In the ancient world fish were a staple food and fishing was a common occupation. Of Jesus’ twelve disciples, seven of them worked as fishermen. Jesus commissioned these men using familiar symbolism, saying, “Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish” (Matt 4:19). The fishing profession that was their livelihood became a symbol for their new calling of spreading the good news of salvation. Both at
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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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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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Silver is one of the precious metals mentioned frequently in the Bible. It symbolizes value. Proverbs uses silver alone with gold as significant measures of the even greater value of wisdom: “The profit gained from wisdom is greater than the profit gained from silver. Its yield is better than fine gold” (3:4).
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The rainbow is the primary biblical symbol most people can identify. Children in Sunday school learn early on about Noah’s ark and the rainbow that accompanied God’s promise to never again destroy the whole earth by flood:
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During the exodus, the people of Israel repeatedly rebelled against God and didn’t trust his Word, so God sent “poisonous snakes” (Num 21:6) into the camp as a punishment for their sin. Some translation call them “fiery serpents.” When the Israelites repented and begged for deliverance, God told Moses to create a bronze serpent and put
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Camels were a common sight throughout Bible times, particularly in cities and villages along caravan routes, where these long-distance beasts of burden might pause for a night before trudging on to their destination. In addition to being a means of
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In the ancient world lamps were usually made of pottery shaped like a shell with a rim across the top and a spout at one end to hold the wick. The lamps of Christians were decorated with Christian symbols. Olive oil was the most common fuel, and although lamps could hold enough oil to last through the night, housewives had to get up during the night and trim the wick. In Jesus’ day, the most common lamp was a wheel shape,
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As a city symbolic of man’s power in rebellion against God, Nineveh ranks second only to Babylon. Yet it also stands out as an example of cultural repentance-the population of a large city recognizing the holiness of God and humbling themselves before him. Three of Israel’s prophets-Jonah, Nahum, and Zephaniah-had dealings with the city. Nineveh Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS & SYMBOLS (NINEVEH)
The term ark in Scriptures has two main meanings: one is a large boat built by Noah, and the other is the ark of the covenant that was housed in the tabernacle and later in the temple. Both of these images encapsulate important spiritual truths related to salvation.
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