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Written by Helen Smith, Michael Glazier
The King James Bible shows scenes of warfare to emphasize God's power and how freedom that is promised is given. These scenes are almost outlandish in their success because they are intended to serve as reminders of strength in times of prosperity and peace. An example of this sort of scene is in Exodus 14, which features all of the Pharaoh's army and horsemen chasing after the freed Israelites. They panic and despair, so the Bible shows how this fear is misguided when it details the thunderous escape.
The parables of the Bible often feature pastoral imagery because it helps root these stories in a tangible way and also because it creates a sense of calm and reassurance. The ability to think about things of religious significance in terms of being led leads to trust, and the presence of so much imagery allows the reader to pick up various sorts of details with each reading.
In the Bible, mountains serve as places of escape and solemnity. They also provide check-ins for people to reassess the direction of their lives and consider how to change. Although this message is often conveyed directly from God, the people presented in such imagery must make their own decisions. The grandeur of the mountains can tempt people to taunt their God, so the imagery shows the broad scope of surrounding society and the option for people to test God.
The parable of the mustard seed provides strong imagery to convey the notion of Christian belief. This story shows how the small mustard seed, once planted, creates such a large tree that it overpowers everything else around. The mustard seed was the smallest type of seed known at the time, so the detail provides a tactile way to consider the relevant verses. The resultant tree is identified; thus, people could recognize the type of tree around them and think about the parable.
Abraham, the original patriarch of the Hebrews had a wife named Sarah. The two had tried having children until they were old in age despite the fact that God promised them a child they still had none. So, assuming that Sarah was barren, Abraham had a child with Sarah's maidservant Hagar and they named the child Ishmael who today is the father of the Arab people. However, soon after this Sarah did conceive a son whom they named Isaac which means laughter since both Sarah and Abraham laughed at God when He promised them a child in their old age. Then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham went to the top of a mountain with Isaac, and with knife in hand went to slay his son; however, an angel stopped him. The angel said not to harm the child but instead to look up and see the ram whose horns were stuck in a thicket. This animal was sacrificed in Isaac's place. This ram is symbolic of Jesus taking on the punishment that humanity should have received.
The Temple Curtain
At the moment when Jesus drew His last breath, the temple curtain was torn in half. This curtain was used to separate the room called "The Holy of Holies" where God dwelled from the people. Since the curtain was torn it was an image showing that Jesus' death on the cross removed the divide between God and humanity.
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