Back to

Basic Truth #4

The Book of Revelation is written in symbolic language.

Revelation 1:1 - The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.

  • The Greek word for signified is semaino, which means "expressing by signs, to make known, to give a sign."
  • Webster's New World Dictionary states that a sign is a "mark or a symbol having a specific meaning."
  • The word sign comes from the Latin word signum, and the original Anglo-Saxon word means "token." A token is something serving as a symbol. Thus, the word signified means "made known by symbol and figure."
  • Symbolic language is used because men in a lost condition, according to the Bible, are deaf and blind; they cannot comprehend spiritual things. First Corinthians 2:14 tells us, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." If God ever gets spiritual truth to a natural man, He has to use a parable. He has to bring spiritual things down to an earthly level where man can understand.
  • Figurative language is not confined just to the Revelation. It is used throughout the Bible to teach spiritual lessons. This is how we answer all the symbols in Revelation. For every symbol there is another Scripture in the Bible that will let us know what the symbol represents.
  • Words may be interpreted in many different ways, but symbols cannot. There is only one meaning when a symbol is used.

The above excerpts are from the following study materials:

Introduction to the Revelation by Bro. Emerson Wilson
Preparing to Pour Out the Vials by Bro. Emerson Wilson
The Book of Revelation Explained, Volume 1 by Earl R. Borders