The Spiritual Meaning of Cinnamon in the Bible

Cinnamon is used for various things. It is used as a fragrance, in tea, and as a spice for food and drinks. Even though it is a common item, what is the spiritual meaning of cinnamon in the Bible?

Cinnamon has a long history of use, and its rich history dates back to Biblical times. Cinnamon has been around for ages, so it does appear in scripture. It is mentioned 4 times in the Bible, and each instance has a different set of spiritual implications.

By studying the symbolic meaning of cinnamon in the Bible, we can develop spiritual practices that draw us closer to God. Cinnamon is not used specifically to symbolize positive energy or negative energy in the Bible, but there are moments when cinnamon is used for good. There are also moments where Cinnamon is used negatively. 

It simply takes studying each moment to understand their spiritual implications. Although cinnamon is used both for good and evil in scripture, every moment that cinnamon is used can be viewed as a teaching point, to help us grow closer to God. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Cinnamon is not good or evil, and the moments that it is used in scripture can help teach us the right way to live. 

Cinnamon was an Important Component of the Holy Anointing Oil

The first moment cinnamon is used in the Bible is in the book of Exodus. The Israelites have just fled from the ancient Egyptians, and they are in the wilderness. God spoke to Moses, the Israelite leader, and gave him instructions on how to build the temple. 

The Tabernacle was a sacred space that hosted religious ceremonies. It is where God’s presence was, and where the Israelites would engage in spiritual rituals. Rituals like offerings, sacrifices, and worship would happen in the Tabernacle. 

While God was giving Moses instructions on how to build the temple, he also commanded Moses to make a sacred anointing oil. This was an essential oil in setting things apart for spiritual use. 

God instructed Moses to put drops of cinnamon oil on the articles of the Tabernacle. Things like the priest’s table, the altar, and the priests, were all supposed to be anointed with the Holy Oil. 

We can read about the principal ingredients of this fragrant oil in Exodus 30. “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus,” Exodus 30:22

One thing I found interesting about this place was that all the senses were engaged while people were there. The tabernacle was visually beautiful, and there was the sound of praise and prayer. Plus they had feasts there, and the sense of smell was engaged by this fragrant oil. 

Cinnamon was an important part of setting things apart with the holy anointing oil. 

Cinnamon is a Reminder of God’s Anointing on Our Lives 

You might wonder what the spiritual significance of this is today though. Why does it matter that there was anointing oil, made with cinnamon? Well, in the Old Testament, only specific people were anointed. Kings, priests, and other spiritual leaders were anointed with this oil, however today, God’s people are anointed with His presence. 

The idea of New Testament anointing happens in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

The spiritual meaning of cinnamon is a reminder of the anointing that God has placed on our lives. If you follow Jesus, you’re anointed. That means that God has adopted you and given you His Holy Spirit. 

People look for identity everywhere: people, things, titles… but God is showing us that our identity is in a relationship with Him. We are set apart and called to do great things. 

Just like the tabernacle was supposed to be Holy, we are now supposed to be Holy. Our lives should indicate that we are anointed, and the things and people we touch should be Holy also. 

Cinnamon was used as a Temptation 

Shifting to a different perspective on cinnamon, the book of Proverbs mentions cinnamon. Although the first moment that cinnamon is mentioned is a good one, the second one is not as positive. 

In Proverbs 7, the author describes the evil spirit of the promiscuous woman. It depicts her luring a man with her words to sleep with her. Ultimately, the author describes that her ways lead to death and that the person who falls into temptation is foolish. 

One way that the woman entices the man is by saying, “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” Proverbs 7:17

The aroma of cinnamon is nice, and it would be a luxurious thing to lay in a bed that has been perfumed with all of these things. In ancient times, cinnamon was used to enhance the smell of things, and the smell of cinnamon would have been satisfying. 

However, regardless of how sweet the smell is, the result is the same… sin. This has a different meaning than the first one because it is far more negative. But although it is negative, the lesson is important. 

Cinnamon is a Reminder Not To Listen to Temptation

Based on that Proverb, we can deduce the spiritual meaning of cinnamon in this text. As a part of our spiritual journey, we have to learn not to listen to temptation. Although it will take special attention to not fall into traps, the Bible is clear that we have to be vigilant. 

1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18

The woman in Proverbs 7 is using her words to make a move on a man, but ultimately he has to decide: will he fall into temptation or will he run from it? 

In Genesis 39, Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife, when she was making advances on him. Rather than go along with her schemes, he ran. That is an excellent example of what Proverbs 7 reminds us of.  

Don’t listen to temptation… run from it. 

Cinnamon is used as a Way to Describe a Special Person  

The third time that cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible is in the Song of Solomon. Song of Solomon is a collection of letters between lovers. As a part of the letters, the man describes the woman’s life as being a precious garden. 

Here are the spices that are a part of that garden. “spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree; myrrh and aloes, with all the best spices,” Song of Solomon 4:14

In the ancient world, these were quality spices, and fragrant cinnamon was a part of them. The precious spice was a valuable thing in Biblical times. It signified quality, so it was used to describe this woman’s life. 

The interpretation of the Song of Songs is that it signifies the love God has for His people. It is almost as if God is saying that we are precious and that we should view him as precious as well. 

Cinnamon is an Example of Something Used for Greed 

The final example of cinnamon in the Bible happens in the book of Revelation. Revelation is the last book in the Bible, and it is a time prophecy that communicates what will happen at the end of the world. 

Revelation is full of imagery and metaphor about the end times, and cinnamon appears during those metaphors. It says, “cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.” Revelation 18:13

Now, this moment is describing the Babylonian empire and its trade. Many believe that this Babylonian empire is simply a metaphor for the state of the world during the end times. 

As a part of this metaphor, cinnamon is mentioned. Cinnamon is used for its sweet scent and it is important to various cultures, so it is a valuable commodity. This aromatic spice would be used to make a profit, so the message of this moment is that people are using a God-given thing for greed. 

The Babylonians are using cinnamon of commerce to grow their economy and provide for themselves. Rather than simply enjoying the sweet scent of cinnamon that God has given them, they are using it to make a profit. 

This can serve as a warning against greed. 

Cinnamon shows us that we should not be greedy 

The Bible spends a lot of time speaking to the evils of greed. A major tendency of people today is to want more than one needs, and the Bible teaches us that is not a good thing. 

Babylon in the previous passage is a bad example for our lives, and should not be followed. Just as Babylon was an evil nation in the Old Testament, the Babylon of the New Testament takes on the same characteristics. 

Babylon is greedy, and it only looks out for itself. Since this is end time prophecy, I think that it is scary how similar it is to our current times. Today, people are constantly looking out for their wealth rather than the well-being of others. Greed permeates the world. 

Even though greed is all over the world, the Bible teaches us to, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5

We should not be full of greed, but we should be filled with generosity. Sharing is important, so don’t hoard money. Instead, bless others with what you have.