(I'll give you the footnote stuff later if you want it...I didn't do that the first time...sorry)
From the Targums of Palestine on the Book of Genesis (see Genesis 9:11-17)
And I will establish my covenant with you, and will not again cause all flesh to perish by the waters of a flood; and there shall not again be a flood to destroy the earth.
And the Lord said, this is the sign of the covenant which I establish between My Word and between you and every living soul that is with you to the generations of the world. I have set My Bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of the covenant between My Word and the earth.
And it shall be that when I spread out My glorious cloud over the earth the bow shall be seen in the day (time) while the sun is not sunk (or hidden) in a cloud. And I will remember My covenant.
…And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between the Word of the Lord and every living soul of all flesh that is on the earth.
Let’s think a little about rainbows for a minute. Now they definitely bring out the “wow” factor. Any time you see one, you automatically say “wow”…Now think back a moment to Noah, and the generations after Noah. I am sure for a while, whenever Noah or his family saw a dark cloud, they wondered, “Is this it?” or “Will it (the flood) happen again?” And yes, it would rain, and like here in Colorado, I’m sure some rains were “gully washers”. The terrifying flashes of lightning and the rolling booms of the thunder that you can feel. Yet, as the storm passes, and the rain is just beginning to subside, sunlight breaks through the clouds and suddenly in the distance with dark clouds behind it; a spectacular, glowing bow of luminous color. A “token” the Targums say, the NASB says a “sign”; God remembering an everlasting covenant.
Now, we live under a “New Covenant” and just as everlasting.
“And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun being obscured;” (Luke 23:45)
Yet we now have a new “token” an empty cross, the more perfect “sign” that the dark clouds of the storm frame, showing the beauty of the victory, and highlighted by the pure bright light of God shining for us.
Yes, the storms we have to live through are dark, and sometimes we think that they will never end; we ask “God will you deliver me?” Yet on one lonely hill, with dark clouds behind it, the victory was won. So we know and we have this confidence, not only an empty cross, but an empty tomb…the ultimate storm was conquered…Death!
The Apostle Paul wrote,
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death: in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14)
So, we can press on with the “token” of the empty cross before us always; and not just after the storm. Now that is the ultimate “wow” factor.