Since Revelation is laid out in serieses of sevens, it is worth investigating to see if there is a series of seven after the seven libation-bowls of chapter 16. I believe there is, and it is the burden of this essay to expose it.
The series of sevens, or heptamerous sequences, generally take their rise from Genesis 1. In Exodus, for instance, the lampstand or its oil is always found in the fourth slot, corresponding to the creation of the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day. Similarly, judgments concerning the sun occupy the fourth slot in the trumpet and libation-bowl judgments of Revelation.
Taking this as a hint, I suggest that Revelation 19:17-21 is the fourth in a series. “And I saw an angel standing in the sun.” The Sun Angel pronounces the doom of the beast and false prophet, and they are cast into a lake of fire, a scorching sun before the throne of God.
The next vision is Revelation 20:1-3, where we see the serpent bound in the abyss for the duration of the millennium.
The sixth vision is Revelation 20:4-10, which concerns the rule of the saints during the millennium and what happens after the millennium is over. This works well as the enthronement of man on the sixth day.
The seventh vision is Revelation 20:11-15, which is the great white throne judgment. This is sabbatical, corresponding with the seventh day.
Then we come to a new creation, the last and eighth vision, of Revelation 21:1–22:5.
So far, we have seen rather clear correlations for the fourth, sixth, and seventh days.
The first of the last visions is Revelation 17, the destruction of Babylon by the Beast. I suggest that this is a de-creation vision, an antithesis to the first day of creation. Note that Babylon rules the waters, as the Spirit hovered over the waters.
The second of the last visions is Revelation 18:1–19:10, the lamentation over Babylon by the wicked, which is followed by the praise of God in heaven by the firmament-people of God. Babylon is thrown in the earthly sea, while the saints are in heaven with the heavenly sea (day 2).
The third of the last visions is Revelation 19:11-16, where we see Jesus and the Church coming out of the heavenly sanctuary after worship to conquer the world with the gospel. Included in this section is the statement that He treads the winepress of the wrath-wine of God, an allusion perhaps to the fruit trees made on the third day.
As is often the case, the associations are “vague,” but there is enough to let us see the sequence as valid. It does indeed seem that Revelation ends with one last series of seven, in this case, seven plus one.
A. The judgment of Babylon, center of the First Creation.
B. The fall of Babylon, and the praise of the firmament-people.
C. Jesus rides forth to conquer.
A’. The fall of the Beast and False Prophet, from the sun.
C’. Jesus binds the serpent for 1000 years.
B’. The rule of True Babylon over the world.
A”. The judgment of all humanity, of the New Creation.
A’”.A new creation, a new Babylon-Jerusalem.
Note that in A, Babylon is burned (17:16); in A’ the Beast and false prophet are burned (19:20); and in A” all the wicked are burned (20:15).
James Jordan is scholar-in-residence at Theopolis. This article originally appeared at Biblical Horizons.