Symbolism and Meaning of Silver in the Bible

Two basic precious metals in use in church art are – gold and silver. Despite the fact that most of the church items are made of silver, gold is at the forefront of the symbolic hierarchy.

But, if we look at church art as a whole, including iconography and temple architecture, it will be shown that silver is in the first place in quantitative terms.

Silver – Meaning in the Bible

In Exodus 30: 11-16 we read of the silver as the atonement (ransom or reconciliation) of the soul. The reconciliation of the patterned people was silver. This is evident from Exodus 38: 25-28, where it is written, “And the silver of the patterned people of the church was 100 talents, and 1775 shekels …, and the 100 talents were for casting the feet of the sanctuary.”

1Ki 10:27 and 2Chr 1:15 we are told something strange about the government of King Solomon. It says there that he made the silver the same as the stones so what does that mean? First of all, so much that the silver was present in such an amount that it was estimated to be little higher than the stones. But if this passage did not mean anything more than that, then those would be right who speak of the exaggerated Oriental imagery of the Bible, which we could do without any harm whatsoever.

But whoever has received a glimpse from God of how ambiguous, deep and inexhaustible every word of holy scripture is, sees behind these seemingly trivial and exaggerated statements large and far-reaching revelations of the ways and goals of our Father.

Stones shadow angels. Under the reign of the true Solomon, Christ, once so much silver of redemption will be available and usable as stones (= angels) are there. This means that salvation is sufficient for the spirit beings, which is also true in Isaiah 53:12 – Phil 2: 10.11 – Col 1:20 and the like. Attest to jobs.

In Hi 22:25, the Almighty is called a treasure of shining silver, and in Ps 12: 6 the words of God are called seven times purified silver. That silver has lasting value, we see from 1Cor 3:12 where transient and imperishable things are listed. Silver is second among the remaining one.

2 Timothy 2:20 speaks of golden and silver honor vessels and wooden and earthen vessels to dishonor. “Your silver has turned to slag!” God calls to the apostate Israel in 1:22 and compares its restoration with a process of purification and melting of silver. Thus we read in 13: 9: “… I will purify them, how to purify the silver …”, and in Mark 3: 3 it is written, “He will sit and the silver …”

God promises to bring silver instead of the iron in Isaiah 60:17. What does he mean with that? We saw that iron is a picture of sin. Now all iron is to be replaced by silver. This means that salvation is sufficient for all sin and can eliminate any depth of sin. Here, too, faith sees glorious promises and rejoices over where unbelief sees only senseless foolishness.

Silver was an early source of wealth. Abraham was rich in silver (Gen. 13: 2), but in the time of Solomon, gold was so abundant that silver was “not respected” (1 Kings 10: 21), the silver and gold that he amassed was later taken away because of the sins of Israel to enrich their enemies (2 Chr. 12.9).

Silver was also the common currency. Long before coins were minted, “pieces of silver” were already weighed (Genesis 23:16).

Silver was e.g. also used for the feet and hooks of the tabernacle. The money that had to be paid as atonement by the Israelites was used for this purpose (Exodus 30: 11-16; 38: 25-28). The house of God is founded on redemption (Exodus 36: 24-36, 38: 10-17).

Silver can be found in the earth (compare Job 28: 1). Before it can be compared to the “words of the LORD,” it must be purified seven times (Ps 12: 7; Prove 25: 4). The “silver cord” in Ecclesiastes 12: 6 seems to be an indication of the “thread of life” that loosens or tightens when death occurs.

Silver – Symbolism

The first and basic value of silver is that we perceive it as a light, and we can call it the “absolute metaphor of light”. This symbolism is not related solely to Christianity, but it can also be found in ancient Greeks and Old Slavic cultures, for which “silver is a fire that shines in the night”.

On the other hand, the light in Christianity is the symbol of the divine: “… that God is light, and there is no darkness in him.” (I John 1: 1). Accordingly, silver as an “absolute metaphor of light” represents the “absolute metaphor of God,” and it can be said that light is not the essence of God, but its energy.

Silver’s character, in time, dark symbolizes the fallen nature of Adam. A silver cross, in addition to spiritual support, will point to health disorders in humans. Our ancestors used this trait of silver to monitor the state of health of children. A silver cross, worn by the body or children’s silver earring, prevented the occurrence of the disease.

Light as a spiritual symbol has several values. On the one hand, it is – clarity, which reveals the essence of existence. The Gospel of John says: “But Jesus said to them,” Little light is yet with you; Go as long as you have the light that darkness does not take hold; but whoever goes by dark does not know where he is going “(John XII.35). On the other hand, the brightness of the divine glory Glitter, – “I glory Lord RAGE deposits as consuming fire …” (XXIV.17 Exodus), the light, of which the blind persecutor Saul received sight and spiritual Apostle Paul (Acts XXII .11). Strictly speaking, gold largely can send a “blinding glow” in combination with “mysterious darkness”, which is, according to the teachings Dionysus Areopagite, synonymous with divine light: “The brightness of the senses is unimaginable because of unprecedented brilliance and also unattainable because of the richness quintessential bright and in this mysterious darkness enters the one who managed to get to know and see God, not seeing and knowing, but one that is verily managed to rise above vision and knowledge … “.

Both properties of brightness – airy clarity and strong glare, expressed through the substance of glass and gold describe the appearance of Heavenly Jerusalem: “… city gold clean, like glass clean.” (Revelation XXI.18). In Christian art, these qualities materialize in the transparency of the stained glass of the Catholic Church and the golden shine of Byzantine mosaics and Orthodox icons. In this case, the fundamental difference between the theological views of the West and the East is reflected. In the Orthodox Church, the value of gold is reflected in its symbol of Divine Unreal Light, Divine Glory.

For this reason, gold is used in iconography and in church jewelry. Gold can also be tied specifically to angels as the personification of the Divine Glory. The Byzantine engraved icons with the motif of Archangel Michael are known.

The next value of silver is also related to the light, with the sun’s light. This symbolism is inseparable from many pre-Christian cultures. Gold was regularly brought into connection with the Sun, and silver from the Moon. Christianity adopted this symbolism, forming a new trace of symbols: gold is the symbol of the Sun, and the Sun is the symbol of Christ. The Epistle of Christ, according to the prophets of Malachi, is the “Sun of Justice” (IV.2). The sun has always been connected with world emperors, so it is the imperial symbol, and gold – because of its characteristics as a symbol of imperial dignity.

For this reason, the sages gave the golden bride to Christ as the Messianic emperor, “The Emperor of Glory”. The ruins of the world’s emperors are mostly made of gold, and most of the gifts of the emperor and gift items of the emperor’s temples are made of gold.

In direct relation with gold there is another precious metal – silver, whose primary value is related to moral purity, holiness and unworthiness. These values ​​have also contributed to the properties of silver to have extraordinary whiteness and the ability to prevent decomposition and decay processes. Probably because of this last trait, silver has always been attributed magical properties, and the power to deflect evil forces.

Although both metals symbol of integrity, spiritual and bodily integrity of the, not a symbol of identification and damaging, gold and silver differ somewhat in their character. If gold is an absolute and divine symbol, silver more reflects the living nature of man.

Therefore, the silver ideal for the development of individual religious items such as crosses, icons and similar items that comes into contact with dirt, disease, and on the spiritual plane with sin.

Silver’s character, in time, dark symbolizes the fallen nature of Adam. A silver cross, in addition to spiritual support, will point to health disorders in humans. Our ancestors used this trait of silver to monitor the state of health of children. A silver cross, worn by the body or children’s silver earring, prevented the occurrence of the disease.