The number four and groups of four connect with our sense of place in the horizontal world. Everything around us is in one of four directions: east, west, north, or south. In the worldview of the Old Testament, complete descriptions were often developed in sets of four. When the tax collector Zacchaeus expressed his practical faith in Jesus, he included a promise to “pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way” (Luke 19:8). Jesus accepted that commitment as a sign of genuine repentance, symbolic of completeness. And there are four Gospels, a complete picture of the life of Christ.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (FOUR/4)
There are a number of cautionary tales in the Bible, but few are as seamy and sad as this one.
Looking down on the city of Jerusalem form the atop his royal palace one fine spring evening, Israel’s King David spotted a fine young woman. She wasn’t merely attractive; she was “very beautiful.” And, of all the things she might have been doing, she was bathing. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (BATHSHEBA: THE VERY BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WITH THE VERY TRAGIC LIFE)
The concept of transparency, which is technically not a color, is relatively rare in the Bible. The idea is mostly connected with the marvels of crystal, a hard substance that can be seen through. It provided a measure of clarity, but was considered a gem. Glass was still practically unknown. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLEAR/CRYSTAL/TRANSPARENT)
Marriage and the related symbols of bride and bridegroom play as large a role in Scripture as they did in real life in the ancient world. whether we consider the Old Testament picture of Israel as the bride and God as her bridegroom (Isa 62:4-5; Jer 2:2) or the New Testament picture of the church as the bride and Jesus as the bridegroom (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:21-32; Rev 21:2, 9), the message points to a special relationship God longs to have with his people. (See also BRIDE, BRIDEGROOM.) Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (MARRIAGE)