Bible Symbolism

Revelation 22:6 And he said to me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show to his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. 9 Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 10 And he said to me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.


     John received the book of Revelation during the emperor Nero's reign. Revelation 17:10, (Speaking of the 1st seven emperors of the Roman empire.) And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.  This would put the vision right before the war in Judea were the city and temple were destroyed and ancient Israel ceased to be source of the Gospel and Kingdom of God going into the world. Or another way of putting it would be the end of the Old Covenant age. Here are the prophecies in Revelation of what shortly came to pass in Judea.

      Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 7:And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

    This is repeated later in the vision in: Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and observed, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers playing on their harps: 3 And they sang in that manner a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not tainted with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb where ever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

     Both of these visions are preceded by a vision of the four empires and the one in chapter six is also preceded by a reference to the murder of the saints by the leaders of ancient Israel. The book of Revelation alludes to that wickedness as a cause of the war as does Jesus here: Matthew 23: 29. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, 30. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31. Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32.Finish then what your ancestors started. 33. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? 34. Therefore, look, I will send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them you shall beat  in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35. That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36. Truly I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that murder the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! 38. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. Then following both of these parts of the vision is a reference to the Gospel going out into the Roman empire and the persecution of the saints by the authorities. That precedes all the great judgments against the empire prophesied after that.

     There are quite a few prophecies that say exactly when this end of the Old Covenant age was to occur as opposed to the ones that say when the era of the four gentile empires was to end. This is not a complete list of them but a sufficient one. This one is from Daniel chapter 8:15. And it came to pass, when I,  Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, look, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man  understand the vision. 17. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said to me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall the vision be. 18. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 19. And he said, look, I will make you understand what shall be in the final period of wrath: for at the time appointed the end shall be. 20. The ram which you saw having the two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21. And the rough goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. 22. Now that being broken, whereas four stood in its place, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. 23. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce expression, skilled in intrigues, shall stand up. 24. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and accomplish, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 25. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. 26. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut up the vision; for it shall be for many days. This prophecy is very concise. In verse 19 it calls this a final period, meaning a time period of wrath and then the end will occur at a specific time. It shows exactly when this "final period of wrath begins."  Verse 23; in the latter time, meaning near the end of the Greek empire. The king is Antiochus IV Epiphanies. Because of what he does to the Israelites a great amount of prophecy is devoted to him in the book of Daniel. In short, he got a large number of the Israelites to apostatize and make sacrifices to Zeus. Then after a humiliating affair with Rome he got back into Jerusalem deceitfully. He murdered and sold into slavery approx. 160,000 Jews. He stopped the daily offering and desecrated the temple. Plundered and burned the city. Burned the books of the law, forbad any celebrations of any of the feasts. He set up an idol of Zeus at the alter of burnt offering. He sacrificed a pig on the alter. (One of two abominations of desolation.) He forced the Jews to sacrifice a pig on the 25th of each month to celebrate his birthday. He sought to exterminate Judaism and Hellenize them. ie: Convert them to the customs and religion of the Greeks.

     The next one is from Daniel chapter 9:24. Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troubled times. 26. And after sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come and shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end of it shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined. 27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. All these dates are gone over in great detail in the book length article End Time Prophecy. To keep it short here though. This gives the exact date the Messiah starts his ministry to ancient Israel and after he was crucified and risen, the Apostle's continuation of it for three and a half  years. Then the end comes. which happened within that generation they ministered to.

     Daniel 11-12 goes through the same scenario again. prophesying the Medo-Persian Empire then through the Greek one and the wars of the Greek kings with Judea stuck in between them. It then prophesies in verses 36-45 Herod the Great's reign and Octavian's (Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor)  conquering the remaining part of the Greek Empire in Egypt. Then in chapter twelve it prophesies the Gospel going out into Judea and the world plus the end of the Old covenant age with the terrible war. You can see all this in great detail here.

    The next verses will be from the New Testament. Starting with some from Matthew 24 that use similar illustrations as Revelation 6 did at the beginning of this page. 29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is close: 33. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is close: 33. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34. In truth I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36. But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Luke version in Chapter 21: 20. And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation of it is near. 21. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter into it. 22. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that are nursing in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.......27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh. 29. And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30. When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31. So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know  that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32. truly I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 

     Mark's version of Mathew 24 also say that all of the things prophesied in the chapter will come to pass in that generation in the first century as do these verses. In Mark 14:61 ...Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62. And Jesus said, I am: and you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Or Matthew16: 27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28:Truly I say to you, There are some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew16: 28. Truly I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Mark: 9: 1. And he said unto them, Truly I say to you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Luke 9: 26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.27. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

     Peter quoting Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2 declares Joel's prophesy to speak of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that they were experiencing to be followed shortly by this particular great day of judgment.  Acts 2:16. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17. And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

    The letters of the apostles also speak as if the end times things and visions they were hearing from God were going to happen to them. which by the way, they did. They just didn't have absolute clarity about it because God did not give the apostles a clear understanding of the times and seasons as it says here.  Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.


     The letters to the seven churches in Revelation could also be put into the category of things that must shortly come to pass because it makes no sense to commend or condemn a future generation in regards to the faith and behavior of individuals he was directly speaking to. In other words why would Jesus warn them that he was coming to judge them if he was not?  He specifically said in six of the seven letters he was coming to their church and the letters they were receiving were giving them the time they needed to get things right for when he comes. It would simply make it a false prophesy if he did not. This however should not be construed as talking about he coming of the Lord in the end of the first covenant age. It's all simply the same language used throughout the entire scripture about Lord literally\physically coming to earth during great days of judgment, or to set things right. There are more than a dozen different ones prophesied with the record of the fulfillment in scripture itself.  This article goes through all those various days of judgment when the Lord literally came to earth to oversee what was prophesied. As for the rest of the prophecies in Revelation of judgment, about 11 chapters worth. They are all prophesying the the calamites coming to the Roman Empire and its end for its persecution of the saints. Which once it falls the prophecies about the age of promise and the great warfare that ties to stop it are in Revelation 20-22 begin.

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