Bible Prophecy - Origin Of The Symbols

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Since I learned that nothing is chosen by chance with God, I wondered about the origin of the symbols. In addition, the two time cycles of 7000 years and the jubilee cycles that started with the exodus kept me wondering also.
In considering how God chose the cycles and determined the times I had to consider several things:

  1. God does not predestine anyone's fate.
  2. God can see the future.
  3. God acts at the right time and He does everything He can to convince each person what is right.
  4. He made a plan of salvation before the earth was created.
  5. He used the law to determine the symbols to use.
  6. He used His knowledge of the future to determine the symbols to use.

So I started with the symbolism that runs throughout all of God's work - the creation. Since God knew that we would sin and since He would be separated from us, it is not unreasonable to believe that some parts of creation were designed just for the temporary time when we would be separated from God.
Day Separated or Filled Created Symbols
1 Darkness Light Lamp, sun, moon, stars, light
2 Sea Heaven Cloud, rain, water, sea
3 Earth Earth, trees Earth, tree, weeds, land, mountain, wilderness, river, spring, fruit, seed, oil, bread, wine
4 Heavens Sun, moon, stars Sun, moon, stars, gospel, Israel
5 Sea Birds, fish Sea monster, bird, frog, dragon, serpent
6 Earth Animals, man Woman, man, lamb, beasts, horn
7 Covenant Sabbath Blood, circumcision, rest

Revelation seems to agree with this when it says there will be no sun or moon in heaven. The lion will lie down with the lamb - there will be only vegetarians among the human and animal kingdom. For this reason, the design of the carnivorous tooth is useful in these times. Other body parts may be just as temporary.

Let us look at what was created each day of creation in terms of how the bad was separated from the good. God treated darkness and the sea as bad symbols.
To explain the symbols I will explore the following concepts:

The Three Zones
The basis of all the symbols are the three zones from which they originate (heaven, sea and earth). The plan of salvation is the process of redeeming all three zones.

  1. Heaven. It is freed at the crucifixion. Satan is judged and thrown out of heaven.
  2. Sea. It is freed at the Second Coming. The saints go to heaven. The beast and dragon are judged and thrown into the abyss (earth).
  3. Earth. It is freed at the Third Coming. Heaven and the sea (people) comes to earth. The wicked people are judged and all receive their final punishment.

    From the time of creation two symbols were declared not good and they came to represent the wicked:

    1. Darkness. Sin and death.
    2. Sea. The raging people.

    The process of creation not only made the earth suitable for man to live, it also separated or purified the environment, leaving us with three distinct environments.

    1. Light and dark were separated.
    2. Heaven was separated from the sea.
    3. Earth was separated from the sea.

Within each of these zones, certain symbols operate. They are positive or negative symbols based on the zone that they are in.
Zone Type Access After Crucifixion Symbols
Heaven Positive Humans Sun, moon, stars, cloud, lightning, rain
Sea Negative Dragon, Humans Dragon, people (good, evil), sea monster
Earth Mixed Humans, lamb beast Wilderness, mountain, people, woman, trees, grass, seed, animals, birds, locusts, amphibious creatures (frogs), lamb, little horn

As time progresses, only certain events and people are allowed to operate in a particular zone. The devil is cast out of heaven after the crucifixion, the dragon cannot go beyond the shores of the sea to the earth - so he sends a human representative. All humans have access to all zones by virtue of God's grace.

Access to the three zones by the dragon changed after key events, he overcomes the difficulty by corrupting those who have access to all three zones (humans) and he sends his agents after the church. In Revelation 13 the dragon stood on the sand of the sea. In Revelation 12: 15 he poured out water in a flood (evil people) after the woman who flees to the wilderness (earth).

  1. Sin. The dragon was allowed to rule the earth.
  2. Before Crucifixion. The dragon had access to heaven.
  3. After Crucifixion. The dragon was restricted to the earth and the sea. Jesus said that at that time the prince of the world was judged (John 16: 11).
    For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time. (Revelation 12: 12)

On the earth the little horn and the lamb who speaks like a dragon carries out the work of the beast from the sea and they begin acting just like that old beast. Just as Adam's sin gave him access to the three zones, the betrayal of the church by the lamb and the false prophet gives him access to the remnant in the earth.

The Pursuit Of The Woman
The symbol of the woman as the church is based on the events in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were the formal rulers of the earth. Satan pursued the woman and caused her to sin, after they both sinned he took formal possession of the earth and subjected them to slavery. God allowed him to rule for about 1656 years and then he destroyed the world and saved a remnant.

Fast forward another 1600 years and we arrive at the time of Christ - the new Adam. He and the woman were again pursued by the dragon. Unlike Adam, He did not sin and He was taken back to heaven. But the woman remained behind in the sea and she was pursued. God gave Satan another 1700 years, then he made a way in the earth for the woman to escape (The United States).

It is very significant that the flood happened after 1656 years and the pilgrims landed in the United States 1600 years after the crucifixion.

The Two Time Tables
Two separate time tables were in operation. I will refer to one as human history and the other as salvation history.

  1. Human History (Creation). This is the 7000 years of earth history. God based this time on the Sabbath cycle. This is creation history.
  2. Salvation History (Recreation). God based this time on the jubilee cycle. It reflects God's actions in human history to fulfill the terms of the covenant. He carved out a specific amount of time from the 7000 years. This day started during the third day of human history. On the third day of creation, the first signs of life appeared. This is recreation history.
Normal Time
Day Years Sanctuary Event Created Human History Salvation History
1 1000 Covenant Sin Light, dark Darkness entered the world with sin. Satan pursued the woman Eve. The covenant is made. A seed of the woman is promised
2 2000 Laver Flood Heaven, water A flood destroys the earth God starts over and renews the covenant with a remnant.
3 3000 Sacrifice Israel, Exodus Water, earth, trees, seed Israel is called, salvation history begins with a remnant. The seed of the woman keeps the covenant. The lamb is sacrificed.
4 4000 Lamp Church, Christ Sun, moon, stars Church is spread around the world. The light shines. Man escaped to heaven, Heaven rejoices. Heaven is free.
5 5000 Shewbread Little horn Sea monster Dragon corrupts the woman in the sea. The church is martyred. Their blood is spilled, body is broken.
6 6000 Incense Remnant Man and animals Little horn pursues the woman on the earth. The remnant are faithful. Man triumphs over the beast and the sea monster. A new body is created for man. The formal judgment condemns the little horn. Their prayer is answered.
7 7000 Ark Rest Sabbath Dragon confined to the abyss on earth to rest from evil Woman escapes to heaven to rest

The table above really shows the origins of the symbols. Each millennium represents the work accomplished on that day of creation. The pattern shows a major event accomplished in each 1000 years of history that is similar to that day of creation.

The Jubilee
Day Normal Time Jubilee Time Battle Ground Event Created Comment
1 1000   Heaven, sea, earth Sin Light, dark Man and woman is pursued and defeated. A covenant is made. Darkness wins.
2 2000   Heaven, sea, earth Flood Heaven, water Satan stopped after 1656 years - 8 righteous are saved. The light is separated from the darkness.
3 3000 1, 2
Heaven, sea, earth Israel, exodus Water, earth, trees, seed The promised Seed of the woman triumphs and keeps the covenant.
4 4000 3,4
(2, 3)
Sea, earth Church, Christ Sun, moon, stars The Man escaped to heaven, Heaven rejoices.
5 5000 5,6
(4, 5)
Sea, earth Little horn Sea monster Dragon defeats the woman in the sea for 1700 years. Woman is pursued and finds help in the wilderness.
6 6000 7, 8
(6, 7)
Earth Remnant Man and animals Little horn pursues the woman on the earth
7 7000 9, 10 (8) Earth Heaven Sabbath Woman escapes to heaven

The Two Streams Of Life
When Jesus died, two streams flowed from His side - blood and water for cleansing.
but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19: 34)
This was represented by the water and the wine at the feast of tabernacles. These streams represents cleansing from sin - which eventually leads to life.
In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. (Zechariah 13: 1)

  1. The Blood Cycle. It represents justification from sin - what Christ did to set us right with God.
  2. The Water Cycle. It represents sanctification from impurity - what the Holy Spirit is doing to make us holy by making us perfect.
  3. Fire Cycle. Whatever can pass through fire must also be cleansed by fire. Fire is a third stream that represents total perfection. This is why we go through "fiery trials". This stream changes us at the Second Coming. This stream also permanently removes evil from all the zones of creation.

The Stream Of Water
The symbolism of cleansing is seen in the baptism, the laver and the former and latter rain. On a grand scale we see this cleansing by water in the flood and the baptism of Israel in the Red Sea.
Revelation links water to life when it talks about the river of life flowing from the throne of God.

The Stream Of Blood
The symbolism of life is seen in the blood. The blood of the innocent is the only sacrifice that can restore life. Giving life as a sacrifice is good, taking or drinking blood is bad with the exception of the blood of Christ. This is the only blood that gives life.

The Stream Of Fire: The Purification Process
Water can temporarily purify. The impure water runs to the sea. Blood can purify us from sin. The spilled blood is absorbed by the earth. In the temple sacrifices, the blood is stored on the altar and once each year at the cleansing of the sanctuary, the stored blood is removed and placed on the horns of the scapegoat. This goat dies in the wilderness and is absorbed by the earth.
Therefore both the earth and the sea absorbs the unclean. Both must be cleansed. The only thing that ultimately cleanses both is fire.
The saints are cleansed by fire with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The earth and the wicked are cleansed by fire at the final judgment.

Promised LandFed in the WildernessSlavery
Most Holy Place Holy Place Laver
Outer Court
(Altar of Sacrifice)
? The Covenant Table of Shewbread
- Shekinah Glory
Altar of Incense
HeavenEarthDragon Sea

The Sanctuary And The Covenant
He used the order of creation as the pattern for the symbols that he would use in our recreation. God introduced the concept of the sanctuary and feasts and all the furniture to represent the recreation. He used the jubilee time to fit these actions into human time.

The Plan of Salvation combines all these symbols into several major systems that demonstrate how salvation will be accomplished. Next, He called Israel to demonstrate His plan to the Universe. All prophecies take their symbols from these two institutions and the history of these people.

Creating Prophecy
Paradise Paradise Lost Adrift in the Dark on the Sea Earth (Dry Land) Paradise Restored
Garden Tree Fruit Dragon Woman Sea Man Sea Dragon War Revenge Evil Woman Man Fruit Tree Garden
Tabernacles Trumpets Passover and Yom Kippur Shavu'ot Tabernacles
Most Holy Place Outer Court Holy Place Most Holy Place
Naked Unclean Blood WaterFire Covered
Blessings Curses Enmity and Separation Children Born Land Restored

Meaning Sanctuary Evil Version
Truth Lamp, light Darkness
Clean Running water, springs Sea (dirty water)
Pure, Uncorrupted Grape drink Wine, leaven, dregs
Life (Body) Bread Raw Meat
Life Giving blood Drinking blood
Prayer Incense Sorcery, divination
Sacrifice Clean animals Dogs
Jesus Lamb Dragon
Teachers Priest Sorcerers
Word of God Commandments Disobedience
Church Woman Whore
People Fruit Tree Weeds
For every truth there is an evil copy. This is created by using an unclean version, mixing the pure with the unclean or changing its color.
God looked at human history and made code names of the activity and described prophetic events in terms of these code words. Some symbols derive their meanings from the object, others derive or modify their meaning from the colors or actions on the object or interaction between symbols.

We begin prophecy with the dragon in heaven who is thrown to earth. There he pursues the woman to corrupt and try to kill her. She is set adrift in the darkness and on a turbulent sea. The woman gives birth to a child who is killed by the dragon. Through His death He brings light and makes a path through the sea so that the woman is on dry land. After the Man child is resurrected, the dragon is restricted to the sea. He then sends his representatives, the little horn and the false prophet to the earth to continue his work.
The woman is now a bride who tries to get ready for the wedding, but the evil forces try to corrupt or kill her. Then the man returns in power to take back the earth for His bride. The dragon and his forces are defeated and the earth is cleansed and made ready for the man and his bride.

It is in the context of this general story, that the details of all other prophecy takes place. Every other prophecy involves the following events:

The great rescues of Noah and the exodus follow this pattern.

God protected the message by hiding it in symbols and in rituals that Israel practiced for centuries. I can imagine that even Satan did not realize how important every single detail was.
God choose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. (1 Corinthians 1: 27)

It is my belief that Satan did not understand the meaning of these symbols. If he did, he would have made a greater effort to stamp out the Bible and the prophecies. Instead you will find him corrupting those symbols that he already knows. The Pagan religions corrupt these basic symbols.

His goal is to gain the worship that God has. As a result, he used and corrupted symbols already familiar to him from heaven.
Therefore, you will find the Israelites worshipping under green trees. This is taken straight from the throne of God which is surrounded by an emerald rainbow over a sapphire blue floor with a tree on each side. You will also find Satan setting up worship on a mountain just as God sits on a holy mountain named Zion.

Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14: 6)
Time: 50 minutes
Print: 7 pages
Copyright     Updated : June 25, 2002. 2010
Author: Laverna Patterson.   Editor:
Credits: The information was compiled from my thoughts.