Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.









Animals in the scripture are often associated each with a particular bible subject or principle.  The Raven is closely associated with the flesh nature of fallen man.  God uses the raven in the scriptures to teach us spiritual principles about the nature of man in his depraved fallen state.


The words, raven and ravens, appear exactly eleven times in the scripture.  The first time it appeared was in connection with Noah sending forth birds out of the ark to determine if the waters were abated off the face of the ground: Gen. 8:7 “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.”  The raven did not return unto the ark but was satisfied to eat the dead carcasses that were floating on the top of the flood waters.  The raven is black, which color is closely associated with sin in the scriptures.  Man in his fallen state is totally depraved and sinful.  The raven had no message for the inhabitants of the ark except that it was completely selfish and had no concern for the inhabitants of the ark.  Likewise, as Paul stated: Rom. 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:” Our fleshly nature is altogether wicked and all the works thereof are evil (See Gal. 5:19-21). 


            The raven is classified of God in the Old Testament as one of the unclean animals:


                        1.  Lev. 11:15 “Every raven after his kind;”

                        2.  Deu. 14:14 “And every raven after his kind,”


One of the purposes of God in classifying some animals as clean and some as unclean was to show us the difference between that which is righteous and that which is unrighteous in the eyes of God.  The clean animals would be typical of Christ and typical of the inner man of the born again child of God who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ.  The unclean are typical of the fleshly nature of man which, of course, is not changed in regeneration.  The fleshly nature of the elect will be changed in the resurrection of the body.


The uncleanness of the fleshly nature of man is illustrated by the raven in Prov. 30:17 “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”  In this scripture the ravens and the young eagles are depicted as being like the vultures in our country as they eat the dead things of the earth.  The fleshly nature of man is like that in that in our fleshly nature we eat of the total depravity of man which is dead in trespasses and sins.


In the following passage the raven is associated with confusion and emptiness: Is. 34:11 “But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.” 


Lest we get the impression that God does not have any care for the fleshly bodies of his elect we read in the following verses:

                        1.  Job 38:41 “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”

                        2.  Ps. 147:9 “He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”

                        3.  Luke 12:24 “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”


God takes care for our natural fleshly needs and provides for our necessities just as he provides for the necessities of the raven.  The Lord loved us in that Christ died to redeem us from the sins of our flesh and we in our flesh will see God in heaven.


Moreover, in our dealings with our fleshly nature while we live on earth should consider the servitude that God made of the ravens:

                        1.  1 Ki. 17:4 “And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”

                        2.  1 Ki.17:6 “And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.”


Like as God made servants of the unclean ravens to feed the prophet, so we are to bring our flesh into servitude of the inner man: 1 Cor. 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  Not only are we to mortify the deeds of the flesh and to present our bodies a living sacrifice, we are also to subject our bodies to the inner man.


Goats and punishment of sin


Animals are frequently used in the scriptures to represent biblical principles.  For instance, sheep are used to represent God’s elect covenant people.  In this essay we will explore how goats are used to represent God’s eternal punishment of sin.


In the Old Testament there are eight sacrifices associated with the tabernacle or temple worship.  There is the sin offering, the trespass offering, the burnt offering, the peace offering, the wave offering, the heave offering, the meat offering, and the drink offering.  The only offering that goats were used in is the sin offering.  In forty verses in the scriptures either a goat or a kid of the goats was used as the sin offering.  This is more than all the other types of animals or birds combined.  Cattle were used in 23 verses; sheep were used in six verses; a pigeon and a turtledove were used in 1 verse.  Thus, in the seventy verses that the sin offering is mentioned, the goat is mentioned in forty verses.


Each of the Old Testament sacrifices under the tabernacle or temple worship point us to various aspects of what Christ did for us in atoning for our sins.  The sin offering pointed us to the fact that Christ suffered the judgment of God on account of our sins.  The trespass offering pointed us to the fact that we had trespassed against the laws of God and that Christ paid for our trespass.  The burnt offering pointed us to the fact that Christ suffered for us in judgment because of our sins.  The peace offering pointed us to the result of Christ atonement caused God to be at peace with us.  The meat offering pointed us to the pure sinless body of Christ that was broken for us.  The drink offering pointed us to the blood of Christ that was offered to God to remit our sins.  The wave offering pointed us to the victory we have in Jesus Christ.  The heave offering pointed us to both the resurrection of Christ and our awaiting resurrection. 


The ordinance of the scapegoat gives us an understanding of God’s purpose in using the goat to represent God’s eternal punishment of sin.  The ordinance is set forth for us in Lev. 16:8-10: 8 “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” 


Two goats were used to represent the one work of Christ on our behalf in God’s judgment of sin.  The one goat was offered for a sin offering.  Christ offered himself without spot to God as a sin offering having suffered the wrathful eternal judgment of sin on our behalf.  The second goat was sent unto a land not inhabited: Lev. 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.  As a result of Christ’s offering and God’s acceptance of Christ’s offering, Christ put away our sins (symbolized by the scapegoat which was sent into a land not inhabited after our sins were atoned for by the first goat).  Christ put away our sins by his sacrifice on our behalf.  The judgment of God had been satisfied and our sins shall never again be brought before God as set forth in Rom. 8:33: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”


The next thing we read about goats is that goat hair was a covering of the tabernacle: Ex. 26:7 “And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. 8 The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure. 9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.”  Goats’ hair is the product of the goat.  These eleven curtains of goats’ hair covered the tabernacle.  Since goats represent God’s eternal judgment of sin and the product of God’s judgment of sin in the person of Christ on behalf of the elect family of God is to cover these elect children with Christ’s work of justification.  The tabernacle ordinances all point us to Christ’s work of justifying his elect family: Rom. 4:7 “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” 


The final use of goats in representation in the scriptures is found in Matthew chapter 25.  Matt. 25:31-46 sets forth God’s eternal judgment of sin at the last day.  In this passage there are two classes of people who are represented by sheep and goats.  The sheep are on the Lord’s right hand and are called righteous and go away into eternal life.  The goats are on the left hand and are called cursed and go away into everlasting punishment.  The sheep represent God’s elect children and are declared righteous because Christ was their sin offering delivering them from the everlasting punishment of their sins.  The goats are cursed by sin and were not covered by the atoning blood of Christ and thus have the eternal judgment of God to face because of sin.





The camel in the scriptures is a beast of burden.  It was the largest animal among the Israelites and was used to carry burdens and for carrying people.  It appeared to be the animal of choice for transportation by the common people.  In the scriptures, the descriptions of the characteristics and works of the camels parallel in many ways the works and characteristics of the gospel ministry. 


In the 24th Chapter of Genesis when Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac, he sent the servant with 10 camels loaded down with riches to give to the future bride and her family and to show to them the wealth of Isaac, the bridegroom.  Gen. 24:10 “And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.”  Similarly, the gospel ministers carry in their messages from the Lord the riches of their master to God’s waiting people.  To carry this message, the gospel ministers must kneel down before their Lord to receive the messages to deliver to the people and then at the time to deliver the messages, they must kneel down again before their Lord in order to unload their messages to God’s waiting people.  This is in similitude to the camel which must kneel down to receive its burden and then kneel down to unload its burden. 


Moreover, like the camels in the 24th chapter of Genesis who received the water from Rebekah, the gospel ministers often receive the blessings of service in many ways from the Lord’s people they serve: Gen. 24:19 “And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”  Paul set forth this principle for the relationship between the church members and the gospel ministers in 1 Cor. 9:7 “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 


When Rebekah came to meet Isaac, she came riding on the back of a camel.  However, when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel and came to Isaac: Gen. 24:61 “And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.”  Likewise, the Lord’s people first hear of Jesus from the preaching of the gospel ministers and often closely associate with the gospel minister and his message.  However, when they see Jesus in their own experiences and through the proclamation of those messages, they begin to associate themselves more with the Lord than with the gospel minister, which is what it should be.


When Jacob and his family departed his uncle Laban’s house to go to Jacob’s fathers’ house they all rode upon camels: Gen. 31:17 “Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.”  Jacob’s father was Isaac and in many ways Isaac was a type of Christ.  In parallel fashion, we are carried by the message of the gospel minister from our natural abode and inclinations to our church home in the house of God. 


Too often we exalt the gospel minister above what we should.  We should remember that the gospel minister is like the camel in that he is unclean of himself: Lev. 11:4 “Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.”  Moreover, the gospel minister has to take heed to himself unless he becomes exalted above measure.  Like the camel which is large in stature, the gospel minister must ever be watchful that he does not become full of pride.  He must humble himself so that he can receive the messages of the Lord and deliver those messages.  Just like the camel which has to kneel to receive its burden and also kneel to unload its burden, so must the gospel minister be in his service as well.


The camel is also used in the scriptures to depict the false ministry.  Satan has a ministry and they are more numerous than the Lord’s ministry.  The camels of the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the children of the east far outnumbered the camels of the children of Israel: Judg. 6:3 “And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.”  However, with the Lord’s direction and deliverance, the false ministry of Satan is no match for the Lord’s ministry.  Under the Lord’s guidance and deliverance, Gideon and the three hundred that were with him defeated the tremendous host of the Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east.  Satan through his ministry would destroy the Lord’s true church, but the Lord fights for her and His true Church prevails.


The false ministry of Satan, like the camels representing them are exalted by the people:


                        1.  Judg. 8:21 “Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon

 us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.”

                        2.  Judg. 8:26 “And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.” 


Those camels were worshipped by the Midianites as they had ornaments and chains about their necks.  Similarly, the Lord warned us about exalting men in the ministry: Matt. 23:9 “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  Even though the Lord gave this very plain warning, yet we see men who call themselves and are called by their congregants: Master, Father, Rabbi, Reverend, etc.  Shame on such men who exalt themselves and shame on those people who exalt them in this fashion.  The Lord’s true ministry kneels down like the camel and refuses the exaltation of men.


The camels often had precious things to carry:


                        1.  1 Ki. 10:2 “And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.”

                        2.  1 Chr. 12:40 “Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.”

                        3.  2 Chr. 9:1 “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.”

            Likewise, the gospel ministers have precious things they carry to the Lord’s people such as the good news of salvation by grace, messages of comfort, messages of rest, words of encouragement to the Lord’s humble people, messages of admonishment, messages of warning, training in discipleship, messages of hope, training in true worship, etc. 




Often in the scriptures the characteristics and qualities of an animal are used to illustrate to us spiritual lessons.  This is true of the leopard.  The following verses of scripture illustrate this principle:


                        1.  Is. 11:6 “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.”  The wolf, the leopard, and the lion all have characteristics as predators that devour the weaker animals.  Whereas, the lamb, the kid, the calf and the fatling are domesticated animals.  They are generally considered gentle and peaceful.  These creatures are often used to represent God’s people that have been born of the Spirit.  The lesson seems to point to the fact that God’s people have two competing natures.  We have the nature of the flesh which is ruthless and shows forth a predatory nature.  We also have the inner man which cannot sin.  These two natures dwell and lie down together.  When we are humbled, as a little child then we are being led by the Spirit and mortifying the deeds of the flesh.


                        2.  Jer. 5:6 “Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.”  The leopard is known to carefully watch its prey from a high perch before it moves in for the kill.  The leopard is known to slay all kinds of animals as well as humans.  It is reported that in Africa one leopard killed as many as 400 people before it was slain.  The lesson above is that God’s people, Israel had fallen prey to worshipping idols and God was giving them over to judgment. 


                        3.  Jer. 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”  There are some things that we cannot change.  For instance it is impossible for the leopard to change his spots.  This teaches us that we cannot change our flesh nature which is accustomed to do evil.  God adds to us another nature in the new birth and that without the cooperation of the flesh. 


                        4.  Dan. 7:6 “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.’  Also, Rev. 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  These two verses give us nature of the seven-head, ten horned beast, which represents multinational kingdoms under the spiritual direction of the dragon.  The Leopard has three colors.  It has black spots.  It has a yellow undertone.  It also has a white underbelly.  There are three races of people whose skin colors are generally considered black, yellow, and white.  This depicts the multinational and ecumenical nature of the beast.  The leopard is a predatory beast.  The kingdom builders of this world are blood thirsty and ruthless.  It is estimated that Stalin presided over the ruthless killing of several tens of millions of people.  Likewise Mao was equally as ruthless having put to death an estimated 80 million people.  Hitler was responsible for killing millions of people including 6 million Jews.  Surely, the leopard, the lion, and the bear are symbols to represent the ruthless, predatory nature of the kingdom builders. 


                        5.  Hos. 13:6 “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. 7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  In this, we are taught that God will eventually bring his people who forget him and commit idolatry into timely judgment.  As we have noted before the leopard is known to observe its prey from a lofty level before the kill.  God observes his disobedient people for a time before he brings timely judgment upon them.