The bible is never silent about anything. It either mentions some things directly or draws symbolism that we can quickly learn from. In the Song of Solomon 2:1, the bible says, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” This is the first-ever reference the bible makes to the rose.
In ancient Christian communities, roses were taken to symbolize God’s work in our lives in whatever form they appear. Their elegance and intricacy offer a sneak preview of the presence of the master creator in our lives.
As we shall see later in the article, the rose has a central place in terms of symbolism in the bible. Read on to learn more on what does a rose symbolize in the bible.
What You'll Learn Today
Symbolizes The Presence Of Angels
During prayer and meditation, the fragrance of roses is a symbol that God’s angels are in the vicinity. It is believed that roses have the most powerful energy and highest vibration only likened to that of angels. Because angels also operate at a higher vibration, they can easily connect with roses.
In Daniel 10:12, we see God dispatching an angel in response to his prayer. The bible reads,
“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”
Revelation tells us that the angels apply fragrance to our prayers as they come before God. In Revelation 8:3-4 the bible reads,
“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
Symbols Of Martyrdom
The red rose is a symbol of martyrdom. The faith and conviction of the saints were phenomenal. The bible records how many of them were flogged and taken through untold suffering yet they never abandoned the faith and love of God.
In Philippians 1:20-21, the bible reads:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have complete boldness so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
These are people who were determined to server and die for the Lord. The red rose captures exactly that passion and unwavering commitment.
If you have been keen on how saints have depicted in Christian paintings and artwork such as in stained glass windows you may have seen a wreath of roses on saints’ heads. This is an illustration of Christian joy.
In so many verses of scripture, the Bible emphasizes the need and importance of Christian joy. In the face of trials and temptations, James 1: 2-4 encourages Christians to:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Having a wreath of roses doesn’t mean that everything is going on perfectly but it’s a symbol of pure joy and the hope that lies in perseverance.
Acceptance Of Divine Grace
A slight departure from the visible part of the rose flower takes us to the calyx. In Latin calyx or cup has the same meaning as the chalice or the wine cup used in Christian Eucharist.
The sepals of the rose flower not only protect the flower but also symbolize the acceptance of divine grace which is poured freely from heaven. Divine grace is the influence from above that regenerates and sanctifies to enable Christians to endure trials and temptations.
In John 1:4, Jesus is seen as the embodiment of grace from the Father:
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Colossians 4:6 tells us the importance of accepting grade din our relationship with people:
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
You can only be full of grace if like the sepals of the rose flower stretch out to receive it from above.
Innocence And Purity
White roses are a symbol of innocence and purity. When used in Christian weddings, pristine white roses represent the pureness of the bond of love between those entering the institution of marriage.
The bible in more places than we can count brings out the need for purity. In 1 Timothy 4:12, the Peter the apostle gives this advice to Timothy his spiritual son:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
The emphasis here is that purity is a call to be embraced by everyone. You don’t have to be old to think of purity but even in your youth just like the white roses, radiate purity.
In Mathew 5:8, the purity of roses also shows up in the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount,
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
May the clean, pristine white rose always remind you of the importance of upholding the virtue of purity.
Loving Divine Relationship
The rose of Sharon in the Song of Solomon 2:1 is a depiction of the divine love between God and his people. It could also be interpreted to mean Christ and the church. It is that love wrapped in humility yet so powerful.
As we think about the rose, let it conjure within us memories of the presence of angels, Christian martyrdom, the pure joy that brings perseverance, and the acceptance of divine grace. May it be a fresh breath of the divine grace of God and his humble love that made him reach out to us from heaven above.
If you are looking for more knowledge about bible symbolism, read this one about elephants in the bible.