Friday Facts - Animals

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I'm going to continue the theme of Christian/Biblical symbolisms for one more post today (at least for now) and share information regarding the symbolism of animals. The ape, dolphin, and dragon were ones that really surprised me as being on this list. I had no idea there was any type of Christian symbolism behind these. Particularly the dragon as I've always associated this more with myths and legends from ancient types in the Eastern parts of the world.


The Lion is a traditional symbol of solar energy, and this symbolism carried into Christianity with its attributes intact. It is a symbol of strength, fortitude, and wisdom. In some cases, the lion represents the Hebrew Tribe of Judah, in which case it is likely to carry a banner. A winged lion (tetramorph) represents the Apostle Mark. The lion is frequently pictured alongside saints Anthony and Jerome.

The Lamb most often represents Christ, a symbolism that is drawn from numerous references in scripture. (John 1:29: Behold the Lamb of God) When the lamb is pictured with Jesus, as in "good shepherd" poses, it represents man as a redeemed sinner. When the lamb bears a cruciform banner, it represents John the Baptist as the first to recognize the "lamb of God."

The Ox is a symbols of the nativity, and are drawn from the apocryphal gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, which quotes Old Testament prophecy: "and the ox and the ass adored Him. Then was fulfilled that which was said by Isaiah the prophet, saying: The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib." The ass was the conveyence of the pregnant virgin, and was so highly esteemed by early Chhristians that they were accused of donkey-worship.

The ape is a symbol of the lower nature of man, and represents lust, avarice, malice. Satan sometimes appears in the form of an ape. An ape in ahains represents sin conquered.

A dragon in Christian art represents sin and the sinful nature, and is also a common way of depicting the devil, especially in the context of devourer. A number of saints are depicted defeating or otherwise overcoming dragons.

The dolphin is a very ancient Christian symbol, and is drawn from earlier Greek and Roman symbolism. The dolphin was traditionally regarded as a psychopomp, leading souls to safety, and in this sense came to represent the church as guider of souls into paradise.

The snake or serpent is the most unusual symbol, because it represents both good and evil, depending on context. As the serpent of Eden, often pictured with human face (inevitably female), the serpent is the embodiment of Satan.

The peacock is an ancient symbol of immortality. The tail of the peacock, with its 'thousand eyes' are symbolic of omnipotence and often ascribed to the Archangel Michael. The peacock's feather is sometimes associated with St. Barabara.

The phoenix has been a symbol of Christianity from the very first century, when it was used on jewelry, amulets, and inscribed on tombstones. As the phoenix was long rumored to continually renew itself through death and rebirth, it was a perfect emblem of the resurrection and the promise of eternal life.

The dove is the traditional emblem of the Holy Spirit, and is mentioned numerous times in scripture. The dove is the bird who brings to Noah the olive branch symbolic of God's covenant with man, and again appears at the baptism of Christ. Because of this, the dove is used to represent grace and the seven gifts of the Holy spirit.



10 Thoughts Shared:

Power Up Love said...

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The Baker's said...

Thank you for sharing. I found it very interesting. I have learned something new about what animals are in symbolic in the bible and the Lord. Have a great weekend.

Kristi said...

I didn't know about the dolphins either. I just love this post! Lea tagged me with 7 random things and now I'm tagging you, one of my most favorite bloggers. Have a blessed weekend!

Joan said...

Thanks again for a great post. Very interesting. I didn't know about the ape, the dolphin, or the peacock. Thanks again for the blessing.

Have a great day!

Laurie Ann said...

I love the Lamb! Didn't know about dolphins and apes, though. Great teaching here, Melanie! By the way, you've been tagged....http://magnoliaheartbeats.blogspot.com/2008/09/tagged-8-random-factshabits-ive-been.html

Tricia said...

Very interesting Melanie! Thanks for sharing!

Have a blessed weekend!

Amydeanne said...

very interesting.. reminds me of when i do Ukranian Easter Eggs.. if you do a search there is a list of "christian" symbolism for those too and a couple different ones.. didn't hear about the ape before!

Sab said...

Very interesting! I like the ape one... ever read the Narnia books? The last one in the series has an ape in it that fits this symbolism perfectly. Then there's the lion, Aslan...

Tonya said...

Melanie,

I've been looking for your blog ALL NIGHT! I FINALLY had some free time and thought I'd catch up with my online sisters. I could've sworn that you were on my sidebar? It FINALLY dawned on me to check in some of my "comment sections" to find you. Anyway.. I'VE MISSED YOU! I can't offer excuses, I'll just say that I'm sorry for not being a better friend.

Now, on to your blog.. it looks FABULOUS! I don't know when you made it over, but WOW.. it looks GREAT! I LOVE the colors you chose!! I'm back on Jennisa's waiting list to have her do me a "Fall face-lift." HA! I'm really excited about getting some brighter colors. I think that'll help my mood and hopefully motivate me to blog more often!

Okay, I didn't mean to just go on and on... I just wanted to say hello, and that I've MISSED YOU!

I LOVE YOU BUNCHES!

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

This is SO interesting. May I have your permission to print this out and use it in our homeschool lesson this week? The kids (ages 4 & 5) love are Science curriculum as it's all about Creation this year and they both love animals. I learned something in this post and I'd love to pass it on.
Wonderful Blog. I've bookmarked you!
Kindest Thoughts,
Esthermay