Chiasmus of Revelation

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Chiasmus of Revelation

#1 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Here is the Main Index for chiasmus in the whole Bible. Links to chiasm in specific Bible books can be found there.


In case you have never heard the term "chiasmus" or "chiasm," here is a little background. I have more links about the topic which I will post later.

What is below was prompted by research I was doing on another project (here), combined with this thread on the woman of Rev 12. When I saw the two topics together, as well as the topic of chiasmus, well, I began wondering.

To me, Rev chap 12 looks a whole lot like the entire story of the Bible, condensed of course, and with a slant towards a Christian perspective. So, like I said, I began wondering 'what if . . . what if chapter 12 were to serve as the pivot point in a chiasm of the whole book of Revelation? So I grabbed some 11x17 paper they use at work for engineering drawings and for several days began working from the two ends of the book of Revelation to see if they would meet in the middle at chapter 12. And . . . voila, this chiasm came out! (Kind of like Aaron with the golden calf. (Ex 32:24; :whistle: )

Just as an aside, while driving home from work, after I had finished, it occurred to me, 'how many "steps" are there on each side?' I pulled the paper out, and, sure enough, there are seven steps for each side of the chiasm. If you notice, sevens appear to predominate within Revelation.

Any how, here it is:

Chiasm of Revelation . . . . Explanatory Asides

A Rev 1:1-8

..B Rev 1:9-3:22

....C Rev 4:1-11

......D Rev 5:1-14

........E Rev 6:1-8:1. . . . . . Rev 7:1-8 & Rev 17:9-17

..........F Rev 8:2-11:19. . . .Rev 11:1-13

............G Rev 12:1-17

..........F^ Rev 13:1-14:5. . .Rev 14:6-20

........E^ Rev 15:1-16:21. . .Rev 17:1-18 & Rev 18:1-19:5

......D^ Rev 19:6-20:15

....C^ Rev 21:1-8

..B^ Rev 21:9-22:5

A^ Rev 22:6-21

What follows below is a brief explanation of each parallel part:
A Rev 1:1-8 Prologue or Introduction
A^ Rev 22:6-21 Epilogue or Conclusion
Nothing special here as you would expect this from any compiled work. The introduction could have gone to the end of chapter one and the next 'step' started at chapter two. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other.
B Rev 1:9-3:22 Letters to the Seven Churches (Lamb's Wife Imperfect)
B^ Rev 21:9-22:5 The Lamb's Wife (Lamb's Wife Perfected)
The "seven" congregations appear to signify or stand for the whole. The various problems and trials complement the 'perfection' on the other side.
C Rev 4:1-11 God in Heaven, Created All Things
C^ Rev 21:1-8 God Tenting With Mankind, Making All Things New
D Rev 5:1-14 Lamb worthy to Rule, Gathers co-rulers
D^ Rev 19:6-20:15 Lamb begins universal rule along with co-rulers
E Rev 6:1-8:1 The Seven Seals
E^ Rev 15:1-16:21 The Seven Bowls
Two Part Explanatory Aside: Rev 7:1-8 & 7:9-14 Expands on 2 questions raised in chap. 6
Rev 6:9-11 = Rev 7:1-8 Number to be killed
Rev 6:17 = Rev 7:9-17 Who will survive great tribulation

Two Part Explanatory Aside: Rev 17:1-18 & Rev 18:1-19:5
Rev 17:1-18 Describes judgment of Babylon the Great referred to in Rev 16:19c
Rev 18:1-19:5 Describes who BtG is and how Christians should react to it
F Rev 8:2-11:19 Seven Trumpets
F^ Rev 13:1-14:5 Seven Headed Wild Beast
Explanatory Aside: Rev 11:1-13 Measuring of Temple & Two Witnesses
Explanatory Aside: Rev 14:6-20 Good News Preached & Effect on People
G Rev 12:1-17 Pivot Point: General Outline of Bible From Start to Finish
This represents the 'pivot point' of the chiasm. In a way, it presents the whole of the story with each descending 'step' displaying a part.

What's it all mean? To be honest, I'm still mulling that over. There is a definite symmetry within the arrangement of the various parts. Even among the parts I have described as "explanatory asides" there is a sort of symmetry. If John was being honest in the way he explains the order in which he received the various visions in the book, then, the symmetry of the chiasm provides definite evidence of a higher intelligence behind the whole of the Revelation.

I accept that some/many may not 'see' things as I do. Your comments are welcome also. Or if you 'see' something I am missing I'll be happy to hear you out also.

I've seen other attempts at diagramming Revelation in a chiasm, but the efforts were missing something (to me). This effort came about as a result of that dissatisfaction as well as the points I mentioned in the opening comments above.


Edited to add: See this post on page 2 of this thread for a revised version ("new and improved") of the above chiasmus.

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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#2 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

As another aside to the above: The "dragon" in Rev 12 has seven heads that correspond with the seven headed beast that he gives power to in Rev 13.

If you notice that 'sevens' are a divine number in the book, it is an indication that this number of rulerships is somehow related to divine grant. See this post for additional (under the subtitle: "Let Seven Times Pass Over It").


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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#3 Post by Orchid61 » 3 years ago

" the symmetry of the chiasm provides definite evidence of a higher intelligence behind the whole of the Revelation."

Well its the most high intelligence in the Universe isnt it:

Revelation 1:1-6King James Version (KJV)

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw

Thank you for your hard work Bobcat, its most interesting read, and I will try to understand it.


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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#4 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

And here are some attempts by others at laying out Revelation in a chiastic structure:




As you might discern, how it gets structured depends somewhat on how the various visions are understood. You also have to learn to disregard the chapter and verse divisions if need be. Those also were based on how some understood Revelation.


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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#5 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 3 years ago

Hi Bobcat

Thanks for the interesting research. I've noticed the whole Bible summarized as Rev 12 also, but hadn't considered it as a pivot point in the book of Revelation itself.

After reading your structure I went to the Companion Bible to check on Bullinger since he's pretty fond of finding chiasms too. For those who don't have it I took a photo of that page at the start of Revelation.

Revelation_Structure_Bullinger.jpg (82.92 KiB) Viewed 1630 times

You can see that he bookmarks the ends much like you do, but then has this alternating heaven / earth structure through the entire book. Revelation 12 itself (and leading into 13) gets divided into this structure too.

Since there's no right or wrong structure I like the idea that there would even be different structures that could be overlaid on the same passages and it would still work. So much of creation contains seemingly unrelated patterns and structure. Mathematics and music are great examples. It's possible to learn and understand them to a degree without knowing of all those intricacies, but the structures speak of a higher order and intelligence. If God ordered this book in such a way that it had multiple structures then it makes sense that he would be leaving his fingerprint to reassure us that these are not just the wild imaginings of an elderly apostle.


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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#6 Post by jo-el » 3 years ago

Thanks, this is very interesting. It occurs that if this pattern exists in the structure of the text, then there may perhaps be a complementary one in the text aside from these specific passages?

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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#7 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Hi Willy,

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with you.

Hi Apollos,

Thank you for the input and graphic. You reminded me of some medical references that have the clear overlapping pages with various systems of the body. And I appreciated the thought about God 'leaving His fingerprint' on the book of Revelation. It would be interesting to see other view points such as Bullinger's above.

Hi Jo-el,

I look forward to any further input.


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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#8 Post by Dajo1 » 3 years ago

This is really intriguing. Amos sent me an article on "7" in the scriptures some time ago.
I can't help thinking about "get out of her" - Sol. Is this what Sol has been trying so hard to explain.
Is this what Sol can "see"?

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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#9 Post by AmosAU » 3 years ago

Hi David,

Perhaps you're right about Sol's postings. Perhaps this is what he can see. I'd like to get his thoughts on this.

I've been aware of the chiasm/chiastic form of writing for some years now. There are several bible books that use this style, either in chapter arrangement, or verse arrangement within some of the chapters. This brings a whole new meaning to the bible when we understand how this works.

Regards, Amos.

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Re: Chiasmus of Revelation

#10 Post by Bobcat » 3 years ago

Hi Amos,

Here is an example of the book of Esther.

Here is an example of the account of the Tower of Babel:

As you said, there are many more examples that can be found in the Bible.


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