BIBLE’S PROPHETIC SYMBOLISM
There are so many prophecies in the bible scattered all over most of its books but that of Daniel and Revelation are very profound. The end time prophesies are dealt with extensively in these two books. Prophecies written by the prophets themselves pointed towards the birth, ministries of Jesus Christ and issues concerning the nation of Israel. Prophetic messages are usually transmitted in symbols.
The symbols in prophetic messages are like to what a legend (key) is to the map. These are spiritual messages which are not to be taken literally. The bible which bears the word and messages of God is not a novel. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Cor2:14). These symbols are found in the form of plants, animals or one may use the words of the bible- beasts. Others are sea, waters, wind, rock, cloud(s), metals like gold, silver, bronze (brass), iron, and so on. There are a lot of metaphors, similes, allegories, images, even parables seen in the bible. The bible is not an ordinary book and it is made up of different sectors: histories, poems, psalms, counsels and God spoken words.
The book of Revelation is a book of hope in which Jesus Christ vindicated his own after the great controversy between good and evil. There are two principal characters involved here: Jesus Christ and Satan. We will explore the symbols that are associated with these two.
Jesus Christ: faithful witness John18:37; John 3:11; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; 19:11
Hidden manna John 6:49,50,53; Matthew 13:44
Morning Star Revelation 22:16
Sun John 8:12; 9:5; Malachi 4:2; Matthew 17:2;
Seven Lamps John 9:5, 1:9; Psalms 119:105; Revelation 4:5
Lamb 1 Corinthians 5:7; Genesis 22:7,8; John 1:29.
Lion (of Judah) Hosea 5:4
Man Child Psalms 2:7-9; Revelation 12:5
Seed / Descendant Galatians 3:16; Romans 9:8.
Ancient of Days Daniel 7:9, 13, 22
Sheep Acts 8:32
Note that some of these verses might also mean the ‘word of God’ (in seven lamps) by implication of John 1:1 and John 1:14
Holy Spirit: Fire Acts 2:3,4; Luke 3:16
Oil Zechariah 4:2-6; Revelation 4:5
Dove Mark 1:10; John 1:32; Luke 3:22; Matt 3:16
Satan: Dragon; Old serpent; Devil
Ezekiel 29:3; Isaiah 27:1; Jeremiah 51:3 Jeremiah 30:6;
Psalms 74:13,14; Revelation 12:7,9
Beast: meaning – Kings with kingdoms; government; political power
Daniel 7:17, 23
Animals or animal parts symbols used in Bible.
All nations mentioned in the end time prophesies have an animal representation. Looking generally at the entire bible:
Lion : the nation of Babylon Daniel 7:4
Goat: The empire of Greece Daniel 8:21
Leopard: The Grecian Empire Daniel 7:6
Bear: destructive power of the empire of Medo-Persia
Proverbs 28:15; 2 kings 2:23-25; Daniel 7:5
Ram: the empire of Medo Persia Daniel 8:20
Horse: Strength and Power in Battle; Special representatives, an Angel;
Exodus 15:21; Isaiah 43:17;
Jeremiah 8:6; Job 39:19, Proverbs 21:31;
Psalms 147:10, Zechariah 1:8-10; 6:1-8
Indescribable beast: The Empire of Rome Daniel 7:7
Horn: king(s) and Kingdom(s) / System of Power or Authority
Daniel 7:24; Daniel 8:5, 21, 22; Revelation 17:12
Zechariah 1:18, 19
Woman – the word woman appeared 335 times in the bible (KJV) but in prophesy it stands for church. The book of Revelation presents two kinds of women: the pure woman and the corrupt woman.
Pure woman: the true church 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-27
Corrupt Woman: the apostate church
Ezk. 16:15-58; 23:2-21; Hos. 2:5; 3:1;
Rev. 14:4; Revelation17:3-9
Water(s): meaning – people, multitude, nations and tongues. Rev 17:15
Sea: see waters (only for Revelation 7)
Wind (s): strife, commotions, wars
Jeremiah 25:31-33, Jeremiah 4:11-13;
Seat: throne of government Revelation 13:2; Revelation 16:10
Day: Ezekiel 4:6 Meaning – A day represent One year
Angels – Rev 14:6-12 – These are God’s special people on earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ at different period of the church’s history. Do not confuse this with the literal angels in the bible like the one that appeared to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.
Time: 360 (literal years) see ‘Day’ above.
Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32; Daniel 7:25;
Times: 720 (literal years) see ‘Day’.
Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6,14,
Sword: Word of God , bloodshed, Destruction
Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12
Acts 12:1,2; Isaiah 3:25, 13:15; Jeremiah 48:2
Red : otherwise known as scarlet- Sin or corruption
Isaiah 1:18; Nahum 2:3; Revelation 17:1-4
Purple: Royalty Judges 8:26; Mark 15:17,
Black: Sin, immorality, apostasy
Exodus 10:21-23; Jeremiah 4:20-28; 8:21;
Blue: the commandments of God ( the decalogue)
Harlot: Apostate church Isaiah 1:21-27; Jeremiah 3:1-3; 6-9
Bottomless pit: desolate earth
Genesis 1:1,2; Isaiah 24:1-4, 19;
Jeremiah 4:23-28; Revelation 20:1-3
Clothing: Character Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 59:6
Fornication: Collusion between the church and the world
Ezekiel 16:15,26; Isaiah 23:17; James 4:4;
Egypt: atheistic practices Exodus 5:2