Depending on how the original words are translated, Jesus received visitors who could be referred to as wise men, magi, or astrologers. We don’t know names, how far they traveled, or how many arrived. We usually think there were three of them because they brought three gifts, but there could have been more. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE “THE WISE MEN” HONORING THE KING
In a few places in the Bibles, the term beast is used in its modern descriptive sense of la menacing or mindless animal whose behavior is somewhat unpredictable. Jacob compared his son Issachar to a donkey or beast of burden (Gen 49:14), creating a picture of capacity and stubbornness as strong traits in his ninth born. Many biblical monsters seem to be mythical, or at least are symbolic of threats of God’s order and authority in the world. But unlike the monstrous beasts of surrounding cultures and religions, God retains power over all the beasts and chaos in the world, and will ultimately defeat them. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BEAST)
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)
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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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)
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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Even in Bible times deer were game animals, and they were permitted in the Israelite diet because they chew the cud and “divide the hoof.” They are admired for their agility and grace, even in difficult terrain, and when they sense danger they are able to run swiftly. As the sole caretakers for fawns, does are gentle. In an arid environment like that of Israel, deer would have had to travel long distances to find water. Beautiful, graceful, swift, and sure-footed, deer were often used by the writers of Scripture to portray personal and spiritual qualities.
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Brimstone, literally “the stone that burns” is another name for the mineral sulfur. It is found at the surface around the Dead Sea, where it was deposited during the breakdown of sedimentary rocks, Sulfur, when burned, produces an acrid and poisonous smoke. It was sometimes used as a disinfectant, as a fumigant, or as an antiparasitic. It was also associated with volcanic activity. Sulfur’s distinctive odor is present in odorized natural gas, skunk spray, grapefruit, and garlic. It was also used to make the most effective black gunpowder. Today it is used in fertilizer and pesticides, and is also an essential mineral for the human body. Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (BRIMSTONE)
Outside the Bible, the recognition of twelve months in the lunar calendar made the number twelve an important symbol for the annual cycles of life. In the Bible, this number usually symbolizes completeness, especially with regard to the people of God. Once the twelve tribes of Israel were established, uses of the number twelve became a symbol pointing to the entire people of God.
Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS “TWELVE”