γραψον α ειδες και α εισιν και α μελλει γινεσθαι μετα ταυτα [Revelation 1:19 TR (undisputed except for the addition of ουν after γραψον)]
Write (thou) the things which thou sawest and the things which are and the things which are about to take place after these [Revelation 1:19, EGNT (1)]
'After these' at the end of the sentence, being plural, refers back to :
So after writing about what he saw and what was already present, John is to write about the things which shall take place after these (two) things.
- 3 ... the things which are about to take place after these
Thereafter, John writes of a vision of the Son of man. That is something he sees and it is also something that is present. It is not a prediction of the future, it is a vision of what the Son of man presently is.
Then John writes to the seven churches. Or, to be more precise, he writes to the angels of the churches. When he writes on parchment, the angels will be aware of what he has written. He does not need to send it anywhere.
But he also sends seven copies of what he wrote, to the churches, notifying them of what has been made available to the angels. Thus the churches are advised of the angelic judgment that, if they heed and repent, they will avoid. Else, they are advised, angels have been informed and angelic judgment will fall upon the impenitent.
Then, John writes of his being caught up (in vision, maybe, or bodily, some might say) to see things in heaven in regard to the throne.
Again, this is present. It is a vision of what is now, in heaven : the throne, he that sits upon it, the rainbow, the living creatures ('beast' is not helpful) the elders, the seven spirits before the throne.
All is now. A vision of what he saw, that which is now.
Then begins the unfolding of things which shall be thereafter.
Personally, I would see the first two statements above as supportive and synonymic.
Write that which thou sawest, and the things which are
What John had seen (up to that stage) . . . .
. . . was a vision of Christ. John saw this vision and the vision is now.
That is the revelation. Christ himself, among the churches, among the lampstands, seeing (with burning vision) what is and progressing (with brasen judgment) upon a route.
The vision of Christ is what is to be communicated. And this is that by which the churches are judged. Each postscript - peculiar to each individual gathering - is accompanied by a relevant part of the vision of Christ.
It is he who is the vision. And it is he who is the judge, in his character.
Against him are the churches judged.
So yes, there is a structure to be seen.
And it is of fundamental importance to every generation of the Church to see it.
Thereafter is an unfolding of what I understand to be six more sections, each historically parallel (from the ascension of Christ up to his return) and rising in elevation, spiritually.
The best exposition of this book that I am aware of is The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Metcalfe in which he deals, first, with the variety of ways in which the book is viewed by authors and preachers, after which he expounds in order the historically parallel structure
which I find, myself, to be the most compelling and the most logical and the most in accord with the rest of scripture.
(1) EGNT Englishman's Greek New Testament - literal interlinear translation