Why Does Revelation Use So Much Symbolism?

Why does the Book of Revelation use so much symbolism? Some reasons might perhaps include: to hide its meaning from outsiders, to describe the ineffable, to point out the inner reality of what’s being described, and so on. Are these correct? What other purposes might there be for the symbolism in Revelation? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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2 thoughts on “Why Does Revelation Use So Much Symbolism?

  1. Hi Alastair
    Thank you so much for your answer to this question. It has ‘hit the nail on the head’ for me. Two ideas, among others, that I found really helpful were your analogy of the snowball rolling down the mountain, picturing symbols gathering further meaning as one follows them through the Scriptures, and that symbolism is a highly charged form of language – more charged than standard speech language, and therefore able to hold together a greater wealth of connections. Thank you again. Rob

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Symbols were part of the culture of the time and easily understood within that culture. The reader could see the symbols and then picture the meaning. However, they were also “codified” to protect the church and giver assurance of it’s final victory through Christ. For those persecuting the church, the message meant little to them, was obscure, and they saw Christians as just another “menace” to the Roman Empire and authority.


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