The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine. The importance of the vine is why the Pharisees took the point so angrily when Jesus told the story of the wicked tenants in the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-41, 45-46). As the fulfilment of all that Israel should be to God, Jesus was the true vine (John 15:5-7).
Token or sign. While the word “symbol” does not appear in the Bible, both the OT and NT are rich in symbolism and symbolic language.
Symbols, whether objects, gestures, or rituals, covey meaning to the rational, emotional, and intuitive dimensions of human beings. The universal and supreme symbol of Christian faith is the cross, an instrument of execution. For Christians this hideous object comes to be a sign of God’s love human beings,.
1 SAMUEL, 25:3 – “Abigail . . . was intelligent and beautiful, but [her husband] was harsh and evil in his dealings.”
The story of Abigail is found primarily in 1 Samuel 25. We learn that she was “intelligent and beautiful” (vs3) and married to “a very rich man” (v2). They lived in Maon, and he commuted to work- he was in the sheep and goat business-in Carmel. If that’s all we knew, we’d conclude Abigail was beyond blessed. To be attractive and smart and well-to-do? Living in the suburbs? Who wouldn’t want all that? Continue reading WOMEN OF THE BIBLE (ABIGAIL: MARRIED TO A FOOL)→
In Bible times, many containers for liquids as water, olive oil, and wine made from the skins of animals, particularly young goats. After the head and feet were cut off, the skin was stripped in one piece from the animal’s body. These skin retained the shape of the animal, with the neck sometimes serving as the channel through which the container was filled and emptied. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (ANIMAL SKIN CONTAINERS)→
Conservative churches that discourage or ban use of alcoholic beverages are bewildered at the production of wine as Jesus’ first miracle. Such churches have sometimes insisted that the wine in John 2 was nonalcoholic, despite the wedding guests’ unusual delight and appreciation of it. Surely, Jesus did make very good wine, yet not hint of alcoholic abuse clouds this account. Continue reading DOES JESUS’ MIRACLE AT CANA ENCOURAGE THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?→