Doctrine of God – Comparisons

As I continue studying the doctrine of God, I want to move beyond the representations of God to look at the comparisons of God presented by the authors of scripture and God Himself.

What is God Like?

Let’s look in scripture to learn more about God’s nature and the doctrine by which we should know Him.


All the comparisons of God I’m speaking of compare God with animals with the exception of one insect and one tree. Let’s get started.


God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.

Numbers 23:22

First, what is a unicorn? According to many sources, including TWOT (20696a), the word unicorn refers to a wild ox. Other sources say no one really knows the meaning of this word. Strong defines “unicorn” in this verse as “a wild bull (from its conspicuousness):—unicorn.”

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown renders this word as a “rhinoceros.”

Second, what can we learn about God from this comparison? God is powerful and invincible. Who, in their own power, can stop such an enormous beast?


Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.

Job 10:16

Many of us already recognize God as a lion. Incidentally, scripture also refers to Satan as a lion:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1 Peter 5:8

Regardless, Job sees God coming against him as a lion would. Some say a lion will take its time killing its prey. Lions may leave its prey after its initial attack and then return multiple times to torture it. That’s how Job sees God at this moment.

We see God as a fierce beast, one that attacks and causes a long period of suffering. Lions also roar, making its presence known, even from afar. Also, no one would dare come between a lion and its prey, especially amid an attack.

Interestingly, the Bible shows God as a lion attacking His people when they go astray.

I [will be] unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, [even] I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue [him].

Hosea 5:14

In the end, we have God, as a lion, tearing apart all guilty men, including His disobedient people. Satan as a lion, attacks God’s faithful people.


As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver [it; and] passing over he will preserve it.

Isaiah 31:5

These birds chirp, communicating with themselves and with their surrounding world. You can tell the difference between an angry bird and a happy bird.

These birds hover and protect their young. In the same manner, God hovers above His people, communicates with them, and protects them when threats emerge.


Therefore [will] I [be] unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.

Hosea 5:12

A moth consumes valuable material. It wastes it. In such a way, God will waste and consume the guilty. All their wealth will waste away to nothing.


I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe [them]:

Hosea 13:7

Leopards spend much time in trees, watching the world below. Their dark spots serve as camouflage, making them difficult to spot. The power of the leopard makes them capable of capturing prey beyond their size.

Leopards have above-average hearing.

Leopards live solitary lives, are most active during the night, and adapt their diet to available prey.

God is like a leopard. His people face grave danger when they forget Him.

They were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.

Hosea 13:6


I will meet them as a bear [that is] bereaved [of her whelps], and will rend the caul of their heart…

Hossea 13:8

The bear in this verse has a soft, gliding motion and has become enraged by the loss of her offspring. God is jealous of his people and will destroy those who transgress His law.


Fir tree

Hosea continues to use simile to make comparisons with God. This time, God compares Himself to a fir tree.

I [am] like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.

Hosea 14:8

This text describes God’s people’s return. They will no longer serve idols. They will, once again, serve God. In this context, God reminds them that their fruit and nourishment come directly from His hand.

Gesenius equates this fir tree with the cypress, a fruit-bearing tree. Besides providing fruit, the fir tree provides wood for the construction of the temple. It also supplies building material for ships, spears, and instruments of music.

A bountiful supply of profitable things comes directly from God for those who serve Him.


By understanding the comparisons of God in scripture, we can better understand God’s nature.

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