Chiasm
A literary structure used in the Bible in which symmetry or patterns are used to emphasize concepts.
Eschatological
A term derived from Greek eskhatos which means “last” and “knowledge of.” It is the part of theology that deals with death, judgment, and the final destiny of humankind.
The Chiastic Structure of Revelation
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Summary: Biblical writers and prophets often used forms of poetry to write down their messages from God. This poetry does not use a specific rhythm or rhyme. Rather, literary artistry brings import to the message.
 
 

The book of Revelation is written as a chiasm. A chiasm is a double list of related items in which the order of the second list is opposite to the order of the first list. If we divide Revelation at the end of chapter 14 into two halves, and then divide each half into separate divisions we can find related pairs of content. These pairs go in opposite directions. It is organized like a mirror image.

The entire book of Revelation shows this concept at work. The first part is called the prologue; it is the introduction and is found in Revelation 1:1-8. The ending is called the epilogue and is found in Revelation 22:8-17. Note the similarities (hold your mouse over a colored section to see the details):


  • PROLOGUE
    1:1-8

  • Introduction.
  • Testimony of Jesus. 1:2
  • Blessed is he who reads. 1:3
  • Behold He is coming. 1:7
  • I am the Alpha and the Omega. 1:8
  • EPILOGUE
    22:8-17

  • -
  • I, Jesus, sent this testimony. 22:16
  • Blessed is he who keeps. 22:7
  • Behold, I am coming soon. 22:12,20
  • I am the Alpha and the Omega. 22:13
  • 7 CHURCHES
    1:10-3:22

  • Christ walks among seven lamps. 2:1
  • Tree of life. 2:1
  • Open door. 3:8
  • Christ sits on His Father's throne. 3:21
  • New Jerusalem comes down
    from heaven. 3:12
  • I am coming soon. 3:11
  • NEW JERUSALEM
    21:9-22:9

  • Christ is the eternal Lamp. 21:23
  • Tree of life. 22:2
  • Gates never closed. 21:25
  • Throne of God and of the Lamb. 22:1,3
  • New Jerusalem comes down
    from heaven. 21:10
  • I am coming soon. 22:7
  • 7 SEALS
    4:1-8:1

  • Heaven opened. 4:1
  • Rider on white horse and riders
    on colored horses. 6:2-8
  • Souls of martyrs under altar ask
    for judgment. 6:9-10
  • White robes. 6:11; 7:9-14
  • Kings, etc. ask to be killed. 6:15-16
    • MILLENNIUM
      19:11-21:8

    • Heaven opened. 19:11
    • Rider on white horse followed by other
      riders on white horses. 19:11-16
    • Souls of martyrs resurrected
      and enthroned as judges. 20:4-6
    • White robes. 19:14
    • Kings, etc. are killed. 19:17-21
    • 7 TRUMPETS
      8:2-11:18

    • 1. Earth. 8:7
    • 2. Sea. 8:8-9
    • 3. Rivers and fountains. 8:10-11
    • 4. Sun, moon, stars. 8:12
    • 5. Darkness, bottomless pit, locusts. 9:1-11
    • 6. River Euphrates. 9:13-21
    • 7. Loud voices: The kingdom
    • is Christ's! 11:15-18
    • 7 LAST PLAGUES
      15:1-16:21

    • 1. Earth. 16:2
    • 2. Sea. 16:3
    • 3. Rivers and fountains. 16:4
    • 4. Sun. 16:8-9
    • 5. Darkness on throne of the Beast. 16:10-11
    • 6. River Euphrates. 16:12,16
    • 7. A loud voice: It is done! 16:17-21
    • GREAT CONTROVERSY
      11:19-14:20

    • True mother dressed in white. 12:1-2
    • Her children keep the commandments. 12:17
    • Woman in wilderness. 12:14
    • Beast with 7 heads, 10 horns. 12:3;13:1
    • Fallen is Babylon! 14:8
    • Testimony of Jesus. 12:17
    • FALL OF BABYLON
      17:1-19:10

    • False mother, dressed in purple. 17:4
    • Her children are harlots. 17:5
    • Woman in wilderness. 17:3
    • Beast with 7 heads, 10 horns. 17:3
    • Fallen is Babylon! 18:2
    • Testimony of Jesus. 19:10

    The similarities are not hard fast rules. For instance, there is a warning in the epilogue that isn’t found in the prologue; and Christ’s promise to come again is found only one time in the prologue but twice in the epilogue. The writers of the Bible used their style as a method but never let the method become more important than the message. That is why we can sometimes find some exceptions to these rules. We must also keep in mind that the chapters and verses we use to organize the Bible were not determined when John wrote this book but were added more than a thousand years later.

    The chiastic structure divides Revelation into two major groups. The first half deals primarily with the experience of God’s people during the Christian era. This is called the historical half. The second half deals almost exclusively with last day events and is called the eschatological half. The word ” eschatological” comes from the Greek word eschaton, meaning “end.”

    The historical half covers all of human history. Therefore, it has not been completely fulfilled yet because not all of Christian history has happened yet. For example, the seventh seal, seventh trumpet, and final scene in the great controversy division are still waiting for their fulfillment. The eschatological half is still to be fulfilled in the future. We can see the inspiration of God in this beautiful demonstration of literary art as well as the love of God who does everything He can to warn us and call us out of the false systems of this world into His marvelous truth.



    Source: Athena on Flickr.
    The Chiastic Structure of Revelation
    Biblical writers and prophets often used forms of poetry to write down their messages from God. This poetry does not use a specific rhythm or rhyme. Rather, literary artistry brings import to the message.
    Source:
    Is Revelation a Sealed Book?
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    Source: Dori on Flickr.
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    Revelation 1 Clouds
Source: flickr karindalziel
    Revelation 1 Commentary: The Revelation of Jesus
    Read Revelation 1 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Source: Kevinzim on Flickr.
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    Revelation 2 Angel
Source: flickr janfredrikf
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    Read Revelation 2 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
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Source: flickr Marianne Perdomo
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    Read Revelation 3 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
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Source: flickr cristianocani
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    Source: The Artifex on Flickr.
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    Revelation  6 Horseman
Source: flickr ideacreamanuela2
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    Read Revelation 6 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 7 Angel
Source: flickr AlicePopkorn
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    Revelation 8 Trumpeting Angel
Source: flickr Matthew Juzenas
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    Revelation 9 Smoke
Source: flickr Coconino National Forest
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    Read Revelation 9 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 10 Heaven & Earth
Source: flickr Geomangio
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    Read Revelation 10 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 11 Lightning
Source: flickr Leszek.Leszczynski
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    Read Revelation 11 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 12 Dragon
Source: Flickr.
    Revelation 12 Commentary: The Woman and the Dragon
    Read Revelation 12 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 13 666
Source: flickr Bludgeoner86
    Revelation 13 Commentary: Two Beasts
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    Revelation 14 Grapes
Source: flickr wharman
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    Revelation 15 Sea of Glass
Source: flickr Lel4nd
    Revelation 15 Commentary: Seven Angels, Seven Plagues
    Read Revelation 15 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 16 Bowls
Source: flickr Martin Cathrae
    Revelation 16 Commentary: Seven Bowls of God's Anger
    Read Revelation 16 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    A woman rides the beast. Revelation 17
    Revelation 17 Commentary: A Woman Rides the Beast
    Read Revelation 17 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 18 Spices
Source: flickr .Bala
    Revelation 18 Commentary: Babylon Falls
    Read Revelation 18 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 19 Angel Statue
Source: flickr aussie
    Revelation 19 Commentary: The Rider on the White Horse
    Read Revelation 19 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 20 Dark Cloud
Source: flickr Kelly K
    Revelation 20 Commentary: Millennium and the Judgment
    Read Revelation 20 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 21 Alpha and Omega
Source: google images cjartwork.blogspot.com
    Revelation 21 Commentary: The New Jerusalem
    Read Revelation 21 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
    Revelation 22 Words of Prophecy
http://www.rcclc.ca/images/bible-study.jpg
    Revelation 22 Commentary: Invitation and Warning
    Read Revelation 22 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
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