Animals in Scripture – “Swine”
The Spiritual Significance of Swine
Each animal in scripture has a separate spiritual message which our Lord wants to convey to us. All animals in scripture are used to convey the thought of the negative beastly attributes of mankind, who is but a mere beast who is in the process of being made into the image of God’s son:
Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Ecc 3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath [Hebrew – ruach – spirit]; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Ecc 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Without a resurrection, “a man hath no preeminence above a beast.’ Even the apostle Paul informs us that if there is no resurrection of the death, then those who have “fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”
1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
So mankind begins his existence as a mere beast, as a wild beast:
Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast [Greek – therion, dangerous animal (venomous, wild) beast”] rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Later mankind becomes a ‘zoon‘.
Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts [Greek – zoon, an animal, a brute beast, but not a wild animal] full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Of the 23 time the word ‘zoon’ appears in the New Testament, 20 of those times are references to these four beasts around the throne of God. Of the other three one refers to animal sacrifices, and the other two refer to God’s backslidden people.
So man is a beast, and as such he has within him all the features of all the beasts of scripture. There are , in scripture, wild beasts and domesticated beasts. There are solitary beasts and there are beasts which live in herds. There are beasts that provide wool and meat to eat, butter and milk, and there are beasts on which men can ride and on which men can place heavy burdens and use them to plow and to tend the soil and to turn huge grinding stones. All of these beasts show us that we are still flesh and blood, created on the sixth day along with all beasts, and as such we “cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Each beast in scripture shows us something about how God is working with and using us in His service. And yet, even after we shed this flesh and blood, we are never allowed to forget our beastly, earthly origins.
1Co 15:47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
The lion and the eagle are generally thought of as wild beasts, but as we will see the scriptures reveal that wild beasts can become domesticated and domestic beasts can become wild beasts.
Swine have some things in common with clean animals
In order to understand the spiritual significance of swine in scripture we must notice what the scriptures mean when speaking of swine. The Hebrew word for swine is ‘chaziyr, and it appears but seven time in the Old Testament. Here is what the scriptures reveal to us about swine:
Lev 11:3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
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.
Lev 11:5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
Lev 11:7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
Lev 11:8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
While the spiritual significance of clean and unclean meats is a most revealing and instructive study, I will only note here that swine are similar to clean meat in as much as they “part the hoof as two claws.” Those “instructed unto the kingdom of heaven” understand that we are always to have two witnesses to every word we teach as the Truth of the doctrines of the kingdom of heaven, and those two witnesses must be of both the Old and the New Testaments:
Mat 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
Any teacher who violates this directive must be suspect and the spirit which ignores this directive will always be tried and found wanting of obedience to the Truth of this verse. No prophecy of scripture is ever to be of it’s own interpretation. It is all to be understood in the light of the rest of God’s Word.
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [Greek – its own] interpretation.
So swine, in scripture, are seen as being similar to what is clean, yet, because swine do not chew the cud, because they do not ruminate, because swine do not have the ability to “meditate on God’s word day and night,” they are not to be considered as clean. Those who cannot discern unclean swine, will eat them and touch them and become, themselves, unclean.
Swine, while not always wild beasts, also have some things in common with wild beasts
Swine, in scripture, are not to be thought of as wild beasts but as herd animals, under the care of and the direction of men.
Mar 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
Mar 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
Mar 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
Christ himself sends evil spirits into the swine. Swine receive unclean spirits and receive the rewards of doing so. They are “choked in the sea.”
Psa 80:8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Psa 80:9 Thou preparedst [room] before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
Psa 80:10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof [were like] the goodly cedars.
Psa 80:11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
Psa 80:12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
Psa 80:13 The boar [Hebrew – chaziyr, swine] out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
Psa 80:14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
The scriptures use the figure of serpents and swine as figures of those who “waste God’s vine.” It is presented to us as a necessary part of our walk to leave our first love, follow the Nicolaitans and become the prey of the leaders of Babylon, being wasted by “the boar out of the wood.”
How swine relate to God’s backslidden people
There are two verses of scripture which reveal that swine are closely associated with, but have no appreciation for the valuable things of the spirit:
1) The first verse is:
Pro 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
The ‘jewel of gold” is God’s truth in His doctrines. Read The spiritual significance of Gold on iswasandwillbe.com Here is one verse that indicates what God means by “gold on a fair woman.”
Eze 16:11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.
Eze 16:12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
Eze 16:13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment [was of] fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
Eze 16:14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it [was] perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 16:15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.
Eze 16:16 And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: [the like things] shall not come, neither shall it be [so].
Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,
God’s “gold” is God’s doctrines, and His truth, and the “fair woman” is God’s own people who take His words, His Truths, His doctrines and twist and pervert them into the doctrines of men and of demons.
Pro 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
This verse alone tells us what is the spiritual significance of swine in scripture. “A fair woman without discretion,” is God’s own people who cannot receive his words. God’s backslidden people spiritually Use God’s gold, His Truths and His doctrines, as an instrument with which root and wallow in the filth of the earth.
Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s own people have His gold, but they have no appreciation of it. Here is a Biblical example of those who spiritually have been given Christ’s words and His doctrines, but do not receive and appreciate these valuable ornaments and jewels of gold of God’s Word. Here is a Biblical example of what are spiritual swine:
Joh 8:30 As he [Christ] spake these words, many [of God’s own people, Jews, the established church] believed on him.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Spiritual ‘swine’ believe on Christ, and are indeed Abraham’s seed by the bondwoman. But they are “unclean” and do not appreciate things of spiritual value any more than Esau appreciated the value of his birthright.” Look now at how “Jews that believe on Christ” but do not value His doctrine, treat the valuable things of the spirit:
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Spiritual ‘swine’ have no appreciation for Christ’s spiritual words “because My word has no place in you … [“Jews which believe on me”].”
Joh 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, [even] God.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Joh 8:48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Why do spiritual ‘swine’ want to kill Christ? Three reasons are given in this passage, 1) “Because you cannot hear My word, 2) “Because I tell you the truth, you believe me not, and 3) “You hear not my words because you are not of God.” All three of these reasons Christ gives, amount to the same thing, spiritual swine have no appreciation for the valuable gold and ornaments of Christ’s words and His doctrine. What they do really appreciate is wallowing in the mud of the ground from which they were taken. Spiritual ‘swine,’ like Esau, appreciate the things of this world. Esau preferred the red pottage of this world to the blessings of his birthright, which typifies our spiritual blessings of our spiritual birthright.
Gen 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
Gen 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
Gen 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
Gen 25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Gen 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Esau had God’s words, but He had no appreciation for God’s words. God “sends His rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Esau, like Ishmael, really is Abraham’s seed. But like King Saul who was anointed by Samuel but replaced by King David, Esau typifies God’s rejected anointed. Here is what swine do with God’s valuable truths and His valuable, and precious doctrines.
Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The “many called but [not] chosen” are spiritually ‘swine’ who have God’s Word and who give God’s Word much lip service, but who in reality would crucify Christ rather than to keep His commandments to “love thine enemies… resist not evil… bid them not into your house…” etc.
The prodigal son wasted His substance and fed the swine
The symbols of the parable of the prodigal son are most revealing:
Luk 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Luk 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
Luk 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Luk 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
Luk 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
Luk 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
So we are all guilty of feeding swine when we are living in and believing in the doctrines of Babylon. “The field is the world according to Christ, and the swine, a we have seen, is God’s own people who prefer the slop and husks of Babylon to the nourishing and bountiful food of God’s table:
Heb 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
I hope this helps you see that spiritual swine are a herd animal (Mat 8:30), and therefore portray a less ravenous animal than a lion or a wolf, which would represent the more prominent false leaders and Nicolaitans among God’s people. Spiritual swine are those “many called” who know of and “believe on Christ” and yet “cannot receive Christ’s words,” His doctrine (Joh 8:30-48). Spiritual swine are those who prefer recognition of men and the things of this world to spiritual values. Swine are not wild beasts in the sense that they are not even Abraham’s seed. Spiritual wine are Abraham’s seed and they do split the hoof, and to that degree they are familiar with and “believe on Christ.” But like Esau, spiritual swine have not the ability to appreciate the things of the spirit. They much prefer the immediate gratification of the “red pottage,” the things of this earth.
The spiritual message in God’s word concerning spiritual swine is for each of us, and admonishes us to apply this verse of God’s word in our lives:
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Other related posts
- Animals in Scripture - "Wolves" (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Swine" (June 10, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Ox" - Part 2 (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Ox" - Part 1 (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Leopards, Bears, Lions, and a Dragon" - Part 2 (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Leopards, Bears, Lions and a Dragon" - Part 1 (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Horse" (April 7, 2008)
- Animals in Scripture - "Sheep" (April 7, 2008)
- Animals In Scripture - "The Four Beasts Around God’s Throne" (April 7, 2008)