the donkey and the cross

This blog was previously published on December 21, 2015. Last changes made on May 21, 2024.

Yesterday (December 21, 2015) I spoke in Urk about “the wise men from the east”. In my speech I quoted a prophecy from Num.24:17, because there it also mentions a star, just like in the story of “the wise men from the east”. In this story in Numbers, which deals with Balaam, the donkey also plays a major role. I hereby indicated that in Scripture sheep, the flock, the sheepfold, etc. are a picture of Israel. The donkey is an image of Christ and also of the body of Christ, the Church.

horse vs donkey
The donkey is opposite the horse. A horse is an image of exaltation and a donkey is an image of humiliation. In the future Christ will come at His appearing in glory on a white horse (Rev.19:11), in His coming in humiliation He will ride on a donkey (Matt.21:5).

What is immediately noticeable about a donkey are its large ears, a representation of faith. After all, faith comes by hearing (Rom.10:17). Christ is the Believer par excellence and it is His faith from which we are justified (Gal.2:16). When a donkey “speaks” (> brays), it is an expression of faith and he mouths the Name of God, Ia or Ja, the abbreviation of the Name YAHWEH.

the cross
Afterwards I was joined by a listener who told me that a donkey has a cross on its back. I had not heard this before and looked it up on the internet. Donkeys, especially native wild donkeys, have a stripe on their back called a dorsal stripe. It is a dark coloured line in the fur running the entire length of the animal’s back. Because primitive donkeys also have a line that descends towards the front legs, this together forms a cross (source: Wikipedia). At the bottom of this blog you will find two photos with crosses on the backs of donkeys.

is everything typology?
Some believers think it is going too far to make these types of typological connections. But it is precisely the symbolism that gives everything its value. God made everything for His purpose (Prov.16:4), the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord (1 Cor.10:26). Everything in this creation testifies of Him and His works: the stars (Ps.19:2), the grass (1 Pet.1:24) and also in giving a deeper meaning to animals and their properties, Scripture tells us for when it speaks of Israel as a flock of sheep (Jer.23:1-2; Isa.53:6). And Paul quotes a verse from the Torah that speaks of an ox and to which he gives a typological meaning (1 Cor.9:9; 1 Tim.5:18).

In the story of Balaam, the donkey is one who perceives spiritual things. Balaam’s eyes remain closed until they are uncovered (Num.22:21-31 ). Are you already a donkey or are you Balaam ?

Deze blog in het Nederlands lezen (read this blog in Dutch).