Revelation – a sketchy outline

john - writing scrollRevelation is a book with a complex structure that has as many outlines as it has commentators. So here’s mine, using the theme of ‘Scroll’ to indicate of the unfolding story.

1:1-8 Prologue, greetings, doxology

John’s Scroll (the whole book)

1:9 – 3: 22 Instruction to write on a scroll; letters to Churches.

John is instructed to write on a scroll what he sees and send it to the seven Churches in Asia. He records specific messages from Jesus to each of them.

papyrus-sealed-with-seven-seals_1246685_inlGod’s Scroll

4:1 – 5:14 In the worship of heaven, God’s Scroll is introduced

6:1 – 11:18 Preparation for what is in God’s Scroll: it is unsealed with accompanying cycles of disaster, each cycle telling the same story of sin, judgement, lack of repentance in spite of the witness of the Church. Each cycle concludes with ‘the end’ seen as the victory of God and his people in the worship of heaven.

mighty angel10:1-11 A mighty angel displays God’s Scroll opened, and gives to John to eat that he might declare its contents. (Note this comes before the cycles are complete.)

11:19 – 22:17 The Story of God’s Scroll is told: God’s salvation (seen as a new Exodus) and opposition to it (seen in the form of ‘Babylon’ which is a symbol of Rome). Despite the opportunity through the ‘plagues’ (as in Egypt), there is no repentance as the ‘Evil Empire’ continues to oppose the Kingdom of God. The armies of heaven, led by the Lamb, defeat the armies of the Beast. The Empire opposing God collapses, its city is destroyed and the city of God, the New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to earth – creation is renewed as the permanent dwelling place of God and his people, like an ultimate ‘Eden.’

22:18-21 Epilogue: God’s Scroll and John’s Scroll conclude with warnings and promises.

Jared Hay, September 2015.


About Jared Hay

I'm minister of Priestfield Church in Edinburgh (Church of Scotland), husband of Jane, father of two adult children and am interested in sharing ideas and information through this blog.
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