By Karen Thompson
Third in a Four-Part Series
The Flood Symbol
This is the third entry in a four-part series on the study of end time symbols in the Bible. So far, we’ve looked at the horn and wing symbols. We’ve found that in end time prophecy, the horn symbolizes a king and the wing symbolizes a king having an army under his authority. In this entry, we’re going to look at the flood symbol, which is actually close to the wing symbol. But before we look at the flood symbol, let’s talk a little more about Christian symbols in general.
The Cross Symbol
Of all the symbols related to Christianity, the most notable symbol is the cross. It is one of the earliest Christian symbols. As any Christian knows, it symbolizes and memorializes Christ’s death by crucifixion. Death by crucifixion, nailing someone to a wooden cross, was used by the Romans when they wanted to put someone to death. The method used to put Jesus to death certainly wasn’t unique, as the Romans used this method of execution literally thousands and thousands of times. It’s not His method of death that is being memorialized. It’s what His death on the cross accomplished for us that is being memorialized. As 1st Peter 2:24 says, “He who knew no sin became sin for us so we, having died to sin, might live for righteousness.”
There are two main depictions of the cross: an empty cross and the crucifix, a cross with the body of Jesus still on it. The Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches favor the crucifix because they believe it emphasizes that it is Jesus that is important, not so much the cross. Protestants favor the empty cross because they believe it’s more important to emphasize He is no longer on the cross but has been resurrected.
The Petrine Cross
Now we come to a Christian cross symbol that has long ago fallen away. But oddly enough, it is now known as one of the most anti-Christian symbols in the world! I’m talking about the upside down cross. When it was known as a Christian symbol, it was called the “Petrine Cross,” named after the apostle Peter. The Petrine Cross is a symbol of humility. Tradition says that Peter, facing martyrdom, was to be crucified. He didn’t feel worthy enough to die in the same way as our Lord died, so he requested that the cross be inverted so he would be hung upside down!
The Petrine Cross is no longer in use and few know that it had anything to do with the apostle Peter and that is symbolized humility. It is now associated with the occult, atheism, and humanism. It is the most anti-Christian symbol used by anti-Christian groups. It’s used quite frequently by black metal bands, in horror movies, t-shirts with anti-religious messages, or tattoos, and the like.
The Flood Symbol in Isaiah
Now let’s look at the flood symbol. Like the wings symbol, the flood symbol is often used to symbolize an invading army. We can see that in the portion of scripture we used in the last post regarding the wing symbol. Let’s look again at Isaiah chapter eight, and we’ll see again how both the wing and the flood are used to symbolize an army:
“Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel” (Isa. 8:7–8).
We discussed in our last post how in end time Bible symbolism, wings symbolize a leader who has command of an army. That means he commands his army to invade. In this scripture, Isaiah is prophesying that Assyria will invade the disobedient kingdom of Judah. Here we see the symbolism of both wings and a flood to describe an invading army. Isaiah described the Assyrian king’s army as a flood that would go up to their necks and as wings stretching out over the entire breadth of the land.
At first glance, you might think the flood and wing symbolism mean exactly the same thing. Yes, they both symbolize armies, but there is a slight difference. The wings symbolize a king that has command of an army, and when he spreads out his wings, that means he has commanded the army to go forth and to invade. The flood symbolizes the army itself, how it moves and affects the land in which it invades. Look at the portion where Isaiah described the flood: “and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: and he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck.” Notice the emphasis is on the movement of the flood, how it comes up over all the channels, how it goes over his banks, how it will pass through Judah, overflowing so high that it will reach to the neck. It’s describing how the movements of the army will literally cover the land and be so extreme that it goes up to their necks. The army will overwhelm them.
The Flood Symbol in Jeremiah
Let’s look at another example of the flood symbolism in Jeremiah. Jeremiah is prophesying the Lord’s judgment against the Philistines.
“Behold, waters rise out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood; they shall overflow the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell within; then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall wail. At the noise of the stamping hooves of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers will not look back for their children, lacking courage….” (Jer. 47:2–3 NKJV)
When studying prophetic words, I’ll give you a tip that will assist in interpreting prophecy. Very often, in giving forth a prophecy, the prophet will speak metaphorically about something, using a lot of symbolism. He will then follow it up with a literal description of the prophecy. That’s what Jeremiah does here. Jeremiah begins his prophecy by using symbolism, using a flood to describe an enemy invasion. In verse two, he describes it as “waters rise up out of the north.” That tells us the enemy will attack from the north. He goes on to say, it will be “an overflowing flood; they shall overflow the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell within.” This flood will be an “overflowing flood” meaning that the army will invade and overwhelm not just the city but all the land.
In the next verse, Jeremiah describes the coming invasion in a literal way. The literal portion of the prophecy confirms that the flood is a being used metaphorically to describe an invading army. After prophesying the coming invasion as a flood, Jeremiah describes the effects of the flood using literal language. When the army invades, the men will be so frightened that they will cry, in fact, all the inhabitants will wail. When he talks about the sound of the hooves of the horses and the noise of the chariots’ wheels, he’s describing a literal army invasion. It’s the sound of these horses and chariots that will strike fear in the fathers, so much so that they will take off running and not even think about their children’s well-being.
Let’s look at another example of flood symbolism in Jeremiah chapter 46; Jeremiah again describes an invading Egypt as a flood, rising up in battle and spreading over the land.
“Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth…” (Jer. 46:7–9).
Here Jeremiah asks the question, “Who is this that comes up like a flood?” Then in the next verse, he answers his own question. He says “Egypt rises up like a flood.” Jeremiah then described Egypt talking as if it were a flood saying, “I will go up and cover the earth.” Then in the next phrase, Egypt describes the result of its flooding: “I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.” From these verses, you can clearly see how the flood symbolism is being used to describe an invading army. The flood imagery is descriptive of the action of the flood: it covers the land, rises up high, and moves fast like the waters in a river. The flood symbolizes the speed in which an army will descend upon a land and overwhelm it.
The Flood Symbol in Daniel
Now let’s look at how the flood symbol is used in end time prophecy. Let’s start with Daniel chapter nine; this is the chapter where an angel visits Daniel and gives him a message about 70 weeks. The angel informed Daniel, “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” In verse 26, the angel describes how it will be in “the end,” meaning how it will be during the 70th week: “And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Like Jeremiah, the angel used a combination of symbolic language and literal language to describe the end. First the symbolism of a flood is used to describe the end coming with war: “and the end thereof shall be with a flood….” Then the end is described using literal words: “even to the end there shall be war, and desolations are decreed.” Desolation means devastation or ruin. Israel and Jerusalem will experience devastation and ruin as a result of war.
As you can see, there is a clear distinction between the wing and the flood symbol. The wing symbolizes a king that has command of an army. When he spreads out his wings, it means he sends forth his army to invade and conquer. The flood symbolizes the nature and movement of the army itself, how to moves quickly and overwhelms.
Elmo, an email policeman, was patrolling the movie theater looking for slacker emails. He spotted one in the eleventh row munching on popcorn. The officer shouted, “Hey you, slacker!” The email panicked and froze in position, his mouth agape with a handful of popcorn inches from his mouth. The officer barked, “Freezing in motion doesn’t make you invisible. I CAN STILL SEE YOU! Come on, let’s go… move it forward.”
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