Mud on the Wall: Brainstorming the Apocalypse (LXXXIII)

August 12, 2010

Now, we are starting to get back into territory which I only fairly recently considered in terms of its chiastic (inverted parallel) structure, as well as what it added to the reader’s understanding of “the earth-dwellers” and “the heaven-dwellers.”  However, I want to take at least a semi-fresh look, just in case I see some things I did not notice previously.

The G Layer of the mirroring structure of Revelation is made up of chapters 10-11, in the first “half” of the book, and 17:7-18, in the latter half.  At first glance, it does not seem that these two passages do much to complement one another.  However, upon deeper reflection, there are definitely some angles that play off each other there.  Maybe the most significant of those is that the wording “the great city,” which appears for the first time in the Apocalypse in 11:8 (where it clearly refers to Jerusalem), is defined in 17:18 as referring to Babylon the Great.  The other obvious links are common references to the beast and the earth-dwellers.

The inverted parallel breakdown of chapters 10-11 (G) appears to be:

a (10:1-4) A mighty angel cries out and the seven thunders speak

b (10:5-7) When the seventh trumpet sounds… His servants the prophets

c (10:8) Take the scroll that lies open

d (10:9-10) The bittersweet taste from the eating of the scroll

e (10:11) John’s commission to prophesy about “many peoples, nations, languages and kings”

f (11:1-2) Measuring God’s sanctuary, the altar, and the worshipers–excluding the court of the Gentiles/nations–who will trample under “the holy city” for three and a half years (“42 months”)

f’ (11:3-7) Two witnesses for the Lord who fulfill Zechariah 4: 3, 11-14 and do actions like Elijah and Moses are invulnerable for three and a half years (“1,260 days”), until the beast (Antichrist) is allowed to kill them

e’ (11:9-10) Representatives from “the peoples, tribes, languages and nations”/the “earth-dwellers” view the dead bodies of the two witnesses and celebrate

d’ (11: 13) The resurrection, earthquake/deaths and ascension of the two witnesses, plus the conversion of many in Jerusalem (see 14:6-7; Rom. 11:25-26)

c’ (11:14) The second “woe” has passed and the third will come quickly

b’ (11:15-18) The sounding of the seventh trumpet… Your servants the prophets

a’ (11:19) God’s sanctuary in heaven is opened and the effects include thunders

As we look back at the structure of G (chs. 10-11), the ‘a’ and ‘b’ “pairs” clearly are linked by repeated wording.  It appears that ‘c’ is to be understood that the open scroll will now move things forward in the “woes” stated back in 8:13.  With ‘d’, the bittersweet nature of eating the scroll has to do with the deaths of many from the earthquake on the “bitter” side and the resurrection, ascension and revival on the “sweet side.  In ‘e’, among the very first things John prophesies about the nations is their celebration about the deaths of the two witnesses.  At the midpoint (‘f’), two successive three and a half year periods are laid out, the first dominated by the two witnesses, the second by the beast–after the two witnesses have been raised and ascend to heaven.

The “mirroring” sections of 17:7-18 (G’) are:

a (17:7a) The secret meaning of the woman (Babylon the Great)

b (17:7b) The secret meaning of the beast with the seven heads and 10 horns that carry the woman

c (17:8) The beast and the non-elect (“earth-dwellers”)

d (17:9-14a) The purpose of these kings, who will give their power and authority to the beast, is to make war against the Lamb

d’ (17: 14b) But, the Lamb will conquer them

c’ (17:14c) The Lord of Lords and Kings of Kings and the “called… elect… faithful” (“heaven-dwellers”)

b’ (17:15-17) The “peoples, multitudes, nations and languages” where the woman is seated, as well as the 10 horns and the beast (all three items in reverse order from 17:7), who will destroy the woman, according to God’s plan

a’ (17: 18) The woman… is “the great city” which has an empire over the kings of the earth

In 17:7-18 (G’), the outer two pairs (‘a’, ‘b’) provide previously-unknown information about the woman, Babylon the Great, the beast and other leaders of the end-times.  The ‘c’ pair is fascinating in that, for the first time in the book, the beast and Christ are faced off directly, as are–in very clear wording–the non-elect “earth-dwellers” and the elect “heaven-dwellers.”  At the midpoint (‘d’), the conspiracy between the beast and the kings to make war with the Lamb comes center stage, only to be stated very crisply “but the Lamb will conquer them.”  Apparently, that is “enough said!”  Selah and Amen.

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