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Sheep, Goats and Rainbows

Sheep, Goats and Rainbows

What do they mean? Did you know sheep, goats and rainbows are used to illustrate God’s judgment in the Bible? In the Old Testament, the rainbow was created by God to remind us He will never bring a world wide flood to earth again as a form of judging the wicked.  In the New Testament, Jesus uses the sheep and the goats to illustrate how believers and unbelievers will be divided into two groups; the saved and the unsaved, The sheep will be saved while the goats will face judgment and eternal damnation.

You can’t go anywhere in June without seeing a rainbow flag.  Most of us are aware that a rainbow flag represents the LGBT community. It is flown with pride throughout the United States and beyond.

The LGBT Pride flag made its debut in 1978 and was designed by Gilbert Baker. I have often wondered why the LGBT community chose the rainbow as its symbol. The colors of this rainbow flag represent equality and diversity. Also, each color stands for something. The colors have been added, subtracted and replaced over the years. Here are what some of the colors symbolize: Hot pink represents sex while red represents life. Orange symbolizes healing and yellow stands for sunlight. Green means nature and turquoise is magic. Indigo represents serenity and violet is spirit.:

These were popular colors of the “hippie” era and artistically influenced the flag’s designer. 

In Nazi Germany, during World War II, a badge with a pink triangle symbolized shame.  This badge was sewn into the clothing of anyone considered gay within the concentration camps.

Many countries and even some cities ban the display of the Pride Flag.  To this day, it is certainly a symbol of controversy across the world. It is especially offensive to Christians who see the rainbow as a sacred sign from God.  So, let’s explore that a little bit.

In my recently re-published Bible study titled In the Beginning: Genesis 1-11, I spend several lessons on the flood.  This is not any ordinary flood.  In fact, the world had never seen rain before. If you are not familiar with Genesis chapters 6-9, I encourage you to read it even if you have to “Google” it.  I recommend the NIV Translation.  It is easy to understand without compromising the truth of the text. 

In a nutshell, God was so grieved at how evil humankind had become that He planned to cleanse the entire world of it. He wanted to wipe out all humanity and all living creatures. However, there was one righteous man on the entire planet and his name was Noah.

2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

So, our patient and loving Lord gave Noah a warning. He was going to destroy the earth and everything on it in exactly 120 years.  Therefore, He instructed Noah on how to prepare for it.  For 120 years, Noah built an ark to house a male and female of every species as well as his immediate family.

This was for two purposes.  One, Noah did not deserve judgment as he was righteous in God’s eyes.  Two, God’s plan of salvation for mankind would be fulfilled through the lineage of Noah. Therefore, God had to preserve Noah’s family because Jesus would eventually come through the genealogical line.

Noah faithfully followed God’s order to build an ark. He had never seen rain, never experienced a flood, or even knew what a boat was. For 120 years God waited.  God gave all humans on earth time to repent but to no avail, they did not.

At the end of the 120 years, Noah, his family, and a male and female of every species boarded the ark.  It is important to note that Noah did not close the door to the ark.  God closed the door to the ark.  We are responsible for following God’s call but we are not responsible if people reject God’s truth. God closes the door of opportunity to come to Him, not us.

For forty days and forty nights the rain fell.  Noah and his family had to watch helplessly as all humanity, all the other animals, and all the earth’s beauty was reduced to death and deluge.

There are many interesting thoughts to ponder in my study of Genesis.  I won’t go into them here but I encourage you to pick up a copy online.

If I was Noah, I’d think I would be back to my normal routine after forty days! But the sheer power of God’s judgment had to penetrated their hearts. Instead, it was 371 days before Noah, his family and the animals could disembark from the ark. The world did not look familiar anymore.

God had to show Noah’s family the cost of rejecting Him as Lord.  It must have been quite sobering to watch the destruction from the deck of the ark. Remember, Noah was the only righteous person on earth. That gives you a clue where his family was spiritually.

God is a loving God and never desires to bring judgment upon humankind.  But a holy God cannot allow wickedness to go unpunished.  

This brings me to the rainbow again.  When Noah was back on dry land, he built an altar and worshipped the Lord.  God made a promise to Noah, as well as you and I. God will never destroy the entire earth with a flood ever again. God placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of this promise.

When we see a rainbow in the sky, remember God’s judgment is real.  God’s patience has an end.  And God hates evil.

This brings me to the sheep and the goats. There is a parable in Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus describes what will occur when He returns at His Second Coming. He uses sheep and goats to illustrate how he will separate humankind.  

But first, what is the difference between a sheep and a goat?  How are they different in their behavior? Well, a sheep likes to be with the flock. A sheep likes boundaries that a fence can provide.  Sheep flock together during a storm or when there is a threat.. Sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice and follow the shepherd.

On the other hand, a goat is very independent and does not like boundaries. They tend to look for a way out of their boundaries and get in trouble a lot.

You are probably getting the picture by now. Those destroyed in the flood rejected the Lord as their shepherd.  They rejected the boundaries that keep a believer safe. Instead, they chose to live in wickedness.  They chose to live independently of the Lord. They are the goats.

For 120 years, the Lord gave them the opportunity to believe that He would bring judgment on the earth.  He even gave a final seven day warning.  But sadly, the door of the ark eventually closed and the rain began to fall.

The sheep, on the other hand, were Noah and his family who heeded the warning, followed the instructions, and were saved.

It’s interesting that the Gay Pride Flag represents equality.  We are all created equal. In fact, Genesis clearly states we are all equal at birth.

“The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” Genesis 8:21

We are all born with a sinful nature.  If you are LGBTQ, etc. then yes, you could say you were born that way because you were born with a sinful nature. We all are born sinners.

In John 3, Jesus is teaching Nicodemus about what is required to enter the Kingdom of God (heaven). Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born-again.  Yet, Nicodemus does not understand what Jesus is saying. So, Jesus explains. Nicodemus’ head knowledge had not yet become heart knowledge. When Jesus gets out of your head and into your heart, you become born-again!

Being born-again is about that moment when Jesus becomes very real and tangible in your life.  I was born-again in my first Bible study.  I remember the moment like it was yesterday.  You can find the story of my experience in my blog titled “Why I believe”. 

We must see our sin and see ourselves as a sinner. That conviction, that truth is humbling and brings us to repentance. We are born into a new life and receive the Holy Spirit. We are no longer controlled by the sinful nature. We are now controlled by the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit that comes to live in every true believer. Yes, we still sin, but sin does not control us anymore. (Romans 8)

Your desires change. Your priorities change. Your perspective changes. Your life changes. It is a new birth into a new life with new purpose.

Yes, we are equal at birth.  We are all born with a sinful nature. The Lord pursues us and confronts us about our sin.  We can either repent or reject. Some of us become sheep while others choose to remain goats.

As in the days of Noah, God gives us time and opportunity to heed the warnings of His judgment. We are free to choose what we want to do with our life but Jesus will shut the door to heaven if we choose to remain a goat.

Scripture is very clear about how God feels toward homosexuality, transgender, bisexual, etc.  He calls it a sin.  (Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:18-32). Humankind can reject the truth but the truth will never change.

Are you someone who is looking for a flock who trusts the Lord as their shepherd? The Lord who will teach you safe boundaries through scripture? Who you can find refuge, salvation, forgiveness, and healing?  Or, are you wanting to live independently from the Lord? Without boundaries? Without assurance of salvation?  It’s your choice but when the time is up, the Lord will not be interested in your excuses for rejecting Him.  He is pursuing you even if you don’t realize it.  Turn away from your independent life and allow Him to be your shepherd.

Next time you see a rainbow, I hope you will be reminded of God’s wrath on those who refuse to repent and turn away from their sinful lifestyle.  The rainbow does not represent something to be proud of.  The LGBTQ community has twisted a sacred symbol into a glaring reminder  that they take pride in their sinful lifestyle.


Janice Bobanis


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