The Four Faces of Worship by Jimmy Toney

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Please support your local oneness church. The Face of an Ox While the LXX/NT Greek basically has one common word for an Ox as moschou the Hebrew OT used 4 major words to depict the Ox its various stages and use during its life. Cattle in general was called the baquar – Strong’s #1241. The (male) Ox, the head of cattle, normally castrated to make it more tractable was called shor #7794. The Bull (the non-castrated ox), thus not relegated to field work was called par #6499. And the young of the bull/cattle, the calf, was an eagle #5695 The ox that is mentioned in Ezekiel refers particularly to the field working/sacrificial animal (shor #7794). In the history of Ancient Israel, the ox was valuable to both the people’s everyday well being as well as their religious life. The ox did most of the laborious field chores which could result in great prosperity (Prov. 14:4). It was therefore mentioned as one of the things that should not be coveted from a neighbor (Exod 20:17). So great was the significance of the ox to the people that it was once infamously raised to a godlike stature in the incidence of the “golden calf” (see Psa 106:19-22 = Exod 32). The Lion is the King of Beasts and as such is a fittingly symbol for the “Chief of Land Kingdoms/Government.” The Lion identified with the Eastern standard of Judah was to be the camp of leadership (Gen 49:9-10), and understandably in whatever manifestation that this was to be as time advanced (e.g., monarchial, political) The Man was to be the Southern standard of Reuben. As the firstborn/eldest son of Jacob, it was to have preeminence in “dignity and power” as he was no doubt expected to be an exemplary model to his young siblings, however he lost this most favorable position through its family dishonoring failings. (Gen 49:3). As “uncontrollable waters” (Gen 49:4) which is also symbolic of peoples (Rev 17:15), it was thus fitting (cf. Isa 17:12-13a) to represent the man/human aspect that Israel had to bring under the influence of God in order to triumph as a people. The Eagle, though not having concrete land/territorial dominance as the Lion, not only dominates the air, and thus as such can easily enter into all land areas, it also can exert pointed power upon the earth when needed, as seen in its ability to catch formidable land preys (even a young lion). Thus it is this projectionable speed and power and achieved security aspects of the Eagle that is key in its use as a symbol. (Clearly if a solely spiritual/religious aspect had been meant to be conveyed here, the symbol of a dove would have been used for a bird representation.)

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