SYMBOLS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION

What Do the Symbols in the Book of Revelation Mean? @ AVirtuousWoman.org

The Book of Revelation: Study #2

WHAT DO THE SYMBOLS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION MEAN?

Symbols. The Book of Revelation is filled with mysterious symbols. Why? For the same reason that Jesus spoke in parables. In Luke 8:10 Jesus says, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they look, they won’t really see. When they hear, they won’t understand.’” NLT. The book of Revelation is clothed in symbols so that only those sincerely seeking truth will find it.

However, even though the book of Revelation is written in symbols, the Bible explains itself in a literal language. For example:

  • A Beast in prophecy is explained in Daniel 7:23 “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdomupon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” So, a beast in prophecy represents a kingdom.
  • Water in prophecy is explained in Revelation 17:15 “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” So, waters in prophecy represent multitudes of people.
  • A Day in Bible prophecy is explained in Ezekiel 4:6 “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” So, a day in prophecy is equal to one year.

We never have to wonder what the Bible means. God has provided the answer to our every question! All we need to do is look with an open heart. We can be sure that Bible prophecy is accurate.

SYMBOLS OF REVELATION — LITERAL MEANING

Angel Messenger Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19,26; Hebrews 1:14
Ark of Testimony Ark of covenant/mercy seat where GOD dwells Exodus 25:10-22; Psalm 80:1
Babylon Religious apostasy/confusion Genesis 10:8-10, 11:6-9: Revelation 18:2,3; 17:1-5
Balaam, doctrine of Advancing our own interests, compromise, idolatry Numbers 22:5-25
Beast Kingdom, government, political power Daniel 7:23
Binding of Satan A symbolic chain of circumstances Isaiah 14:12-20
Black Moral darkness, sin, apostasy Exodus 10:21-23; Jeremiah 4:20-28; 8:21; Acts 26:18; John 12:35; Joel 2:1-10
Blood Life Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23
Bottomless Pit Earth in chaos, torn up, dark & empty Genesis 1:1,2; Jeremiah 4:23-28; Isaiah 24:1-4,19; Revelation 20:1-3
Bow Success in battle against evil Psalm 7:11,12; Psalm 45:4,5
Corrupt Woman Corrupt, apostate church Ezekiel 16:15-58; 23:2-21; Hosea 2:5; 3:1
Crowns Kingship, victory 1 Chronicles 20:2; 2 Kings 11:12; Ezekiel 21:26,27; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:7,8; 1 Corinthians 9:25
Cup Meted out suffering and judgments Psalm 11:6; 75:8; Isaiah 51:17, 22-23; Jeremiah 25:15-17; 49:12
Day Literal year Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34
Door Opportunity 2 Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:20
Probation Luke 13:24-25
Dragon satan or his agency Isaiah 27:1; 30:6;  Psalm 74:13,14; Revelation 12:7-9; Ezekiel 29:3; Jeremiah 51:34
Eagle Speed, power, vision, vengeance, protection Deuteronomy 28:49; Habakkuk 1:6-8; Revelation 12:14
Eating the book Assimilating the message Ezekiel 3:1-3; Jeremiah 15:16
Egypt Symbol of atheism Exodus 5:2
Eye salve Holy Spirit to help us see truth; Discernment to understand word; Antidote for spiritual blindness Ephesians 1:17-19; Psalm 119:18; 1 John 2:20,27; John 16:7-13
Faithful witness CHRIST John 18:37; John 3:11; Revelation 3:14; 19:11
False prophet Apostate Protestantism Revelation 16:13,14; 19:20
Forehead Mind Romans 7:25; Ezekiel 3:8,9
Fornication Illicit connection between church & world Ezekiel 16:15,26; Isaiah 23:17; James 4:4; Revelation 14:4
Four Beasts or Living Creatures Heavenly beings with special responsibilities Revelation 5:8-10; 4:6-9; 6:1-7; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4
Four Corners of the Earth Four directions of compass Jeremiah 49:36
Garments Covering of righteousness Genesis 35:2; Isaiah 61:10; 52:1; Zechariah 3:3-5; Romans 13:14
Gold True riches of heaven, faith, scripture Psalm 19:7-10; Galatians 5:6; James 2:5; Job 23:10
Hand Symbol of work Ecclesiastes 9:10
Harlot Apostate church/religion Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 3:1-3, 6-9
Heads Major powers, rulers, governments Daniel 7:6; Daniel 8:8,22; Revelation 17:3,10
Hidden Manna CHRIST John 6:49,50,53; Matthew 13:44
Horn Power and strength Deuteronomy 33:17, Zechariah 1:18,19
King or Kingdom Psalm 89:17,24; Daniel 8:5,21,22
Horse Symbol of battle Exodus 15:21; Isaiah 43:17; Jeremiah 8:6; Ezekiel 38:15; Zechariah 10:3
Special representatives/angels Zechariah 1:8-10; 6:1-8
Image A likeness Exodus 20:4; Genesis 1:26; 5:3; Deuteronomy 4:25; Romans 8:29
Incense Prayers of God’s people Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3,4
Israel True followers of CHRIST Romans 9:6-9; Romans 2:28,29; Galatians 3:39
Jezebel Immorality, idolatry, apostasy 1 Kings 21:25; 2 Kings 9:22
Keys of David Power to open and close the sanctuary Revelation 3:7,8; Isaiah 22:22
Keys Control/jurisdiction Isaiah 22:22; Matthew 16:19
Lamb Jesus/Sacrifice John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Genesis 22:7,8
Lamb’s Wife New Jerusalem Revelation 19:7-9; 21:2,9,10
Lion Strength, Jesus Christ Genesis 49:9; Revelation 5:4-9; Psalm 7:2
Locusts Destruction/destructive agencies Joel 1:4; Deuteronomy 28:38
Lord’s Day Sabbath Isaiah 58:13; Matthew 12:8; Exodus 20:10
Man Child Jesus Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 12:5
Mark Sign/seal/mark of approval or disapproval Romans 4:11; Revelation 7:2-3; Ezekiel 9:4
Measuring Rod God’s Law James 2:10-12; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14
God’s Word Isaiah 8:19,20; 2 Timothy 3:16,17
Merchants Advocates of Babylon’s teachings Isaiah 47:11-15; Nahum 3:16; Revelation 18:3,11,15,23
Moon Permanence Psalm 89:35-37
Moses’ system of types and sacrifices Hebrews 10:1,11
Morning Star Jesus Revelation 22:16
Mountains Political or religio/political powers Isaiah 2:2,3; Jeremiah 17:3; 31:23; 51:24,25, Ezekiel 17:22,23; Daniel 2:35,44,45
Mystery of God The Gospel Ephesians 1:9,10; 3:9; 6:19; Colossians 1:26-27
New Jerusalem The holy city of Heaven Revelation 3:12; 21:2
Oil Holy Spirit Zechariah 4:2-6; Revelation 4:5
Open Door Unlimited opportunity 1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 14:27; John 10:7-9; Hosea 2:15; Colossians 4:3
Rainbow Token of covenant keeping Genesis 9:11-17
Red (color) Sin, corruption Isaiah 1:18; 26:21; Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 46:10
Persecution, destruction Ezekiel 32:6,11; Jeremiah 46:10; Nahum 2:3
Reins Seat of will, affections Psalm 7:9; 16:7; 26:2; 73:21; Proverbs 23:16; Jeremiah 17:10
Seal Sign, mark and seal mean the same thing Romans 4:11; Revelation 7:2,3; Ezekiel 9:4
Second Death Lake of fire Revelation 21:8; 20:14
Serpent satan Revelation 12:7-9; 20:2
Seven Candlesticks 7 candlesticks in Holy Place in sanctuary Exodus 25:31-40
Seven Churches Revelation 1:20
Seven Heads Seven political powers Revelation 17:9,10; Isaiah 2:2-4; Jeremiah 17:3
Seven Lamps Jesus, Word of God John 9:5; 1:9; Psalm 119:105; Revelation 4:5
Sickle Symbol of harvest – End of world Matthew 13:39; Revelation !4:14
Sodom Moral degradation Ezekiel 16:46-55; Jeremiah 23:14; Genesis 19:4-14
Stars Angels Revelation 1:16,20; 12:4, 7-9; Job 38:7
Sun Jesus and the Gospel John 9:5; Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 17:2; John 8:12
Sword Bloodshed, destruction Isaiah 3:25; 13:15; Acts 12:1,2; Jeremiah 48:2
Testimony of Jesus Spirit/gift of prophecy Revelation 19:10; 22:9; 1 Corinthians 13:2
Thief Suddenness of Jesus’ coming 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10
Time Literal year Daniel 4:16,23,25,32; 7:25; 11:13 margin; Revelation12:6,14; 11:2,3
Torment Test, prove by trail 1 Corinthians 3:13; Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 33:14
Twenty Four Elders A group of redeemed from earth Revelation 5:9,10; 4:4; 7:9-14
Two-edged Sword God’s Word – Sword of Spirit Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 10:34; Isaiah 49:2
Two Witnesses Old and New Testamentsq John 5:39; Zechariah 4:1-14; Psalm 119:130,105; John 12:48
Waters Inhabited area – people, nations Revelations 17:15
White (color) Purity Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18
White Robes Victory & Righteousness Isaiah 61:10; Revelation 19:8; Zechariah 3:1-5; Revelation 7:14; Galatians 3:27
Winds Strife, commotion, “winds of war” Jeremiah 25:31-33; 49:36-37; 4:11-13; Zechariah 7:14
Wine False doctrine/teachings Jeremiah 25:15-18; 51:7
Jesus blood of atonement Matthew 26:21-29
Wings Speed Habakkuk 1:6-8; Jeremiah 4:13; Exodus 19:4
Woman, Pure True Church Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 51:16; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-35
Woman, Impure Apostate Church Ezekiel 23:21; Revelation 14:4; Hosea 2:5; 3:1; Ezekiel 16:15-58
Wormwood Sorrow/bitterness Jeremiah 9:15; 23:15; Lamentations 3:19
Wrath of God Seven Last Plagues Revelation 15:1

 

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