The Scriptures use metaphors or imagery to describe salvation.
The main purpose of the images is to relate salvation to us humans, so we can understand it better.
Let’s get started.
1.. Horn of salvation
2 Sam. 22:3 (and Ps. 18:2) is just one verse in a magnificent song composed by David. He uses images of God as a rock, fortress, and deliverer and refuge and shield. Here he is the strength or horn of David’s salvation.
Horns are symbolic of several things. In topography they are hills. And from them one can see they can be symbolic of strength and honor and protection of people. Or horns grow from animals, particularly the males, and this too is symbolic of strength and power. Please note that sometimes a horn is used in the context of an ungodly nation or kingdom (Rev. 13:1; Rev. 17:3-7), but that is not how it is used here. It means the God shows forth the strength of his salvation. God’s salvation is strong and dependable.
2.. Fortress of salvation
In Ps. 28:8 David says that God’s salvation is like a fortress for his anointed one, David. It is easy to see how the Son of David could be called the Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah or Yeshua ha-Meshiach.
3.. Cup of salvation
In Ps. 116:13 the psalmist says he will lift up the cup of salvation.
Cups hold contents. What content? Here’s one. In the Jewish Passover meal, the cup was prominent, so this led to the cup of the Last Supper on the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested (Luke 22:7-38). In another context, Jesus drank of the cup of suffering (Matt. 20:22; Matt. 26:39; Matt. 26:42; Mark 10:38; Mark 14:36: Luke 22:42; John 18:11). The cup of suffering represented his death.
In this psalm, it could symbolize the cup of the Passover meal. Or more likely it symbolizes the festal meal that climaxed a thank offering (cf. Ps. 22:26; Ps. 22:29; Lev. 7:11-21). Either way, the cup contained the salvation of the LORD.
4.. Wells of salvation
In Is. 12:3, this song of praise, the LORD himself is the singer’s strength and defense. Then the subject switches to “you” or Israel. “You will draw water from the wells of salvation.” This refers to the refreshment of a thirsty soul that now has plenty.
In Is. 45:8 Isaiah prophesies about the Persian king Cyrus. His reign becomes prosperous and liberating for the returning Jews. So the earth will open wide and salvation will spring out of the ground, like water.
6.. Walls and ramparts
Is. 26:1 expresses another song of praise, and God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. So salvation is pictured as protection around Zion and Judea.
7.. Rich store
In another prophecy, Is. 33:6 says that Zion will be a rich storehouse of salvation, where God will fill the city with justice and righteousness. What is the key to enter the storehouse? The reverential awe of the LORD.
In Is. 59:17 Isaiah says that the LORD himself puts on righteousness as a breastplate in a soldier’s equipment, and salvation is his helmet. This imagery is taken over in Eph. 6:10-17, where Paul elaborates even further and does not mention the garments of vengeance or the cloak of zeal. Rather, Paul spiritualizes our fight to one that battles against Satan.
Is. 61:10 comes in the prophesy about the Messiah, who has the call to set people free and heal their wounds and sicknesses. God clothed him with garments of salvation and a robe of his righteousness.
In Is. 62:1 Zion will get a new name, and her vindication will shine out like the dawn and its salvation like a bright torch.
11.. Good news
Eph. 1:13 says the gospel was the message of truth and salvation.
Rom. 10:14-15 says we must go because he sent us. If we don’t go, then the lost will never hear the gospel. Our feet bringing the good news are beautiful. This is synecdoche or part for the whole. Our feet represent the entire messenger (you and me), because they carry us forward along the roads to bring the message of salvation.
More about the messenger and message:
When the ancient Greeks defeated a Persian expeditionary force at Marathon, in 490 B.C., a messenger ran from there to Athens to deliver the good news. Yes, the news was delivered by messengers.
Let’s imagine that a ship from Rome lands at Ephesus. In that ship someone will deliver the news and policies of Rome. “More taxes! Keep the peace! Here’s the new governor for the whole province! Caesar is Lord, and don’t forget it!”
We are the messengers or the “news bringers” of salvation in Christ. And salvation is good news, not bad news. We say, “Jesus is Lord!”
How does this post help me grow in Christ?
Now you know the imagery of salvation, and they speak of light and protection and refreshment and a new life. This is how God looks at you and what he is doing for you. He wants to surround and array you with robes of his salvation and righteousness. That’s the only way you can appear acceptable to him when you stand before him at judgment. Yes, he accepts every sinner into his kingdom, but they must let him put the robe on them. That’s what he did for you and will do for your friends and family.
Written by James Malcolm
What Are Some Scriptural Images of Salvation?