Back panthers are one of the most powerful and sleek creatures in the family that includes jaguars and leopards. They are fierce and can attain maximum speed within a very short time. This burst of energy has often been a source of admiration and inspiration to any.
Mostly in the old testament and partly in the new testament, the Bible has indirectly mentioned about the black panther by quoting the leopard. In each of the instances, the symbolism is different, and this tells you just how much diversity this animal embodies. If you’ve been wondering – what does a black panther symbolize in the Bible? Here is a rundown of some of the meanings.
What You'll Learn Today
A Symbol Of Swiftness
In the book of Habakkuk 1:8, the Bible says –
“Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour.”
The panther here has been used to symbolize the swiftness of the Chaldean horses. Just as the panther is fierce, bloodthirsty, and light, so are the enemies. The scripture served as a warning to the children of Israel as well as something to spur their imagination.
God was angry with the misdeeds of his people and often the punishment contemplated showed the degree of his anger.
In this case, God sends a clear message to the Israelites that the swiftness of the invasion will make it difficult for any of them to escape.
The Symbol Of A Fierce Enemy
The people of Jerusalem have not behaved as the LORD expected. As a result, God was sending them fierce enemies who would invade the land. According to the prophecy of Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 5:6, the Bible reads,
” The invaders are ready to pounce and kill, like a mountain lion, a wilderness wolf, Panthers on the prowl. The streets aren’t safe anymore. And why? Because the people’s sins are piled sky-high; their betrayals are past counting.”
The panther symbolizes an unforgiving enemy who lies in wait for those who think can escape. In terms of both speed and ferocity, humans cannot match a panther. The picture being painted here is that of no option for escape, all doors closed, and you must face the punishment.
When going through a difficult phase in life caused by your own misgivings and misjudgments a black panther could signify that you must learn even it the hard way.
It could also be prompting you to re-examine your ways lest you plunge into a situation where you won’t be able to rescue yourself.
The luxury, idolatry, and ingratitude, of the children of Israel, had attracted God’s judgement upon them. During the judgement, some would perish.
In the book of Hosea 13:7, the Bible says,
“So I will attack you like a lion. Like a leopard, I will lie in wait along your path.”
The symbol here is that of an angry but patient God who doesn’t rush to punish but allows people to reconsider their ways and change.
However, anyone who continues along the path of iniquity will meet up with panther representing the burning anger of God. In Psalms, the Bible describes God as being slow to anger, and always gracious and merciful.
However, this attribute of God must not be confused with tolerance of sin. Like a panther, he will pounce when the time is right.
Human Inability To Deal With Natural Sin
God doesn’t like sin and the Bible makes this clear on several occasions. In fact, the reason he sent his only begotten son into this sin tainted world is so that sinners can be forgiven and reconciled back to him.
In the book of Jeremiah 13:23, the Bible records,
“Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”
The leopard referred to in this passage is the black panther.
The color of its spots and skin is so naturally black that it can do nothing to clean or brighten it. This helplessness is symbolic of human sin and a corrupted character.
Unless the gracious hand of God reaches out and cleanses such a sinner, there is nothing he or she can do to remove themselves from the situation they are in.
Though swift, strong, and mighty like the panther, humans are not fully independent. They must depend on a higher power to help them out of their situations.
Symbol Of End-time Peace And Harmony
According to the Bible, the world as we know it will one day be folded up and a new dispensation unveiled. This New Jerusalem will be as pure and as untainted as the original plan of God in the garden of Eden.
In Isaiah 11:6 the Bible says,
” And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.”
Such unimaginable things as a leopard lying next to a young goat can only be possible in an incorruptible setting. It also symbolizes the sovereignty and power of God to make the impossible possible. It gives us a glimpse of the new earth and the perfections that God will build into it.
The panther or leopard as invariably referred to in the Bible depicts the swiftness, lightness and beastly nature or enemies and on some occasions the wrath of God. Though patient in waiting, the panther can burst into an ambush when the target object has no clue what is going on.
In many of the symbolisms described above, the panther captures that image whether in punishment or an invasion.
However, in a few cases, the symbolism has shifted to that of God’s eternal plan of peace and harmony as well as the human inability to alter nature. If you may, it symbolizes God’s sovereign authority as the master and architect of the universe.