Animals

Animals or living creatures are often represented in sacred buildings within mouldings and on tombs merely as ornaments from early days, such as dolphins, doves, griffins, monsters, birds, and the like. In the mediaeval period, effigies rest their feet on a lion or dog, the types of constancy and strength; but in the catacomb and church, the lion, the horse, the lamb, the hart, the stag, the dove, peacocks, and fish are emblems. The lion represented vigilance; the lamb, innocence; the hart, flight from sin; the hare or the horse alluded to the Christian course (1Co 9:24; 2Ti 4:7); the dolphin typified speed and diligence, and, from heathen fables of Elian and Pliny, loving affection; while birds, among foliage and flowers, portrayed the deliverance of the souls of the blessed from their earthly habitations (Ps 124:6). In the ceremony of canonization, the pope is offered, among other presents, caged birds, as emblematical of the virtues of saints. Doves and serpents refer to Mt 10:16. SEE SYMBOLISM.

Bible concordance for ANIMALS.

Definition of animal

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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