By Elizabeth Prata
People don’t refer to cardinal directions of north, south, east, west very much any more. If someone asks for directions and you tell them to go north three blocks, they look at you like you just lapsed into Hindi.
In the days before we were too reliant on GPS, people traveled by using the sun, moon, and stars. They spoke of cardinal directions.
In the Bible there is a lot of talk about the east and the west. (Of course, north and south is also spoken of but I’m concentrating on east-west today).
East is a major direction in the Bible and not just for the directions, but for the symbolism. Let’s look at a few examples.
The Garden of Eden was planted toward the east. (Genesis 2:8).
The scriptures specify the LORD placed cherubim at the eastern entrance of the Garden, to protect it and the tree of life.
After God drove out the man, He placed a cherubim with flaming sword to protect this eastern entrance. (Genesis 3:24).
The tabernacle faced east. (Numbers 3:38).
When God’s glory comes/came to the Temple, it comes/came from the east:
Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:1-2).
The wise men followed the star which had risen in the east.
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:2 KJV)
The Lord will return from the east. (Matthew 24:27):
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
The sun rises in the east and its rays shine from that direction. John 1:5 says God is Light, in Him there is no darkness at all. The west is where the sun sets, bringing darkness. The east is where the Light is.
When the sun rises, the light comes from the east. When the Son returns, His Light comes from the east.
There is much more that can be studied on even so mundane a topic as cardinal directions. The wonder of the Bible is that you can take practically any topic, any word, and explore. And do you know what you will come up with?
That’s why the Bible is so great. All scripture points to Jesus.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)