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Seven lampstands (1 20) = the church universal [7 is the perfect number] Seven stars (1 20) = angels [spiritual leaders (bishops?) of the church] Throne of God (4 2)= God (from Jewish reluctance to picture God)
throne is an interchangeable term wh means the person of God and the seat of God’s power
They used it that way because of the Jewish reluctance to picture God.
24 Elders (4 10)= the people of God of all ages
Scroll (5 2)= the unfolding purpose of God [when John talks about unrolling the scrolls, he’s not talking about a literal scroll. He’s talking about the purposes of God to us.
Lion(5 5)= Christ
Lamb(5 6; 14 1-5; and elsewhere) = Christ
Four Horsemen (6 1-8)= war, civil strife, famine, and fatal plagues
Riders on white horses (6 2; 19 11 ff)= the Word of God
Sodom and Egypt (11 8)= contemporary world culture
Woman clothed with the sun (12 1)= the people of God from which the Messiah comes (Israel);
he is born (12 5) and snatched up to God — the resurrection and exaltation
Michael(12 7-10)= Christ in battle with evil forces
Dragon (12 7 ff)= Satan (see Re 20)
Beast (13 1 ff)= the emperor, demanding divine honors (Domitian?)
666 (13 18)= the number equals the sum of the Hebrew letters for Nero Caesar (ie, a cryptogram which signified the emperor Nero by tradition and which would be applied to emperors later, eg: Domitian
Great harlot (17 1 ff)= the evil community of the beast, ie, idolaters of the Roman empire (eg: those who worshipped the emperors)
Beast with 7 heads (17 3 ff)= the empire with its 7 emperors.
Also the 7 heads may represent the 7 hills of Rome (cf. 17 9)
Babylon (18 2)= contemporary world culture (Rome in particular)
1000 years (20 2 ff)= the initial stage of God’s reign.
An ideal age but one in which there is still human disobedience.
(This millennium theme was probably intended to encourage a martyr church, since the martyrs rule throughout this period.)
New Jerusalem (21 2)= the church, the people of God, triumphant beyond history
River of Water of Life and Tree of Life (22 1 ff) = salvation