A Study of Revelation

S Y M B O L I S M

We must understand that Revelation is a book of symbols. Symbols should not be taken literally, but should be thought of as a description of events God is revealing to us. Symbols in Revelation are figurative in nature, therefore, we must search the Scriptures to find their correct meanings. We must take care to have a biblical reason for the meaning for these symbols and not arbitrarily apply any meaning we might like in order to make it fit our interpretation.

In the book of Revelation many times the meaning of a symbol used in one passage may have to be derived from a passage not yet studied. There are also symbols which may be best understood by collectively studying all passages dealing with them. It is also true that more than one symbol may be used to describe the same thing. We commonly do this when we describe the size, color and shape of something. Often, in Revelation, several symbols are used to describe the same force operating in this world. Each symbol is used to identify different characteristics of that which is being described. Listed below are a few of the symbols prevalent in the book of Revelation. Reasons for arriving at these particular meanings will be discussed in detail as we encounter these symbols in the book itself.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

We will also use graphics designed by Lonnie Woodruff,
author of “Revelation For Christians Today,”, again, with His permission.
This helpful graphic below comes from Lonnie Woodruff.

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Above is a picture of the Holy City – the Lord’s church – as seen in the book of Revelation.

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Revelation 1:1-2
1:1* ¶ The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
2* who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

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