The Revelation to John: Structure1

  • Introduction
    1:1-8

    1. 1:1-3 John’s Preface and the 1st Beatitude (reading and hearing this book
    2. 1:4-8 John greets the Seven Churches in Asia – Voice of the Lord God
  • Opening Vision
    1:9-3:22

    1. 1:9-20 I John (in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day) – Vision of One Like a Son of Man
    2. 2:1-3:22 The Seven Letters, to Ephesus – Smyrna – Pergamum – Thyatira – Sardis – Philadelphia – Laodicea
  • 1st Throne Vision
    4:1-7:8

    1. 24:1-11 The One Sitting on the Throne and the 24 Elders
    2. 5:1-14 The Lamb
    3. 6:1-8 The first four Seals: the Four Horsemen
    4. 6:9-11 The fifth Seal: the souls of Martyrs
    5. 6:12-17 The sixth seal: signs of heaven, doom on earth
    6. 7:1-8 Heavenly Interlude on earth: sealing of the 144,000 Servants of the Lord
  • 2nd Throne Vision
    7:9-11:14

    1. 7:9-12 Song of Those who Came Through; the Angels’ Song of Praise
    2. 7:131-17 Those in White Robes, explanation by one of the Elders
    3. 8:1 Opening the seventh Seal – Silence in heaven
    4. 8:2-5 The angel with the golden censer, the prayers of the saints
    5. 8:6-12 The first four Trumpets
    6. 8:13 Heavenly Interlude : the Eagle in Midheaven
    7. 9:1-12 The fifth Trumpet, being the first Woe
    8. 9:13-21 The sixth Trumpet, being the second Woe
    9. 10:1-11 Heavenly Interlude: the Strong Angel with the Book for the Seer (The seven Thunders)
    10. 11:1-14 The two Witnesses. Announcing the third Woe
  • 3rd Throne Vision
    11:15-13:18
    [The seven visions of the Dragon]

    1. 11:15-19 The seventh Trumpet: Hymn in heaven, the Elders giving thanks
    2. 12:1-6 First vision of the Dragon: The Cosmic Woman and the Birth of her Son
    3. 12:7-9 2nd Vision: Michael battling the Dragon
    4. 12:10-12 3rd Vision: Hymn of Victory in heaven
    5. 12:13-18 4th Vision: The Dragon battling on earth
    6. 13:1-10 5th Vision: The first Beast
    7. 13:1-14 6th Vision: The second Beast
    8. 13:15-18 7th Vision: The Mark of the Beast – the Number 666
  • 4th Throne Vision
    14:1-20
    [The seven visions of the Son of Man]

    1. 14:1-5 The Lamb on Mount Zion with the 144.000
    2. 14:6-7 The first Angel: the Eternal Gospel
    3. 14:8 The second Angel, announcing Judgment on Babylon
    4. 14:9-12 The third Angel, announcing Judgment on those who follow the Beast
    5. 14:13 2nd Beatitude (Those who die in the Lord)
    6. 14:14-16 The Son of Man reaping the earth with his sharp sickle
    7. 14:17-20 The Angel with the Sickle and the Angel with Power over Fire
  • 5th Throne Vision
    15:1-16:16
    [The seven angels with their bowls]

    1. 15:1-5 The Sea of Glass and the Song of Praise of those Who Conquered
    2. 15:6-8 The seven angels receive the seven golden Bowls
    3. 16:1-11 The first five Bowls of Wrath poured out
    4. 16:12-14 The sixth Bowl of Wrath poured out
    5. 16:15 3rd Beatitude (Warning to be awake and to keep one’s garments)
    6. 16:16 Assemblage at Armageddon
  • Interlude
    16:17-18:24
    [The seventh Bowl and the seven visions of doom]

    1. 16:17-21 The seventh Bowl of Wrath poured out
    2. 17:1-6 The World Harlot of Power
    3. 17:7-18 The Angel interpreting her Appearance
    4. 18:1-3 Woe on Babylon
    5. 18:4-8 Another Angel warning the Believers
    6. 18:9-20 Lament of Kings, Merchants and Seafarers
    7. 18:21-24 The Angel with the Millstone, symbol of destruction
  • 6th Throne Vision
    19:1-20:15
    [Seven Stages of Trial by Triumph and Judgement]

    1. 19:1-10 “Hallelujah” after Babylon’s Fall – 4th Beatitude (Those called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
    2. 19:11-16 The White Horseman triumphant
    3. 19:17-21 Triumph over the Beast and its Vassals
    4. 20:1-3 The Dragon chained
    5. 20:4-6 The Thousand Years – 5th Beatitude (The First Resurrection)
    6. 20:7-10 Satan’s Last Struggle and his Defeat
    7. 20:11-15 The Last Judgment
  • Final Vision
    21:1-22:7
    [New Jerusalem]

    1. 21:1-4 A New Heaven and New Earth
    2. 21:5-8 God’s Promise
    3. 21:9-17 The Heavenly City, Lay-out and Measurements
    4. 21:18-21 The City’s Fundament, the twelve jewels and twelve gates
    5. 21:22-27 The Residents of the City
    6. 22:1-5 The River of the Water of Life and the Tree of Life
    7. 22:6-7 Christ’s Coming – 6th Beatitude (To keep the words of this book)
  • Conclusion
    22:8-21

    1. 22:8-9 I John (affirming) – the Angel
    2. 22:10-12 Voice of the Lord … “I am coming soon” – “Recompense”
    3. 22:13 Voice of the Lord God
    4. 22:14-15 7th Beatitude (Those with washed robes – Tree of Life and City)
    5. 22:16-17 I Jesus – Voice of the Lord : “I have sent” – “Come”
    6. 22:18-19 The Seer on the words of this prophecy
    7. 22:20-21 Voice of the Lord : “Surely I am coming soon” – Prayer and Blessing
  1. Here following Christoph Rau, in his article on the Structure of the Revelation to John, in Ich sah den Himmel aufgetan, pp 37-52 (ed. Johannes Lauten), Urachhaus, Stuttgart 2006.
  2. “After this” which means “After these things”, indicates a beginning after a longer interval in time. See for instance 4:1, 7:1, 7:9, 15:5, 18:1 and 19:1.

    Literature
    In Alfred Heidenreich, The Book of Revelation (Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1977) there has been posthumously published a series of lectures held by him in 1968, the year before his death in 1969, on the invitation of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. A translation of The Revelation to John by Heidenreich has been added. Rudolf Frieling, in the last chapter of his Christianity and Reincarnation (Floris Books, Edinburgh 1977, pp 90-117) describes “Human Evolution in the Apocalypse of John”, with the intention to see what it has to say about mankind’s Christian progress.