Given that the Book of Revelation is at one and the same time an apocalyptic, prophetic, and futuristic text, it should come as no surprise that the book is filled with symbols and imagery laced with alternative meaning. Church elders and scholars have debated for nearly 2,000 years about what all the signs and symbols of Revelation mean. We’ll point them out for you and give you links to learn more…
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a larger series about The Book of Revelation. This article focuses only on the imagery and symbols of Revelation. For more on the diverse characters, the meaning, verses, definitions, and other interesting tidbits about The Book of Revelation, please see Revelation – the Meaning, the Mystery, the Verses, and More…
Symbols & Imagery of Revelation
The symbols and imagery are organized with the flow of the Book of Revelation. The chapters/verses that discuss the symbols are provided for you to learn more.
Location of the 7 Churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. All of these are in Asia Minor.
The Book of Life is essentially the Roll Call of Heaven – if your name is written in the book, then you’ve got a ticket to ride to heaven. If not, you’re doomed to the fires of Hell.
In Revelation, the Book of Life is referenced in the following locations:
The Book of Life is not unique to Revelations. It’s also referenced in Psalm 69, in the New Testament books of Luke 10: 20, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 4: 3, and Hebrews 12: 23. Additionally it plays a role in multiple apocryphal texts including – The Book of Jubilees, The Book of Enoch, The Second Book of Baruch, and the Ascension of Isaiah,
In The Last Temptation of John, numerous references are made to The Book of Life and Mary Magdalene is the present keeper of this famous tome. The Book is the cause of great sorrow to Mary for she is repeatedly distressed to see names disappear from the book as it continues to be reduced down to the prophesied number of just 144,000 raptured souls.
Revelations Chapter 4 brings us into the throne room of God, where the Supreme Being is attended to by 24 Elders. Also on hand are the 4 Living Creatures: a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a man. Most importantly, the Lamb of God is given the Scroll with Seven Seals in Revelations Chapter 5 – this is the scroll that will release the various catastrophes of Revelation as each of the seven seals are broken.
Did you know?
The Throne of God motif is not unique to Revelation — it plays a key role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other holy books say it can be found in the Seventh Heaven and that is is also known as is Araboth (Judaism), and al-‘Arsh (Islam).
Links to learn more about The Throne of God
A seal is a device used to keep a document shut (for example a wax seal) and the 7 seals of Revelation are just that – protective guards that keep shut portions of a secret scroll that John saw in his visions. The only person that can open the seals is Lion and the Lamb (AKA Jesus).
As the Lamb opens each of the 7 seals a new judgement is released upon the world.
- The first 4 seals of Revelation release the dreaded 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
- Seal 5 calls for the Wrath of God. Seal 6 releases a Day of Wrath (earthquakes, etc around the world).
- Seal 7 triggers an entirely new set of catastrophes involving the 7 Trumpets, 7 Golden Bowls, and more.
Did you know?
In the Last Temptation of God book trilogy, the Seals of Revelation are started to be opened as early as Book I – The Pawns of Prophecy – with devastating results for the world.
Links to learn more about The Seven Seals of Revelation
Revelations Chapter 8 tells how the star called “Wormwood” fell from the sky after the third angel blew his trumpet. The result: “a third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.”
Did you know?
Wormwood is mentioned seven times in the Hebrew Bible, always with the implication of bitterness. The Hebrew term לענה (la’anah), means “curse.”
Revelation Chapter 10 is actually considered a kind of ‘interlude’ as the people of earth are given a slight reprieve from all the catastrophes caused by the breaking of the Seven Seals and the blowing of the Seven Trumpets. During this break in the action, John of Patmos is given the little scroll by the mighty angel – as instructed, John eats the ‘bitter’ scroll. This will become a source from which he can prophesy what he knows to all peoples and all nations.
Did you know?
In the Last Temptation of John books, this scroll is referred to as The Scroll of the Illuminated Angels. Although tiny in size, it promises to play a major role in helping to defeat the Antichrist.
After the Seven Spiritual Figures of Revelation are discussed in chapters 15, humanity is again forced to endure more plagues – this time with the Seven Bowls. Revelation Chapter 16 describes what happens when the 7 Angels of Revelation pour out the contents of their 7 Bowls. The basic gist is that each bowl contains a Wrath of God.
How do the 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, 7 Bowls, and 3 Woes relate to one another?
Here’s a handy chart that puts it all together for you along with a timeline of events….
The importance of Chapter 21 as the key message of hope in Revelation cannot be over-estimated – the emergence of the New Jerusalem is the climax of the entire book.
Is the AntiChrist Coming in Our Time?
What if the events detailed in The Book of Revelation were about to occur… this year?
Could anyone save us from certain death? The answer is YES. Hard as it may be to believe, St. John the Apostle is still alive today – having been blessed with the Gift of Immortality so that he could survive to fight against the coming of The Antichrist. Unfortunately, over the course of the last 2,000 years John has lost is faith!
Can John recover his faith in time to stop Armageddon or will Satan’s Son achieve Ultimate Victory? The answer to that question and many more will be revealed in the thrilling new book series The Last Temptation of John.
Read it the trilogy today… if your faith is strong enough.