The structure of Revelation 17

An angel invites John to witness the punishment of a great prostitute (Rev. 17.1-3a)

The invitation (1)

The angel’s description of the prostitute (2)

The angel carries John to a desert (3a)

John sees a woman riding a beast (Rev. 17.3b-6a)

John’s vision of the woman (3b)

John’s description of the woman (4-6a)

Her attire (4a)

Her cup (4b)

Her title (5)

Her drunkenness (6a)

John and the angel converse about the vision (Rev. 17.6b-7)

John’s reaction to the vision (6b)

The angel’s astonishment at John’s reaction (7a)

The angel’s offer to explain the vision (7b)

The angel interprets the vision (Rev. 17.8-18)

The interpretation of the beast (8)

Was, is not, will return from the abyss, and will be destroyed (8a)

The unbelieving world will be astonished when it sees him (8b)

A call for wisdom (9a)

The interpretation of the seven heads (9b-10)

They are seven hills (9b)

They are also seven kings (10a)

Five of them have fallen (10b)

The sixth is (10c)

A seventh is coming to rule briefly (10d)

(parenthetical addendum regarding the beast, 11)

He is an eighth king (11a)

He ‘belongs to the seven’ (11b)

He is going to be destroyed (11c)

The interpretation of the ten horns (12-14)

They are ten kings (12a)

They have not yet received their kingdoms (12b)

For one hour they will receive their kingdoms (12c)

They are united in purpose (13a)

They will cede their authority to the beast (13b)

They will wage war against the Lamb (14a)

The Lamb and his followers will defeat them (14b)

The interpretation of the waters (15) – they are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages

God’s punishment of the prostitute (16-17)

Description of the destruction of the prostitute by the beast and the ten horns (16)

The divine purpose behind their destruction of the prostitute (17)

The interpretation of the prostitute (18) – she is the great city ruling over the world

Source: author’s personal study

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