Bible Symbolism

Revelation 1:1.... for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.


    Isaiah 60 1. Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you. 3. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4. Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5. Then you will see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the wealth of the nations shall come unto you.14......all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you; The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

     Here in Isaiah 60:5 the sea is a symbolic reference to the nations of the world. All of Isaiah 60 & 62 are prophecies about the New Jerusalem. Allot of the verses are quoted in Revelation 21-22. That's why verse 14 is included, just to alert the reader. These people that the nations will be converted to are called the city of the Lord. Before going on to other verses about this it would be good to look at something Jesus said that relates to this. Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth its fruits . Jesus was speaking to ancient Israel and said that they as a nation were about to lose the Kingdom of God that existed in it. Although I am making no claims as to the Greek word translated nation being the precise or best rendering. That is the way it is usually translated. However think about this. Jesus said it was being removed from one nation and transferred to another nation that will allow it to bear its natural fruit. Yet as we know all people groups, nations are receiving this Kingdom as it states and implies often in the NT: Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: Galatians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.  So, how is it one nation is receiving or being admitted into this Kingdom if many nations are receiving, entering or inheriting it? James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? Well the answer lies here: Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor un-circumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. This is the precise meaning of the symbolism of there being "no more sea." Not that nations cease to exist in the era prophesied, but that those of all nations who are in Christ are become one people.


These next verses show the different ways the Bible uses the "sea" illustratively in parables, prophecies and visions to symbolize the nations.


       Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. 2. Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another......Verse 17 of Daniel 7 is the interpretation of the vision 17. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, (Empires)which shall arise out of the earth. These four empires, (Babylon, Medo\Persia, Greek and Roman) arose out of the nations, "the sea."

      Jeremiah 51 41. How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! 42. The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. 43. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwells, neither does any son of man pass thereby. In this lamentation the "sea," the Medes and Persians conquer the Babylonian empire.

      Ezekiel 26 3. Therefore thus says the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causes his waves to come up. Same thing here.  

     Matthew 8 23. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26. And he says unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! On the surface this appears just to be a miracle worked for the benefit of the disciples. However it is much more than that. This scene corresponds with the whole of Bible prophecy in its declarations that the Government of God would tame the radical, blood thirsty, pagan idolatrous nations of the world through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the power of his Kingdom. That is the greater meaning of the sign and wonder he showed by the taming of the sea and the wind. (The four winds strove upon the great sea in Daniel 7:2)

      Matthew 13 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Using the sea in a parable of the Gospel going out into the nations.

      Luke 21 25. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. In this prophecy of the end of the first covenant age the same illustrative language is used. As a literarily device the statement is made: Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity followed by the analogy: the sea and waves roaring.

       Revelation 13:1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. This is essentially a combination of Daniel's visions about the same four empires with a few added details.

© Daniel Martinovich 2012-2017