AuthorTopic: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism  (Read 1456 times)

Offline Ashvin

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The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« on: November 17, 2012, 08:31:10 AM »
This is continuing from some comments made on the "adios" thread. For anyone interested in studying the book of Revelation and its meaning, I believe it is critical to become familiar with various prophetic symbols that are commonly used throughout the Bible, especially the OT prophecies, including numerology. It is also good to study the Book of Daniel in the OT, since there is a lot of overlap between the two. Here is a list of the prophetic symbols and their meanings with scriptural references:

Animals and their Parts
• Horse = Strength and Power in Battle Job 39:19, Psalms 147:10, Proverbs 21:31
• Dragon = Satan or his agency Isaiah 27:1; 30:6, Psalms 74:13-14, Revelation 12:7-9, Ezekiel 29:3, Jeremiah 51:34
• Beast = Kingdom / government / political power Daniel 7:17, 23
• Lamb = Jesus / sacrifice John 1:29, 1Corinthians 5:7
• Lion = Jesus / Powerful King i.e. Babylon Revelation 5:4-9, Jeremiah 50:43-44, Daniel 7:4, 17, 23
• Bear = Destructive Power / Medo Persia Proverbs 28:15, 2Kings 2:23-24, Daniel 7:5
• Leopard = Greece Daniel 7:6
• Serpent = Satan Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Tongue = Language / Speech Exodus 4:10
• Wolf = Disguised Enemies Matthew 7:15
• Dove = Holy Spirit Mark 1:10
• Ram = Medo Persia Daniel 8:20
• Goat = Greece Daniel 8:21
• Horn = King or kingdom Daniel 7:24; 8:5, 21-22, Zechariah 1:18-19, Revelation 17:12
• Wings = Speed / Protection / Deliverance Deuteronomy 28:49, Matthew 23:37

Colors
• White = Purity, Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Blue = Law, Numbers 15:38-39
• Purple = Royalty, Mark 15:17, Judges 8:26
• Red/Scarlet = Sin/corruption, Isaiah 1:18, Nahum 2:3, Revelation 17:1-4

Metals, Elements, and Natural Objects
• Gold = Pure Character Precious and Rare Isaiah 13:12
• Silver = Pure Words & Understanding Proverbs 2:4; 3:13-14; 10:20; 25:11, Psalms 12:6
• Brass, Tin, Iron, Lead, Silver dross = Impure Character Ezekiel 22:20-21
• Water = Holy Spirit / Everlasting Life John 7:39; 4:14, Revelation 22:17, Ephesians 5:26
• Waters = Inhabited area/people, nations Revelation 17:15
• Fire = Holy Spirit Luke 3:16
• Tree = Cross; People / Nation Deuteronomy 21:22-23, Psalms 92:12; 37:35
• Seed = Descendents / Jesus Romans 9:8, Galatians 3:16
• Fruit = Works / Actions Galatians 5:22
• Fig Tree = A Nation that should bear fruit Luke 13:6-9
• Vineyard = Church that should bear fruit Luke 20:9-16
• Field = World Matthew 13:38, John 4:35
• Harvest = End of World Matthew 13:39
• Reapers = Angels Matthew 13:39
• Thorns / Thorny Ground = Cares of this life Mark 4:18-19
• Stars=Angels/messengers = Revelation 1:16, 20; 12:4, 7-9, Job 38:7
• Jordan = death Romans 6:4, Deuteronomy 4:22
• 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
• Rock = Jesus / truth 1Corinthians 10:4, Isaiah 8:13-14, Romans 9:33, Matthew 7:24
• Sun = Jesus / the gospel Psalms 84:11, Malachi 4:2, Matthew 17:2, John 8:12; 9:5
• Winds=Strife / commotion / "winds of war" Jeremiah 25:31-33, 49:36-37; 4:11-13, Zechariah 7:14

Miscellaneous Objects
• Lamp = Word of God, Psalms 119:105
• Oil = Holy Spirit, Zechariah 4:2-6, Revelation 4:5
• Sword = Word of God, Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12
• Bread = Word of God, John 6:35, 51-52, 63
• Wine=blood/covenant / doctrines, Luke 5:37
• Honey = happy life, Ezekiel 20:6, Deuteronomy 8:8-9
• Clothing = Character, Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 59:6
• Crown = A Glorious Ruler or Rulership, Proverbs 16:31, Isaiah 28:5, Isaiah 62:3
• Ring = Authority, Genesis 41:42-43, Esther 3:10-11
• Angel = Messenger, Daniel 8:16; 9:21, Luke 1:19, 26, Hebrews 1:14
• Babylon = apostasy / confusion / rebellion, Genesis 10:8-10; 11:6-9, Revelation 18:2-3; 17:1-5
• Mark = Sign or seal of approval or disapproval, Ezekiel 9:4, Romans 4:11, Revelation 13:17; 14:9-11; 7:2-3
• Seal = Sign or mark of approval or disapproval, Romans 4:11, Revelation 7:2-3
• White Robes=Victory / righteousness, Revelation 19:8; 3:5; 7:14
• Jar / Vessel=Person, Jeremiah 18:1-4, 2Corinthians 4:7
• Time = 360 Day, Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:25; Daniel 11:13 margin
• Times = 720 Days, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5
• Day = Literal year, Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34
• Trumpet = loud warning of God's approach, Exodus 19:16-17, Joshua 6:4-5

Actions, Activities, and Physical States
• Healing = Salvation, Luke 5:23-24
• Leprosy / Sickness = Sin, Luke 5:23-24
• Famine = Dearth of Truth, Amos 8:11

People and Body Parts
• Woman, Pure = True Church, Jeremiah 6:2, 2Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:23-27
• Woman, Corrupt = Apostate church, Ezekiel 16:15-58; 23:2-21, Hosea 2:5; 3:1, Revelation 14:4
• Thief = Suddenness of Jesus' coming, 1Thessalonians 5:2-4, 2Peter 3:10
• Hand = Deeds / Works / Actions, Ecclesiastes 9:10, Isaiah 59:6
• Forehead = Mind, Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Romans 7:25, Ezekiel 3:8-9
• Feet = Your Walk / Direction, Genesis 19:2, Psalms 119:105
• Eyes = Spiritual Discernment, Matthew 13:10-17, 1John 2:11
• Skin = Christ's righteousness, Exodus 12:5, 1Peter 1:19, Isaiah 1:4-6
• Harlot = Apostate church/religion, Isaiah 1:21-27, Jeremiah 3:1-3; 6-9
• Heads = Major powers/rulers/governments, Revelation 17:3, 9-10

Bible Numbers
Many of the numbers in the Bible have deeper prophetic significance. Both in the Old and New Testaments, numbers reveal hidden concepts and meanings that commonly escape the casual reader. And throughout history, men with great minds, like Augustine, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo Di Vinci, showed more than just a passing curiosity regarding the importance of biblical numbers. Once more, Jesus said, “The very hairs of your head are numbered” Matthew 10:30. Obviously, Bible numbers should be carefully considered.

1 – represents absolute singleness and unity (Ephesians 4:4–6; John 17:21-22.) (We presume readers need no more than these two citations, as most of the biblical information regarding unity and singleness is common knowledge.)

2 – represents the truth of God's Word; for example, the law and prophets (John 1:45), two or three witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1), and a sword with two edges (Hebrews 4:12). See Mark 6:7 and Revelation 11:3. It is also used 21 times in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

3 – represents the Godhead / Trinity. The angels cry “Holy” three times to the triune God (Isaiah 6:3). See also Matthew 28:19 and 1John 5:7-8.

4 – represents universal truth, as in the four directions (north, south, east, west) and the four winds (Matthew 24:31; Revelation 7:1; 20:8). In acts 10:11, a sheet with four corners symbolizes the gospel going to all the gentiles.

5 – represents teaching. First, there are the five books of Moses. Second, Jesus taught about the five wise virgins and used five barley loaves used to feed the 5,000.

6 – represents the worship of man, and is the number of man, signifying his rebellion, imperfection, works, and disobedience. It is used 273 times in the Bible, including its derivatives (e.g, sixth) and another 91 times as “threescore” or “60.” Man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26, 31). See also Exodus 31:15 and Daniel 3:1.

This number is especially significant in the book Revelation, as “666” identifies the beast. “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:18).

7 – represents perfection, and is the sign of God, divine worship, completions, obedience, and rest. The “prince” of Bible numbers, it is used 562 times, including its derivatives (e.g., seventh, sevens). (See Genesis 2:1–4, Psalms 119:164 and Exodus 20:8–11 for just a few of the examples.)

The number seven is also the most common in biblical prophecy, occurring 42 times in Daniel and Revelation alone. In Revelation there are seven churches, seven spirits, seven golden candlesticks, seven stars, seven lamps, seven seals, seven horns, seven eyes, seven angels, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven thousand slain in a great earthquake, seven heads, seven crowns, seven last plagues, seven golden vials, seven mountains, and seven kings.

10 – represents law and restoration. Of course, this includes the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. See also Matthew 25:1 (ten virgins); Luke 17:17 (ten lepers); Luke 15:8 (healing, ten silver coins).

12 – represents the church and God's authority. Jesus had 12 disciples, and there were 12 tribes of Israel. In Revelation 12:1, the 24 elders and 144,000 are multiples of 12. The New Jerusalem city has 12 foundations, 12 gates 12 thousand furlongs, a tree with 12 kinds of fruit 12 times a year eaten by 12 times 12,000 or the 144,000. (See Revelation 21.)

40 – represents a generation and times of testing. It rained for 40 days during the flood. Moses spent 40 years in the desert, as did the children of Israel. Jesus fasted for 40 days.

50 – represents power and celebration. The Jubilee came after the 49th year (Leviticus 25:10) and Pentecost occurred 50 days after Christ's resurrection (Acts 2).

70 – represents human leadership and judgment. Moses appointed 70 elders (Exodus 24:1); The Sanhedrin was made up of 70 men. Jesus chose 70 disciples (Luke 10:1). Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 times 7.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 08:33:17 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2012, 05:38:31 PM »
1/   You mean numerics not numerology. Some would say Numerology is divination and therefore banned by bible. There are varying sysytems of numerology based on either your birthdate or your name ascribing number values to the letters, most numerologists go with birthdate, both have good merit not just mumbojumbo in defining personality and physical traits and life path etc.

Numerics should be only applied as Ashvin uses them here. Bible numerics in skip sequencing was hailed as proof of gods "seal" in the truth and proof of bible in the 80's and 90's. two books were then written by a jewish author whose name escapes me now. These were hugely popular and many people took heed that by 2006 there would be world war and were either relieved or disappointed when this did not happen. Sceptics had demonstrated that with a long enough book all the same things could be "sealed" somewhere in skip sequencing, demonstrating this using Tolstoys"war and peace".

2/  I do not see why a literal use of a word should not be applied where possible. e.g. "Those dwelling securely in the mountains" during the tribulation. That makes more sense to me than mountains being used as symbolic for politico or religio-political powers as per your model. In escaping persecution or thievery mountains make sense. If there are some sort of axis or pole shift type trouble as many people project, then earthquakes and tsunamis, mountains or inland areas are your best bet.

3/ I do not see why a best fit of association and prognostication should not be applied to the symbols. Eg Bear as the Russian Bear rather than "destructive power", or we would have far more references to bears in the bible. Also Dove widely used as representing peace rather than "Holy Spirit".

4/ Your list is incomplete, eg dust and clay do not figure as two main ones. adam "formed from the dust of the earth"  First book genesis,  and "toes of iron and clay" last book Revelation. First bbook and last and anything in between "shake the dust from your sandals". Again here a more generally accepted association might be better Iron meaning industrialized rather than impure, and clay meaning terracotta/tuscan decor, or northern and southern europe,  or the core and the periphery economies being the toes of iron and clay.

What Im getting at is that to capture interest you might need to give tidbits of cutting to the chase a little, as well as being as linnearly thorough as you are. Kindly continue.



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Offline Ashvin

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 07:05:05 AM »
1/   You mean numerics not numerology. Some would say Numerology is divination and therefore banned by bible. There are varying sysytems of numerology based on either your birthdate or your name ascribing number values to the letters, most numerologists go with birthdate, both have good merit not just mumbojumbo in defining personality and physical traits and life path etc.

Numerics should be only applied as Ashvin uses them here. Bible numerics in skip sequencing was hailed as proof of gods "seal" in the truth and proof of bible in the 80's and 90's. two books were then written by a jewish author whose name escapes me now. These were hugely popular and many people took heed that by 2006 there would be world war and were either relieved or disappointed when this did not happen. Sceptics had demonstrated that with a long enough book all the same things could be "sealed" somewhere in skip sequencing, demonstrating this using Tolstoys"war and peace".

Yeah, I guess I mean numeric symbols. I don't find any "bible code" arguments to be credible.

Quote
2/  I do not see why a literal use of a word should not be applied where possible. e.g. "Those dwelling securely in the mountains" during the tribulation. That makes more sense to me than mountains being used as symbolic for politico or religio-political powers as per your model. In escaping persecution or thievery mountains make sense. If there are some sort of axis or pole shift type trouble as many people project, then earthquakes and tsunamis, mountains or inland areas are your best bet.

I think the text must be interpreted consistently. If we are taking a symbolic approach (not all do), then we probably shouldn't interpret words with clear symbolic meaning, in the context of other symbolic things, as being literal. I don't think the unfaithful will literally ask the mountains to fall on them and hide them, or that the islands and mountains will literally disappear.

Quote
3/ I do not see why a best fit of association and prognostication should not be applied to the symbols. Eg Bear as the Russian Bear rather than "destructive power", or we would have far more references to bears in the bible. Also Dove widely used as representing peace rather than "Holy Spirit".

The meaning of prophetic symbols must be determined by seeing how they are used elsewhere in the Bible, and especially in other prophetic passages. Remember, prophecy is where we find a lot of symbolic language, so "bear" probably just means bear in non-prophetic parts of the Bible. Some speculate that prophecy was revealed mostly in symbols to protect the message from ruling or surrounding cultures, especially when the prophets were in hostile foreign territory.

“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.” (Luke 8:10)

Quote
4/ Your list is incomplete, eg dust and clay do not figure as two main ones. adam "formed from the dust of the earth"  First book genesis,  and "toes of iron and clay" last book Revelation. First bbook and last and anything in between "shake the dust from your sandals". Again here a more generally accepted association might be better Iron meaning industrialized rather than impure, and clay meaning terracotta/tuscan decor, or northern and southern europe,  or the core and the periphery economies being the toes of iron and clay.

Genesis is historical narrative, not prophecy. Adam was literally formed from the dust of the ground.

"feet and toes... of iron and baked clay" is from Daniel 2, which is prophetic, and the verse explains that it means a divided kingdom, one part weak and one part strong. Iron generally symbolizes strength in the Bible, and seems to be often coupled with a contrasting symbol - Christ will rule with "a rod of iron" in Revelation, which symbolizes the crook used by shepherds to both guide and protect the flock.

Generally, I think a good rule of interpretation for Revelation is that Heavenly descriptions of people and events are literal, while Earthly descriptions are symbolic. After Christ's death, resurrection and ascension, Earth has become the spiritual kingdom of God, as Christ spiritually fulfilled the prophets and the law. It is really the opposite of what many people tend to think - that Heaven should be thought of in strictly spiritual terms, and Earth in physical terms.

Quote from: Ephesians 2
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,c but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God byd the Spirit.

I also believe Revelation gives us a parallel structure of prophecy (as opposed to strictly chronological), with the seven churches, the seven seals, the seven trumpets all covering overlapping periods of time and events. 1-6 take us into the 1800s, and people since them seem to be living in the time of the seventh. The exception would be the 7 last plagues or 7 bowls of God's wrath, which are all yet to come.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 07:17:21 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 04:38:22 PM »
Ok now we know where you stand on the preterism continuum, up to the 1800's more details would be useful. I imagine verses such as "many shall go to and fro" as part of a description of final times would describe a period after the 1800's as there were not cars and planes then, but have now.
verses describing the mark of the beast recieved on the hand and head so that noone can buy or sell comes close to fitting hitler as beast and auschwitz inmates, except they did not buy or sell anything in those camps. So looks possible as  a yet to become history with chipping.

AD 70 and the destruction of jerusalem fits many verses, not least of which is "this generation shall not pass away before these things have come to pass", except for the slight problem of the second visitation of Jesus on our earth.

Carry on...

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Offline Ashvin

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 05:28:17 PM »
D 70 and the destruction of jerusalem fits many verses, not least of which is "this generation shall not pass away before these things have come to pass", except for the slight problem of the second visitation of Jesus on our earth.

Carry on...

That particular prediction is found in Matthew 24, which parallels the opening of the seven seals in Revelation 6 quite well. When Jesus says "this generation shall not pass away before...", he is specifically referring to the destruction of the Temple, because the disciples initially asked when that would happen, and the destruction of Jerusalem is a type of what happens after all of the later prophecies are fulfilled, Christ returns and the final judgment commences.

Instead of going through every prophecy in Revelation myself, I'll just link you to the bible study of Revelation that I find the most persuasive (so far) - http://www.revelationbibleprophecy.org/index.html

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 07:49:36 PM »
Im working through that reference slowly, will be some time before i can fully evaluate it. So far lacks the mesmerizing charisma of the work of the late great Barry smith of NZ.
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: The Book of Revelation and Symbolism
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 10:36:17 AM »
Im working through that reference slowly, will be some time before i can fully evaluate it. So far lacks the mesmerizing charisma of the work of the late great Barry smith of NZ.

Glad to hear it. It's not the best written or constructed bible commentary, I'll give you that...

It definitely blew my mind in a few places, though, esp the simplicity of its symbolic interpretive method, and its discussion of what the "antichrist" and "beast" and "false prophet" really are.

Also, check this out if you want to read an interesting argument for why the number of the beast is 666 and what the mark of the beast is - http://www.markbeast.org/mark-beast-666.html

 

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