The word “weather” itself occurs only once in the Bible, but the weather phenomena themselves are described quite often. Think of the torrential rain in Noah’s time, the rainbow after it and many other examples. However, in the Bible, weather phenomena familiar to us often have a deeper meaning and act as certain images. Andy Walton, writer, broadcaster and contributor to the charity Contextual Theology Centre, gave 6 examples of weather patterns becoming images of something bigger.
Song of Songs 2:11-13: See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
This famous passage from the Song of Songs has many interpretations, but it also conveys the image of a beautiful creation in a state of harmony.
Alexander Lopukhin, professor, biblical scholar, theologian, researcher and interpreter of Scripture, from the commentary “Explanatory Bible”: Here we have a completed stanza, beginning and ending with the invitation of the Beloved Bride to enjoy the charms of the coming spring, which opens in Palestine after the “rainy time” (et-geshamim 1 Ezra 10:9,13), a particular of the latter rain (malkosh). “The spring sunbeam, awakening nature, touching the high Palestinian mountains, does not forget to look into the dwelling of man. Arise, my beautiful one, he says to all who live in the holy land, it is time to leave the winter rest and step out into the open for a new life … Verses 12-13 depict the appearance of Palestinian nature at this time of the year, mostly called the month of flowers, ziv, like our month may” (Olesnitsky, p. 370). At the same time, the sacred poet chooses such features of spring – flowers, singing, fragrance – that are capable of arousing love for nature and people. Due to the tender love for nature and fresh aroma, this “spring song” is a rare occurrence in the whole of antiquity.
1 Kings 18:43-45: “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
Another well-known biblical image, which is often used as an illustration of the preservation of faith even when there is no hope anymore.
David Herzog, co-founder of the ministry and host of the weekly TV program of the same name, “The Glory Zone”, wrote in his book “Invasion of the Glory”: “When you wait for the Spirit to move before you act in faith, you will have victory. The use of faith is not the only necessary ingredient. We must use our faith at the right time.
Elijah prophesied that it would rain. He sent his servant away several times to see if clouds or rain appeared. Finally, when the servant checked for the seventh time, a cloud the size of a human palm formed! When Elijah felt that the Spirit began to move to bring the fulfillment of the prophecy into being, he began to act. He told the man to quickly get into his chariot and drive fast before it started to rain! (see 1 Kings 18:43-45). Imagine that there was a famine there and it hasn’t rained for years and someone tells you to get out of town quickly because it’s going to rain and all you see is a tiny little cloud. But Elijah knew that when the Spirit starts to move, it’s better to move, otherwise you might miss your visitation day.”
Job 6:15-17: “My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed, as torrential streams that pass away, which are dark with ice, and where the snow hides itself. When they melt, they disappear; when it is hot, they vanish from their place.”
Here Job laments the unreliability of his friends in the face of his suffering, likening them to a river after the snow has melted.
Perhaps one of the most famous storms in literature, which caught Jonah while trying to escape.
Then the Lord sent a strong wind on the sea, a fierce storm arose, which could well have wrecked the ship. Jonah said: ” I am a Jew, I honor the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
“And the people were terrified with great fear and said to him, Why did you do this? For these people knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, as he himself declared to them. And they said to him: What shall we do with you, so that the sea will calm down for us? For the sea did not cease to rage. Then he said to them: Take me and throw me into the sea, and the sea will be quiet for you, for I know that this great storm has come upon you for my sake. But instead, they did their best to land on the beach. But all their efforts were in vain.
“Then they called to the Lord and said: We pray Thee, Lord, that we not perish for the soul of this man, and do not impute innocent blood to us; for you, Lord, have done what pleases you! And they took Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea calmed down because of its fury. And these people were afraid of the Lord with great fear, and brought sacrifice to the Lord, and made vows.
Tony Cook, preacher and writer: “Here is a lesson for us: be quick to repent; if a storm has come into your life because of your disobedience, run to God and repent!
And what happened after his repentance? God gave Jonah a new chance: “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: get up, go to Nineveh, the great city and preach in it what I commanded you” (Jonah 3:1,2). When you repent on your path and return to God, He gives you a new beginning, a new chance to do His will!”
Luke 23:44-46: “And it was about the sixth hour of the day, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour; and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said: “Father! into your hands I commit my spirit.” And having said this, he gave up his spirit.”
The moment of the crucifixion, with the death of Christ, the sun fades.
Alexander Lopukhin, from the commentary “Explanatory Bible”: “According to Luke Gospel darkness, which came around the sixth hour, was due to an eclipse of the sun, which, obviously, was miraculous, since during the full moon – and then there was a full moon – usually there are no solar eclipses.
Revelation 11:18,19: “The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets. and your people who revere your name, both great and small—. and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.”
A little bit of everything. In this part of Revelation, chaotic weather accompanies the judgment of the dead.
Alexander Lopukhin, from the commentary “Explanatory Bible”: “And the mysterious vision of the opened temple and the ark of the covenant standing in it speaks of the future perfect union of God with people. Just as (in vision) the temple (the holy of holies), previously inaccessible, became accessible and the ark of the covenant, previously hidden and invisible, became visible, so also for the righteous and perfect people after the Last Judgment, the closest communion with God, the closest and internal union [Andrey Kesar.]. The revelation of this secret was accompanied by lightning (threat of judgment), voices and thunders (pointing to the judgment itself), an earthquake (a symbol of a change in things) and a great hail (terrible consequences of judgment).