Second Division - Outline

The Book of Revelation is divided into four main literary units, each identifiable by the entry of John “in the Spirit” and his relocation to a new visionary vantage point (Patmos, the Throne, the Wilderness, “great high mountain”). Each division is easily subdivided into smaller units; for example, the series of the “seven seals” or the “seven trumpets” - (Revelation 1:9, 4:1-3, 17:3, 21:10).

The literary structure is designed to show the “servants of God” what things must “soon come to pass,” and thus prepare them for the coming tasks and tribulations. But before assigning chronological sequences to the structure, we must take note of the overlap between different sections.

The three sevenfold judgment series all climax in a final judgment scene.  The “Sixth Seal” opening produces celestial and terrestrial upheaval on the “Day of the Lord.” Likewise, the “Seventh Trumpet” results in the final judgment of the wicked.

Finally, the “Seven Bowls of Wrath” complete the “Wrath of God,” and the emptying of the last bowl means the destruction of Babylon, all accompanied by celestial and terrestrial upheaval. But “Babylon” herself is not described in detail until the chapters following the “Seventh Bowl” - (Revelation 6:17-21, 15:1, 16:17-21).

Key themes are repeated in the four different sections, each time with a specific emphasis. For example, the ascent of the Beast/Satan from the Abyss/Sea is described at least three times - (Revelation 11:713:1, 20:1-7).

Likewise, the final “battle” between Satan and the “Lamb” is pictured five times, and in three cases, the description is based on the same clause found in the Book of Daniel - “The horn MADE WAR WITH THE SAINTS and overcame them” - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 11:712:17, 13:7, 19:17-21, 20:7-9).

Certain themes are expanded with each new telling. In the vision of the Throne, John hears “flashes of lightning, voices, and thunders.” Each time this same set of events is repeated, another element is added to the sequence. For example, an “earthquake” is added to the sequence at the close of the “Seven Seals” - (Revelation 4:5, 8:5, 11:18, 16:18).

If anything, the employment of overlap and repetition argues against any theory that the Book’s visions and chapters are presented in neat chronological sequence.

The following outline is only one of several ways the Book’s Second Division may be divided and subdivided.

THE SECOND DIVISION - (4:1 – 16:21)

The Throne, the Sealed Scroll, and the Lamb - (4:1-5:14)
  • The One Sitting on the Throne - (4:1-11)
  • Lightning, voices, thunders - (4:5)
  • The Sealed Scroll - (5:1-5)
  • The Victorious Lamb - (5:6-14)

The Lamb opens the Seven Seals - (6:1-8:1)
  • The sealing of God’s servants - (7:1-8)
  • The innumerable multitude - (7:9-17)

The Seven Trumpets - (8:1-11:19)
  • Silence in Heaven - (8:2-6)
  • Lightning, voices, thunders; an earthquake -(8:5)
  • The first six trumpets sound - (8:7-9:21)
  • The little scroll - (10:1-11)
  • The temple and the two witnesses - (11:1-14)
  • The first six trumpets sound - (8:7-9:21)
  • The seventh trumpet sounds - (11:15-19)
  • Lightning, voices, thunders; an earthquake - (11:19)

The Son versus the Dragon - (12:1-14:20)
  • The Woman and the Son - (12:1-6)
  • The Dragon and the Seed of the Woman - (12:7-17)
  • The Beast from the sea & the saints - (13:1-10)
  • The Beast from land, image & mark - (13:11-18)
  • The Lamb and the 144,000 on Zion - (14:1-5)
  • The fall of Babylon is announced - (14:6-12)
  • The winepress of the wrath of God - (14:13-20)

The Seven Bowls of Fury - (15:1-16:21)
  • The Sea of Glass - (15:1-8)
  • The Seven Bowls poured out - (16:1-17)
  • Lightning, voices, thunders, mighty earthquake, hail - (16:18-21)
  • Downfall of Beast and Babylon - (16:19-21)



The Living Word

The Suffering Servant