I’ve been reading Revelation since our pastor started a series of Sunday morning sermons on the book last Sunday. As is my practice, I try to break up the book into sections to get a better understanding of its contents, and as usual I find myself torn between several schemes.
A passing comment last Sunday about the book being in two sections led me to think what they might be. Here’s my initial take on a bipartite Revelation.
The basis of such a division has to be Rev 1:19 which identifies the book with “the things that you [John] have seen”. The book is a record of the vision(s) John saw, and accords with his constant refrain of “I saw …” or “I was shown …”.
Part 1 would be “those that are”, presumably the present from John’s perspective. This must be chapters 1-3, dealing with the 7 churches, and preceded by the vision of the “one like a son of man” (1:13).
Part 2 would be “those that are to take place after this”, which would be future from John’s perspective, and at least partly future from ours (how much would depend on your millennial views). This would be the remainder of the book (chapters 4-22). Like the first part, it begins with a vision of God, this time the one who sits on the throne (ch 4) and the Lamb (ch 5). The remainder of this part is a more involved series of visions.