” and his minions are able to transform into “ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:14-15), all with intent to deceive. They may “look” good, but they are nothing more than “copy-cat” appearances of that which is good, and their desire is to lead people away from the One True God who is omni-benevolent (all good).
God created the rainbow and it belongs to Him. God’s rainbow has seven colors. Interestingly, according to Strong’s Dictionary, even the word “rainbow” has seven letters (qesheth). God’s rainbow represents His goodness, His mercy and grace, His love and longsuffering, and, most of all, it is a reminder that His promises are true and faithful. The true rainbow will never represent, nor can it ever celebrate, any sinful behavior.
I hope you’ll never look at the LGBT flag in the same way again. It is NOT a rainbow flag, falling short with only six colors. And it certainly does not represent God’s rainbow. The LGBT community uses a multi-colored flag that falls short in every way….especially in what it represents.