While I spent more than three years in theology school and I am continually studying the Bible 15 years later, I am beyond impressed by all the new things that I learn. One of the most notable things I’ve learned is that unicorns, though depicted as fairy or magical creatures in films and literary works, actually existed and are mentioned severally in the Bible. I’ve been taking time to understand unicorns by biblical standards, and the new knowledge gained is mindblowing. So, what does a unicorn symbolize in the Bible?
Unicorns (better known as wild ox in modern bible translations) are believed to be symbols of great strength, power, and ferocity as suggested in the bible scriptures in Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, and Isaiah 34:7. It’s also believed that the Israelites used the wild ox or unicorn as their sacrificial animal of choice, and it’s believed that the animal represented Jesus Christ as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Deuteronomy 33:17). The wild ox/ unicorn was also deemed a symbol of hard work, stability, humility, and patience.
In this post, I’ll share the knowledge I have gained about the meaning of unicorns, their spiritual significance, and symbolism in the Bible. Keep reading to learn more.
Are unicorns mentioned in the Bible?
Yes, it’s believed that unicorns are mentioned in the Bible. However, the word unicorn only appears in passages in the King James Version or bible translation. Unicorns are mentioned in Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, Psalm 22:11, Job 39:9-10, Deuteronomy 33:17, and Isaiah 34:7.
It’s worth noting that the original version of the word unicorn in Hebrew is the word re’em, which translates to monikers as translated in the Septuagint or unicorns according to the Latin Vulgate. In later versions of the Bible, the name unicorn is replaced by the phrase wild ox. Notably, the original Hebrew word for the animal was a ‘beast with one horn,’ and a possible interpretation of the animal’s name was the rhinoceros. But with the Hebrew word tow’apaha, used in the Hebrew version of the Bible, meaning an animal with more than a single horn, it meant that the bible translators of the Septuagint bible opted for a more creative approach, inferring to the wild and powerful unicorn with a more recognizable name.
Re ’em referred to urus or aurochs, representing the large cattle believed to have roamed Asia and Europe in ancient times. Standing tall at six feet and being ancestors to domestic cattle, the Bible uses the name wild ox to represent this ancient animal known for its incredible power and strength.
So, it’s believed that whether the Hebrew re them represents a rhinoceros, an auroch, or some other horned animal, the image from the animal descriptions in the Bible (and ancient texts) conjure images of a ferocious, untamable, and powerful wild animal, believed to be what the Bible now refers to as the wild ox.
What does the Bible say about unicorns?
According to Bible scriptures in Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, and Job 39:9-12, the unicorn was a fierce and strong animal, but it wasn’t trustworthy. It was known for the fact that it was untamable. However, it was agile, and it has one or two horns – Psalm 22:21, Deuteronomy 33:17, Psalm 92:10, and Psalm 29:6. With its physical attributes in mind, the unicorn is believed to have symbolized God’s great power that made it possible for Him to deliver his people from Israel. The unicorn is also suggested in Isaiah 34, where it’s believed that the unicorn was a symbol of God’s eternal judgment on humankind for all their sins.
The Bible further implies that these beasts were a symbol of the prophecies and that they prophesied the power and glory that would fall on Joseph’s descendants through his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. This is suggested in Deuteronomy 33:16-17. This is believed to have been the case because several years post the prophecy, ten out of the 12 tribes of Israel were captured and taken captive by the Assyrians. Despite these events, these tribes, often referred to as the lost Israelite tribes, migrated into different European countries, where in 612 BC, Ephraim migrated to modern-day England.
How many times is a unicorn mentioned in the Bible?
Unicorns are believed to appear 9 times throughout the Bible, where they are used as a metaphor for the life of Jesus Christ. Note that these mentions of the unicorns in the Bible appear in the 1900 version of the King James Version.
All the times that the unicorn has been mentioned in the Bible, it is believed that the animal represented the power of God, His Strength, and the majestic power that the animal wielded over the earth.
Bible verses about unicorns
These bible verses suggest that the unicorn is a strong and powerful animal. In modern translations, the unicorn is referred to as a wild ox, and the power of the animal is represented in these verses.
Numbers 23:22 – This verse implies that it was God’s power that got the Israelites out of Egypt, and God’s strength was compared to that of the unicorn.
Numbers 24:8 – Here, the Bible suggests that God brought Israel out of Egypt with a lot of power, also compared to that of the unicorn. The unicorn’s power, strength, and ferocity are also implied here, where the unicorn is believed to have eaten up its enemies.
Deuteronomy 33:17 – this verse is about Moses blessing Joseph, and here, he implies that the strength wielded by Joseph is comparable to that of a firstborn bull, and his military force’s strength and ferocity more like that of a unicorn (which has the power to gore out nations).
Psalm 22:21 – In this verse, it’s suggested that David was asking God to save him and protect him from the powers wielded by his enemies. These powers were compared to or believed to have been described to match those of the unicorn horns.
Psalm 29:6 – This verse suggests that God is a powerful being whose voice alone can shake the earth and break apart the Great Lebanon cedars while also making Lebanon act like a young unicorn.
Psalm 92:10 also suggests that unicorns were powerful creatures because it alludes that the military action and victory were comparable to the power wielded by a unicorn’s horn.
Isaiah 34:7 – Here, the scriptures imply that despite the unicorn’s great power and majestic stance, the prophet Isaiah chose to slaughter a unicorn as a sacrifice because God was about to unleash his angry wrath on Edom.
Job 39:9-12 – According to these verses, it’s implied by Job that the unicorn or the wild ox was the Old Testament’s standard symbol of strength.
4 symbolic meanings of unicorns in the Bible
The Lord’s Strength
Unicorns are depicted as powerful creatures that won wars and brought victory to armies. It’s implied in Numbers 23:22 that God’s power to get the Israelites out of Egypt was because His strength is as superior as the strength of a unicorn. God’s glory and strength are also comparable to that of a unicorn. Their strength is further suggested in the book of Job 39:11.
Power of God
The Bible depicts unicorns as powerful creatures believed to represent the presence and the power that God wields over his creation. Numbers 23:22 implies that the unicorns are a symbol of the power that God wields and a power that made it possible for God to deliver the people of Israel from captivity in Egypt.
Unicorns are also regarded as powerful creatures that represent the Lord’s eternal judgment over the world for sins. This is implied in Isaiah 34:1-2 and 7-8, where it’s suggested that the unicorns would come down alongside bullock bulls to punish people, leaving a bloodbath in their wake. This fierceness is believed to represent God’s anger as he punishes sinners for their indignation.
Fulfillment of Prophesies
These beasts are also believed to symbolize God’s prophesized glory and the power he wields over Joseph’s descendants through Manasseh and Ephraim. This suggestion in Deuteronomy 33:16-18 is believed to have passed as prophesized several years after the prophecy was given because ten out of the 12 tribes of Israel were conquered by the Assyrians and then taken as captives. The ten tribes taken captive are often referred to as the lost tribes of Israel. They are believed to have migrated to different European countries following the conquest of Assyria by the Babylonians in 612 BC.
What do unicorns symbolize in different cultures?
Many cultures of the world attribute unicorns to freedom, purity, strength, innocence, magic, health, and mysticism. However, different cultures around the world have different beliefs about what a unicorn means or represents.
Here are some of the common beliefs associated with unicorns:
The Native Americans believed that the unicorn was a very powerful and fierce animal. Their associated its strength and might with masculinity, and they created masculine unicorn spirits, which they believed could only be tamed by a virgin. It’s believed that the Native Americans are the custodians of the unicorn cave paintings, and they shared endless myths and stories about unicorns.
According to the ancient Chinese beliefs about unicorns, which is called the Zhi, it represented justice because they believed that man longs for justice just like they long to see unicorns. It’s believed that the symbolism started in China before spreading to the rest of Asia.
Besides protection, the Chinese unicorn also represents protection from evil and faith, and it’s also associated with good fortune. As a result, the Chinese are famous for gifting each other white unicorn figurines. They also believe that the creature has to be white, a color that signifies immortality, innocence, purity, and incorruptibility.
African cultures believe that unicorns symbolized the emperor’s rank as well as the rank accorded to princes in Africa. They also believed that unicorns represented a sun symbol, so it was worshipped by all that believed in this animal.
According to African mythology, the unicorn represents a hybrid animal with a rhinoceros horn, the body of a horse, antelope legs, and a lion’s tail. As a result, they believed that the unicorn’s power and characteristics were a combination of the characteristics borne by all these animals. Also, the ancient Africans believed that catching a unicorn would grant someone all of their heart’s desires.
The Celts believed that the unicorn represented fertility, magic, dreams, innocence, gentleness, nature, purity, and endurance. They also believed that the unicorn was a virtuous creature that could tell how virtuous individuals were by stealing just one glance at them. The Celts also believed that unicorns were magical creatures because these individuals also believed in magic and the connection between the magical and human worlds. So, they also believed in goblins, elves, and fairies.
Why is a Unicorn important in Christianity?
Unicorns are essential in Christianity because they represent a host of things, including glory, power, and even salvation. Christians believe that unicorns are undefeated thanks to their might and power. It’s also believed that Christ, the power of God, is a form of a unicorn on the ground, which also has the power of the Father.
Unicorns are also believed to carry a masculine power or spirit, which the Virgin Mary could only capture.
Catholic teaching about a unicorn
The Catholic church believes that unicorns date back to the Middle Ages, and even then, these animals were believed to represent Jesus Christ. As a result, most of the art forms of the time featured a unicorn alongside a maiden, symbolizing Jesus Christ and His Mother, Mary, during the Annunciation. To honor this, the Catholic Church celebrates Annunciation on March 25th, a day that celebrates Jesus Christ and the unicorns.
On this day, the church commemorates the announcement of the Virgin Mary’s incarnation, or the day of her announcement made by the angel Gabriel, telling Mary that she would conceive a son through the power of the Holy Spirit and that her son would be called Jesus Christ.
Additionally, unicorns are believed to represent God’s might and magnificence, a symbol of strength and vigor. The Catholic teachings about unicorns relate to God’s might and power, as well as the relationship between Christ and the unicorns. Believers are taught to exalt God (Jesus Christ) in the same way that they exalt the unicorn’s horn. Psalm 92:10.
How does a unicorn relate to Christ?
As mentioned above, unicorns are believed to date back to the Middle Ages, and they were believed to represent Jesus Christ. They also represent the Annunciation, or the day that the angel Gabriel announced that the Virgin Mary would conceive through the Holy Spirit and that she’d give birth to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Like Jesus, unicorns are believed to represent the mysterious happenings around us and the wondrous deeds of Jesus. Christ is believed to have been represented by the unicorn, the fierce and strong white animal bearing a single horn. The unicorn is also believed to relate to Christ because of the animal’s invincible strength, also seen in Jesus Christ.
4 spiritual meaning of unicorns
Unicorns are believed to be creatures that represent holiness. As a result, it’s believed that seeing a unicorn in a dream, for example, could be a way through which God or the angels communicate with you, asking you to embrace a life of holiness. Unicorns could also be a message for you to abhor and steer clear of evil or sin.
It’s also believed that unicorns are powerful animals with the power to purify energy. So, seeing a unicorn in your dreams, especially when you feel that your energy or chakras are unbalanced or contaminated, the unicorn could be there to help purify things because of the cleansing energy they carry. Unicorn images around you could also be a sign of energy purification. They are also believed to have the power to get rid of all negativity from your heart.
It’s believed that because of the association of unicorns with purity and virginity, the unicorn could signify femininity. This is believed to be the case because purity and virginity are virtues mainly centered around women in both modern and ancient societies. In this regard, unicorns could also be symbols of God’s divinity, as well as the connection between us and the root of all that lies within us.
As is the case with the bible verses that refer to the unicorn’s strength, it’s believed that unicorns are a symbol of the strength that an individual has deep inside them. This is considered a vital reminder when someone feels overwhelmed or is losing hope. The unicorn can be seen as a sign of the strength that lies deep within them, and they shouldn’t lose courage.
What does it mean when you dream about unicorns?
Guidance and Protection
If you dream about a unicorn that acts as your companion, it could mean that the animal is your companion, protector, and guide. This could mean that you have a guardian angel watching over you and guiding your steps. It’s also worth noting that unicorns are only believed to appear to genuine and honest individuals and that you are fortunate if you see a unicorn in your dreams.
Peace of mind
Dreaming of unicorns carries a spiritual meaning, and it’s believed to represent peace of mind. This belief comes from the fact that unicorns are believed to be white, which is the spiritual symbol of peace and love. The unicorn is, therefore, considered a sign of peace of mind, despite the pressures you could be facing currently in life.
A sign to embrace one’s spirituality
Seeing a unicorn in dreams could also be a sign for you to take the steps that would allow you to have an intense spirituality. It could also be a sign asking you to embrace the spiritual side of things. This belief comes from the belief that a unicorn represents the purest animal in the universe. Therefore, unicorns in dreams are reminders of the importance and powers that lie in the spiritual realm, which is believed to be a realm that rules above all others. Seeing unicorns, especially in dreams, could be perceived as you have a heightened sense of spiritual connection, and it may help you overcome challenging times associated with despair, uncertainty, and even danger.
Other than these, unicorn dreams are also associated with idealized love, purity, magical consciousness, and lust. As a result, people are advised to be ready to align their spirituality when they see unicorns because these creatures often call for spiritual alignment for one to receive love, freedom, and faith.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.