The axe is a tool used for chopping and felling trees. In the Biblical times, the axe was also used for hewing timber for building. As a tool of trade, the Bible uses it in a symbolic way to show the different meanings of the axe based on context. This article will delve into all that you need to know about axes.
What You'll Learn Today
Symbol of Servanthood
In the Bible especially in the prophetic writings, the axe has been used to symbolize several things one of which is servanthood. In Isaiah 10:15, the Bible says,
“Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood!”
This passage of scripture shows us that we are to subordinate before the creator of the universe. However intelligent we may feel, our wit cannot exceed or surpass that of our creator. We are just but instruments that belong to God, the governor and the sovereign being who orders all things.
Just as the axe was assigned the work of cutting down the trees, it cannot insist that the force behind it doesn’t have a share in the action. We cannot with pride lift up ourselves and scribe the successes we enjoy all to ourselves without acknowledging the power of God working within and through us.
Symbol of Destruction
In the Biblical context, Egypt was a superpower capable of destroying every kingdom that threatened it. In Jeremiah 46:22, the Bible has this to say concerning Egypt:
“Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent as the enemy advances in force; they will come against her with axes, like men who cut down trees.”
The Bible is talking about the advancement of another powerful enemy against the Egyptians. This was the Chaldean army that had come to destroy Egypt. The Bible says that the Chaldeans will come upon Egypt with battle axes as if they are coming to cut down trees.
The army of the Chaldeans will use great strength, fury, and force with lots of weapons amongst them the axes. Just like the trees cannot resist the axes, the Egyptians will not resist the destruction of the Chaldeans.
The Symbol of God Judgment
In the service of God, we are expected to be productive. This means bringing into the fold souls that we have converted for God. In the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, the Bible instructs us that we should go forth and make disciples, baptizing unbelievers with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 3:10, the Bible says,
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
This is a pronouncement of God’s judgment upon the people who will not repent and live a righteous life. This section in the Book of Matthew refers to the message of John the Baptist as he was preparing for the coming of the messianic kingdom.
According to John, the axe of God’s judgment is already at the root of the trees. Simply because the religious leaders of Israel descended from Abraham, doesn’t mean that they will not be punished for their wrongdoing.
We serve a God who keeps his promises and one of his declarations is that he will not spare anyone who doesn’t live a holy and faithful life. The axe will chop the tree and throw it into the fire of judgement.
The Symbol of God’s Protection
God protects his people always especially when they are exposed to danger. Among the offensive weapons he uses to express his vengeance on the enemies of his people is the axe. In Psalm 35:3, the Bible says,
“Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
This is a Psalm of David when he asks the Lord for protection against his enemies. At the beginning of the Psalm David asks the Lord to contend with those who contend with him and fight against those who fight against him. It is an expression of the confidence and faith that David had in the Lord.
Bringing this passage into the New Testament, God’s protection is promised through salvation in Jesus Christ. The people of God who want to be safe from the attacks of the enemy must be born again and baptized through the Spirit.
A Symbol of Recovery and Restoration
For God’s people to be in a state that they can be used in the ministry, they must be present and in a form that they can respond to the call of God. In the Old Testament in the Book of 2 Kings, the Bible talks of a lost axe head that the prophet Elisha helps to recover.
In 2 Kings 6:5, the Bible says,
“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”
In this incident, the axe head was the tool for getting the work done. In the same way we are on a mission with various tools in the kingdom that we use. Without the axe head, the prophets wouldn’t have done their work effectively.
Through a miracle, Elisha recovers the lost axe head. In the Christian setting, this can be likened to the recovery and restoration of God’s mission in our lives.
Whether you look at the Old Testament or the New Testament, the work of the axe is unmistakable. While in the layman terms the axe was a tool of trade, in spiritual context, it was a tool of warfare.
Whether it is used by God or by people under the instruction of God, the axe was for destruction, punishment, and protection. If you’re looking for more biblical symbols, here is our guide to cakes in the Bible.