You probably know that Jesus gave many parables in his teaching. However, that is not nearly all the parables the Bible portrays. There are actually THOUSANDS of them!
For example, most people don't have an inkling about the fact that the story of Creation
has a deeper meaning — it is a parable — besides giving us an account of literal creation.
Don't get me wrong; I do believe it shows us how the world was created, albeit in a very non-detailed manner. But the more important meaning of that story is in the spiritual.
God has used the transformation of this planet from being WITHOUT FORM and VOID, to a planet full of life, to show what happens in SALVATION. "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" is the mere beginning of (spiritual) life, and then that life has to grow and advance through several stages. See a bit more here!
To me, learning about this simple parable in the creation story was so exciting. It was so wonderful to learn that God put that meaning there underlying the mere physical facts... He is a great God!
These illustrations, or parables, or "types" in the Bible, are very powerful. I'm not just talking about looking at a tree, or flowers, or some animal, and acknowledging that, "Look, God is great — He made this animal." I'm talking about seeing the characteristics of those plants, animals
, celestial bodies etc. as PARABLES, and realizing that God created them TO have those characteristics on purpose, to TEACH lessons in the spiritual realm.
See examples of some of the animal characteristics here
. Pigs, like Peter shows us
, picture backsliders who go back to wallowing in the mud of sin. Dogs show a similar picture, plus if they don't bark at dangers, they symbolize false preachers. (There's also a GOOD side to the dog symbol, as to all animals, as a faithful and loyal helper.)
Take the lion
— why does he have a "kingly" mane & "kingly" attitude among the animals? Because he pictures two different kings or rulers: the Devil as a roaring lion, but also (in the good side) Jesus as a gentle well-ruling king.
This may be hard to believe, but even the animals not mentioned in the Bible are still symbols/parables/lessons for us. That is because God created EVERYTHING in the natural realm to convey lessons about the spiritual.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
(Note, "from the creation" is not referring timewise, such as "from the time of creation", but "from the things created".)
The spiritual and natural go hand-in-hand, and once you get started, it becomes so exciting to learn about all these connections between the natural and the spiritual!
I want to show you just a few more examples.
The act of eating
is a parable and gives us tons of lessons on spiritual eating processes. There's NO LIFE without eating!
The processes of human conception and birth and parables. If you just think about it... God could have made procreation happen in some totally different manner. But the way it happens, it gives us lots of lessons about how things happen in the spiritual realm.
For one thing... people have always wondered: How does one gain initial spiritual life ("get saved")? The SEED has to enter the egg. It's not by praying, or by baptism, or by joining a church. Or, using another illustration, the seed has to be accepted/received within the SOIL - the process of sowing plant seeds is another major picture the Bible uses.
...which leads us to the parable of the sower
— a very well-known parable by Jesus. Different kinds of soil, the sowing of seed, and plant growth, are all parables (or "types").
The parable of the prodigal son
is another famous parable of Jesus, picturing a backslider who makes it back to the "flock".
I hope these illustrations and videos will be a blessing and a help to you!