What is the Spiritual Meaning of Flies in the Bible?

In the Bible, there are a few references to flies. When studying these references, the question might occur, “What is the Spiritual Meaning of flies in the Bible?” 

Throughout the Bible, why are flies significant? How can we understand the significance of flies in the Bible? And, how should the flies in the Bible impact our theological worldview? 

In this article, I will be discussing flies and their importance in scripture. Although flies do not have concrete symbolism, they have different meanings throughout scripture. Depending on a person’s interpretation of scripture, flies can be important to understanding the Word of God. 

The Presence of Flies in the Bible

The Bible references flies multiple times.  In the Old Testament and the New Testament, flies are present. 

In each of the appearances of flies during Biblical times, there might be a different significance. Based on the scriptures that I was able to find, there are five different, symbolisms for flies in the Bible. 

Each one is situational. Flies are referred to for different reasons in the Bible, so the importance of the flies changes in each situation. That is why there are so many different symbols. Flies mean different things in different contexts. 

One thing that flies symbolize in the Bible is people’s foolishness.

People’s Foolishness

Solomon’s Symbolism for Flies

There are two instances in Scripture where flies show people’s foolishness. One of the instances is in Ecclesiastes 10:1. 

Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.”

It can be challenging to interpret this verse, but it means that a little stupidity spoils great wisdom. The dead flies in this scripture symbolize foolishness, and the perfume refers to a person’s honor and wisdom. 

King Solomon leading his kingdom

King Solomon is using symbolism to explain that no matter how wise someone is, a little foolishness can ruin it all. The dead flies of our lives are foolishness. 

If we want our lives to be effective, we have to get rid of foolishness. Bitterness, envy, and strife are all foolishness, so we live a better life if we get rid of those things. 

The Pharisees’ Foolishness Brought Flies

Flies did not just show people’s foolishness through King Solomon’s writings but also from Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew 23, Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees for their foolishness. In this passage, we get an illustration of what foolishness looks like. 

Matthew 23:23-24 says, “23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

In this passage, Jesus is teaching the foolishness of legalism. Jesus told them that they were following the law of tithing, but they were not following the law of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Jesus’ message was that justice, mercy, and faithfulness were the most important part of the law. 

After telling them this, Jesus uses symbolism to show them their foolishness. Someone who strained a liquid would do so to remove minor impurities, such as a fly or a gnat. Although removing the impurity was good, it was not going to make that big of a difference. 

The Pharisees were doing things that were not as important as others. Beyond that, the Pharisees were seen as the spiritual authority. They were fools because they paid attention to things that were not as important as others. 

Jesus continues to explain his illustration by teaching that while they were focused on straining out the small details, they would eat a camel. Flies and camels were both forbidden under the Kosher diet. 

Jesus was trying to teach that the Pharisees following the tithing law was foolish because they neglected the more important law of loving people. 

The Application of Flies Symbolizing Foolishness

Flies do symbolize people’s foolishness in the Bible. Both of these stories show that people should pay attention to the areas where they are foolish. 

In the example of Jesus’ analogy, we should focus on doing unselfish acts for people more than keeping laws. Jesus was teaching that God and the Holy Spirit care more about people’s hearts towards people rather than people’s ability to keep the laws. 

God’s Judgement on Unrighteousness

Another possible interpretation for flies in the Bible is God’s judgment on unrighteousness. There is one instance in the Bible, where flies are a result of people’s unrighteousness. 

God’s people, the Israelites, are in slavery in the land of Egypt. God called Moses to go and free the Israelites, but the Pharaoh of Egypt refused. The events are recorded in the Book of Exodus.

“For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they dwell.” Exodus 8:21

In this situation, the Pharaoh is not listening to God’s command, so he is being unrighteous. Everything God does is righteous, so going against His will is considered unrighteousness. 

Because Pharaoh didn’t listen to God, God does bring a plague of flies on the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh. The story shows that flies can symbolize God’s wrath on unrighteous behavior. 

God hates unrighteousness and unjust treatment of His people. So much so, that He was willing to send a plague of flies. 

Today, we should take this as a warning, and we should recognize that living in God’s will is what’s best for us. 

God’s Protection of His People 

The swarm of flies did not just symbolize judgment on the unrighteous, it also symbolized God’s protection of His people. The Israelites were in Egypt during the plague of flies, but God protected them.

In Exodus 8:22-23 it says, “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living so that no swarms of flies will be there, so that you may know that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the land. I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur.” 

Although God was unleashing a plague on the ancient Egyptians, He protected his people. The land of the Israelites was not impacted by the plague. God protected His people. 

The flies avoiding the land of the Israelites was a sign of God. It showed the God had set apart the Israelites, and that they were protected by His grace.

This was not just an aspect of this plague but of most the plagues in Egypt. God kept the Israelites in good health whenever Egypt was falling apart. 

The world might feel full of bad news, broken family relationships, and sick people, but God promises us that despite the craziness going on, He protects his people. 

Even when we are faced with difficult times, God’s will is the best thing for us. We might feel like we are experiencing a plague of flies, but God is protecting us. 

Romans 8:28 tells us, “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God plans to protect and care for his people. Regardless of how bad things seem. 

God’s Omnipotence

The fourth meaning of spiritual significance for flies is God’s omnipotence. Omnipotence means all-powerful. 

Being a human being, I am limited on how powerful I am. There are times I need to rest, and there are things that I cannot do. In the Bible, flies show that God is truly all-powerful. 

God’s omnipotence is shown through the plague of the flies arriving and receding. 

Exodus 8:31 says, “The Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and his people; not one remained.”

God has the power to bring the flies into Egypt, and He had the power to bring them out of Egypt. It also said that not a single fly remained whenever God told them to leave. 

This shows that God doesn’t just have power over some of the flies, He had power over all of the flies. There was not one fly that didn’t obey Him. 

That goes to show that God is all-powerful, and nothing can go against what He says. Beyond that, the flies in this story are referenced a long time after this story happened in the book of Psalms. 

Psalm 78:45 says, “He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them And frogs which destroyed them.”

This Psalm is about the great power of God, and even the Psalmist writing this recognized that God’s power is unmatched. God was able to bring the flies and He was able to remove them.

All of that goes to show that God is omnipotent. There is nothing God can’t do. 

How Can We Apply God’s Omnipotence?

But why is it significant to us that God is omnipotent? God’s omnipotence means that nothing that we experience is too difficult for God to overcome. 

Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

God has more power than anything else. Nothing in the real world, or the Spirit world can stand against God successfully. 

Across Biblical text, we see countless examples of how God’s power is unrivaled, and the instance with the flies is another one of those situations. 

In my personal life, I don’t have to be worried or afraid, because I know that God is all-powerful. That is the reminder that God is giving us through this story. We are free because He is omnipotent. 

God’s Omniscience

Not only do flies symbolize God’s omnipotence, they symbolize his omniscience. Omniscience means all-knowing, so flies symbolize God’s all-knowing nature. There is an example of this in Jeremiah 46.

Jeremiah, the Prophet of Israel

Jeremiah 46:20 says, “Egypt is a beautiful heifer, but a gadfly is coming against her from the north.”

In this case, there was a prophetic meaning of flies. The flies symbolized King Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon taking over. The gadfly was a bad omen for the Jews and Egyptians in this situation. 

The reason this points to God’s omniscience is because God predicted it, and it happened. No one knows the future, but God does. God spoke through Jeremiah and told Him this prophecy. 

Closing Thoughts

The most important thing that flies symbolize is ultimately God’s authority. Through the plague of the flies and the all-knowing nature of God, we see that God has an unmatched authority.

When it comes to flies and spiritual symbolism, there are multiple things that fly symbolize in the Bible. They symbolize people’s foolishness, God’s wrath on unrighteousness, God’s omnipotence and omniscience, and God’s protection of his people.

Many people might assume that flies are a terrible omen, but all of the Biblical symbolism of flies points to people’s need for God. Flies show the people are foolish, but God is a faithful, powerful protector of humanity. 

Through these Biblical stories from the Biblical texts, we can deduce that the Gospel is portrayed through these situations. Although flies might seem like little things, even they show the grace and power of God in the context of the Bible.

The Bible is full of stories that speak to the grace and power of God. Be sure to check out our article on the significance of the Sons of Korah in the Bible.

1 thought on “What is the Spiritual Meaning of Flies in the Bible?”

  1. Pingback: Spiritual Meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor - The Ministry Journey

Comments are closed.