Intrigued by Biblical Symbolism

As my knowledge of biblical symbolism slowly expands, I feel more and more like a novice. I’m starting to see themes fit together like the pieces of an intricate puzzle. The Bible is an incredible document comparable to a sumptuous feast: the first course is barely over when the second course is being ushered in. There are so many delectable platters, one feels overwhelmed with the sheer extravagance. There is so much richness to be found in the pages of this book. Though written in language simple enough for the common man to understand, there are layers upon layers of meaning that would captivate even a genius. Yet for me, by no means a genius, connections are made much more slowly.

Having long been intimidated by the study of biblical symbolism, I now feel brave enough to dip my feet into this fascinating topic. After studying the Christian headcovering ordinance, I decided to make note of other symbols in the Bible as I came upon them in my personal Bible study. I have also benefited greatly from sermons by various pastors. Here are some of the associations that I have already observed between Old and New Testaments, focusing on the Israelites in the time of Moses:

PASSOVER & THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD

Exodus 11 & 12

  • Lamb’s blood brushed over the doorway and on the side posts = Jesus’ blood applied to the abode of our hearts. The wrath of God passes over us when we have the blood of the perfect Lamb of God covering our sins: “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
  • The unleavened bread = the sinless body of Christ broken for our sins on the cross. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…” 1 Corinthians 5:7

 MANNA IN THE DESERT

Exodus 16 & Numbers 11

  • Manna/bread from heaven = Jesus, our spiritual sustenance. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that beieveth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:47-51).

WATER FROM THE ROCK

Exodus 17:1-7 & Numbers 20:1-13

  • Water which flowed from the rock = spiritual life and refreshment from Jesus. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).

BRASS SERPENT

Numbers 21:4-9

  • After the people of Israel sinned against God, He sent poisonous serpents among them as a punishment. When they repented, God instructed Moses to make a serpent out of brass and put it on a pole. If anyone who had been bitten looked up at the serpent, he would be healed. The brass serpent = Jesus lifted up the cross. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). The serpent represents the vileness of sin. On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of mankind, and became sin for us. Our disgusting, degraded, filthy actions and thoughts were transferred onto Him. He took our sin, so that we might take His goodness. Salvation cannot be earned by our “good” works or good intentions– it just doesn’t work that way. Salvation is an exchange: bad for good. However, this transaction only applies to those who accept it by faith.

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galations 3:13; see Deuteronomy 21:23).

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have cited these examples to serve as an introduction to biblical symbolism, with more posts on this subject to follow. Isn’t it captivating, the way that God provided the imagery through the happenings of the Old Testament, that would help us understand the concept of salvation revealed in the New Testament?

 

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Intrigued by Biblical Symbolism

  1. Jessica, thank you so much for opening this important topic. I think when we decide to cover our heard according to the commands of God, He would grant us further divine light to see the depth of His word. Please continue to share with us this particular subject! thank you, Kinuko

    Like

  2. Thank you for the sharing what you got to know,Jessica.
    I started to read English bible again to study both of God’s words and english expressions in bible ,so as I can learn more from many good english sites like yours.May there be God’s light always upon all truth seekers!

    Like

    • Dear Sanae,
      Thank you for those kind words! I am so delighted that you consider my blog a “good English site”!

      And I am so happy to hear that you are studying the English Bible–that is wonderful! Yes, it may be hard sometimes to read in another language, but with persistence, I am sure you will succeed in gaining even more fluency, though you are already writing very well! I enjoy reading your comments–thank you!

      -Jessica

      Like

      • Thank you,Jessica. My english bible is king James version.
        Its english is classical, bit difficult for me to read,but beautiful.
        (Once I had newer english version,but I gave it to my Phillipina friend.)
        I am so blessed to have known that God’s Words never changes ,even if we live in different countries,using different languages.
        Please keep on writing to encourage our sisters in Christ!

        Like

    • Great! That’s what I am doing. I have a notebook where I tape small cards with Bible references and verses. The cards are easy to move around if I decide to regroup them. Right now, I have the cards ordered according to the sequence of the books of the Bible, for example: all references found in the book of Genesis, starting with chapter 1, then chapter 2, etc… Later on, I might reorder the notes using a by-subject-matter rule (everything having to do with the future Savior’s birth, then all things related to His death, then anything about salvation, etc.). If you want to share with us how you organize your own notes, that would be nice! (no pressure though, only if you have the time!)
      –Jessica

      Like

  3. Jessica, actually I want to learn more about your Bible study note-making. If it is possible, could you share with us how you organize and make Bible study note etc in one of your future posts? I have tried several times, but so far, I could not succeed. Maybe I can try again by imitating your method.

    Like

  4. Dear Jessica,
    I wasn’t sure where to put this, but I was excited to share what a visiting speaker taught us today at our Mother’s Day service. An application was made to women silently praying from the Old Testament and applied to the passage on women being silent in the New Testament, which we all know can be controversial. The speaker made note of Hannah as a praying mother. He mentioned Hannah’s silent prayer in her heart to the Lord in 1 Samuel 1 as a support of the silence that women should have when in worship. (We believe in women being silent at the Lord’s Supper except when we sing hymns together as a group. The men lead in prayer, Scripture, hymns and thoughts the Holy Spirit is giving them during this time.) The speaker’s point was that God places just as much importance on women having silent prayer and worship as the men having audible worship. He based it off of the story of Hannah in her silent petitioning to the Lord for a child, and the Lord hearing and answering her prayer. I, personally, had never connected the two passages, but I thought this is yet another support of women’s silent prayer as laid down in Scripture.
    This family also believe in covering. Their 13 yr old daughter kept her covering on when the kids went to S.S. class. This caused my daughter to ask me why she did this. I asked her whether the teacher kept hers on and she said, “no, we all take them off.” I asked her whether she was ever asked to pray or read the Bible during class time. She said yes. Then I said, “Well, honey, you should be keeping your covering on based on the fact that you are praying and/or reading your Bible aloud in class. You need to think about this not because your friend kept her covering on, but because of what Scripture teaches.” It was really neat to see the Lord working on her heart as well through the testimony of this other girl’s willingness to keep her covering on.
    Happy Mother’s Day! -love, Ruthie

    Like

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!
      It was so interesting to read about what that visiting speaker taught about! I hadn’t made the connection, either (at least not that strongly). Thank you for sharing that with me.
      Also, how nice that your daughter got an opportunity to examine headcovering more by that other girls’ example.
      Thanks! Jessica

      Like

      • I feel kind of sheepish writing this, but my husband hadn’t realized our daughter, let alone her teacher, were not wearing their coverings. He is very concerned that the lines are getting blurred. He feels this is yet another situation that had come to light where headship/headcovering needs to be revisited. He’s very thankful for the little girl being faithful, but at the same time concerned at where our doctrine is going. So, if you could pray, that would be much appreciated 🙂

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s