WHITE AS SNOW

The phrase “white as snow” is used 3 times in the New Testament—meaning light, bright, brilliant from whiteness, the (dazzling) white of the garments of angels, and of those exalted to the splendor of the heavenly state, shining or white garments worn on festive or state occasions, and of white garments as the sign of innocence and purity.  The word “snow” or “white as snow” is used 21 times in the Old Testament. It is interesting to discover that the Old Testament phrase is used as one Hebrew word.

WoodSnow

“He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psa. 147: 16-18).  The book of Job also gives us insight into another facet of God’s working with our weather when he says, “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22). Another time Job states, “If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean…” (Job 9:30), which carries the connotation of purity as do Psalm 51:7, Isaiah 1:18 and Lamentations 4:7.

WhiteAsSnow

The book of Daniel uses this phrase another way. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire” (Dan. 7:9). In this wonderful vision of the everlasting God on His fiery throne of judgment, we find the fascinating phrase “white as snow.” Here the symbol of holiness, pure white, finds its clearest natural expression in the beautiful snow, when it has newly covered the ground.

Hoarfrost

Twice the phrase “white as snow” is used to describe the cleansing of a guilty sinner. David, after confessing his own sin, prayed: “Have mercy upon me, O God. . . . Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. . . . wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psa. 51:1-2, 7). Then, God promises through His prophet: “Come now, and let us reason together, . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). The cleansing blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, is the only sacrifice that can turn the guilt of our scarlet sins to snowy white.

CardinalSnow

When Christ ascended the Mount of Transfiguration, “…his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow” (Mark 9:3), which confirmed to the three disciples that He was the Son of God, even as the voice from heaven had said (Matt. 17:5). At the empty tomb following His resurrection, “the angel of the Lord” also had “raiment white as snow” (Matt. 28:3). Finally, when John saw Christ in His glorified body, he testified that “his head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow” (Rev. 1:14).

Snow2

It is marvelous that the raiment of the angel of God, the transfigured Christ, and the Ancient of days, as well as the head of Christ in His glory, are all described with the same phrase as the soul of one whose sins are forgiven!

(Pictures from Morgefile.com; text selected and adapted)

9 thoughts on “WHITE AS SNOW

    1. It is awfully hard to explain verses like these to people who live in the tropics. Without the pictures, nothing goes across. I wonder how many things in life we misunderstand because we have no experience with them.

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  1. I love this post, Beth! Here at the Canadian 53rd parallel north, we spend pretty well half our year surrounded by snow. It gets tiresome. But all those verses together is a good reminder that the Bible’s view of snow is of utmost beauty/desire! 🙂 ♥ ❤

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    1. My husband was born in Canada, came to the US when he was 19 and loved having warm feet. He used to deliver papers even during the winter when he was 6–too small to carry the bag of papers on his shoulder. He put the strap on his head and the bag of papers bounced on his heels.

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  2. It is interesting that “snow” is used as an image so much in the Old and New Testaments because I wonder how much it snows in Israel? This is something that I need to look up! Those photographs with which you illustrated your post are amazing, Beth.

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    1. I don’t know how often it snows in Israel, but our family was in Jerusalem in March one year and were miserably cold. We had tiny elongated, cot-width rooms one after the other near the Jaffa Gate, which only provided cold water in basins for baths. We had just come from India and had no coats, and there was snow then.

      Not long ago I read an article from Israel that said there was a snow storm and blizzard that stopped traffic for a while. I understand the cold weather generally begins in October each year and lasts into spring pretty much like the midwest of USA. Try this link to see if it helps: http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2013/12/two-major-snow-storms-in-jerusalem.html

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