[Table of Contents]|
B. W. Johnson|
Vision of the Ages (1881)
APPENDIX OF SYMBOLS.
Revelation is a book of symbols. The proper interpretation depends on the right use of these symbols. The meanings usually attached to them will be found in any symbol dictionary. I have condensed for this table from the dictionaries the definitions of the principal symbols used in Revelation.
ADULTERY.--Idolatry or apostasy. As Christ is represented as a Bridegroom, and the Church as his Bride, apostasy, or unfaithfulness to him, would be spiritual adultery and a false church properly represented as a harlot.
ANGEL.--Any agent or messenger of the divine will. It may be a Celestial spirit, or a movement of earthly nations, etc.
ASCENSION TO HEAVEN.--Exaltation in power and glory. Prosperity.
BABYLON.--The city that carried God's people into captivity. Rome.
BALANCES.--A symbol of justice, but when used in connection with food they are a symbol of scarcity.
BEAST.--A wild, savage beast indicates a usurping, cruel, tyrannical, persecuting power.
BINDING.--This symbol implies to deprive of power, to weaken, or render helpless.
BLACK.--The color of mourning or affliction.
BLACK HORSE.--The horse is a symbol of war. A. black horse would mean calamitous war.
BLOOD.--A symbol of carnage and therefore of war.
BOOK.--To seal a book is to conceal its meaning; to open a book is to reveal its meaning. The book with seven seals is the book of destiny. The opening of the seals is the revelation of future history.
BOW.--A bow held in the hand is a symbol of war. 
BRIDE.--The spouse of Christ, the Church, the New Jerusalem.
CANDLESTICK.--A symbol of a church, which is the light of the world. The seven golden candlesticks are the Seven Churches.
CHAIN.--A symbol of bondage or affliction. To chain is to render powerless. To bind Satan with a chain is to destroy his power.
CLOUD.--An emblem of power and majesty. To ride upon the clouds is to appear in glory and exaltation.
CROWN.--The symbol of royal majesty. To enjoy exaltation and honor. To receive the crown of life is to receive the honors of eternal life.
DARKNESS.--The well known symbol of calamity and affliction.
DAY.--"I have given you a day for a year." One revolution of the earth on its axis is a symbol of its annual revolution in its orbit. "Twelve hundred and sixty days" means as many years.
DEATH.--A symbol of destruction.
DRAGON.--The old pagan Roman Empire. The dragon was originally a symbol of a monarch. In Revelation it means the persecuting monarchy of Rome.
EARTH.--The ancient civilized world, which corresponded in John's time with the Roman Empire.
EARTHQUAKE.--Political and moral revolutions and convulsions of society. The shaking of the established order of things. The subversion of states and fortunes.
ECLIPSE.--Or the darkening of heavenly bodies, means the obscuration of the glory of kings and potentates of which sun, moon and stars are symbols.
EGYPT.--The place of spiritual bondage. A condition of sinfulness. Opposition to Christ.
ELDERS.--Probably heavenly princes.
EUPHRATES.--The symbol of the Turkish power. To be "bound by the Euphrates" is to be restrained at that river.  The "drying up of the Euphrates" is the gradual decay of the Turkish power.
FIRE.--Fierce destruction. Never the symbol of a blessing, but of a curse.
FIRE FROM HEAVEN.--Divine destruction, but fire brought down from heaven by the two-horned dragon, means excommunications and anathemas of Rome.
FLOOD.--Symbol of overpowering. Distress from persecution or any cause.
FOREHEAD.--A mark in the forehead means a public profession.
FORNICATION.--Idolatry. See Adultery.
GRAVE.--To put into the grave, signifies to consign to oblivion. "Not to suffer dead bodies to be put into the grave," means that they shall be remembered.
HAIL.--Ravages and destruction.
HAND.--A mark in the hand means the manner of life.
HARLOT.--An idolatrous community. The great Harlot is the apostate church. See Adultery.
HEAVENS AND THE EARTH.--The world. The political and religious universe. A new heavens and new earth implies a passing away of the old order of things and the establishment of a new order.
HORNS.--"The great horn is the first king;" Daniel. A symbol of kings, kingdoms, or power.
HORSE.--Used only for warlike purposes by the ancients and hence a symbol of war. The color of the horse indicates the condition of his rider and the state of the war.
INCENSE.--The prayers of the saints.
ISLANDS.--European States. In the prophets the "isles of the sea" meant the countries in and beyond the Mediterranean; hence, Europe.
JERUSALEM.--The capital of Judea and the seat of the temple becomes a symbol of the church of Christ. The "holy  city" is contrasted with the "great city," Jerusalem with Babylon, or the true with the false Church.
KING.--Supreme power of any kind.
LAMB.--The Lamb of God is the Messiah, slain as a lamb from the foundation of the world.
LOCUSTS.--Devouring armies, who pillage and ravage a country. The Arabians under Mahomet.
MANNA.--The bread of life. The truth of Christ.
MERCHANTS.--Those who traffic in religious privileges. Those who make merchandise of religion.
MOON.--A symbol of rulers or great men, but not supreme.
MOUNTAIN.--A mountain denotes one highly elevated and conspicuous among men. A great and powerful prince or government. A burning mountain is a destructive conqueror.
PALE HORSE.--A symbol of war and of the reign of death.
PALM.--A symbol of joy or victory.
RED HORSE.--A symbol of cruel, bloody war, distinguished by awful carnage.
RIVER OF LIFE.--Christ is the fountain of life. The abundant, everflowing life that the Savior. bestows is symbolized by the river of life. The tree of life means virtually the same.
ROD.--The symbol of rule. A rod of iron is a strong rule.
SCARLET.--Bloody cruelty. The color worn by the cardinals of Rome.
SEVEN.--The perfect number.
STARS.--Conspicuous men. Shining lights in the world.
SUN.--A supreme ruler. The moon and stars indicate great lights of society, but inferior to the sun. The moon is also a symbol of the Jewish state, and the sun of the Christian.
SWORD.--A symbol of slaughter, or of conquest. A sword proceeding out of the mouth indicates the spiritual conquests of the word of God.
TEMPLE OF GOD.--The Church. The Temple of God open in heaven, is the abode of God, or heaven itself.
THRONE.--A symbol of authority.
TIME.--Time, times and half a time is an annual revolution of the earth, a year, two years, a half year, or three and a half years. "Seven Times" passed over Nebuchadnezzar, or seven years.
TRUMPET.--The blast of the trumpet means the forward  march of armies, or the proclamation of war or peace.
WHITE.--To be clothed in white is to be innocent, pure, and to be triumphant.
WHITE HORSE.--Triumphant and glorious war. See Horse.
WHORE.--Apostate church. See Adultery.
WINDS.--Symbol of commotion; of mighty movements. The "Four Winds" are four invasions of the Roman empire.
WINE PRESS.--A symbol of an effusion of blood and of distress.
WITNESSES.--The two witnesses are the two Testaments, for such is the meaning of the latter word.
WOMAN.--A body politic, civil or religious. The "woman clothed with the sun" is the pure and faithful church. The Great Harlot is the false, faithless, apostate church.
[Table of Contents]|
B. W. Johnson|
Vision of the Ages (1881)
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