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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 4-22
Part 1: The Chiastic Reconfiguration

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore (9/9/2019)



Part 1 Part 2


Revelation Timeline

Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats Revelation Chapters 4-22 as a "Functional Chiasmus" in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. Text that is arranged in the form of a functional chiasmus must be rearranged based on certain logical principles to be correctly interpreted. A functional chiasmus is a new concept; see definition here [1]. This study also contains an exegesis of the rearranged text. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Part 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

We believe that the book of Revelation is an interweaving of several prophecies into one narrative. We show how these prophecies can be unravelled by treating the text as a functional chiasm. It appears that the chiasmus is one of the techniques used in the Bible to obfuscate prophecy until the time of its revelation comes.


Discussion

1. Presuppositions

One of the difficulties in parsing a functional chiasmus is that you need to have a rough idea of its contents to be able to parse it correctly. In the case of this rather complex prophecy we based our parse on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:

  1. The period starting from the fall of Satan from heaven (c. 4000 BC?) to the first coming of Christ and the escape of Judahite Christians during the First Jewish–Roman War (circa 74AD). This period is covered in Revelation 12 which, as we have seen in a previous paper [2], is in itself a Functional Chiasmus.
  2. The advent of Christ's millennial reign (circa 2000AD). The tribulations of this period tend to be less severe in nature - more climatic or man-made than astronomical. Satan will rule for a short time but after that his kingdom on earth and its capital, Babylon, will be destroyed.
  3. The "End of the Age" or the last days (circa 3000AD). The tribulations of the period tend to be more cataclysmic - the "end of the world" kind of tribulations from which there is no recovery. ( We believe there will be a rapture of the faithful before these tribulations begin.) Christ returns in all His glory and the period ends with the arrival of a new heaven and earth.


2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as in the presupposition section above. We will call the period of Satan's fall Period 1, The advent of Christ's millennial reign (circa 2000AD) Period 2 and the "End of the Age" or the last days (circa 3000AD) Period 3.


Categorizing Revelation Chapters 4-22

Chapters 4, 5, 6:1-11 appear to belong to Period 2.
Chapters 4 & 5 are a description of the heavenly assembly and the successful search for someone who is worthy to open the scroll.
Chapter 6:1-11 describes the opening of the first 5 seals and the four horsemen. We believe that the opening of the 5th seals belong to this period because the saints are asked to wait for the rest of the faithful to be killed and this happens in Period 2.
We believe the events that occur at the opening of the 6th and 7th seals belong to Period 3 because of their more cataclysmic nature.

Chapter 6:12 to Chapter 11 appear to belong to Period 3.
Chapter 6:12-17 The 6th seal and cataclysmic events. The heavens were rolled up like a scroll and the people hid in caves.
Chapter 7 The 144000 are sealed and the Multitude in White robes are discussed.
Chapter 8,9,10,11 The 7th seal, 7 trumpets (along with 3 woes), 7 thunders and the little scroll. The two witnesses, announcement of the kingdom of the Lord.



We have treated Chapter 12 as a Functional Chiasmus in a previous paper [2]. We use the results of that parse for the next two units.

Chapter 12:1-2,10-12 belong to Period 2.
Chapter 12:1-2,10-12 The woman in the heavens is about to give birth. Announcement in heaven about the start of a new age...Devil has a short time.

Chapter 12:3-4a,7-9,13 and Chapter 12:4b-6, 14-17 belong to Period 1.
We rearrange the next two units of the results of the previous Revelation 12 parse [2] in time sequence as the rules of Functional Chiasmus allow.
Chapter 12:3-4a,7-9,13 The Fall of Satan and Temptation of Eve (c 4000BC?)
Chapter 12:4b-6, 14-17 The Advent of Christ and the Escape of The Early Church (1st century)



Chapter 13 appears to belong to Period 2.
The beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth. The Mark of the Beast.

Chapter 14:1-5 appear to belong to Period 3.
The 144000 sing a new song. We categorize this as belonging to period 3 because we categorized the 144000 in Chapter 7 as belonging to period 3.

Chapters 14:6 to 20:10 appear to belong to Period 2.
Chapter 4:6-20 The 3 angels announce the Gospel, announce the Fall of Babylon, and warn about the Mark of the Beast. Angels harvest the earth.
Chapter 15-16 The last 7 plagues. Although these plagues seem cataclysmic, they may be localized to an area controlled by the Beast. Also, because there is reference to the Mark of the Beast and the destruction of Babylon, we feel this belongs to period 2.
Chapter 17-19 The prostitute on the beast. The Fall of Babylon, Threefold hallelujah. The rider on the white horse is victorious.
Chapter 20:1-10 The 1000 year reign. Although verses 7-10 talk about the end days we will categorize them as belonging to period 2 because the future tense is used in these verses.

Chapters 20:11 to 22:9 appear to belong to Period 3.
Chapter 20:11-15 The final judgement.
Chapter 21 to 22:6 The new Jerusalem comes down from heaven.
Chapter 22:7-9 We treat these verses as the epilogue of the Period 3 section.

Chapters 22:10-15 appear to belong to Period 2.
22:10-15 We treat these verses as the epilogue of the Period 2 section.

( The rather long epilogue in Chapter 22:7-21 is split into 3 sections. Verses 7-9 act as the epilogue for Period 3, and verses 10-15 the epilogue for Period 2. We treat the phrase "Then he told me,..." as an indicator of Period change. The remaining verses (16-21) we treat as falling outside the functional chiasmus and these verses are an epilogue to the whole book, especially because vs 16 refers to the "testimony for the churches". Also, this way we get the repeated phrase "Look I am coming soon" as a promise that applies to periods 2 and 3 and to the conclusion of the book.)


3. Building the reconfigured text

From this parse, it appears that Revelation 4-22 forms a Functional chiasmus as below:
A1   Ch 4,5,6:1-11 Period 2. Heavenly assembly...opening the first 5 scrolls...
  B1   Ch 6:12-Ch 11 Period 3. 6&7th seal, 7 trumpets, 7 thunders...The two witnesses, announcement of the kingdom of the Lord.
    C1   Ch 12:1,2,10-12 Period 2. Pregnant woman in heavens... Announcement of the start of a new age...Devil has a short time.
      X   Ch 12:3-4a,7,8,9,13,4b-6,14-17 Period 1. Fall of Satan... first coming...escape of the early church c. 70AD
    C2   Ch 13 Period 2. The beast out of the sea and earth...Mark of the Beast.
  B2   Ch 14:1-5 Period 3. The 144000 sing a new song.
A2   Ch 14:6 to 20:10 Period 2. The 3 angels...7 plagues...prostitute on the beast... Fall of Babylon...white horse...1000 year reign.

We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a functional chiasmus [1].

We lead with central pivot point 'X'. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

X  [A1,A2]  [B1,B2]  [C1,C2]        (1)


We have the following sequence when we include Ch 20:11 to Ch 22:15:
X         - Period 1
[A1,A2] - Period 2
[B1,B2] - Period 3
[C1,C2] - Period 2
Ch 20:11 to 22:9 - Period 3. Final judgement...new Jerusalem...epilogue
Ch 22:10-15 - Period 2. Epilogue


We still have text for the periods in a non-contiguous form. We can treat this as a doubly applied functional chiasmus as below.

Unit X will be treated as outside this second chiasmus.
M1   [A1,A2] Period 2
  N1   [B1,B2] Period 3
   XX   [C1,C2] Period 2 (Announcement of new age)
  N2   Ch 20:11 to 22:9 Period 3
M2   Ch 22:10-15 Period 2

Note: It important that the pivot point (Unit XX in this Chiasmus ) be in some way special relative to the other subunits. But XX, M1 and M2 are all about Period 2. We contend that these verses in XX announce the start of the New Age of Christ and also describe Satan's short reign (the rest of the passages on Period 2 refer to the time before and after his reign) and so XX is an appropriate pivot point.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:
X  XX  [M1,M2]  [N1,N2]        (2)


Translating this sequence (2) into the subunits of the first chiasmus, we get:

[X]  [C1,C2]  [[A1, A2], [Ch 22:10-15]]   [[B1,B2],[Ch 20:11 to 22:9]]        (3)

Further translating (3) into verse numbers, we get:
[Ch 12:3-4a,7,8,9,13,4b-6,14-17]
[Ch 12:1,2,10-12,Ch 13]
[[Ch 4,5,6:1-11, Ch 14:6 to 20:10], [Ch 22:10-15]]
[[Ch 6:12-Ch 11, Ch 14:1-5], [Ch 20:11 to 22:9]]
      (4)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (4).



4. Revelation 4-22 Reconfigured

Because of the large amount of text in this reconfigured chiasmus we will only list verse numbers here with short excepts.

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, green for Period 2 (dark green for the pivot point of the second chiasmus.) and blue for Period 3.


4.1 The Fall of Satan and Temptation of Eve (c 4000BC?)(Ch 12: 3-4a,7-9,13)
12:3-4a ...an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads...
12:7-9 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon... He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
12:13 When the dragon...pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

4.2 The Advent of Christ and the Escape of The Early Church (1st century) (Ch 12:4b-6, 14-17)
12:4b-6 The dragon stood in front of the woman...She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”...The woman fled into the wilderness...where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
12:14-17 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle...Then the dragon.. went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring.

4.3 A sign in heaven and The Beast's Short Reign(c 2000)(Ch 12:1-2,10-12, Ch 13)
12:1-2 A great sign... a woman clothed with the sun...She was pregnant...
12:10-12 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil ... he knows that his time is short.”


Ch 13 ... And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads...The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast...And it was given authority over every ...nation. ... Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon... And it performed great signs... they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name....That number is 666.


4.4 The events preceding Christ's Reign on earth(c 2000)(Ch 4,5,6:1-11, Ch 14:6 to Ch 20:10, Ch 22:10-15)

The Throne in heaven and the successful search for someone worthy to open the seals (Ch 4,5)
Ch 4 ...throne in heaven...twenty-four elders...the seven spirits of God...four living creatures... give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever...”
Ch 5 ...the Lion of the tribe of Judah ...is able to open the scroll and its seven seals...Then I saw a Lamb...Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain...to receive power and wealth and wisdom...

The first 5 seals are opened (6:1-11)
Ch 6:1-11...first of the seven seals...a white horse!...and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest... the second seal...a fiery red one (horse). Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other...the third seal...a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand....“Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages...and do not damage the oil and the wine!”...the fourth seal, a pale horse! Its rider was named Death...power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth...the fifth seal...souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God...How long...until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”...they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, were killed...

Three Angels make proclamations, The Earth is Harvested (Ch 14:6-20)
Ch 14:6-20 ...(An) angel...had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth...A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great...A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury...Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on...“Take your sickle and reap,”...the earth was harvested...“Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine,”...The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath...

Seven Angels with 7 Plagues (Ch 15, 16)
Ch 15 ...those who had been victorious over the beast...sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb ...seven angels with the seven plagues...seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God...
Ch 16 The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land...festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image...The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood...The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:..they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”...The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire...The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness...The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East...three impure spirits that looked like frogs...Look, I come like a thief!...Then they gathered the kings together to the place...Armageddon...The seventh angel poured out his bowl...“It is done!”...flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake...The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found...huge hailstones...

The Punishment of the Great Prostitute (Ch 17, 18)
Ch 17 ...the punishment of the great prostitute,...a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns...the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people...The beast...once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction... The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings...The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast...They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them...The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples...The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin... The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”
Ch 18 ...Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!...When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her...The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore...Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down...In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.

The Rider on the White Horse is victorious against the Beast (Ch 19)
Ch 19 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:...Hallelujah!... wedding of the Lamb has come...I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True...His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself...The armies of heaven were following him...Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”...king of kings and lord of lords...Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army...But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf...The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur...The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse...

The Dragon is hurled into the Abyss, The Saints Reign With Christ for A Thousand Years (Ch 20:1-10)
Ch 20:1-10 ...He(the angel) seized the dragon...who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss,...After that, he must be set free for a short time...those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God...came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years...This is the first resurrection...Gog and Magog...gather...for battle...But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil...was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown...

Epilogue (Ch 22:10-15)
Ch 22:10-15 ...Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near... “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega...Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.


4.5 The "End of the Age" or the last days (circa 3000AD) (Ch 6:12-Ch 11, Ch 14:1-5, Ch 20:11 to Ch 22:9)

The 6th Seal is Opened (Ch 6:12-17)
Ch 6:12-17 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black...the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth...The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place...the kings of the earth... hid in caves...They called to the mountains...“Fall on us and hide us...For the great day of their wrath has come...

The 144000 Sealed and the Great Multitude in White Robes (Ch 7)
Ch 7...“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”...the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel...After this I looked...a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation...standing before the throne...were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands...These are they who have come out of the great tribulation...Therefore,“they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple...

The 7th Seal, Trumpets 1-6 and Cataclysmic events (Ch 8,9)
Ch 8 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour...golden censer...the prayers of God’s people...Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came ...flashes of lightning and an earthquake...Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them...The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood...A third of the earth was burned up...The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood...The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers...Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter...The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars...Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth...
Ch 9 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet...a star that had fallen from the sky...The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss...locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth...only (harm)those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads...to torture them for five months...people will seek death but will not find it...They had as king over them...Abaddon... The sixth angel sounded his trumpet...Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates...to kill a third of mankind.The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand...A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths...The rest of mankind...did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons...Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Little Scroll and The 7 Thunders (Ch 10)
Ch 10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven...his face was like the sun...He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand...he gave a loud shout ... When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke...Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down...Then the angel...raised his right hand to heaven...in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished...I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."...“You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

The Two Witnesses and the 7th Trumpet(Ch 11)
Ch 11 ...measure the temple of God...But exclude the outer court... because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months...my two witnesses...will prophesy for 1,260 days...They are “the two olive trees”...If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies...They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain...and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague...the beast that comes up from the Abyss will...kill them...For three and a half days...people...will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them...because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. But after the three and a half days...they stood on their feet...At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed...The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet...“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,and he will reign for ever and ever.”...the twenty-four elders...saying: “...you have taken your great power and have begun to reign...The time has come for judging the dead...” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant...

The 144,000 Sing a New Song (Ch 14:1-5)
Ch 14:1-5 ...there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads...they sang a new song ...No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth....they remained virgins...They were... offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb...

The Final Judgement (Ch 20:11-15)
20:11-15 ...a great white throne... And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened...the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books...each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

A New Heaven and A New Earth (Ch 21, 22:1-5)
Ch 21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”...I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride...“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people...‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning...” ...I am the Alpha and the Omega...But the cowardly, the unbelieving...will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur... the second death...the bride, the wife of the Lamb...the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven...high wall with twelve gates...On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel...The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb...The city was laid out like a square... foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone...The great street of the city was of gold...the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple...The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it...Nothing impure will ever enter it...but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Ch 22:1-5 ...the river of the water of life, ...flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb...On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit... And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations...The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him...for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Epilogue (22:6-9)
Ch 22:6-9 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel...“Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you.. Worship God!”




5. An exegesis of the reconfigured text.

5.1 The Fall of Satan and Temptation of Eve (c 4000BC?)(Ch 12: 3-4a,7-9,13)

3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

The revelation of future events in this book begins with a look back at the fall of Satan and the fall of Man, without which most of the events prophesied here would be unnecessary. We believe that the woman in vs 13 is Eve and her child is mankind. These verses appear at around the middle of the book of Revelation but this Chiastic reconfiguring led to them, appropriately, to being the first verses of this prophetic section.

See our paper on Revelation 12 [2] for a more detailed analysis of this extract.



5.2 The Advent of Christ and the Escape of The Early Church (1st century) (Ch 12:4b-6, 14-17)

The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

The woman in vs. 5 is the early church and the male child is Christ. The first coming of Christ and his victory (vs 4b, 5) set up his millennial reign and his eternal reign.

The rest of the verses describe the escape of the early Church to the mountains c.70AD before the destruction of Jerusalem during the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 AD). The events of this period tend to be featured in a number of the prophetic Functional Chiasmi we have seen so far [3], probably as a reflection of its pivotal importance; it is the point at which the old covenant completely ends and only the new covenant is in force.

See our paper on Revelation 12 [2] for a more detailed analysis of this extract.



The exegesis of this passage is continued here: Exegesis of Period 2 and Period 3.


Conclusion

The main idea this paper introduces is a chiastic reconstruction of the text that shows that the passage contains several interwoven prophetic passages. We hope that we have shown that this allows a far more coherent and straightforward interpretation of this passage.

This large passage of 18 Chapters is the largest Functional Chiasmus we have seen so far. Although this reconfiguration will help to understand the text it remains a complex passage with many parallel narratives and complex imagery. This passage primarily gives us a detailed view of the events at the start and end of the millennial reign of Christ; but it also touches on significant historical events: The Fall of Satan and the Fall of Man, Christ's first coming and The end of the old covenant in 70AD.



Part 1 Part 2

References

[1] A Definition of Functional Chiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 12
[3] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"






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