What does coal symbolize in the Bible (Biblical Symbolism and Meaning)?

A coal mining friend in the ministry visited me the other day and wanted us to make our bible study session enjoyable. He wanted us to discuss our professions in relation to the Bible. As a coal miner, he was interested in knowing how coal has been depicted in the Bible. He was also curious and needed to know what does coal symbolize in the Bible?

In Psalm 140:9-10, coals have been used to symbolize judgment. In this prayer by King David, he asks for God to destroy his enemies who surround him with pride while badmouthing him too. He asks God to deliver His harsh judgment on them by burning them with hot coals of fire. He would like God to judge them harshly by eradicating them and throwing them into the pits.

I welcome you to join me as I delve into the symbolism of coal in the Bible. I will also discuss the Bible verses about coals of fire and learn the uses of coal in the Bible. I will further discuss some meanings of seeing coal in your dreams, among other exciting topics on coal in the Bible. Read to the end to learn about these and more about coal.

What does the Bible say about coal?

Romans 12:20 talks about reciprocating an enemy’s evil deeds with good ones, and you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Proverbs 25:22 talks about one receiving God’s reward for heaping burning coals on the enemy’s head.

In Leviticus, 16:12-13 Aaron takes coals of fire and uses them to burn incense in the presence of God.

In Psalms 140:10, David asks God to destroy his enemies with hot burning coals.

Isaiah 6 talks about the Angel of God sanctifying the unclean lips of Isaiah with burning coals.

2 Samuel 22 talks about glowing coals flaming forth from God, who is angry at the distress call of King David.

Psalm 18:12-13 talks about hailstones and coals of fire breaking through God’s clouds, and thundering fire coals are said to be uttered through His voice.

Proverbs 26:21 talks about a quarrelsome man working the same as coal, adding fuel to already burning coal.

What is the symbolism of coal?

What does coal symbolize in the Bible?
What is the symbolism of coal? Image source: Pixabay

Coal as a symbol of secrets

Some people have assumed coal symbolizes secrets due to its black color. The color black is usually associated with secrets, something that is hidden, and therefore, some people have associated coal with secrets.

Coal as a symbol of transformation

Others have thought coal symbolizes transformation due to the massive process it undergoes before being considered coal. The process involves lots of change before the fuel becomes efficient.

Coal is a symbol of the desire to prosper for a long time

Others say that coal symbolizes the desire to prosper for a long time. According to them, coal burns slowly, but its fire stays for a long, and they, therefore, equate this to the desire to prosper for a long time. These are some of the symbols of coal that some individuals have brought forward.

What is the biblical meaning of coals of fire?

The coals of fire have been mentioned in Psalm 18:12-13 and are thought to mean the wrath of God. These coals of fire are said to break through the clouds of God due to His anger at the distress of King David. Hailstones and coals of fire are also said to be uttered in His voice. This has also been biblically translated to mean the wrath of God that can befall anyone who tries to mess with His people.

How is coal used in the Bible?

Burning coal can be seen as a source of fire that can burn. In Psalm 140:9-10, King David asks God to drop burning coal on his enemies so they can burn to show that it can be used as a source of fire.

In Leviticus, 16:12-13 coals are utilized as a heat source to burn incense. While atoning for the sins of the children of Israel, Aaron is seen using coals to heat the incense, which is then taken to the mercy seat.

In Isaiah 6, coals are pictured in a vision as sanctification material. When Isaiah confesses before God that he has a dirty mouth, the Angel of God uses hot coal on the lips to cleanse Isaiah of his sins.

Bible verses about coal

Psalm 140:9-10 talks about burning fall falling on the enemies of King David and burning them. In the verse, David laments about the enemies surrounding him and asks God to burn them with hot coals.

Romans 12:20 talks about treating your enemy well by giving food to eat or something to drink them and that by doing so, you will be heaping coals of fire on their head. Proverbs 25:22 also talks about treating your enemy right, and you will be heaping the coals of fire on the head, and that God will also reward you if you do so.

Leviticus 16:12-13 talks about Aaron utilizing coal to burn incense to appease God on the day of cleansing the Children of Israel.

Isaiah 6 talks about coal being used to cleanse Isaiah’s sins after confessing in the glory of God that he was bearing a dirty mouth and dwelling among dirty people. The angel of God uses hot coal to touch the lips of Isaiah, thus cleansing him of his sins.

In 2 Samuel 22, the Bible tells us about the distress call of David that angers God, and glowing coals can be spotted flaming from His brightness. Psalm 18:12-13 also talks about God’s anger when David cries out to him and makes him cause coals of fire to break through His clouds. He further thunders from heaven, and His voice utters coals of fire.

Proverbs 26:21 talks about a quarrelsome man being equated to coal that adds fuel to already burning coal.

These Biblical verses have talked about coal and their unique contexts.

What is the significance of burning coals in the Bible?

The burning coals are mentioned in Romans 12:20 as a metaphor. They do not mean the physical burning of coal but rather the feeling of guilt. This feeling of guilt is assumed to emanate from a person who received good treatment despite having been evil to you. The burning coals signify regret for treating someone poorly, but they return the same treatment with love. If somebody mistreats you, but you reciprocate their poor treatment with love, then you will leave them with the feeling of guilt and regret while you continue experiencing and sharing the gift of love.

Six symbolic meanings of coal in the Bible

What coal symbolize in the Bible 
Symbolic meanings of coal in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

Coal is a symbol of a quarrelsome man

In Proverbs 26:21, coal is used as a symbol of a quarrelsome man. According to the verse, the man is compared to coal, which adds fire when added to burning coal. The man is therefore equated to a troublemaker worthy of bringing chaos into the house rather than bringing peace as is required.

Coal is a symbol of God’s wrath

In Psalms, 18:12-13 coal has been used as a symbol of God’s wrath when He gets angry. In the verse, David cries to God distressfully, causing coals of fire to break through the clouds. Furthermore, His voice is said to utter coals of fire. This has been assumed to symbolize the wrath of God whenever His people get offended.

Coal as a sanctifier

In Isaiah 6, coal is used as a symbol of a sanctifier of sin from God. In the verse, Isaiah experiences the glory of God and repents from having a filthy mouth and sitting with wicked people. Burning coal is said to have been used by an angel on the lips of Isaiah, and immediately, he was cleansed from his sins. Burning coal has therefore been used to symbolize a sanctifier that can clean a sinner from the sins committed.

Coal as a tool of punishment

Coal is used as a punishment tool in Psalm 140:10. In the verse, David laments about his enemies surrounding him with pride and would like God to punish them by burning them with hot coal. This has portrayed coal as a tool of punishment capable of harming the adversaries of the people of God.

Coal is a symbol of the glory of God

In 2 Samuel 22, coal is used as a symbol of the glory of God. The verse tells us that from the brightness of God, coals of fire flame forth. Some people have translated this to symbolize the glory of God.

Coal is a symbol of guilt from the enemy

In Proverbs 25:21-22, coal has been used as a symbol of the guilt of from enemy. In the verse, Christians are encouraged to treat their enemies right because by doing that, they will be heaping hot coal on their heads. Some have translated the burning coal to symbolize the guilt many people experience whenever they are treated well by people they hate. This can be coupled with regret from the same person who could be maltreating you.

What is the meaning of coals of fire on his tongue?

Some people have used Proverbs 25:21-22 as a reference verse to try and give meaning to the phrase coals of fire on his tongue. In Proverbs 25:21-22 the coals of fire on the head have been equated to the good deeds that make your enemy feel guilty about mistreating you. Coals of fire in the tongue have therefore been assumed to mean using good deeds to make an enemy who has been talking ill about you feel guilty and stop doing so. By doing well to them, they might feel guilty of badmouthing you and end up shutting their mouths.

Spiritual meaning of coal

What does coal symbolize in the Bible
Spiritual meaning of coal. Image source: Pixabay

Coal has been given some spiritual meanings by some individuals who closely relate to the mineral.

Some people have spiritually taken coal to mean the hidden secrets. Coal is a black mineral, with some describing its color as dark. Most secrets are considered dark and confidential because people do not know about them. Some people have therefore associated coal with spiritually mean hidden secrets.

Some people have taken coal as the fire that keeps burning inside even when losing hope. Coal is believed to be a fuel that burns slowly but steadily. Coal can maintain its heat for a long time as it burns. Some people have spiritually associated this characteristic of coal with the hope they always have in their lives, even when they feel like quitting.

Some people spiritually take the coal to mean patience and perseverance. Coal is known to be a mineral that undergoes the test of time before it is finally utilized as a complete mineral. The process is believed to take years. Some people have, therefore, spiritually associated coal with patience and perseverance due to the time the mineral takes to attain its maturity.

What does it mean when you see coal in your dreams?

Different people have given other accounts of the meanings of dreaming about coal in your dreams.

For some, dreaming about coal could signify that you are undergoing a transformational process that might take time for you to notice the changes. You must be patient enough to realize the fruits of the transformation you could be undergoing.

Others have translated coal in a dream to mean that success could come your way. Coal is known to help run some industries and processes as a mineral. A dream about coal could signify that you are about to play an important role somewhere that could make you successful.

Dreaming about coal could also signify that some dark secrets are hidden. Some people have translated dreams about coal from the mineral’s color to mean that people around you could be hiding crucial secrets they do not want you to learn about.

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