Animals as Symbols for Christ

In the Old Testament, the Lord gave Moses certain dietary (kosher) laws that He expected the children of Israel to obey.[1]  These laws stated which animals were considered clean and therefore acceptable to eat, and which animals were considered unclean and therefore not acceptable to eat. 
With this in mind, we ask the question, “How many of each animal did Noah bring with him into the Ark?”  Did you know that if you said two, you would technically be incorrect?  We read in Genesis that Noah actually took with him two of each unclean animal into the Ark, and seven of each clean animal.  We read,
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.  (Genesis 7:2)

Why seven of every clean animal?  So that Noah could preform sacrifices unto the Lord while he was on the Ark.  But this leads us to our next question: “How did Noah know which animals were clean, and which animals were unclean?”  Noah lived hundreds of years before the Law of Moses was ever given!  There can only be one answer to this question: that the concept of clean, and unclean animals, was taught by the Lord long before He ever gave the Law of Moses.[2]

Animals as Symbols

Ever since the Fall of Adam, the Lord has used animals as symbols in order to teach us his Gospel.  For example, the Lord told Adam to offer animal sacrifices, which represented “the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father.”[3]  The Lord used some animals to represent good and wholesome things, and used other animals to represent negative things.  For instance, anciently, vultures were meant to represent “people who prey upon the weakness of others to get personal gain,”[4] while an Oxen was a symbol of steadiness, power, and sacrifice.  The good animals the Lord labeled as “clean”, and the negative animals He labeled “unclean”.[5]  With different animals representing different things, the Lord was able to use these concepts as teaching tools.  For example, find out how the serpent represented Christ here 
               
For those interested in learning more about how animals are used as symbols, I highly recommend The Lost Language of Symbolism, by Alonzo Gaskill:


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Notes:

[1] See Lev 11; Deut 14
[2] See Missler, The Feasts of Israel
[3] Moses 5:7
[4] Gaskill, The Lost Language of Symbolism, p. 246
[5] What determined what determined whether or not an animal was considered clean or unclean according to the Law of Moses?  Land animals had to have cloven hoofs.  Cloven hoofs were hoofs that were parted down the middle.  This separation in the hoof must have gone from the top all the way to the bottom.  Animals that had a separation in the hoof that went only half of the way down were considered unclean.  Second, the animal must chew its own cud.  Chewing the cud, simply means that food eaten by the animal, was swallowed, regurgitated, and then passed to another stomach for digestion.  Chewing the cud required four stomachs.   Some land animals that had both cloven hoofs, and also chewed the cud included: camels, oxen, sheep, lambs, and goats.  Flying animals that were considered unclean were birds of prey.  Therefore, flying animals that were considered clean included: quails, doves, ducks, geese, and chickens.  In order for a water animal to be considered clean, it required two things.  It must have fins and scales.  If the water animal were missing either of these two things, it was considered unclean.