Does Scripture Make Horse Sense?

In Scripture, Jehovah God is often depicted as riding on horses.  For instance we read in Haabakkuk 3:8,15:

Oh God, Thou dost ride upon Thy horses, Thy chariots of salvation; Thou hast made Thy horses to tread in the sea;

Besides riding horses underwater, God can also ride in the clouds:

Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, extol Him that rideth upon the clouds, (Ps. 68:4)

Besides the supernatural significance of this divine horsemanship, Scripture fails to tell us why an Infinite God needs to ride any horses at all—especially when it concerns salvation.

This strange theme is also continued in the New Testament as Jesus enters into Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey, as well as in Revelation, which depicts the Lord’s return on a white horse.

In the case of the Lord entering into Jerusalem on a colt, this can be simply explained as the fulfilling of Scripture from Zechariah (9:9). But again, why is such bareback riding associated with God’s coming to save humankind? Surely, an omnipotent Being does not need a horse!

Perhaps “horse sense” in God’s Holy Word transcends common sense. In other words, we are being challenged to decipher a higher spiritual psychology from the meaning of these extraordinary images. To come to a psycho-spiritual interpretation of God’s “riding upon horses” we need to use our mind in a new way and meditate on what this might symbolize.

It is obvious that a man or woman can travel farther and faster on a horse than on foot. The symbolic equivalence of this is that a human’s thoughts travel farther and faster from the cognitive function of understanding than relying just on the more pedantic function of retrieving memory-data (memory and understanding are two distinct functions of the human intellect).

Therefore, anytime God is described as riding on a horse (or a colt, the foal of a donkey) it represents that God comes to humans with greater understanding and truth. This is why such equestrian depictions are relevant to human salvation.

In fact, the idea of God  “riding upon clouds” means that deeper divine knowledge exists within the common meanings of the Holy Word. Symbolically speaking, clouds represent a relative state of obscurity concerning God’s communication of deeper truths, from a mere literal (and worldly) grasp of Scripture.

This symbolic knowledge that physical terms correspond to spiritual knowledge was known in ancient times. For instance, the Greeks also described deities as using chariots and horses, which originally represented various levels of understanding truth. This abstract human knowledge degenerated as paganism and polytheism began to take these images of gods literally.

That the Lord’s eschatological return will be upon a white horse signifies that the Second Coming will involve the human mind regaining access to this deeper symbolic language. That is why the last chapter in the Holy Word is called REVELATION.

Website: http://www.staircasepress.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to Does Scripture Make Horse Sense?

  1. Matt Cullen-Meyer says:

    Perhaps the oft used references to animals throughout Scripture parallels to a doxological respect of nature, including all creatures. In that case, animals, including hourses, certainly put into question are human symptom of mastery and control. In this case, Jesus riding on donkeys and horses overturns are imperalist aspirations for a powerful solo savior/hero that destorys our enemies as we would like.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Matt,

    Thanks for your response.

    The Lord God seeks only to promote love over hatred. Such a change in the human heart and mind is what is meant by the Lord making all things “anew.”

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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