Mud on the Wall: Brainstorming the Apocalypse (LXXV)

July 31, 2010

We have finally arrived at the middle of the Book of Revelation.  In the conventional outline of the Apocalypse, chapters 13-15 complete the prelude to the bowls of wrath (ch. 16).  In a chiastic (i.e., inverted parallel) structuring of the book, chapter 13 (J) and chapters 14-15 (J’) are the “twin peaks” midpoint–the “heart” of that structure, containing the book’s central message.

The wording paraphrased as “the earth-dwellers” (13:8; 13:14 [twice]) or its equivalent–“the earth and those who live on it” (13:12)–are used more in chapter 13 (J) than anywhere else in Revelation.  The most significant spiritual insight the reader learns here is that the ultimate reason why “the earth-dwellers” are deceived by the false prophet  into worshiping the image of the beast is that they are the non-elect (13:8).  At this point in the book, the wording “every tribe, people, language, and nation” (13:7) probably is made up almost entirely of “earth-dwellers.”

In chapter 14 (J’), the initial reference in the book to Babylon the Great (14:8) right alongside those who have the mark of the beast (14:9), as well as their deserved eternal torment (14:10-11) turns out to be a preview of the relationship of the two as seen in 17:2.  Finally, in my understanding, the “grapes of wrath” part (14:17-20) of the two-sided harvest of 14:14-20 are “earth-dwellers.”

As far as “the heaven-dwellers” are concerned,” that wording is used only in 13:6.  However, the references to “the saints” in 13:7, 10 and 14:12 are, in those contexts, definitely referring to “the heaven-dwellers.”  Also, in 14:1-5, the 144,000 are related to the heaven-dwellers, as are those who respond to the eternal gospel (14:6-7)–who are then seen in heaven in 15:2-4.  Finally, the “wheat” side (14:14-16) of the wider harvest of 14:14-20 are heaven-dwellers.

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