Authentic Joseph Smith (No. 7)
Part of the Joseph Smith, Jr. Series
All blue quotes by Joseph Smith (unless otherwise noted).
From Wilford Woodruff’s diary (March 1844)
The Rainbow’s Meaning Is Buried
First, the rainbow has incredible significance. The Creators always meant it to be a compelling, meaningful signal that enlarges our awareness and refocuses us back on our true purpose. Instead, poor translation and tradition hijacked the rainbow and changed it to “God won’t flood the earth again as He did in Noah’s time.”
That explanation leaves so much to be desired. It never made sense – why God needed a glorious display in our little sky in order to remind Himself not to do something.
Wouldn’t it make more sense that God placed a glorious display in our little sky to remind us <ahem> to do something?
When the rainbow appears in our day – it is a promise that Christ will bring Zion back. And we need to do things to prepare ourselves to be a part of that.
If this surprises you, I’ve included references and more details at the end of this post.
The Rainbow Will Disappear
Did you know the rainbow will no longer appear in the sky? It is a sign that the abomination of desolation is coming – the final cataclysmic phase before the Lord comes again.
the abomination of desolation: In a general sense, the abomination of desolation also describes the latter-day judgments to be poured out upon the wicked wherever they may be. (Bible Dictionary)
Joseph Smith explains this rainbow phenomenon:
I have asked of the Lord concerning his coming & while asking, the Lord gave me a sign & said in the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign & token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come, but their should be seed time—harvest during that year, but when ever you see the bow withdraw, it shall be a token that their shall be famin pestilance & great distress among the nations. But I take the responsibility upon myself to prophesy in the name of the Lord, that Christ will not come this year as [William] Miller has prophecyed, for we have seen the bow. And I also Prophecy in the name of the Lord that Christ will not Come in forty years & if God ever spake by my mouth he will not come in that length of time. (Wilford Woodruff’s diary – March 1844)
famine: extreme scarcity of food
pestilences: fatal epidemic diseases, like the bubonic plague
great distress: extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain
extreme: reaching a high or the highest degree; very great
This specific narrative doesn’t mention natural disasters and wars – but many other verses do. Here’s one from D&C 88:86-91
86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.
87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.
88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, the voice of lightnings, the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
Like Joseph Smith, when I observe the rainbow, I know it means the Lord isn’t coming during this seedtime and harvest. When the rainbow ceases to appear, whatever current world conditions we thought were going sideways – they will be exponentially outdone by tremendous hardship and distress.
When you next look up at the rainbow, I hope you’ll know Zion is looking down on you – it’s speaking to you and encouraging you to upgrade yourself and your life. It is a symbol full of beckoning and hope.
When the rainbow no longer appears – brace yourself. That’s a signal to hold fast to the covenant path.
Review: The Rainbow’s True Meaning
Only in the Joseph Smith Translation do we learn the empowering, heightened message of the rainbow. After you read the following verses, you may never look at the rainbow in the sky and feel the same way! Instead, it will inspire more awe and a greater closeness to heaven. Partly because the rainbow speaks to you directly about upgrading your status today and urging you to a glorious future. It is NOT explicitly set to remind us there is only one global flood. I always thought the rainbow’s supposed symbolism of a singular ancient event was somehow lacking. See how this impacts you.
JST Genesis 9:21-25
strikethrough = words Joseph Smith deleted (sometimes what Joseph crossed out can be just as much information as what he added)
bold type = words Joseph Smith added
21 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, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with you;
23 And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.
24 And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.
embrace: welcome, accept, take to one’s heart, adopt, support, champion
The Joseph Smith Series comes from, in part, a book called “The Words of Joseph Smith.”
(P.S. I receive no compensation for any recommendations – I like sharing.)