Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Revelation - an outline

I always find it helpful to have an overview of a book of Scripture before diving into the details. The challenge with Revelation is that I don't think you will work one out before you have worked through the text. I suppose at best you can make a starting point and as you go through amend your outline in the light of your new understanding of the text.

Here is my current attempt, this after preaching through the text twice.

1:1-20 - Introduction
              This chapter introduces the whole book, giving us the key theme that this book is a revelation 'of Jesus Christ' v. 1.
2:1-3:22 - The seven letters
               This text, like other New Testament books touches down in a particular time and place, it was in the first instance to these seven churches.
4:1-5:14 - A vision of God's purposes achieved
               These chapters give the assurance to churches under pressure, which is elaborated in the following chapters.
6:1-8:5 - The seven seals
8:6-11:19 - The seven trumpets
12:1-14:20 - Scenes of cosmic conflict over God's purposes
15:1-16:21 - The seven bowls
                  I think the three sets of seven are repeating the same story. The first two sets have an interlude at the end, which reflects chapters 12 to 14. God's purposes will be achieved, not matter what opposition rises against them.
17:1-20:15 - Scenes of judgment and celebration at God's judgment
21:1-22:21 - In the presence of God, the hope of God's people

I know some of these are quite big portions, but we'll break them down as we go through. The main thing here is to note the deliberate parallels in the sets of seven (seals, trumpets and bowls). The text is not recording three successive stages of history or salvation, but the one event, the one salvation of our God. The three fold repetition gives us great assurance that the matter is certain and fixed by our God for his glory.

1 comment:

standrews said...

Gordon,
I hope this is of interest to you - Approaching the Book of Revelation.