Apocalypse2: The Book of the Apocalypse to John

The Structure of the Book

Let’s have a look at the two pages “The Revelation to John – Structure” which has been added here.3

The Introduction of the “Apocalypse to John” is mirrored by the Conclusion; the Opening Vision following the Introduction is mirrored by the Final Vision preceding the Conclusion. Thus the “First Vision”, of One like a Son of Man in the midst of his congregations, is mirrored by the “Final Vision” of the new heaven and the new earth, of the “dwelling of God with human beings” in the shape of the New Jerusalem, in which both God and his Son (“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb”, 21:22) are both temple and light and lamp.

In six “Throne Visions”, subsequently the process of apocalypse evolves with the help of seals, trumpets (as well as thunders) and bowls of wrath, the Interlude between the fifth and the sixth of these visions describing the doom of the scarlet woman. This interlude originates in the temple (seen first in the third Throne Vision and then again in the Fifth), and seals the doom of this city with the words “It is done” (16:17). – Remarkably, in the Final Vision once more an “It is done” is spoken (21:6), before John is shown the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.

The first Throne Vision has in its center the One sitting on the throne as well as the Lamb, with its seven horns and seven eyes “which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (5:6). The Lamb has a clear connection to people on earth – and that’s what this vision is about – to what happens to the earth and to people, when the seals are opened.

“After this”, in the second Throne Vision, first the focus is on human beings, on those “who have come out of the great tribulation, have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). They have become part of this process, their prayers mingling with the incense at the golden altar (8:4), and when the fire of the altar is thrown down on the earth, the trumpets signal the beginning of a stronger impact on the earth and into the cosmos. The region under the earth is opened, the abyss (9:1), calling up forces of destruction, which do not deter people from going on with their business as usual, even after the sixth trumpet has sounded. Witnesses standing before the Lord of the earth will be killed by the beast from the bottomless pit, but they will be taken up into heaven. A great earthquake signals the importance of this moment.

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