Literary Patterns for the Whole Book of Revelation

1. Introduction and Explanation
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Why this is important
    Casual readers of the Bible may question the importance of understanding literary patterns. This one is particularly important for interpretation. Without considering it, one may assume a chronological sequence at points where instead a brief set of concepts ends and an expansion or explanation begins. You may look at the rows in the table below where an introduction appears in the left cell and an explanation which follows it in the text appears in the right cell. The table here shows the themes as they fit into this pattern through the book. The square buttonslink to the beginning of each of these sections in this commentary.
Introduction
Explanation
1:1-8 - Prologue - Origin and objective of the book
1:9 to end
The glorified Christ among the churches
2 and 3
Messages to the seven church angels
4 and 5
The throne scene of the great controversy with the Lamb worthy to break the seals
6 to 8:1
Scenes revealed as the seals are broken (8:1 belongs to both pairs)
8:1 to 8:5
Reason for the seven trumpet calls
8:5 to 11:18
Scenes of the trumpet calls
9:1-12
Oppression of end-time righteous
9:13-21
Four winds released to punish end-time wicked
10:1-7
Voice and action of the strong angel
10:8-11
The angel speaks again; a bitter book and a new message for the world.
11:19 - Judgment criteria - Covenant seen in the ark
12:1 to 12:6
Conflict between woman and dragon introduced
12:7 to end
Conflict described
13:1 to 13:10
The awesome beast from the sea, his tyrany and wound.
13:11 to end
The earth beast that creates a sea-beast image
14:1-5
The 144,000 identified
14:6 to end
Mission and salvation of the end-time righteous
15
Preparation for the seven bowel plagues
16
Pouring out the bowel contents
17
Woman on the beast - End-time false religion
18
Fate of the woman
19:1 to 10
Verdicts of preadvent judgment of the false woman and the true woman
19:11 to end
Advent of Christ on the white horse, Punishment of the end-time wicked
20:1 to 3
Binding of the dragon, author of sin
20:4 to end
Millennial and postmillennial judgments of all sinners and their death in the lake of fire
21:1-8
New heaven and earth and descent of the city
21:9 to 22:5
Glory of the holy city
22:6 to end - Epilogue - Urgency and appeal of the book

2. Chiastic Pattern of themes for the book
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Prologue
The seven churches 1:9 to 3 end.
The destiny of the righteous (seals, judgment & victory) 4:1 to 8:1
Trumpet warnings against apostasy 8:2 to 11:18
Covenant conflict and victory through the sanctuary 11:19 to 15 end.
Plagues poured out 16:1 to 18 end.
The destiny of the wicked (judgment & punishment) 19:1 to 20 end.
The victorious church 21:1-8
Epilogue
We expect that there are more overall patterns than this. Also, in this commentary, we will see many patterns of sections of text within the book. Such patterns glorify the divine authorship.
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