AdderAntApesAspBat Bear BeetleBoarFatted CalfCamelChameleon Cockatrice Colt Coney Cow Crane DeerDogs DoveEagle
Fish Foal Fox Frogs Goat Grasshopper HareHawk
Hen Hind Horse Leopard
LionLizard LocustMole MouseMule Ostrich Owl Oxen Peacocks Pelican Pigeon Raven Quail RoosterScorpion
Sheep Snail Sparrow Stork Swallow Swan Swine Tortoise Turtle
Unicorn ViperVulture Weasel Whale worm
Have I missed any? Let me know!
From ants to behemoths or unicorns ( maybe rhinos to narwhales), the Bible abounds in animals and their metaphors, and which ones were designated for the Hebrews to eat. Comparing one thing to another is a fundamental teaching device and is used extensively in the Bible for analogy. "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats". Matthew 25:32He told her "It isn't right to give the Children's food to the DOGS", Mark7:27. The "Children" were the 'Children of Israel', the Jews, and the "Dogs" were the Gentiles, and this Syrophenician (Greek) woman was appealing to him for healing for her daughter. Rather than being insulted, and taking offence at being called a dog, she replied that "Even the dogs get the crumbs under the table", Matt15:27. This story is only found in Matthew and Mark, and she probably wasn't aware that Jesus was the True Bread and source of the crumbs, but he definitely liked her persistence and faith, and her daughter was healed in absentia.
Psalm 18:33 - "He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places".
Bible dictionaries explain that a hind is a small sure-footed deer, but we're using 'hindsight' when we connect the Old and New Testament stories: e.g. how the story of Jonah being swallowed by the great fish applies to Jesus being in the tomb for three days and three nights.
Today in the 21st century we often speak about "cats & dogs" and compare the difficulty of unifying certain groups to "herding cats", but the word 'cat' isn't found in the Bible. In literature this would be the figure of speech 'Ellipsis', (something left out) and apply to the unclean, because it's not easy to baptize a cat. Dogma, on the other hand, is for those who maintain a certain belief in spite of contrary views.
Do animals have a soul? Well, the animals were all on the Ark with Noah and his three sons, plus the four wives. The Apostle Peter refers to that time by writing that "eight souls were saved by water", 1Pet3:20. Maybe they have souls that don't need saving?
"It is easier for a CAMEL to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God". Mk10:25 A preposterous feat, and for sure you can't BUY your way in, but with God all things are possible.
"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn" •
• This law and commandment from Deuteronomy 25:4 is repeated twice in the New Testament, adding to the axiom "the N.T. explains what the O.T. contains". The Apostle Paul asked "Does God care for oxen?" 1Cor9:9, making the case for how plowing and threshing is not talking explicitly of farmland, but can be used figuratively as well. God wants us to care for our animals, and they are used in scripture for example and analogy, and also for TEACHING concerning logic and how doctrinal ministers are worthy. 1Tim5:18 parallels this same verse with "the laborer is worthy of his hire".
The Bible says "It's the little foxes that spoil the vines", SS2:15, and in our modern vernacular we say 'the devil's in the details' so you'd better read the small print before you sign.
From the serpent in the garden (snake in the grass) and that which Moses raised (John3:14), to the Lion and Eagle of Revelation, the Bible records about seventy different animals, and uses many of them in comparison to humans, or as metaphors. It's a whale of a story! We learn how the animal heritage were saved from drowning during that Great Flood -- the Deluge of Noah's time.
Eagles are among the creatures who "mate for life" (said to be monogamous), and are mentioned 28 times in the Old Testament and 4 times in the new. The eagle is the 4th beast in Ezek 1:10, 10:14, and Rev4:7.
"O LORD how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou has made to play therein".Ps104:24-26
It's the final book of the Bible, Revelation, the 66th Book, which tells of the Water of Life for those who are thirsty. The Word of God has been poured out like water, Ps22:14, and like an antidote, Jn20:31 for those who are drowning or being poisoned in the Sea of Life.
Like the Bears & Bulls of WallStreet's Financial Empire, and like the Sharks, Gators, or Panthers of High School athletics, or Ostrich's who seem to bury their heads in the sand, we use animals and creatures for ANALOGY; in spite of the fact those metaphoric names aren't technically or literally accurate.
It isn't Bible, but the "hawks" are those who are looking for a fight, and the "doves" are those who want to be peacemakers, and in our modern vernacular we say "that dog won't hunt", or "a 600 lb. gorilla" sits wherever he wants, and nobody accuses us of lying.
To go "at a snail's pace", or "weasel" out of a commitment, or become a "lame-duck" politician, are examples of how we use animals figuratively in our speech and literature. Eats like a horse, Wise as an owl, Quiet as a mouse, Raining cats and dogs, a toothless tiger, and other such analogous expressions abound in our modern Americanese.The behemoth refers to a 'large beast', probably an elephant or hippopotamus, and the leviathan most likely a whale. The dragon probably isn't a dragon-fly or lizard, but a surrealistic creature like the Loch Ness monster.
Figuratively, the Jews were the "oxen", grinding out the corn of scripture, and now we (Gentiles) are the "horses" who have taken the bit in our mouth and given our reins to Jesus.(Bit, bridle, and reins are horsey words used in Scripture) Sometimes I think we should tie them to a tree and make them hear the good news of the gospel, however "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink", is a figure of speech which applies. "The righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins" Ps7:9. Clearly, it's this kind of Biblical language which begins giving light to the analogous animals of Scripture.
Now we read about Elisha plowing with his oxen, and Samson grinding, and that first song about the horses being drowned, Exod15:1, with more insight. Our trust is not in horses (or what others say), and especially when they have Satan in their saddle, but in the mighty and miraculous Word of God! The food-chain (Darwin had a few things right..) is duly noted. The big fish eat the little fish, and the fierce animals eat the peaceful or lethargic ones, and it's the "survival of the fittest" which weeds out the weak and holds down population extremes. But, when they claim mankind came from monkeys, I suspect they're turning back into monkey's again....
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil". Jer13:23
"If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses". Jer12:5
Similar to our modern expression about separating the men from the boys.
"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust...He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.." Ps91:2-4
Jesus said: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings..." Matthew 23:37 KJV
Jesus is the LAMB of God, Jn1:29, as well as the LION of the Tribe of Judah, Rev5:5.
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may destroy". 1Pet5:8
Young David had already whipped the Lion and the Bear before going up against Goliath, 1Sam17, so he already knew it was the LORD who protected him and gave him the victory.
Elisha was plowing (breaking up new ground in preparation for sowing seed) with twelve yoke of oxen, 1Kings19:19, when Elijah came looking for his own replacement. Metaphorically it compares to the Parable of the Sower in Mark4:14 and to the occasion when John the Baptist said of Jesus: "He must increase, but I must decrease". Jn3:30
Jesus said:"As Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up". Jn3:14. So Jesus was "lifted up" on the Cross -- He became sin (symbolized by the serpent) for us, that we might become His righteousness. 2Cor5:21.
It was King Hezekiah who called the serpent "Nehushtan" and broke it in pieces because the Children of Israel were burning incense to (worshipping) the thing. 2K18:4
Symbolic Animals! The 7th chapter of Daniel tells about a lion and a leopard with WINGS, and a beast with ten horns!
Isaiah 6:2 describes the Seraphims as having three pair of wings. The goat with the "notable horn between his eyes", Dan8:5, seems more like the proverbial unicorn. Whoever could imagine such things?
The stripes of a zebra and spots of a leopard should remind us of how God has beautifully designed the animals with eye catching motifs. Some people mark up their bodies with all kinds of piercing and tattoos, apparently not realizing the Bible says: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you". Lev19:28 A great dragon with seven heads and ten horns is introduced in Revelation 12, and it's because of the Dream in Daniel 2:36 that we recognize the symbolism. The "heads" of gold and silver and brass, walked on feet of iron and clay, and Daniel's interpretation spelled out the prophecy concerning the coming kingdoms of Media-Persia and Greece. The Gospels reveal the succession by the Roman Empire.
Two thousand years ago Jesus called Herod "a fox", and the Pharisees and Sadducees "vipers". Now, since the 20th century, Americans have known the Democrats as "donkeys" and the Republicans as "elephants" -- SYMBOLS of two opposing political parties otherwise defined by different ideologies, or how they believe the government should operate.
The Old Testament came before the New Testament. Likewise, it was the Raven sent out first by Noah from the Ark, and it was the Ravens who fed Elijah, but it was the Dove who brought back the olive branch and the Dove who lighted on Jesus at his baptism. Mt3:16.
"Does the hawk fly by her wisdom, and stretch her wings to the south? Does the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?" Job 39:26-27.
It's GOD who programmed them to migrate and hibernate, and to seek higher ground during a tsunami!
The 2nd day of February is 'Groundhog Day' in the USA, with peculiar roots to Christianity and our modern calendar. The final seven days of December, plus the 33 days till 2/2, add up to the forty days between the birth of Christ and the purification of his mother. Lev 12:4. The day is thought to be based on a strange German superstition -- the groundhog seeing his own shadow will supposedly determine the weather for the following six weeks.
Animals are NOT sinful! Not the vertabrates, the reptiles, or even the carnivorous. They are of all sorts and kinds, because God is incredibly diverse, but animals aren't capable of sin. Not even the sneaky laughing hyena or the ferocious wolverine or Great White. The "clean" animals and "unclean" animals are a principle theme of scripture, to show us (humans) that God makes a distinction. When the Apostle Peter saw the great sheet filled with all sorts of animals, Acts 10, and the voice saying "What God has cleansed, call not thou common", we learned of the comparison and contrast between the Jew and the Gentile - Rom2:9,10
Jesus told the apostles: "Now ye are clean through the Word I have spoken unto you", Jn15:3.
The Hebrews (the Jews, the "circumcision", the "Children of Israel") were given instruction on which animals were to be eaten (the "kosher" or clean animals), and which could NOT be eaten. This was preliminary to the time when we learned how Jesus was a Lamb (and Bread and Word) that we should eat! Jn6:53.
Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 spell out the distinction between the clean and the unclean.
A clean beast (quadraped: Heb. "behemah") was required to have a divided hoof, and to chew the cud. Since the swine (pigs) didn't chew the cud, and the camel didn't have a divided hoof, they were included in the "unclean" group. "And the hare (rabbit), because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you". Lev 11:6
Our feet must be shod with the rightly-divided truth, and we chew the cud by mulling the milk of the Word until it turns to butter. Job29:6, Isa7:15.As for creatures from the water, they had to have both fins and scales to be on the Hebrew diet. Shellfish, squid, lobster, octopus, etc. would therefore be "unclean". Click here for poem "Beautiful Feet".
"A fool has no delight in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinion." Prov18:2
• "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which GOD hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth". 1Tim4:3Cannibalism! Jesus told them they'd have to eat his flesh and drink his blood, John6:66, and he nearly lost his entire crew. They didn't make the connection that He was the Passover Lamb and The Word, nor recollect how the Pharaoh's dream of the cows eating the cows was introducing this concept and teaching about how eating flesh is different from eating spiritually. Jesus said: "My words are spirit, and they are life" Jn6:63
"God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". 2Tim1:7
"The Wolf also shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the Calf and the young Lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them, and the Cow and the Bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the Lion shall eat straw like the Ox." Isa 11:6
Separating the sheep from the goats, Mt25:33, might be akin to saying "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated", Rom9:13.
"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as EAGLES; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint". Isa40:31
1. Adam named all the animals! Gen2:192. The Serpent, Gen3:1, and the Ass, Numbers22:28, were the
two animals in Scripture which spoke with man's tongue!3. No punctuation was used in our oldest copies of scripture, so the capital letters, quotation marks, etc., don't really count.The horse says "Ha Ha" in the KJV Bible, but it's "Aha" in the New King James. Job39:25.
4. It's difficult to categorize all the species: does calf go with cow or cattle? Does roe or hind go with deer? Is a unicorn like a gazelle, or more like a rhinocerous? Is a coney more like a ferret or a rabbit? These and similar questions require study beyond the scope of this writer.
5. No distinctive fish types in the Bible other than the whale. No trout or tuna or bass or marlin or halibut. A sardine is mentioned in Rev4:3, but seems to be a stone. The recent story about millions of sardines dying in the waters of Redondo Beach Calif. may remind us of how certain "schools" come to deadly ends..But while searching, I found a "Salmon", father of Boaz (Ruth 4:20), and it reminded me of how those fish swim upstream to lay their eggs, and how the male fertilizes the eggs but never actually makes contact with the female. Isn't that interesting, or maybe depressing? Boaz was ancestor to David; 30th generation from Adam, in the pedigree of Jesus.
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men", Jesus said in Mt4:19.
There aren't many humorous events recorded in the Bible, so when Moses asked the Pharaoh when he wanted the frogs to be removed, Ex8:10, and the Pharaoh said "Tomorrow", it should definitely produce a smile. Did he really want to spend another night with the frogs?
2006 © Prince of Peace Ministries, Inc. Permission is granted to freely copy these poems or unmodified Bible teachings in electronic form or in print. Freely I am giving, so freely pass it on!
Last modified 2 April 2014 by Bob Smith.