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

While I was at my Bible study sessions, we revised several chapters in the Bible. I learned a lot about how God portrays Himself to His people in a variety of ways.

One of these ways is by using smoke. Smoke is mentioned several times in the Bible and appears in dreams in different forms.

All this information led me to the question, “What does smoke symbolize in the Bible?

Nahum 12:3 implies that smoke is used as a symbolic representation of judgment to show the fate of those who will be judged and found guilty. Smoke is also used to signify worship as the sacrifices are done, and the smoke ascends into heaven. It is also used to symbolize God’s presence in a place.

In this article, I will take you through what the Bible says about smoke and its symbolic meaning in the Bible. Join me as we also go through its symbolic meaning in dreams, art, and literature and the colors in which smoke appears in dreams.

Read along to find more information about the mentioned

What does the Bible say about smoke?

There are several things the Bible says about smoke. For instance, in Revelation 9:2, smoke is seen rising from the abyss: “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.”

We see that smoke was used in the Bible to mean judgment as a form of punishment for the wicked during the end times. The Bible also talks a lot about smoking as a symbol of sacrifice.

It is also mentioned in the Bible as a symbol of destruction, as indicated in Isiah 34:10, “It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again.”

The Bible mentions the smoke that covered Mount Sinai. This shows that God’s presence was in that place.

Meaning of smoke in Hebrew

Depending on the context, the word ‘Ashan,’ which means smoke, can be used as a representation of several things. This word appears in the Hebrew Bible to represent a variety of things based on the context.

For instance, it may have the literal meaning of vapor, as seen in Joshua 8:20. It may also have a symbolic meaning, referring to something else.

An example may be to symbolize God’s presence and judgment.

Bible verses about smoke

What does smoke symbolize in the Bible?
Bible verses about smoke. Image source: Pixabay

Several verses speak about smoke, and each verse is used in a different context. Some of these Bible verses include:

2 Samuel 22:9: “Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.”

In this Bible verse, smoke here is used to show God’s wrath when he came to judge the people who are perverse and wicked.

Isiah 34:10: “It shall not be quenched night or day; Its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; No one shall pass through it forever and ever.”

The smoke mentioned in this verse is used to mean the punishment that is administered to the wicked nations and will persist from one generation to the next.

Job 41:20: “Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.”

In this verse, smoke is used to show that he is more daring and bolder than any other creature to ever exist.

Psalms 119:83: “For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.”

The word smoke has been used here to show the way the psalmist was uncomfortable in the condition that he was in.

Revelation 14:11: “And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

This verse talks about the torture that will persist for non-believers as they will not rest as they keep worshipping other gods.

Revelation 15:8: “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

In this verse, smoke is seen filling the temple to signify God’s presence and show his power. No person was able to gain access to the area showing how powerful He is.

Hosea 13:3: “Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window.”

This verse talks about God’s warning to His people that whatever their faults are, as a nation, they must lose their priestly character, and salvation is only found in Him and no one else.

Deuteronomy 29:20: “The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven.”

This verse talks about how the Lord will never forgive the sinner, and He will execute His wrath against him. Smoke is used in this context to show God’s wrath on the sinner who turned away from Him.

Acts 2:19: “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.”

In this verse, the Holy Spirit comes to show its presence and equip the Jews to spread the news that sinners are reconciled and forgiven by Jesus.

Isiah 51:6: “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.”

The verse talks about God’s salvation and righteousness that will last forever, unlike the world and people who will eventually vanish. Smoke is used in this context to refer to something temporary.

Isiah 65:5: “Who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long.”

God speaks in this verse to refer to those who rebel against Him by doing profane things like being blasphemous.

Nahum 2:13: “I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots in smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will leave you no prey on the earth. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard.”

In this verse, smoke is mentioned as a sign of God’s wrath as a form of judgment that is bestowed upon Ninevah.

Psalms 37:20: “But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.”

This verse talks about how sinners will be destroyed and no sinner will be spared since they are both the enemy of the Lord and His people. The smoke here is used as a symbol of destruction that will be upon sinners.

What does smoke represent in the Bible?

God associates smoke with judgment, as per the book of Nahum 12:3 which reads, “All your fortresses are like fig trees
with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.”

Smoke is also a clear image of the fate of those who will be judged and found guilty.

As per Psalms 37:20, we are assured by David that the wicked shall perish like smoke. Smoke disperses, ascends, and is short-lived. We also see that God’s judgment will come to an end, as it is short-lived, as written in Isiah 10:25.

In Psalms 102:3, smoke is used as a symbol of man’s days on earth: “For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.”

As the smoke ascends and disappears, man’s life also does the same. Smoke in the Bible is also used as a sign of worship.

This was done by offering sacrifices in which smoke rose from the offerings after they were burned.

It is also a representation of prayer to God or a deity. Smoke may also be used to represent God’s wrath, as seen in Psalm 18:8, “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.”

Smoke is also used by God to represent himself, like the way He represented himself in the smoldering mountain.

Spiritual meaning of smoke

There are several spiritual meanings for smoke. One of them is transformation and change. In a tale, when smoke is observed, it means that a significant event will occur.

Any alteration, whether it’s for a good or bad cause, may be represented by smoke. It may be a physical, spiritual, or emotional alteration.

Smoke may also be an indication of a spiritual awakening in a person. As seen in various cultural and religious contexts, after death, the soul’s transition is indicated by smoke as a journey.

A good example is the funeral practices of the Vikings. Smoke is also used to signify purification. An example of this is how Taoist monks use smoke to purify themselves.

It can also be used to signify the closeness of a guardian angel. Several passages in the Bible speak about angels.

For instance, it is stated in the Bible that when an angel visited Manoah and prophesied about the birth of Samson, he ascended into heaven, followed by a cloud of smoke.

Smoke can also be used to mean conversation with God. It is a way for God to show you that your path has been difficult, but you have been able to overcome it because you have been brave enough.

Smoke is also used to mean the establishment and awakening of a connection with the divine. The rising of someone’s prayers and thoughts is represented by smoke.

The Bible has some allusions that depict this. In many religious ceremonies, smoke was a gift to the gods and a common component.

5 symbolic meanings of smoke in the Bible

What does smoke symbolize in the Bible?
Symbolic meanings of smoke in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

The Bible tells us a lot of things about smoke. The meaning of smoke in the Bible will vary based on the context. Some of the symbolic meanings of smoke in the Bible include:

A Servant’s Prayer to God

The Bible states that the Lord’s angel appeared and stated that God heard the prayer of Zechariah when he offered incense at the temple, representing a prayer before God.

The smoke rose to heaven as a message to God.


In the Old Testament, worship was based on the offering of sacrifices. After the priests put the sacrifices in the fire to burn, smoke rose from the offerings, which represented worship.

It was a way of thanking God for taking his people out of Egypt and into a land that was flowing with honey and milk.


In Job 41:10, we see that smoke comes from God’s nostrils. The meaning here may be used as an indication of anger. “Ashan” is the Hebrew word for smoke in the book of Job, which means to be furious or to be angry.

Kingdom of God

In Exodus, the word smoke is used in the context that it is a way for God to represent Himself to His people. The psalmist states that smoking was an important process to give the wineskin flexibility and durability.

So, we can conclude that smoke was used as an agent to give men flexibility and durability. This speaks of exposure to the presence and glory of God.

Divine Will

The Bible portrays smoke as the divine will of a servant to grow and help people by spreading the goodness of God and aiding them in having the same feeling.

Some interpreters also state that smoke is used as a representation of connection with divine realms.

What do different colors of smoke mean?

What does smoke symbolize in the Bible?
What do different colors of smoke mean? Image source: Pixabay

White smoke’s biblical meaning

In the Bible, white smoke is usually linked with the Holy Spirit as per its biblical concept. The Bible uses a cloud of white smoke to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In the book of Exodus 19:18, during the revelation of God’s law to Moses, Mount Sinai is covered by white smoke. This can be termed a gentle reminder to keep focusing on God and to reminisce about his covenant and promises with us.

White smoke in a dream may represent the release of negative energy by cleansing the soul.

Black smoke’s biblical meaning

Revelation 9:2 talks about smoke coming from the shaft of the abyss after it has been opened, and the sky is darkened by the smoke. Some interpreters see this as a literal judgment.

The judgment of this revelation is God’s way of illustrating the severity of His wrath and the extent of His holiness. Thick, dark smoke is used as imagery in various ways in the Old Testament to show how God deals with sinful people.

Gray smoke has biblical meaning

Gray smoke is a sign of positive change and good fortune. It can also indicate that you are going through a spiritual awakening.

Gray smoke might also be a sign that your soul is ready to carry on, but you are not ready to let go.

The vapor of smoke: biblical meaning

James 4:14 talks about not knowing what tomorrow will bring since we are only going to be alive for a short period: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

James uses the term ‘mist that appears for a little time’ to mean vapor.

Vapor is used in this context to show uncertainty in the future. This reminds us to seek the salvation of the Lord.

Reasons why you keep seeing smoke in your dreams

Dreaming of smoke may have a variety of meanings. One of the reasons you may keep seeing smoke in your dreams is that you may be harboring high expectations.

However, to walk on the right path, you must fulfill these expectations carefully. If everything is not clear due to the smoke in your dreams, it may mean that achieving what you desire is difficult.

Seeing smoke, especially plenty of smoke, may indicate that the situation you are in needs to be cleared.

Constantly seeing smoke in your dreams may also be a sign of transformation and change. It may symbolize the process of change and, afterward, transformation into something or someone better or worse.

It may also be a sign that your guardian angel is watching over you. It shows that your guardian angel keeps visiting.

Seeing smoke may also be a sign of doubt. You may be doubting your ability to do work, but it is possible to improve your performance. It may also signify that the spirit inside you is being awakened.

Also, it may be a warning that something is about to happen; therefore, you should be more careful with how you are moving forward. Another reason may be that you are undergoing a very difficult time in your life.

It may also mean a difficulty that is going to persist for a long period and may affect several people.

What is the spiritual meaning of smoke in dreams?

Dreams are your angels, higher self, and spirit guides. They are a way of relaying messages to you, and you can use symbolism to get a clear and in-depth understanding of what is taking place in life.

From a spiritual perspective, smoke in dreams can mean several different things. One of these things may be that change is taking place.

Smoke in a dream may also mean that you are going through purification. It symbolizes purification or cleansing because many religions use it for this exact purpose. Native Americans can be used as a good example.

When they are preparing for a certain ceremony, they smear themselves, and smoke is used by Taoist monks to make themselves pure.

As a result of ice and fire, which are two curative forces, the smoke produced may indicate that something is being created or is manifesting into a physical form.

Smoke in a dream may also indicate that your prayers and intentions are being heard. It may also mean that clarity is required to resolve a certain situation. Different types of smoke in a dream may have different meanings.

Some of these types of smoke in a dream include smoke in a house, a cloud of white smoke, smoke in the sky, and white smoke, among others.

All these types of smoke have their significant meaning and also symbolize our contact with the spiritual world.

Some other dream experts state that smoke is a sign that you ought to be more careful. You should remember that smoke is related to fire, and you can die due to the inhalation of toxic fumes.

Due to this, your subconscious tells you to avoid putting yourself in situations that involve dangers you do not realize.

Meaning and Symbolism of Smoke in Art and Literature

As Many primitive cultures use smoke as a method of releasing the soul of a dead body on its journey. At a Viking funeral, the Vikings would send their departed soul on a raft or ship out to the fjord to initiate their afterlife journey.

Afterward, they would then throw fire-flaming arrows at the ship until it lit up into a blaze. They would then witness as their spirit was carried up to Valhalla by the smoke.

Smoke has the power to deflect and transform unwanted energy by elevating the vibration of an environment. Whether it is through the use of sacred woods, herbs, incense, fire, or resins, each smoke has its own specific uses and healing power.

Smoke embodies the unique signatures of the cultures that acknowledge it.

Smoke has become a symbol of pollution and modernity in modern times. In films and art, smoke most of the time appears as a representation of pollution in a large city.

An example is the smoke that comes from vehicles and factories. This is a sign of pollution in modern life. Smoke is also used as a symbol of introspection.

Introspection refers to the observation or examination of someone’s conscious feelings and thoughts.

In a spiritual context, it means the examination of someone’s soul. Historically, introspective or philosophical characters were portrayed as smokers.

However, this has fallen out of favor now that people understand the health complications that occur as a result of smoking. In art and literature, smoke also had something to do with religiosity.

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