Questions tagged [symbolism]

Examination of Metaphorical, Prophetic, and Mystical symbolism. However, figures-of-speech, or euphemisms, or word-study should be used separately.

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51
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15answers
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What does it mean to be “born of water”?

In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus that to enter the kingdom one must be "born of water and the Spirit". How is this phrase understood? Is it a single construct (i.e. one birth of both water and ...
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In Matthew 25:8-9 what does the oil in the ten virgins parable represent?

The parable of the ten virgins is found in Matthew 25:1-12. Verses 8-9 (ESV) read: And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered,...
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What was the lesson Elisha wanted to teach Joash using the arrows?

In 2 Kings 13:14–17 we find that Joash, the king of Israel, took a bow and some arrows as Elisha told him. And the 17th verse: Elisha said, “Open the east window,” and he did so. Elisha said, “Shoot!”...
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What is the meaning of “water and blood” in 1 John 5:6?

In 1 John 5:6 John uses water and blood as symbolic short hand, clearly expecting his audience to know the meaning of these two liquids. 6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. ...
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6answers
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In Acts 7:56 why does Stephen see Jesus “standing”?

and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man ~standing~ at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 (NASB) All of the time, except for this time, Jesus sits at the right hand side ...
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5answers
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What is the sign of the Son of Man?

What is the sign of the Son of Man spoken of in Matthew 24:30?— At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the ...
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3answers
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Why did the tabernacle use the colors blue, purple and scarlet?

I see a lot of blue in the tabernacle, and when moving it. For example: Then they are to cover the curtain with a durable leather, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place.&...
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What does “milk and honey” refer to?

Beginning in Exodus 3:8*, the land promised to the Israelites is often described as "flowing with milk and honey": I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them ...
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What is the significance with the skull of Golgotha?

King James Version. Matthew: And when they came to a place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull). Mark: And they brought him to the place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a ...
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9answers
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In Mark 14:44 why did Judas betray Jesus with a kiss?

Why did Judas betray Jesus with a kiss? The simplest explanation is of course the one we find in Matthew and Mark. This was the prearranged sign by which Judas identified Jesus to the arresting ...
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In the story of Tamar and Judah,. Gen 38:14-16, how did a prostitute's veil differ from a common veil?

Is there a difference in historical records of a prostitute's veil and a common veil worn by women of that time? How did Judah know that Tamar was prostituting herself?
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How can we determine when an image is a symbol?

Put simply, a symbol is a tangible representation of an intangible idea. Authors, both ancient and modern, use symbolic images to convey abstract concepts. The problem with symbols, however, is that ...
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In Revelation 6:6 what is meant by "Do not damage the oil and the wine”?

Revelation 6:5-6 (NASB) 5" When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand....
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What does “the key of David” imply in Revelation 3:7?

The Bible speaks of "the Key of David" when it says: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that ...
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9answers
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What significance does John perceive in the piercing of Christ's side and the flow of blood and water?

The piercing of Christ side and the flow of blood and water (John 19:34) are unique to John’s gospel and it’s clear from the testimony which follows it ( 19:35) the author sees in them a real ...
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3answers
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Do the specific gifts the father gives to the prodigal son have any special significance?

What is the significance of the robe, ring & sandals in Luke 15:22? ‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on ...
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Who/what are the “two olive trees” and the lampstand of Zechariah 4?

Zechariah 4:11-14 Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the ...
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2answers
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Did the men of Solomon's time preferred lighter skin women?

Song of Solomon 1:5 I am dark, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not stare because I am dark, for the sun has gazed upon me. My mother’s ...
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4answers
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Why is that great city figuratively called Sodom and Egypt? Revelation 11:8

After the beast has killed the two Prophets, we read in Revelation 11:8, Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord ...
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What is the reason for the darkening of the sun during the crucifixion?

Matthew 27:45 (NKJV) Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. Every event during the crucifixion was symbolic, sometimes even prophetic. So that's what ...
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3answers
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What is the allusion in Matt 12:6, “something greater”?

The text of Matt 12:6 is: But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. Most commentaries suggest that Jesus is referring to Himself. Could Jesus be drawing on the Old Testament ...
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Is there symbolism in the hebrew meanings of the green poplar, almond and chestnut sticks that Jacob peeled? Gen 30:37

Genesis 30:37 (NKJV) Now Jacob took for himself rods of green poplar and of the almond and chestnut trees, peeled white strips in them, and exposed the white which was in the rods. a) The first stick ...
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Song of Solomon 5:7 Why did the watchmen beat the beloved woman?

Song of Solomon 5:7 The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! They even stole her cloak. What’s ...
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1answer
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Trumpet Call of God

Three times in the NT we are told about the "trumpet call of God" which is always associated with the second Advent and the great resurrection of the dead. These are: Matt 24:31, And He will send ...
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How can a sparrow nest on the altars of God according to Psalm 84:3

The sparrow finds home a while the swallow finds a nest. Both birds find homes and nests on the LORD'S Altars (plural), not altar. Psalm:84.3 Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest ...
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In Gen. 4, Seth is “appointed” as another seed “instead of Abel.” What is the ancient interpretation of this appointment?

In Genesis 4:25, it states: "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth: 'for God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel; for Cain slew him" What is the ...
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What species of flower might Jesus have been referring to when he said, “Consider the lilies”?

When Jesus spoke of 'wheat and weeds' we understand the species of weed he was likely referring to was a poisonous look-alike to wheat. That is very significant! In a personal project I am doing, I ...
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4answers
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How does one practically receive the “light of the knowledge” of the Glory of God in 2 Corinthians 4:6?

1) How does one practically receive the "light of the knowledge" of the Glory of God in 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to ...
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Matthew 7:13-14: What is the straight gate and the narrow way?

What exactly is meant by the strait gate and the narrow way in the following passage? Is it possible to establish that based on the text? Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and ...
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1answer
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In Ezekiel 23 what acts of prostitution did Israel commit while she was a youth in Egypt?

According to the narrative in Ezekiel 23 it is said Israel began her prostitution in Egypt whilst still a youth,she is symbolized as two sisters Oholah and Oholibah which seems to refer to Jerusalem ...
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4answers
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In Amos 9:13 - What does “The Plowman will Overtake the Reapers” Mean?

1. The Text : NAS, Amos 9:13 - When the plowman will overtake [וְנִגַּ֤שׁ] the reaper ... 2. Question, A Word-Study : These are at least two very different understandings of "overtake" in this ...
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1answer
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Does the cup in Mark 10:38-39 carry an allusion to the sacrament?

In Mark 10, when James and John ask Jesus that they be seated at his right and left in the kingdom, Jesus replies to them (verse 38): "You don’t know what you are asking," Jesus said. "...
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In Luke 3:16, what does:“not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals” mean?

Luke 3:16 (ESV) John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the ...
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4answers
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Who is the root and the tree in Romans 11?

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the ...
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2answers
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What is the symbolic significance of performing circumcision on the “8th day”? [duplicate]

In Leviticus 12:3 what was the symbolic significance of choosing the eighth day after birth for the time of circumcision? [Lev 12:3 KJV] (3) And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall ...
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2answers
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What is the imagery in Psalm 19:5?

Psalm 19:5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. What does this signify? Is it romantic/sexual?
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1answer
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What is the purpose of listing two different birds in the curse of Proverbs 30:17?

Proverbs 30:17 describes the fate of those who disobey their parents, concluding they will have an unnatural death and be eaten by birds of prey: The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a ...
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3answers
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What is the meaning of “excellent things” in Proverbs 22:20?

Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth... -- Proverbs 22:20 (KJV) In the KJV, the Hebrew word ...
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In Revelation 11:1-2 why does the angel tell John to measure the temple?

[Rev 11:1-2 NLT] (1) Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, "Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. (2) But do not measure the outer courtyard,...
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Is the 'angel of the abyss' (Rev 9:11) the self-same 'angel' — who has the 'key to the abyss' (Rev 20:1)?

Rev 9:11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of ...
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In 1 Kings 11:29-32 what happened to the 12th piece of the robe?

When Jeroboam leaves Jerusalem he met the prophet Ahijah: And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed ...
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In Matthew 25:24-26 what does ‘Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter" mean?

In Matthew 25:24-26 we have this interchange: 24 “He also who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering ...
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1answer
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What did Lilies mean in Solomon's era or from what he taught about plants that caused Huram to cast them onto the pillars of the temple? 1 Kings 7:19

According to Exodus 31:2-3, Bezalel had divine wisdom and used it in his crafting of the tabernacle. Huram succeeded him and crafted the articles for the temple. The capitals which were on top of ...
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4answers
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Is the “lambkin” of Revelation 13:11 the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8?

[Rev 13:11 ESV] (11) Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. [Rev 13:11 MGNT] (11) καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς γῆς καὶ ...
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4answers
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What does “enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus” mean in Hebrews 10:19?

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB): 19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the ...
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3answers
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Is the water jar in John 4:28 a symbol?

At the end of Jesus' conversation with the woman by the well, John records 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all ...
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In Job 42:10-11, why did Job receive “gold rings” from his friends?

At the end of the book of Job,after Job has prayed for his friends Job 42:10-11 it is written that each of Job's friends gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring, (NIV) All his brothers and ...
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Is the number “144,000” mentioned in Revelation 14 a literal number or a prophetic number?

Is the number "144,000" mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5 a literal number or a prophetic number representing a bigger multitude? 1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount ...
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What is “sackcloth” in Revelation 11:3?

In Revelation 11:3 is written: "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:3, NASB, emphasis ...
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Lifted Hands in 1 Timothy 2:8

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. —1 Timothy 2:8 I was once told that in context this verse refers only to the pastor. Are there good exegetical ...