What does lightning symbolize in the Bible?
We all react differently to lightning when there’s a light or heavy downpour.
Some jump in joy and excitement, while others hide and take cover to not be stricken by this giant spark of electricity.
Just as we react to lightning physically, so is the same effect it creates spiritually.
Spiritually, those who see lighting rejoice and celebrate because they understand it works in their favor. However, God’s enemies shudder in fear because it works against them.
To have a better perspective of what this beautiful yet terrifying phenomenon represents in a biblical context, keep reading.
The Symbolism Of Lightning In The Bible:
A weapon of warfare
“He sent out arrows and scattered them; Lightning bolts, and He vanquished them.” (2 Samuel 22:15)
One thing about God, the master of the universe, is that He truly has the whole world in His hands.
That implies He can manipulate nature, living and non-living things to fulfill His purpose.
He opened the mouth of a donkey to speak to his prophet to deliver His message.
He made metal float in water, violating the law of gravity.
Jesus even said God can raise stones to praise Him if man fails. So, impossible is not a word found in God’s dictionary. It is not a part of His vocabulary.
God uses the rain, wind, and lightning to serve His children. However, He can use them as weapons of warfare. Lightning is a powerful weapon God uses against those who oppose Him or oppress His children.
He rains lightning on them from above to burn, crush, and destroy them and their belongings.
Lightning is a powerful energy force. It ignites fire when it hits. There are times when it sets trees on fire and creates cracks in walls, concrete, blocks, and rocks.
That is a fierce force no man can withstand. Therefore, when God decides to arise in His power and wrath, His enemies will be scattered by the deadly lightning current.
A symbol of God’s creative power
“He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.” (Psalms 135:7)
Come to think of it. It takes superior creative power to create such a powerful and beautiful force of nature as lightning.
God is creativity personified.
Take a stroll in the field and see the complex but simple display of synergy between the green vegetation and colorful flowers.
See how the mountains stand tall and firm and how the oceans roar and sleep.
See how the sun rules over the day, and the moon and stars compete for a crown in the sky at night.
God is a master planner and a skillful artist. Lightning is one of the proofs of His wondrous nature.
Its spark, speed, and how it provokes the thunder to rumble is out of this world.
Then its unstoppable fierceness and power make man’s inventions like jets and Formula 1 cars look like child’s play.
Therefore, when you see lightning, be reminded that God’s creative power lives in you because you have His Spirit. So, you can create and do what people believe is impossible.
A symbol of speed
“The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning.” (Nahum 2:4)
Lightning is extremely fast. Even faster than sound.
Suppose you pay attention to the interaction between the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder during storms.
In that case, you will discover the delay between both. Lightning produces thunder. However, in most cases, lightning flashes a few seconds before thunder grumbles or roars.
Therefore, if God grants you speed as lightning, it suggests exponential growth beyond the ordinary and human understanding and ability.
Elijah experienced this type of divine speed when he outran the chariots of King Ahab on foot.
Joseph also tasted this divine speed when he went from being a prisoner to being Egypt’s prime minister. So, lightning means an unusual speed.
Just as lightning represents speed in a positive light, it also symbolizes a downward spiral.
For example, Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
This Jesus’s statement means Satan’s defeat and demotion.
The Bible tells the story of how Satan and his cohorts rebelled against God.
And how God’s army led by Angel Michael defeated them.
As a result, God sent Satan and his demons away from heaven, down to earth (Revelation 12:7–11, Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:16).
Remember that the angels’ rebellious move was fueled by pride.
Also, note what the Bible says about pride in Proverbs 16:18.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Just as Satan falls like lightning from his place of glory in heaven into hell, a place of shame, torment, and anguish, pride can cause anyone to fall from God’s grace to shame with the speed of lightning.
A sign of precision
“Then the Lord will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning.” (Zechariah 9:14)
Lightning never misses its mark or target.
That is, the scripture compares God’s arrow with lightning.
This shows God’s precision in times of war and blessings.
No one can hide from God’s wrath.
At the same time, God’s Word never misses.
Once it goes out, it establishes what it was sent out to do.
Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Therefore, lightning here symbolizes the need to trust God and His Word.
It means to surrender your worries and fears unto Him.
When God fights your battles, He will surely win.
Heaven and earth may pass away when He promises you a thing, but He will fulfill His promise to you.
So, when next you see the flash of lightning, be reminded of God’s unwavering love and everlasting Word.
A sign of the second coming of Jesus
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27)
In Matthew 24:27. Jesus describes His second coming as the flashes of lightning.
This relates to the speed at which everything will happen in the last few days.
The Bible proclaims about the second coming of Christ that it will catch people unawares.
Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming like a thief!” (Revelation 16:15). Jesus, as the lightning does not give you a phone call or send an email to inform you about its coming, so will Jesus come when we least expect.
What is the lesson here? We must be prepared.
We must put on our lightning conductor to avoid being hit by lightning power.
Every believer must live righteously and avoid sin at all costs because Jesus is coming the second time to judge.
He will judge everyone based on the works of their hands. If your lightning conductor, that is, holiness, is a hundred percent, then you will not be hit. However, if sin has stained your garment, you will be sent to hell.
Therefore, when you see the flash of lightning next, remember that Jesus will come at that speed. And judgment will take place immediately. So, be prepared!
“His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” (Daniel 10:6)
God is awesome.
He is beautiful beyond description, and His majesty cannot be expressed with words.
The human mind is too small to understand how glorious God is.
That is why people who encountered Him in the Bible looked for mysterious natural phenomena to try to paint a picture of God’s glory.
The Psalmist says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalms 145:3)
Daniel describes God’s face as lightning, symbolizing the glory that radiates through and around Him.
After Moses saw God on Mount Sinai, the Bible says his face shone like light, and Aron and the congregation could not look into his face.
This happened because God’s glory reflected on him. And so Moses absorbed it and reflected a glimpse of it to the children of Israel (Exodus 34:29).
James 1:17 describes God as the Father of lights. Therefore, lightning should remind you of God’s light.
It should help you visualize the extent of God’s beauty and glory.
It should remind you that God is light and has nothing to do with darkness.
Darkness is sin.
The devil is the king of the kingdom of darkness.
Committing sin is submitting to the devil and rejecting God.
So, you must know that God does nothing with darkness. However, He can deliver you from darkness and bring you into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)