Introduction to Revelations
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Summary: Join us on a journey through the pages of this letter from Christ to His people.
 
 

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.




    Understanding the Book of Revelation and the Purpose of Prophecy

    © Amazing Discoveries.
    The word revelation means to reveal or disclose. In a special sense, the book of Revelation is meant to reveal vital issues to the New Testament Church—the end-time Church in particular—about end-time events. God does not want us to be ignorant about the future:


    Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, 

    Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7 NKJV).

    God has always wanted people to be informed, aware, and warned about future difficulties. Throughout the history of Israel, He sent prophets to warn His people about future impending doom. It has always been God’s purpose to steer people away from calamity.

    Jonah was sent to Nineveh to warn and rebuke the people that if they did not turn away from their evil doings, their city would be destroyed. The people of Nineveh heeded the warning and their city was spared, along with some 60,000 souls and much cattle (Jonah 3).

    When the 10 tribes of Israel were heading down the path of debasement through idol worship and disgusting practices, God sent prophet after prophet to warn them to turn back. God also provided a wonderful preview of Earth’s history through Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and gave Israel hope that they would be returned from captivity to their homeland.

    Biblical Prophecy: Warning and Encouragement


    God uses prophecy for two purposes: to warn and to encourage. For example, prophecy warns us of the Enemy’s plans and encourages us with hope and the promise of victory. The book of Revelation is full of such warnings and encouragements. It discusses the forces working against Christ and the actions they will take, so that we can recognize them when they happen, and steer clear of any participation with the Antichrist forces.

    We also read in the book of Revelation about the promise of final restoration—a new heaven and a new Earth. These come with the final destruction of sin and Satan, the originator of sin. Because Revelation pertains specifically to the end of time, and because we live in the closing time of Earth’s history, this book, in particular, deserves our attention if we want to recognize the signs and know the future.

    When we understand what is to take place, our fear of the end times won’t control us. And that’s what God wants. When calamities occur, many are afraid and wonder what is happening. But those that study God’s Word don’t need to be afraid. In His kindness, God gives us the sure word of prophecy for our warning and encouragement.

    The Book of Revelation is a Revelation of Christ

    Jesus Christ is the central theme of everything we read in Revelation. He is the heart of the book. It is crucial that as we study some of the darker prophecies about the Antichrist and the final controversy, we remember that Christ is the ultimate Victor over all evil.

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