The word one is used more than two thousand times in Scripture. For the most part, these are simply natural used of the number to indicate a solitary individual or item. But in several distinct instances the singular number carries special and symbolic weight. These refer, in order of importance, (1) to God’s revelation of himself as one; (2) to a characteristic of unity related to a group or nation; or (3) to a significant individual. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (ONE) (1)
Building is both an effort and a result. If we build well, the product will be a structure we call a building. The Bible is full of people building altars, cities, houses, roads, towers, walls, and more. Quite a few significant buildings are mentioned: the Tower of Babel, the walled city of Jerusalem, the temple of Solomon. We read of cities being built and destroyed. The greatest builder of all time is God, the builder of creation from the Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BUILDING)
Even in Bible times deer were game animals, and they were permitted in the Israelite diet because they chew the cud and “divide the hoof.” They are admired for their agility and grace, even in difficult terrain, and when they sense danger they are able to run swiftly. As the sole caretakers for fawns, does are gentle. In an arid environment like that of Israel, deer would have had to travel long distances to find water. Beautiful, graceful, swift, and sure-footed, deer were often used by the writers of Scripture to portray personal and spiritual qualities.
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Working in clay is one of the ancient professions. Long before paper, damp clay served as a surface to receive the marks that represented early writing called cuneiform. And people discovered that baked clay contained water and could be used for cooking more efficiently than tightest woven baskets. When one of our brilliant ancestors discovered the potter’s wheel, the age of clay had arrived. Eventually, clay pots became widely used
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE JAR/POTTERY/VESSEL/
Brimstone, literally “the stone that burns” is another name for the mineral sulfur. It is found at the surface around the Dead Sea, where it was deposited during the breakdown of sedimentary rocks, Sulfur, when burned, produces an acrid and poisonous smoke. It was sometimes used as a disinfectant, as a fumigant, or as an antiparasitic. It was also associated with volcanic activity. Sulfur’s distinctive odor is present in odorized natural gas, skunk spray, grapefruit, and garlic. It was also used to make the most effective black gunpowder. Today it is used in fertilizer and pesticides, and is also an essential mineral for the human body. Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (BRIMSTONE)
Trumpets in Bible times were made of metal or bone and formed into an instrument at least two feet long. They had a high sound that could be regulated to some degree, but they were used more for signaling than for making music. Rams’ horns, also called shofar, were signaling instruments used to assemble the army (Judg 3:27; 1Sam 13:3) or sound an alarm (Job 39:24-25; Jer 6:1; Amos 3:6). They are the most commonly mentioned instrument in the Bible, with seventy-two references.
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In a literal sense, heaven is the eternal dwelling place of God (Gen 24:7), the angels (Gen 28:12), and the saints-Christians who have died (Eph 2:6; Rev 20:4). The imagery surrounding heaving in Scripture is filled with pictures of an otherworldly paradise, the world as it was meant to be in all of its original perfection. Heaven itself is not an image in Scripture-it is a real place, in the same way earth is a real place, in the same way earth Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (HEAVEN)
The number 144,000 is used in only one book of the Bible: Revelation. The number relates to a group mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8 made up of twelve thousand people from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The significance of twelve is heightened by using twelve times twelve as a number. This large, exact number is immediately followed by an even larger and more expansive number in verse 9 (“a large crowd from every
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Purification rituals involving water were common in ancient religious, so baptism would not have seemed like a practice that was peculiar to the early Christian church. For them, however, it was a once-for-all ritual washing rather than a repeated act. It is now a symbolic washing away sins upon conversion to faith in Christ. John the Baptist
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Just as the most significant use of the term father has to do with God, likewise the word son gets its highest meaning when used to describe Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The greatest affirmation of Jesus to human listeners came on the occasions of his baptism and his transfiguration. During the former, God said, “This is my Son, whom I love-my So n with whom I am pleased” (Matt 3:17). Later, when Jesus was glorified before three of his disciples, the Father again said, “This is my Son, whom I love and with
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