Throughout the Holy Bible, believers are represented as similes, as likenesses, or resemblances of many varied things. These resemblances, these similitudes, should be important to Christians, for in these resemblances are characteristics to which Christians ought to aspire. They are there for a reason – to make us think about varied and ever changing positions for the Lord whom we serve.
In the Hebraic tradition, the name given a child (or adult) was characteristic of the child and/or their situation. For example in Genesis 41:51-52 we read:
“And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh, saying, For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house. And the name of the second he called Ephraim, saying, For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Thus Manasseh [מנשּׁה menashsheh] may be interpreted as “Godly Forgetfulness” and Ephraim [אפרים ‘ephrayim] as “Double Fruitfulness.” Interestingly, here we can see a deeper layer of meaning in the Lord’s Word, as He tells us that to be successful, to be fruitful, we need to forget, or get over our past; for prophetically here, in Genesis 41:51-52 “Godly Forgetfulness” come before “Double Fruitfulness.”
In many languages, perhaps previously in all, this Hebraic tradition also holds. My own given name of Angus means “one strength” or unnaturally strong; or singular; or only choice, and was derived from óen “one” and gus “force, strength, energy.” But I only know this because I looked it up to write this article! For me, like many others, the meaning of my name has become totally irrelevant, yet I do believe it did not come to me by accident and that it does contains prophetic spiritual meaning.
Do I live up to the prophetic nature of my own name as far as God is concerned? Probably not. Do I live up to my name as far as my family and friends are concerned? Honestly, I have no idea and have never asked, nor have they ever told me.
However, when it comes to God and His Holy Bible, I believe we Christians should take, indeed MUST take seriously how the Lord God Almighty sees us, and we must respond appropriately.
The following comprise 37 similitudes of Christian believers taken from God’s own Word:
|Jewels||Malachi 3:17||And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.|
|Calves in the stall||Malachi 4:2||But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, and healing will be on His wings. And you shall go out and frisk like calves of the stall.|
|Sun||Judges 5:31||So let all Your enemies perish, O Jehovah. But let them that love Him be like the sun when he goes forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.|
|Gold||Job 23:10||But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.|
|Fruitful Trees||Psalm 1:3||And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivulets of water that brings forth its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf shall not wither, and all which he does shall be blessed.|
|Panting Deer||Psalm 42:1||As the deer pants after the water brooks, so my soul pants after You, O God.|
|Green Olive Trees||Psalm 52:8||But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.|
|Palm Trees||Psalm 92:12||The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.|
|Cedar Trees||Psalm 92:12||The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.|
|Stars||Daniel 12:3||And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the sky; and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.|
|Eagles||Isaiah 40:31||… but those who wait on Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.|
|Psalm 103:5||… who satisfies your mouth with good; your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.|
|Mount Zion||Psalm 125:1||They who trust in Jehovah shall be like Mount Zion; it is not shaken, but remains forever.|
|Salt||Matthew 5:13||You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savour, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men.|
|Light||Matthew 5:14||You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.|
|City||Matthew 5:14||You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.|
|Candle||Matthew 5:14-15||You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.|
|Wheat||Matthew 3:11-12||I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose fan is in His hand, and He will cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the storehouse; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.|
|Babes||Matthew 11:25||At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the sophisticated and cunning, and revealed them to babes.’|
|Fish||Matthew 13:47-48||Again, the kingdom from heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea that gathered all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen hauled it ashore. Then they sat down, sorted the good fish into containers, and threw the bad ones away.|
|Servants||Matthew 25:21||His master told him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant! Since you have been trustworthy with a small amount, I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and share your master’s joy!’|
|Sheep||John 10:3||It is to him the gatekeeper opens the gate, and it is his voice the sheep hear. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.|
|Psalm 23:1||Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want.|
|Branches||John 15:1-2||I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.|
|Lambs||John 21:15-17||Then when they broke fast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?|
He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs.
He said to him the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?
He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.
He said to him, Feed My sheep.
He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?
Peter was grieved because He said to him a third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.
Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.
|Building||1 Corinthians 3:9||For of God we are fellow-workers, a field of God, and you are a building of God.|
|Runners||1 Corinthians 9:24||Do you not know that those running in a race all run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.|
|Members of a Body||1 Corinthians 12:12||For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.|
|Epistles||2 Corinthians 3:1-3||Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, like some, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, it having been made plain that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, not having been written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.|
|Ambassadors||2 Corinthians 5:20||Then we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as God exhorting through us, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.|
|Pillars||Galatians 2:9||… and knowing the grace given to me, James, and Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, gave right hands of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we go to the nations, but they to the circumcision.|
|Revelation 3:12||Him who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name.|
|Soldiers||2 Timothy 2:3||Therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.|
|Athletes||2 Timothy 2:5||Athletes in a race must obey all the rules to win.|
|Vessels||2 Timothy 2:20||But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.|
|Living Stones||1 Peter 2:5||… you also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.|
|A Spiritual House||1 Peter 2:5||… you also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.|
|A Holy Priesthood||1 Peter 2:5||… you also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.|
|Strangers and Pilgrims||1 Peter 2:11||Dearly beloved, I exhort you as temporary residents and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul …|
|Little Children||1 John 2:1||My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.|
|1 John 2:12||I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.|
The above list of references is based on and adapted from “Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible“.