Glossary: Sitting/Lying Down

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Inactive. Used in various senses, such as rest from working, incapability to work, or death (“standing” therefore means, active).


  • Hebrews makes the point that Old Testament high priests are “oftentimes” (always) working to make sacrifices, while Jesus only had to make on sacrifice for all time. Therefore, he uses the term “standing” for the old high priests, to show their daily activity. He notes that Jesus is “sitting,” which shows He is inactive now, having finished everything. 

Hebrews 10:11-12 (KJV) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.

  • Mary is looking for the body of Jesus, assuming He is still dead (inactive). So, she inquires of where they have “laid Him.” Jesus all the while was alive, so when she turns and sees Him, the Bible notes that He is “standing” (active).

John 20:13-14 (KJV) And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

  • When referring to our Shepherd Jesus giving us rest, sometimes the Bible says he gives us rest (inactivity), and most other times the Bible says, “He makes us lie/sit down.”

Song of Solomon 1:7 (KJV) Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon…

Psalms 23:1-2 (LITV) Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in green pastures…

Mark 6:34, 39 (KJV) And Jesus… was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd… Verse 39) And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

Ezekiel 34:15 (KJV)  I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

  • Spending money means laboring (see “Buying/Spending Money” definition). The temple is a symbol of the church. And so, in John 2, the “changers of money” that were selling in the temple are symbolic of those who try to get the church (temple) to work (spend money). But despite these teachers pushing the church to work for God, they themselves have no ability to work for God either. This is symbolized by the changers of money “sitting” (asking the church to work, but not working themselves).

John 2:14 (KJV) And found in the temple [the church] those that sold [requiring labor] oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money [the teachers of work] sitting [not working themselves]

Luke 11:46 (NKJV) And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear [like money changers], and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers [like money changers sitting].

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