The number five, with its immediate connection to the fingers of one hand, often represents a small amount in the Bible. The idea expressed in modern terms is “just a handful.” When faced with the hunger of five thousand, all Jesus’ disciples could come up with was a child’s lunch of five loaves and two fish (John 6:9). Yet Jesus had no problem multiplying that small gift into abundance for the meal. Isaiah mentions five Egyptian cities that will be unusual as a foreign remnant from that land and that will “swear
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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 wilderness of the Near ease is a desolate, dry land consisting mostly of rock and sand, and is unfit for casual habitation. Life in the wilderness takes constant attention. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness, learning its ways. Into this setting God led the Israelites after rescuing them from Egypt. Living conditions were poor, and the Israelites faced serpents, scorpions, and drought (Deu 8:15). The land became an object lesson in
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In the ancient world, before the explosives and powerful tools we have today, rocks were impervious, seemingly eternal, and solid. In times of danger, a cliff formed a secure foundation or a safe hiding place, as David found when he was a fugitive being chased
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Aside from its physical definition, arm is used in Scripture as a symbol of power in action–either divine or human. The context will of course determine whether the word is meant literally or figuratively, and whether its figurative sense is power used for good or for evil.
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A missionary gives an inspiring presentation at church. Mother Teresa’s unselfish work with the poor of India is described on television. A preacher’s sermon moves the congregation to tears. You think to yourself, These people are God’s special servants. Could he ever use a plain old regular person like me? Isaiah was a scribe in the royal palace at
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Thoughts about Eden make us look back and look forward. The beautiful garden where the first human beings were created is a symbol of a perfect beginning before sin shattered the creation. It was a protected place where God provided for every creature’s needs and had a face-to-face relationship with the man and woman, walking with them in the cool of the day. That Eden is gone. While the general location of the garden is indicated as the Tigris and Euphrates valley (along with two other water channels no longer functioning), all evidence of the paradise that was there has long been erased. The place exists, but the paradise is lost. What a fitting metaphor for the spiritual price we paid for the fall and the curse of sin. But a new heaven and new earth have been promised, an Eden-like place that will once again be the home of those who have been rescued from sin and given an eternal destiny with God.
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In the ancient world, towers were built to protect crops, roads, and cities. They were used both domestically to watch over a landowner’s fields and militarily in the defense of a city. Watchmen stood in towers, armed and ready to sound the alarm if enemies threatened their territory. The more towers a city had, the stronger it was thought to be (see Ps 48:12-14). The tower at the center of a city would have also served as a storehouse.
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When asked where feet appear in the Bible, most people are likely to point to Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” Following the principle that we usually go where our feet go, the most common symbolic use for feet in the Bible is to represent our lives. The psalmist repeatedly praised God because “he makes my feet like those of a deer and gives me sure footing on high places” (Ps. 18:33) and because he
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Jews were promised health if they obeyed God’s laws (Exodus 15:26), and they were given a number of health laws (regular rest and relaxation, suit able food, avoidance of contaminated water, marriage regulations, cleanliness, separation from contagious disease), which when followed led to a high level of good health. If the laws were disobeyed, disease resulted (Deuteronomy 28:60-61). There was no call for doctors, and anyone who resorted to them came under criticism for going against the will of God. This
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