Structure in Revelation 3

Structure in Revelation 3 March 21, 2014

Revelation 3:1-2 is organized in a new chiasm:

A. Thus saith He who has seven Spirits, even the seven stars

B. I know your deeds (erga)

C. You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead

D. Wake up and strength the remainder

C’. Which is about to die

B.’ for I have not found your deeds (erga) completed

A’. In the sight (enopion) of My God.

The value of seeing this structure lies in the way it integrates Jesus’ identification as the one with Spirits and stars with the rest of the exhortation. In the LXX, the Greek enopion sometimes translates the Hebrew lifne, “before the face of . . .” At times, though, the Greek term translates the Hebrew be’eynay, “before My eyes” (e.g., Exodus 33:17). The NASB translation captures this nuance by translating enopion as “in the sight of.”

That clarifies how the A and A’ are related. They are linked by their common emphasis on sight. The seven Spirits of Jesus are His seven eyes (Revelation 5:6), and these are linked in 3:1 with the seven stars, which we already know correspond to the seven angels of the churches (1:20). So, the complex equation is: Jesus’ Spirit are eyes, which are stars and lamps; and these stars and lamps are the angels of the churches. The angels are Jesus’ lights to the church, but also Jesus’ eyes on the church. As the Lord with seven Spirit-star-eyes, Jesus stands in judgment before the church. 

The Father has given all judgment to the Son (John 5). We could restate that in terms of Revelation: The Father has given His Spirit-eyes to the Son, so that the Son is the one who oversees the churches and the world, the episcopos of creation. To be in the presence of Jesus is to be under the scrutiny of Jesus’ God, the Father, since Jesus possesses the vision of the Father. Filled with the Spirit, the Son is the eyes of the Father.

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