Tag Archives: signs and symbols

SINGS AND SYMBOLS (BIRTH)

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Birth is our universal means of arrival in life. We can’t begin to experience all that life has to offer until we have passed through the moment of birth. Life has a formative phase in the womb that the psalmist describes beautifully: Continue reading SINGS AND SYMBOLS (BIRTH)

BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (HORN)

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The horns of certain animals appear frequently in Scriptures as symbols. These are often used in prophetic visions to represent the power of individuals or kingdoms (1 Kings 22:11). While horns were also fashioned into musical instruments (see TRUMPET/SHOFAR), their symbolic use is usually indicated when they are mentioned. Hornlike projections were included at the four corners of the altar of incense in the original tabernacle and in the Jerusalem temple. These horns were carved from wood

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SIGNGS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DARKNESS)

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As a physical feature, darkness is nothing in and of itself. Darkness is instead defined as the absence of light. Synonymous with emptiness, darkness is used to describe the earth at the very beginning of creation when “darkness covered the deep water” (Gen 1:2). Out of this absence, the first thing God created was light. In the beginning, Scripture pictures light and darkness as balanced parts of a single day and night: “So God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light day, and the darkness he named night” Gen 1:4-5). Continue reading SIGNGS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DARKNESS)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (CLEAR/CRYSTAL/TRANSPARENT)

iStock-119387130     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)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (TREE)

Tree: Maple Tree

Before they are symbols for us, trees are examples to us. The psalm writers looked at trees and recognized that their pattern of growth and life was an expression of praise to their Creator. Psalm 96:12 declares, “Let the field and everything in them rejoice. Then all the trees in the forest will sing joyfully.” And Isaiah 55:12 says, “All the trees will clap their hands.” Trees reach upward. Even when planted crooked or sideways, a tree will bend its trunk to vertical-an amazing picture of their purpose to remind us of our own purpose to praise God always. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (TREE)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (LAMB/SHEEP)

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Sheep appear more often than any other animal in the pages of the Bible, mentioned over seven hundred times. They often represent people, and in a special case, one particular person (discussed below). Sheep are gentle and social creatures that function best in a flock, but their individual tendencies lead them to wander. That combination requires an attentive shepherd to guide and tend a large flock. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (LAMB/SHEEP)

SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DAY)

 

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Day is one of the units of time we use to mark life. Typically, we think of days as the time between sunup and  sundown, followed by night. But right from the beginning, God has exercised his divine authority over time by defining days in an unexpected manner. In the account of creation in Genesis 1, six times the record repeats, “There was evening, then morning-the first day” (v5), changing only the number of the day of the week. In Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DAY)

BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (BRANCH)

Spreading branches of a large tree

Branches in the world of the Bible were either on trees or vines and were relatively rare given the arid climate, so the picture of a healthy and fruitful tree was a symbol of vigor and prosperity. “Branch” or “branches” could refer to families (Gen 49:22) or rulers (Ezek 31:3,6). Broken or unfruitful branches symbolized judgment or the downfall of a person or nation (Job 15:32; 18:16; Dan 4:14; Isa 9:14: 17:6; Jer 11:16). But God always gives the hope of restoration, and branches figure in the symbolism of redemption as well: “When that day comes, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and wonderful. The fruit of the land  will be the pride and joy of Israel’s survivors” (Isa 4:2). The image of judged or redeemed branches reaches its climax in the prophecies of the messianic Branch and the salvation he brings.

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BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (FIRE)

920x920 Both mesmerizing and mysterious, fire represents combustion, a chemical reaction that releases both heat and light. Today, fire seems to be at our fingertips-we just need to turn on the stove or light a match. Because we no longer have to work to get it, most of us take fire for granted. Yet we rely on fire for light, warmth, cooking, manufacturing, and refining. Fire figures into the Bible in numerous ways-in daily life, religious ceremony, Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (FIRE)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (OIL)

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Most uses of the word oil in the Bible have ceremonial rather than food connections. Oils were harvested from animals fats, minerals, and vegetables. Oil also had medicinal purposes (Ps 23:5; Luke 10:34) and was used to fuel lamps Matt 25:1-13). In a bartering economy, oil was a commodity of value. In 2 Kings 4:1-7 Elijah helps a widow and her two sons by telling them to gather as many containers as possible and pour her meager supply of oil into the jars. The oil didn’t run out until every available jar had been filled. Elisha then told her to see the oil and live on the proceeds. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (OIL)