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Bible verses about Animal imagery
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:1

The marginal reference for subtle is "cunning." "Cunning" is almost always used in a negative sense. Someone who is cunning is skilled in ingenuity or deceit, selfishly clever, crafty. "Cunning" describes those who use their smarts, intelligence, wits to get the best of the other fellow by using whatever deceitful, underhanded means available so they "win."

In the Bible, serpents are depicted as a paradoxical combination of wisdom and evil—beautiful yet repulsive. They have a fluid grace if viewed from a safe distance, but they are to be feared because they strike from hiding places and strike without warning. A serpent symbolizes craftiness that mesmerizes its victims. The contrast with a lamb, a symbol of Jesus Christ, is stunning.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast


 

Matthew 11:29

Both "lowly" and "gentle" imply nonresistance, suggesting someone who is submissive, yielding, and long-suffering in contrast to an assertive, aggressive, arrogant, obstinate, and haughty person.

He goes even further, however, to describe His approach to God. David, a type of Christ, writes in Psalm 22:6, "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." God uses animals and insects to describe human traits. A worm is not only lowly but it also has no power to resist anything. Because Jesus never resisted God, He could honestly say, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me" (John 4:34). Those who, without murmuring, subject themselves to the will of God benefit from His almighty rule over all.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sovereignty and Its Fruit: Part Ten


 

Hebrews 10:1-4

Perhaps one might think of this as being a rather minor affair, but God shows that He had—and so we must have—respect for the life of an animal. God, in the instructions regarding the regular sacrifices, says not to eat the blood! He says this out of respect for the animal because its life was in its blood. The blood had to be drained on the ground, not imbibed by a human being.

Animals have at least a low level of feeling. They experience fear; situations can frighten them. What animal owner does not think that his pet, his dog or cat, has a special relationship or special feeling for him? Can we extend that out—that a bullock, a goat, a sheep, a kid of the goats, or a lamb might have feelings too? Not human feelings, certainly, but they have life and they symbolize—every single one of them—the life of Jesus Christ. How many animals had to give their lives to make a witness, an example of that? We will never know, but just to help us understand, Josephus records that one year during his lifetime, the Romans took a census of all of the lambs that were killed in Jerusalem, and 256,000 lambs were killed on Passover alone—256,000 lambs on one Passover just to teach a lesson to Israel and to us.

Perhaps it would help us to understand why God told the Israelites in Exodus 12 that keeping Passover was to be a family affair. It was not done at the Temple or the Tabernacle. God commanded that everybody killed his own lamb—every family. He wanted to make the point to all that each person is responsible for the death of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

Consider that Israelite families were not rich. Most of them had small herds and flocks—just a few sheep and lambs. They lived, in most cases, with their animals, and when they put a lamb to death on Passover, it was very likely the family pet! They killed and ate something that was very close to them—something that they had treated like part of the family. This was an object lesson, and God allowed millions of them to occur!

As far as God is concerned, nothing is too great a price to pay for us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

1 Peter 5:8

The animal kingdom teaches us that predators like lions usually look for and attack the animals that are alone and have wandered away from the flock. Such strays are in an exposed position because they lack the protection afforded by the large numbers of others of like kind. Our adversary likes nothing better than pouncing on sheep who try to "go it alone."

We do not have to be so vulnerable! The protection of the flock is available. Our place and our protection are found in worshipping and fellowshipping with the people of God in "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15).

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
For the Perfecting of the Saints


 

Revelation 14:9-11

No person alive looks forward with any kind of wonderful anticipation to going through what these verses show.

Its clear from the context of Revelation 13 and 14 that "beast" is being used in the sense of a wild, adversarial animal. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is because of the use of leopard, bear, lion, and dragon. These are not domesticated animals, but rather they are animals that we would make every effort to avoid. We do not want to cross their paths if we find any indication that they are around. We make a great big circle to get out of their way.

Then, of course, there is the contrast with a lamb—a domesticated animal. Cattle, sheep, and goats are beasts, but they hardly qualify as being animals that strike terror in people.

The Beast being described here would cause our hair to stand on end. It exudes malevolence. It is interested in eating us for food or destroying us for crossing its path—it is a beast that is violent and aggressive and simply wants to perpetuate itself.

"Beast" is being used as a symbol, and the context is not really talking about an actual animal. The beast represents a governmental system, the personality of a system, and that system's philosophy of life. The context is showing us that from the system's point of view, people have no value other than for its purpose, and its purpose is simply to maintain and to extend its existence and power through the use of terror, fear—things that any wild animal would naturally exercise. In the "beast's" eyes, we are fodder or chattel.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast


 

 




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