The Twelve Visions Of John: Another Attempt At Structuring The Book Of Revelation -- By: Michael Kuykendall

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 60:3 (Sep 2017)
Article: The Twelve Visions Of John: Another Attempt At Structuring The Book Of Revelation
Author: Michael Kuykendall


The Twelve Visions Of John: Another Attempt
At Structuring The Book Of Revelation

Michael Kuykendall*

* Michael Kuykendall is professor of NT studies at Gateway Seminary (Pacific Northwest Campus), 3200 NE 109th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98682. He may be contacted at [email protected]

Abstract: No other NT writing endures as many attempts to outline its structure as does Revelation. Progress, however, has been made over the past several years toward scholarly agreement in marking off the major sections of Revelation. This paper appends more evidence for several intratextual markers. The result will demonstrate that John produced twelve visions. The paper updates the latest studies on external and internal approaches for structuring the Apocalypse. This is followed by a summary of the sequential and recapitulation methodologies. A progressive recapitulation approach supports the remainder of the paper. The study discusses five intratextual markers that are located at or near the conclusion of twelve individual visions. These markers signal not only the close of the individual vision, but provide a picture of the end of history as well. Finally, an outline of the twelve visions will be supplied.

Key words: visions of Revelation, structure, literary markers, intertextuality, progressive recapitulation

No other NT writing has endured as many attempts to outline its structure as has the book of Revelation. There is no consensus, and there are no illusions that the present study will solve one of the most complex issues in biblical studies. Progress, however, has been made over the past several years toward scholarly agreement in marking off the major sections of Revelation. My contribution to the discussion is to extend the evidence on intratextual markers and thereby demonstrate that John produced twelve visions.

I. The Problem

That Revelation comprises a single document is widely accepted. Those who find multiple sources and later redactors remain in the minority.1 John’s visionary document is intricately woven and divided into numerous individual visions. But how many total visions are there? And what are the literary markers for a vision?

Most interpreters agree on major divisions of Revelation’s structure. There is a prologue (1:1–8) and an epilogue (22:6–21). There is acceptance on the parameters of the inaugural vision and seven letters (1:9–3:22). Likewise, the boundary markers for the throne room vision are recognized (

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