Tag Archives: signs and symbols

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)

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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)

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (THOUSAND)

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The number thousand (or thousands) in the Bible is sometimes a literal number, but in many cases it is used to create a large round number. Hebrew and the other Semitic languages used approximations to express large numbers because they were rarely needed for small populations and tiny kingdom. Examples of this can be found in Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10 and 7:9; 1 Samuel 18:7; and Psalms 50:10, 90:4 and 105:8. Ten

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SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (SABBATH)

Sabbath

The term Sabbath come from the Hebrew word for “case.” This day of stopping normal activity and work was to serve as a reminder of God’s rest after the work of creation (Gen 2:2-3). God set aside this day as holy and blessed it as a gift to humankind. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (SABBATH)

SINGS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (GOAT)

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Flocks of goats were part of everyday life throughout Bible times. Hardier than sheep, goats provided milk, cheese, water skins, meat, and hair from which rough fabric was made for tents and other durable items. When God gave Moses the detailed instructions for creating the tabernacle that would be God’s tent in the wilderness, he specified an outer layer of goat hair that protected the fine linen covering the inner space called the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence would be evident (Exod 2:6). The goat was

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SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (ROME)

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In the book of Daniel, written years before Rome burst on the world scene, a Jewish exile in Persia interpreted a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. The dream featured a huge statue made of different layers of material: gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron mixed with clay. Daniel’s interpretation revealed that each layer of the towering image represented a kingdom that would rise, with that golden section representing Babylon, the reigning superpower of that day. Comparing this sequence to history, we discover Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (ROME)

SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE ( THRESHING FLOOR)

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The harvest and preparation of grain for use as food requires the separation of the kernels from the stalks on which they grow. Because most harvesting today is done mechanically, the significance of a threshing floor and its usefulness as a symbol is somewhat lost to us. A threshing floor was a large, open, hard surface, so threshing floors were often located on hilltops. After bundles of stalks were laid on the surface of the Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE ( THRESHING FLOOR)

BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (FORTY)

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We should note at the outset that in the era before clocks and precise record keeping, numbers were often an estimation. Three and five signified a little, and forty a lot more. That is not to say that forty was never an accurate number, only that precision was not the intent of biblical authors.  Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (FORTY)