Andrew Steinmann, “The Tripartite Structure of the Sixth Seal, The Sixth Trumpet, and the sixth Bowl of John’s Apocalypse (Rev 6;12-7:17; 9:13-11:14; 16:12-16),” JETS 35, no 1 (March 1992): 69-78.
Steinman argues against the idea that interludes exist after the sixth seal and trumpet judgments. He instead proposes that there are three sections to the sixth seal. Similarly, the sixth trumpet is followed by two related scenes in chapters 10 and 11. Further, the sixth bowl is divided into three parts by
If these judgments are listed in order, it is obvious that there is a progressive revelation concerning the final judgment:p. 78
Judgment 1: The seventh seal. Silence in heaven (8:1).
Judgment 2: The seventh trumpet. Voices in heaven. Implied judgment on earth(11:15–19).
Judgment 3: The double harvest. Initiated by angels’ commands in heaven.
Firstharvest an implied blessing for the saints. Secondharvest brings judgment on earth (14:14–19).
Judgment 4: The seventh bowl. A voice announces the end from heaven. Judgment on earth identical in form to judgment 2 (16:17–21).
Judgment 5: The celebration in heaven. The blessings for the saints at the marriage feast of the Lamb. The army of Christ brings judgment on earth at the great supper of God. The beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (19:1–21).
Judgment 6: Fire from heaven consumesSatan’s army on earth. Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and those not in the Lamb’s book of life are thrown into the lake of fire. Blessings for the saints in the new Jerusalem (20:9–22:5).
Assuming that each of these judgments end a section, Steinmann proposes the following structure for the book:
I.Introduction (1:1–9)pp. 78-89
II. Seven letters (1:10–3:22)
Openingof the seven seals of the scroll (4:1–8:1)
IV. The sounding of the seven trumpets (8:2–11:19)
V. The woman, the dragon, the two beasts, the 144,000 with the Lamb, three angels, the harvest of the earth (12:1–14:20)
VI. The seven bowls of God’s wrath (15:1–16:21)
VII. The fall of Babylon, the marriage feast of the Lamb, the great supper ofGod (17:1–19:21)
VIII. The millennium, the great white throne, the new Jerusalem(20:1–22:5)
IX. Conclusion (22:6–21)
There are several problems with Steinmann’s proposal, however. Even if chapter 7 were read as part of the sixth seal and chapters 10-11 were read as part of the sixth trumpet, the interjection in 16:15 hardly creates a parallel tripartite sixth bowl. Furthermore, this double judgment, first in heaven and then on earth does not always hold. It is not found in judgments 1 or 2. His interpretation of 14:14-19 is debatable. And the claim that 17:1-19:21 forms one section and that 20:1-22:5 is problematic given the way chapters 19 and 20 flow together. Bauckham’s structure, based off of repeated phrases is much preferred to this structure, which depends on forced or imagined parallels at key points.
Thomas, Robert L. “The Structure of the Apocalypse: Recapitulation or Progression?” Master’s Seminary Journal 4, no. 1 (1993): 45-66.
Thomas argues for a progressive relation of the seals, trumpets, and bowls while acknowledging that recapitulation occurs in the intercalary sections. He gives seven (of course!) arguments in favor of progression. (1) There is no outpouring of wrath after the opening of the seventh seal. (2) There is no outpouring of wrath after the seventh trumpet. (3) The seventh trumpet needs to be
Thomas, Robert L. “John’s Apocalyptic Outline,”Bibliotheca Sacra 123 (1966): 334-41.
This article is an argument that Rev. 1:19 provides a tripartite division for the book of Revelation. I’m still not sure that the interpretation of this verse is as significant as some think. A futurist, it would seem, could hold to either position. In arguing for futurism, I wouldn’t make this verse foundational.
Thomas, Robert L. “The Chronological Interpretation of Revelation 2–3,” Bibliotheca Sacra 124 (1967): 321-31.
Thomas surveys of views about the significance of the letters to the seven churches. He defends the view that the letters to the seven churches are simply letters to churches in John’s own day without any additional symbolic significance relating to the history of the church.