If anyone is in the San Diego area tomorrow: I'm delivering a paper at the ETS Far West
meeting on the structure of Revelation. Briefly, I see three sections (after the introduction
and the letters to the churches).
Section 1 is chapters 4-9, set apart by John conveying what he sees in heaven. His
observations are in vague terms, and mainly involve repeating for us the reports of angels
describing activities on earth. For instance, John doesn't say he sees famine; he writes
that an angel announces a famine. The purpose of this section is to show that the coming
turmoil on earth is completely by the will of God and the Lamb.
Section 2 is chapters 10-11. This section, particularly chapter 11, is the central message
of the book. John reasserts his prophetic credentials by eating the scroll; he measures the
temple (an implicit comparison with the temple in heaven at the end of the chapter and
with the measurements of the new Jerusalem in chap 21). The two witnesses represent
Judaism to that point in time: a faithful witness whose testimony is complete. Israel as
God's witness is destroyed by her enemies but vindicated by God.
Section 3 is chapter 12 to the end. Here, John reports on a vision he has within his vision;
he sees signs in the sky--he doesn't see a pregnant woman, he sees the sign of a woman,
etc. This section is a prophetic playing out of the period between the Resurrection and the
fall of Jerusalem. Israel is judged for rejecting the messiah; Israel is portrayed as the
prostitute in comparison with the church, the pure bride of Christ.
If anyone wishes, I will be glad to send you the paper.
Wish me luck--this is my first paper.