The Use of Personification in Scripture

“Uncle Sam wants you!”

What do I mean by the term “personification?” Personification is the stylistic and literary vehicle of embodying a common nature, establishment, or set of attributes into a personal character. Personification is a special kind of figurative language that writers use when they give inanimate objects and concepts the traits of a human being. Think of the American personification we refer to as “Uncle Sam.” Is Uncle Sam an actual real person, or simply a characterization of all the attributes that encompass the United States Federal Government, and it’s various branches? Precisely! The above image is well understood by soldiers of past wars. He was used as a drafting mechanism to tell young men that the U.S. Government needed them to go to war.

What about Lady Justice? We see the statues and images of her around and about courtrooms, symbolized by a woman with a blindfold, holding a set of balances (scales) and a sword. Is she an actual person? No, she is a personification of a supposed blind justice, weighing the evidence, and destroying all that is proven to oppose the laws of the land.

Lady Justice

What about Lady Liberty? Is she a personification of the freedom of America, or a real human being? You see, it is everywhere in the cultures of the world, and it was very prevalent in the world of the biblical writers as well. The scripture is full of these characters, intended to exemplify and carry a message that God wants to be understood. But sadly the literalistic ignorance bred in churches in the last several hundred years has blinded people to the simplicity of these textual personas. Frustrating? That is an understatement!!

Lady Liberty

Where do we see the use of personification by biblical authors in the scripture? The answer is: everywhere. In the Garden, we see Helel, the fallen angel commonly called Satan personified as a “serpent.” Is Lucifer a literal serpent? LOL, hardly. So why was this imagery of a snake used to describe him in the Garden narrative? It tells us in the text….

Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

The writer is comparing this deceptive angelic person to the characteristics of the literal animal, that all who read and hear of these texts will understand. When we think of a snake, we think of a lurking, slow creeping, and sneaky creature. A calculating and subtle creature. When you listen to a snake expert explain their behaviors, a snake will almost hypnotize it’s prey with its eye contact. A snake will blend into its surroundings, and its skin patterns will camouflage its presence. A snake is patient in its process of hunting, and sits and waits on the prey to slip up. In the case of Eve, it took Satan moments to make her slip up. He merely tested her knowledge of God’s Word and saw that she was unsure, because God had spoken directly to Adam. She had second-hand information. In other words, she didn’t know her Bible for herself. He had her!! And in the same way he works today, he then caused her to question the severity and seriousness of what God had said. So the personification of the serpent to describe Satan would rightly be applied to false teachers as well, right? John said this…..

Matthew 3:7-8
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit that PROVES your repentance,

Question: Were these men really born from snakes? Stupid question? Well, as we will see, many people believe some literalistic foolishness when they talk about the scriptures, so I’ve learned to never dismiss the possibility that they think Caiaphas and his cronies were literal snake people, LOL. Paul was a Pharisee at one time, so his redemption must have included the shedding of a snakeskin, right? Bahaha

Where is another example of personification used in scripture? What about Leviathan? You know, the seven-headed sea dragon mentioned in Psalms, referring to the Exodus account, that is also repurposed by John in Revelation.

Psalms 74:14
You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

Was there actually a seven-headed sea monster in the Red Sea that God had to fight off for the Israelites? Well, the scripture mentions one so it must be literal, right? Say this word with me: NOOOOO!! The Leviathan is a personification of the “Beast System” of their day known as Egypt. After all, what is the Beast a personification of? THE WORLD SYSTEM that is the opposite of God’s Kingdom ways. Personification takes an image and imposes the nature and attributes of something else and projects them upon the character. Is was the Egyptians that died in the sea, not a sea dragon.

The Book of Daniel is filled with personifications. Remember the images of four beasts? Were they four actual beasts? Say it with me…….”NOOOOOO!!!” They are PERSONIFICATIONS of kingdoms that had or would come to oppress the people of God. The fourth “BEAST” system Daniel describes was a future one that would be a culmination of all the attributes of the previous ones. This BEAST SYSTEM would later be known as the ROMAN EMPIRE. Was Rome a freak creature with body parts from four different literal animals?? Say it with meeeee….. (Okay, you get the point, LOL.) Do you?

Have you sat in church most of your life and had your thinking filtered by literalistic interpretations of personifications, hyperbole, and metaphorical imagery? If you are a 21st century human trying to know about Christ, then the answer is yes. People read news headlines: “Bill Gates wants mandatory COVID vaccines for all. It’s the Mark of the Beast!!” Literally is it? No. Is the behavior an attribute of what the PERSONIFICATION of the Mark of the Beast means? Yes, along with every other thing that a person compromises to in the pressures of a world system, intent on opposing God’s will. The Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God are too personifications, symbols of LOYAL ALLEGIANCE. You see, if you compromise against God to keep your job, that asks you to do things against God’s commands, THAT is what the Mark of the BEAST personifies. You denied Jesus before men to save yourself hardship from bearing His name. If you are steadfastly loyal to Christ, refusing to bow to the system trying to make you do things wrong, that is “having the seal of God.” Those two marks are symbols of faithfulness to one system or the other. They are NOT LITERAL!!!!

Only spiritually blind people misinterpreted Jesus’ parables and sayings. Remember Nicodemas, who secretly came to Jesus by night, a Pharisee, and inquired about eternal life? Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “born again.” Tell me, did Nicodemus have a literal interpretation of Jesus’ metaphor? Yes, the dude said to Jesus……

John 3:4
Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his motherʼs womb and be born a second time, can he?”

I wonder if Jesus got as annoyed with him as I do with people who think their memorization of the pet verses of their stupid doctrinal stances make them experts on the scripture? Probably. Jesus was pretty blunt and forceful to everyone that caused others to see His Word in error. Folks, they don’t even recognize that the scripture is multiple types of writing styles. There are books of poetry, which require a specific type of interpretative rules. When you read apocalyptic genre, such as the book of Daniel, the book of Revelation, and even parts of the gospels, there are specific rules for proper interpretation of each. In Apocalyptic style of writing, the number one hermeneutical rule is that it is all allegorical metaphor for something else. But try telling people who would rather believe the self-promoted “pastor”, who knows nothing but the repetitive crap he grew up hearing from people of the same lot. No scholarship needed! Just tell them “God called you, and you too can have a salary and praise in the marketplaces, just like the Pharisees that hated Jesus’ correction too!

Personification? How about the entire Book of Revelation? Yes, the entire book is that. There are 404 verses in the book of Revelation. There are 590 direct quotes, allusions, or paraphrases of Old Testament verses within them. FYI: That equals one and one half Old Testament verses per passage of Revelation! How about those idiots that say the Old Testament doesn’t apply to the New Covenant? Trust me, they’ve said that to me. Foolish! EVERYTHING IN THAT BOOK IS OLD TESTAMENT IMAGERY AND PERSONIFICATIONS!

Take the Temple for example. The Temple structure is an Old Covenant icon. It was a square building with specific dimensions. We know by the totality of the Apostles’ teachings that the “Temple” of the New Covenant is NOT a man-made building. To say otherwise is to call Jesus Christ a liar. He said it would be a temple not made with human hands. The temple in the new covenant is a personification of the kingdom of God. Paul tells us that “it is made up of Christ being the chief cornerstone, the apostles and prophets as the foundation stones, and true believers as living stones building up a most holy habitation unto the Lord.”

That means every real believer is a stone in the personified “temple.” Are they literal rocks? No. Jesus Christ spent the last week of His life cursing the things of Judaism . He spoke the curse upon their Antichrist Temple that denied Him, the removal of their Aaronic Priesthood, the destruction of Jerusalem; the place where they slaughtered every prophet God ever sent to call them to repentance, and he cursed their religion for it. And yet the literalistic liars in so-called churches today are saying “God will have the Jews rebuild all that before Jesus comes.” (Please put me out of my misery.)

Personification…… So if there is no literal temple building, being that the church is the Temple, (and no I’m not talking about these buildings that people divisively meet in, teaching 700 different doctrines, warped and false ways of salvation, etc), then please explain to me where this “person” is going to sit on a throne and call himself “god.?”

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in Godʼs temple, displaying himself as God.

How can a literal man, said to be THE Antichrist, go into a metaphorical temple and seat himself on a literal throne that DOES NOT EXIST? The answer: He can’t because he is not literal either. He is a personification of the spirit of lawlessness, that will come to light in people’s judgment. How? They won’t be raised to meet Christ! It really is this simple, folks. Read the entirety of the passage in its context. It tells you that the man of lawlessness/son of perdition is the “Uncle Sam” of the lawless spirit hiding in the “Temple.” Look at the whole…..

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Now regarding THE ARRIVAL OF OUR LORD Jesus Christ AND OUR BEING GATHERED TO BE WITH HIM, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or DISTURBED BY ANY KIND OF SPIRIT OR MESSAGE OR LETTER ALLEGEDLY FROM US, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. LET NO ONE DECEIVE YOU IN ANY WAY. FOR THAT DAY WILL NOT ARRIVE UNTIL THE REBELLION COMES AND THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS IS REVEALED, THE SON OF DESTRUCTION. He OPPOSES and EXALTS HIMSELF above every so-called god or object of worship, AND AS A RESULT he TAKES HIS SEAT IN GOD’S TEMPLE, DISPLAYING HIMSELF AS GOD. Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you. And so you know what holds him back, so that HE WILL BE REVEALED IN HIS OWN TIME. FOR THE HIDDEN POWER OF LAWLESSNESS IS ALREADY AT WORK. However, the one who holds HIM BACK will do so until he is taken out of the way, and THEN THE LAWLESS ONE WILL BE REVEALED, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out BY THE MANIFESTATION OF HIS ARRIVAL. The arrival of THE LAWLESS ONE will be by Satanʼs working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because THEY FOUND NO PLACE IN THEIR HEARTS FOR THE TRUTH SO AS TO BE SAVED. Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.

When is the contextual time that this “man of lawlessness” is dealt with? At the coming of Christ. This is the judgment folks. Notice Paul says, “For the hidden power of LAWLESSNESS is already at work” at the time he wrote this letter 2000 years ago. Then Paul again refers to “it” as “he.” The lawless spirit of rebellion to God’s truth is being personified as a “person.” This is the same practice we have seen numerous examples of throughout scripture, over and over and over. Literalism is delusion and blindness to truth, people. Remember them mocking Jesus on the cross for his personification of the Temple, saying He would rebuild it it in 3 days??

John 2:19-20
Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?”

Matthew 27:39-40
Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are Godʼs Son, come down from the cross!”

In case you didn’t get it, THE TEMPLE IS A PERSONIFICATION of the body of Christ, not some pile of rocks that was from a covenant that was fulfilled, birthing a New Covenant where Jesus saved a remnant of Jews to carry His law to the nations.

You know what the falling away Paul was saying would come is? Look around you at what people call church today. How many diverse doctrinal stances, practices, denominations, views of salvation, or divisions do you see??? It’s overwhelming huh? That is the FALLING AWAY. Pentecostalism, Calvinism, Evangelicalism, and every other “ism”. It is where the spirit of lawlessness (the Antichrist) has entered the Temple and sat on the throne of his own heart, declaring self as God, rejecting God’s truth and exalting their views above the once delivered gospel of the Apostles of Christ. THAT IS THE ANTICHRIST SITTING IN THE TEMPLE. Those people will be openly exposed at Christ’s appearing. They will have deceived many by false signs and lying wonders and their false teachings that oppose the Apostles’ truth. Jesus will destroy them by His appearance when they look upon His glory, just as God warned Moses no one can do and live, that are not first glorified. The glorified will rise to meet Him in the clouds, and the antichrists will perish instantly, and the birds will eat their carcasses. THAT is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that is personified in Matthew and Revelation. It is not some dinner with Jesus. The message? You are either in Christ by faithful obedience or you are Antichrist. You either bear the mark of God or the Mark of the Beast. You are either a part of the personified “Babylon (the world system) or the personified “Jerusalem”, (God’s system.) You are either part of the Sea of Glass or the Lake of Fire. You are either part of the Temple of God or the Tower of Babel. You are the Bride or you are the Whore. It is that plain. All of these parallel personifications mean the same thing, guys. All tell the same message. Pick one!! You’re in or you’re out.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY shall not come, except there come a FALLING AWAY first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Luke 17:35-37
There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

The birds of prey will dispose of those taken! And the Kingdom will have come in full!

More personifications……..

“Wisdom“ is personified in Proverbs. Is Wisdom a person? Solomon spoke of it in his poetry as if it were a person. Are you getting this?

Proverbs 1:20
Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;

Proverbs 8:12
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 9:1
Wisdom has built her house;
she has hewn her seven pillars.

Wisdom is not some woman. Wisdom is an attribute of God’s nature. Wisdom is found in God’s Word. It is called “PERSONIFICATION.” It is a style of writing and very dominant in the ancient Hebrew culture, especially in the scripture.

How about Life or Death personified in scripture? How about Judgment personified as “Fire” throughout scripture? How about the Holy Spirit being personified as Wind or Breath? How about angels being personified as “stars?” All of these personifications are throughout the biblical text. Let’s look at them….

Habakkuk 2:5 – “…..like Death, he is never satisfied.”

Is death a person? No. This is the use of what literary tool??? Say it! “A personification.”

Genesis 4:10
But the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brotherʼs blood is crying out to me from the ground!

Does blood cry? (Yes I am gonna drive this into the ground because it is needed.)

1 Corinthians 3:13
each builderʼs work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done.

Fire represents God’s JUDGMENT. A personification of testing, trial, or judgment using a metaphor of how gold is purified. Is God going to test Paul’s ministry conversion with literal fire to see if any of them actually were faithful so that Paul would have some of them enter the Kingdom? Yeah….no. Will the work I do with this blog have eternal rewards for me to celebrate in Heaven, that some of you actually made it? That’s the goal, but what you do with what I worked out to help you will have no bearing on my own salvation. I will be judged and saved by my own deeds of obedience and faithfulness. But I would sure like to have the reward of you there too!

Revelation 12:4
Now the dragonʼs tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born.

This passage is rich with personification! Satan, like in the Garden, is here referred to as a serpent/ dragon, again denoting his nature. He is portrayed as sweeping a third of the stars, which is a personification of the angelic hosts. Are angels actual stars? No, but the ancient near eastern superstitious people often literalized things, as though they were. Many also believed the Earth was flat as well, and that the abyss to Hell was the ocean. So….. there you go. Notice the third personification in the passage: the ancient nation of Israel personified as the woman to give birth to this “Child.” The child is the Messiah, obviously. So you should have a richer understanding of Biblical authorship and the literary stylistic nuances of their day.

You learn anything? I hope so. You should at least know to stop allowing morons to literalize everything, and see them exposed for what they are: false teachers. There are a lot of liars out there speaking in His name. Turn them off and hold them accountable!

Revelation 2:2
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

The people who have taught you literalism are blind leaders of the blind. That is what Jesus called them. You never see Jesus say, “Aww that’s ole Pastor Joe. I went to school with him all my life. He is a good ole boy, just misdirected on some aspects of the scripture. I know his heart is good!” No, you will never find Jesus excusing any of us for mishandling the words of eternal life. What you will find is Jesus damning everyone who is found so doing, who doesn’t repent and turn from it.

Matthew 7:22-23
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy (preach) in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.

They were serving Satan and calling him Jesus. They made a golden calf of their own desires and called it Yahweh at Sinai. Nothing has changed today. Today’s “Jesus” that most worship is a lamb with horns that speaks like a dragon, twisting what God said……

Revelation 13:11-12
“Then I saw another beast (false church) rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first Beast (the world system) in its presence…”

Those two “Beasts” teach men to serve the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Those are what the Mark of the Beast personify. Flesh-mongers. A love for the things of this life in defiance of Christ’s mandate:

“If you lose this life for My sake, you will save your life eternally. If you love this life, you will lose eternal life.”

Related Posts