Revelation: A Primer

Here are fifty basic terms associated with the book of Revelation. Further research will be required for a more complete definition and interpretation of these words and their symbolic meanings.

ABANDON – destruction; the king of the locust army (Rev. 9:11)

ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION – Antichrist moves into Jerusalem, desecrates the temple and demands worship (Dan. 9, Mt. 24, II Th. 2, Rev. 13)

ABYSS – the bottomless pit (a term used seven times in Revelation) Satan is cast there during the Millennium (Rev. Ch. 9 & 20)

ANTICHRIST – although this name does not appear in Revelation, he is also called the false prophet; heads the end-time empire; forces all to take the mark (666), without which no one can buy or sell (also known as the first beastthe man of sin, and the little horn of Daniel; he will perform miracles and demand worship (Dan. 7:8; II Thess. 2:3-11; Rev. 13)

ANTIPAS – an unknown faithful martyr in Pergamum (2:13)

APOLLYON – Greek name for Abaddon – king of the locust army; translated destroyer (9:11) 

ARMAGEDDON – means hill of slaughter; the final end-time Battle when Christ defeats antichrist and his armies in Israel (Zech. 14:1-3 & Rev. 16:16)

BABYLON – mystical Babylon, symbolic of the great end-time ecumenical movement (from the word babble, meaning confusion) (17:5)

BEAST – also known as the little horn of Daniel and the Antichrist because two beasts appear in the book, there is much confusion concerning who’s who (Rev. 13 & 19)

DRAGON – refers to Satan in Revelation (Rev. 12:3 – 16:13)

ELDERS – represent the saints in heaven (Rev. 5:5-14) 

EUPHRATES – boundary line between the Roman Empire and Israel (16:12) 

FALSE PROPHET – second beast; heads the world religion of the Antichrist   (16:13 & 20:10)     

FOUR – a number found thirty times in Revelation, which seems to represent universality

FROGS – symbolic of demonic influences; filthy and wicked things; frogs emerge from slimy, dark waters; can also represent false doctrines (16:13)

GLASS, SEA OF – may picture eternal holiness (4:6 & 5:2)

GOLD – represents divine righteousness (21:18-21)

GRASS – emblematic of humanity (9:4)

HIDDEN MANNA – unidentified symbol of the reward of the overcomers (2:17)

JERUSALEM – seat of antichrist during the tribulation

LAKE OF FIRE – final destination of the beast and the false prophet and all who follow them (19:20 & 20:10)

LAMB – term used 28 times in Revelation to refer to Christ and His sacrifice (5:6)

LAMPSTANDS – symbolic of the seven churches of Asia (Ch. 1-3) 

LIGHTNING – emblematic of divine wrath and judgment (4:5)

LOCUST ARMY – symbolic of demonic hosts which come out of the abyss to torment humankind (9:3-7)

MAN-CHILD – pictures Jesus Christ as virgin born (Rev. 12)

MARK OF THE BEAST – acceptance of the mark, 666, denotes ownership of the individual by the Antichrist (13:16-17)

MILLENNIUM – the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth; an era of peace (Isa. 11/Rev. 20)

NEW HEAVENS & NEW EARTH – abode of the saints for eternity (Ch. 21-22) 

NEW JERUSALEM – seat of Christ in the new heavens and new earth (Ch.19-22)

NICOLAITANES – apparently represents a class of false priests mentioned in connection with the churches of Pergamum and Ephesus (2:6-15)

PALMS – emblems of victory, i.e., triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (7:9)

PATMOS – penal island off the coast of modern Turkey where John received the prophecies contained in Revelation (1:9)

PLAGUES – seven are listed in Revelation – including the sea being turned to   blood, sun becoming intensely hot, huge hailstones, darkness, etc. (Ch. 15)

RAINBOW – symbolic of a covenant, i.e., Noah and the post-flood era (4:3)

RAPTURE – a term meaning “caught away in ecstasy”; the event when Christ comes for His Church “as a thief in the night” (I Thess. 4:16-18)

SCORPIONS – represent the torment caused by the army of demons (9:3-10)

SEA – symbolic of the nations and their restlessness (12:12)

SECOND COMING – physical return of Christ to the earth after the tribulation (II Pet. 1:16; Rev.1:7 & 19:11-13)

SEVEN – a divine number; often regarded as the number of completion; the book of Revelation contains the most frequent use (54 times) of the word 15:6-8)

STARS – symbolic of lesser authorities, as compared to the sun or the moon, which fall during the Tribulation (6:13 & 18:12)

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN – possibly Jewish “nominal” or “professing” Christians (2:9 & 3:9)

TEMPLE – symbolic of a central place of worship (21:22)

TREE OF LIFE – emblematic of eternal life, from which Believers may eat freely (Gen. 2:9; 3:22 & Rev. 22:14)

TRIBULATION – seven-year period of judgment and catastrophes on earth commencing immediately after the Rapture (Rev. 6-18 & Mt. 24)   

TRUMPETS – emblematic of the heralding of announcements concerning dynamic events (9:14)

VIALS – represent the various judgments “poured-out” or implemented (16:3)

WATERS – symbolic of the nations; the “sea of humanity” (17:1)

WHITE – pictures purity and righteousness (3:4-18)

WHITE THRONE – place of the final judgment (20:11)

Maxim of the Moment

Love is made sweet by compliments; not commands.