Symbols of The Bible (A-K)
A symbol is an abstract, an abridgement, a summary, a sign or representation of something moral, having the properties of natural things, an emblem, etc.
The Bible uses many symbols, and if these symbols are not fully understood, a clear understanding of the subject being discussed, can not be known. The following words may have several meanings, including a literal meaning; but here, we are only looking at words and their symbolic meanings, and what that symbol represents.
Following are some of the symbolic words used in Scripture.
Represents idolatry or the worship of false gods.
1. Jer.3:8, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel = (sinful Israel) committed adultery.” Israel began to worship other gods. This is adultery in God’s eyes. This can be compared to a man, or a woman cheating on their spouse.
2. Ez.23:37, “They (the twelve tribes of Israel) have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery.”
This often refers to a messenger, a minister. One who is sent in order to announce, teach, perform, or explore any thing.
Judg.13:3, “The angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, = (Samson’s mother) and said unto her, behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.”
Matt.11:10, Jesus said, speaking of John the Baptist, “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger = (angel) before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
Rev.1:16,20 In verse 16, John sees Christ Jesus with seven stars in His right hand. In verse 20, we are told what the seven stars represent. “The seven stars are the angels = (ministers) of the seven churches.”
Ps.10:15, “Break thou the arm = (power) of the wicked and the evil man.”
Ps.89:21, God said, “Mine arm = (power) also shall strengthen him.”
This word represents commands or piercing words.
Job 6:4, “For the arrows = (commands) of the Almighty are within me.”
Refers to tyrannical, brutal, savage, heathen monarchs.
Dan.7:17, “The great beasts, which are four, are four kings = (those who represent their kingdoms.)”
Today we see a branch of Muslims strap bombs to their own men, woman, and children, in order to kill their enemies. Their main targets are Jews and Christians, and any who support the Jewish state and/or, their people. These are beasts, brutal and savage, who make war against the witnesses of both the Father and Son, Christ Jesus. They represent their king = (Mohammed), and their god = (Allah). Adolf Hitler was another form of beast, he tried to exterminate the Jewish race from the face of the earth.
The word represents affliction, anguish.
Job 30:30, “My skin is black = (is afflicted) upon me.”
Joel 2:6, “Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness (the people shall have affliction).”
This word represents spiritual ignorance.
Isa.29:18, “In that day shall the deaf = (spiritually deaf) hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind = (spiritually blind) shall see out of obscurity = (blindness), and out of darkness (destruction, ignorance, or sorrow).”
Rom.11:25, “blindness = (spiritual ignorance) in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The nation of Israel as a whole, shall remain spiritually blind to the Lord Jesus, until the Gospel has been preached to the whole house of the Gentile world, then God will bring the Jews back to Himself.
This word means slaughter, depth.
Isa.34:3, “Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood = (slaughter).”
Ez.32:6, “I will also water with thy blood = (the depth of) the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains.” This verse means, the blood of God’s enemies shall overflow even the mountains.”
This word represents the Church, Gods people.
Rev.21:9, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lambs’s wife.”
The symbolism here is, Christ wedded to His Church.
John 3:29, “He = (Jesus) that hath the bride = (the Church) is the bridegroom.”
This word represents desolation and torments.
Job 18:15, “It = (they) shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone = (desolation) shall be scattered upon his habitation.”
Rev.14:10, The Lord in this verse is speaking about any person who worships the beast, He said, “The same = (these persons) shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone = (torments) in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Bulls are the violent enemies of God, and of His children.
Ps.22:12, King David said, “Many bulls = (enemies of God) have compassed = (surrounded) me: strong bulls of Bashan = (The devourer, enemy) have beset = (encircled) me round.”
A candlestick represents a church (group of believers, not the building).
Rev.1:20, “The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” That is, those who make up the seven churches.
Rev.2:5, Jesus is speaking to the christians at Ephesus, saying to them, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick = (this church) out of his place, except thou repent.”
Chariots represent Heavenly hosts.
Ps.68:17, “The chariots = (angels, spirit creatures) of God are twenty thousand, even thousands = (millions and millions, without number) of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”
A crown is a symbol of victory, or an award.
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life = (victory), which the Lord hath promised to them that
Rev.2:10, Jesus said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown = (award) of life.”
This is a symbol of either Divine blessings, or of Divine judgments.
Ps.23:5, “Thou = (God) preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup = (blessings) runneth over.”
Isa.51:17, “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup = (judgments) of His fury.”
Jer.23:12, “Their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness = (misery.)”
Amos 4:13, “For, lo, He = (God) that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind and declareth unto mat is His = (God’s) thought, that maketh the morning darkness = (misery.)”
Rom.13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness = (ignorance.)
To the Jews, this meant the whole of the Gentile world, impure people, and persecutors.
Matt.15:26, In verse 24, Jesus was responding to a Gentile woman who had come to Him concerning her daughter, the daughter being demon possessed. Jesus told her that He had come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel = (the Jews) and not to the Gentiles. Yet the woman fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Jesus than said to her, “It is not meet = (good) to take the children’s bread = (salvation provided by God for the Jews), and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles.)” At this period of time, the Gentiles had not yet been brought into God’s fold of saving grace.
Rev.21:8, “But the fearful = (cowardly) and unbelieving = (atheist) and the abominable = (people polluted with crimes), and murderers, and whore-
mongers = (sexually immoral), and sorcerers = (those who cast spells, sell drug such as cocaine, heroin, and those who poison others), and idolaters = (those who partake in the worship of false gods, also covetous people), and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” These people are called dogs, or impure people.
2 Pet.2:21-22, “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. … according to the true proverb, The dog = (impure people) is turned to his own vomit again;”
A door is a symbol, representing an opening.
I Cor.16:9, “For a great door = (opening) and effectual = (opportunities by the Holy Spirit to create great effects) is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
Comment: When a person is truly in love with the Lord Jesus, Heaven’s door is thrown wide open, and the Holy Ghost will present those believers with many blessings and opportunities. This punctuated by fruit bearing works.
This is a symbol of Satan, wicked princes and rulers.
Isa.27:1. The Lord here is speaking, concerning the last days, He said, “In that day the LORD with his sore = (severe) and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Rev.12:9, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”
Comment; Many teach that the above creatures are representative of sea creatures. Not so! I believe the LORD is making reference to Satan, who is refered to as the dragon, or leviathan.
The leviathan or dragon, is described as both “piercing = (fleeing, put to flight),” and “crooked = (perverted.)” God will fulfill the prophesy of Gen.3:15, when He said to the serpent, I, “shall bruise thy head (destroy you).” The dragon, will be hunted down, and punished.
This is a symbol of the effects of God’s divine judgements.
Isa.29:9-10, “Stay yourself = (pause a moment), and wonder = (be amazed), cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes:” These are the effects of God’s divine judgements upon those who have closed their hearts to the Lord Jesus.
Eagle Eagle: In Scripture the eagle has always been considered the king of birds. It is strong, fast, and can see for long way. It may refer to nations such as the Kenites, Num. 24:21. The guilty, Luke 17:37, “the eagles be gathered together.” Their swiftness, as alluded to in Deut.28:49, “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth.” The march of an army on its enemies, 2 Sam.1:23, Jer.4:13, 48:40, Lam.4:19. Symbolic of passing days, Job 9:26: The loss of wealth, Prov.23:5: Pride, Obadiah 4: Doom, Jer. 49:16: To become young again, Ps.103:5, Isa.40:31: Cyrus is compared to an eagle: Also, Isa.46:11: Hos.8:1, Jer.48:40, 49:22, Isa.8:8.
An earthquake is a symbol for a “shaking” of the heavens, earth, and the sea. To move to and fro, to shake, with the idea of shock, concussion, etc. It also is a symbol for, confusion in a persons mind, agitation, and to put in commotion.
Matt.21:10, “When He = (Jesus) was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, = (in commotion) saying, Who is this?”
Matt.28:4, “And for fear of him = (an angel) the keepers = (guards) did shake = (perturbed, confused in their minds), and became as dead men.”
Matt.28:2, “And, behold, there was a great earthquake = (shaking of the earth): for the angel of the Lord decended from heaven.”
The symbol for knowledge is the word “eye” or “eyes.”
Ps.31:22, “I am cut off from before thine eyes = (knowledge).
Pro.15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
The word face is a symbol for Divine favor, or to be in God’s presence.
Ps.31:16, “Make thy = (God’s) face = (favor) to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.”
Matt.18:10, Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones = (children); for I say unto you, That in heaven their = (children’s) angels do always behold the face = (God’s favor, and are in His presence) of my Father which is in heaven.”
Rev.22:4, “And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads = (their minds).”
Fat is a symbol of abundance.
Gen.45:18, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat = (abundance and the best) of the land.” If men are obedient to God, we shall eat the fat of Jesus table.
Jer.5:28, “They are waxen fat,” This people had great abundance, this coming from the Great and mighty God of Creation.
This is a public profession of God.
Rev.7:3, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” The forehead is the most conspicuous part of a person’s body. This is where we are to put on the helmet of faith. Jesus said, “the hope of salvation,” is worn on the forehead.
Rev.13:16, “And he = (the beast, a tyrannical, brutal person) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” These will profess the anti-Christ. Those who accept and receive this mark are condemned to the lake of fire with their masters.
This is a symbol of affliction.
Jer.11:4, These words were spoken by the LORD to the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. God said, “Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, Which I commanded your fathers = (Moses, Aaron, etc.) in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace.”
Here God is saying, that being in bondage to one’s enemy = (here it was Egypt), is like being in an iron furnace. The furnace is symbolic of the affliction and ordeal of bondage, and the iron is the duration of that bondage.
Eph.5:27, “That He = (Jesus) might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle = (soiled garments), or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Rev.3:4, Jesus said to the church in Sardis, “Thou hast a few names = (or there are a few Christians), even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments = (their profession of faith, based on the spoken word of God).”
Rev.19:8, “And to her = (the bride of Christ) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen = (unsoiled garments), clean and white = (having a bright and pure spirit): for the fine linen is the righteousness = (righteous acts) of saints.”
Ps.147:13, “For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates.” A Christian’s gates, or security is strengthened by both wisdom and knowledge in the Lord Jesus.
Matt.16:18, Jesus told Peter, “upon this rock = (Jesus meaning Himself). I will build my church; and the gates of hell = (power of hell) shall not prevail against it.”
Job 12:18, “He = (God) looseth the bond of kings = (God corrects kings), and girdeth their = (the kings) loins with a girdle = (God’s strength).”
Kings would enslave their subjects. Yet, God can turn a person loose from that bondage, and with the same cord a captive was bound with, God with His might will bind that king.
John 21:18, Jesus said to Peter, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself = (by your own strength), and walkedst whither thou wouldest = (went where you chose to go): but, when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee = (Peter would be bound for execution), and carry thee whither thou wouldest not (taken, jailed, and killed).” Peter was to be girded by anothers strength.
This is a symbol for wicked people.
Matt.25:33, Jesus said of Himself when He returns, “And He = (Jesus) shall set the sheep = (Christ’s followers) on his right hand, but the goats = (the wicked) on the left.”
In the past, now, and up to that future point in human history,when Christ returns, both good and evil people will have been mingled together. But when Christ returns, He will judge between the two classes, rewarding the righteous, and judging the ungodly.
These two words are a symbol for God’s enemies. In the New Testament, the name Gog is spoken of a remote people, who are to war against the Messiah.
Ez.38:2, “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog,” The LORD has appointed Ezekiel to prophesy against His enemies, and to tell them that He is against them. God will bring the enemies of Israel, which are also His enemies, to the doorstep of the Jews, and then, He will destroy the enemies He calls Gog, from the land of Magog.
Rev.20:7-8, “When the thousand years are expired = (completed), Satan shall be loosed = (released) out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle = (they shall war against Christ).”
This a symbol for the lower order, as compared to trees, the higher order.
Rev.8:7, “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
This is a symbol of protection, and, or support.
Ps.18:35, David wrote, “Thou = (God) hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden = (held) me up = (God protects David).”
Ps.73:23, Again, David wrote, “I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand = (supported me).”
This is a symbol of Divine influence.
Ez.8:1, Ezekiel writes, “As I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the LORD God fell there upon me.” Ezekiel is now under the influence of the LORD God, and what he is about to write is not his own. Ezekiel is in his body, soul and spirit, under the full influence, or the hand of God.
Rev.4:1-2 John writes, “Behold a door was opened in heaven.” Verse 2, “Immediately I was in the Spirit = (John was now under the total influence of the Holy Spirt.
Harvest is a symbol for a time of destruction.
Joel 3:13, “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest = (time of God’s destruction) is ripe — for the press = (winepress) is full, the fats overflow; for their = (sinners) wickedness is great.” Here we see God’s directions to His ministers of vengeance, or those who are to execute God’s harvest of destruction upon the enemy’s wickedness.
Many people have asked me, why does God not destroy all wickedness off the face of the earth? My answer is, God never cuts wickedness off all at once, but waits until their guilt, and their sins, are at there fullest, this is to show His long suffering = (patience), then, is the time of harvest.
Heavens are a symbol for both political and religious governments.
Isa.13:13, God said, “I will shake the heavens = (governments of politics, and religion).
Isa.34:4, “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll.” All political and religious governments will be done away with.
Rev.20:11, John wrote, “I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them (them being the leaders of religion and politics).”
This is a symbol for war and conquest.
Zech.10:3, “The LORD said of His people, the Jews, “the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah= (the Jews), and hath made them as His goodly = (royal or majestic) horse in the battle.”
As a man makes use of his horse, the Lord makes use of His people. A horse in battle is a formidable force to the enemy in front of him. Jesus as commander and chief can make His people, though timid, and though as sheep, courageous as a horse in war.
These two words are symbolic of spiritual desires.
Matt.5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.”
Comment: Because hunger and thirst are our most natural appetites, Jesus, by using this figure of speech, plainly means, those people whose deepest desires are after spiritual blessings.
As the natural body depends on both food and water for its health, and strength, also our spirit and soul depend on the blessings of God.
As a Christian do you hunger and thirst after spiritual righteousness?
Isa.51:1, “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD = (hunger and thirst after God).”
Gen.9:18, Jacob said, “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
This is a symbol for prayer.
Ps.141:2, David wrote, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.”
Mal.1:11, “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense = (prayers) shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering for my name shall be great among the heathen = (nations), saith the LORD of hosts.”
Rev.5:8, “And when = (Jesus) had taken the book, the four beasts = (living creatures in heaven) and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials = (bowls) full of odors = (incense), which are the prayers of saints.”
Jerusalem is in some places a metaphore for the Jewish state, or the church. It can be understood for the Mosaic dispensation, or the Christian dispensation. It also stands for the Redeemer’s kingdom, of which the spiritual Jerusalem is the seat.
Ps.122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem= (the church both Jew and Gentiles) they shall prosper that love thee.”
Heb.12:22, “Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem = (where all those who are saved will be with the Living and True God).”
Keys are a symbol for power and authority.
Rev.1:18, Jesus said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, A-men’; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Because of God’s gift to us, through Him, our death is that gate which leads to our resurrection and our eternal life in Him, and with Him.
Keys are a symbol or emblem for power and authority. Christ can both save and destroy; can kill and make alive. Death, both physical and spiritual are under His dominion, for He is, the Resurrection and the Life.