Monday, January 5, 2009

Revelation Outline

There are many ways to outline Revelation. I will give one outline below. This outline is structured on the four visions of Revelation. Many commentators see sevenfold structures throughout Revelation, such as seven judgments. One (Beale) sees seven interlocking judgments, where the ending of one series of judgments introduces the beginning of the next series.

There are four major visions. These are introduced with the words that John is in the Spirit:

Vision 1: (Revelation 1:10 NASB) “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, …” The Son of Man is the object of this vision, Jesus appearing in glory.

Vision 2: (Revelation 4:2 NASB) “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.” The Lamb is taking his reign in heaven.

Vision 3: (Revelation 17:3 NASB) “And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.” Judgment of the prostitute Babylon.

Vision 4: (Revelation 21:10 NASB) “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, …” The glory of the Bride of Christ.

In the first three visions there is an aftermath of the vision. In the fourth and final vision there is no aftermath.

There are four elements in each vision:

(1) A voice introduces the vision. The first two voices are from Christ, the second two are from angels.

(2) John refers to himself as being in the Spirit in each of these visions.

(3) There is some indication of what John is going to see. In vision 1 John is told to write what he sees and what will take place hereafter in a book. Vision 2 John is told Christ will show what must take place after this. Vision 3 John is told he will be shown the judgment of the great prostitute. Vision 4 John is told, “"Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

(4) John falls in worship in each of the visions (except in vision 2, where John does not mention himself, but mention the 24 elders fall and worship).


Vision 1The Heavenly Vision (1:9-20).
The Messages to the Seven Churches (2-3).
Vision 2God's Throne Room (4-5).
Opening of the seven seals (6:1-8:1).
Seal 1: White Horse of Conquest.
Seal 2: Red Horse of Slaughter.
Seal 3: Black Horse of Famine.
Seal 4: Pale Horse of Death.
Seal 5: The Cry of the Martyrs.
Seal 6: Cosmic Disturbances.
Interlude: Protection for the Saints.
The 144,000.
The Great Multitude.
Seal 7: Silence in Heaven.
The Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:19)
Trumpet 1: Hail and Fire.
Trumpet 2: Blood.
Trumpet 3: Bitter Water.
Trumpet 4: Darkness.
Trumpet 5: Locusts.
Trumpet 6: Conquering Army.
Interlude: The Witness of the Saints.
The Little Scroll Given to John.
Two Witnesses.
Trumpet 7: God's Temple Opened.
Seven Symbolic Histories (12:1-14:20)
Introduction of the Characters.
History 1: The Dragon.
History 2: The Woman.
History 3: The Sea Beast.
History 4: The False Prophet (Earth Beast).
History 5: The 144,000
History 6: Three Angelic Proclaimers
Interlude: Relief for the Saints.
History 7: The Appearing of the Son of Man.
The Seven Bowls (15:1-16:21)
Bowl 1: Dry Land
Bowl 2: Sea
Bowl 3: Fresh Water
Bowl 4: Sky
Bowl 5: Darkness
Bowl 6: Great River
Interlude: Promise for the Church
Bowl 7: Earth Utterly Shaken.
Vision 3The Judgment of Babylon (17:1-19:10)
Introduction of Characters
Message 1: Destruction of Babylon.
Message 2: Announcing Babylon's Fall.
Message 3: Warning Saints to Come Out.
Message 4: The Kings of the Earth.
Message 5: The Merchants.
Message 6: The Seafaring Men.
Interlude: Promise for the Saints
Message 7: Final Message of Destruction.
Sevenfold Joy in Heaven.
Christ Appearing in the Final Battle (19:11-21)
Description of the White Horse.
Angelic Message of Destruction.
Promise for the Saints.
Final Judgment of Beast and False Prophet.
The Judgments (20:1-21:8)
Angel with the Key to the Abyss.
Preliminary Judgment.
Promise for the Saints.
Final Judgment of Opponents and Satan.
Great White Throne.
Divine Judgment.
Promise for the Saints.
Exhaustive Judgment.
Vision 4The New Jerusalem (21:9-22:5)

In addition to this outline, there are thematic "reflective" structures, known as chiasms, where topics are introduced and then resolved in the opposite order of introduction. This is discussed in Poythress, The Returning King (pp. 64-65), and in detail in Beale, The Book of Revelation (pp. 130-132).

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