Should Revelation 1.9-12a go with 1.1-8 o with 1.12b-20? There are several clear indications that 1.9-12a belong with the vision that follows:
- In Revelation 1.9 we begin an autobiographical narrative, which is also what we find in the following section. In contrast, Rev. 1.1-8 is not narrative. There is actually a hodgepodge of subgenres in Rev. 1.1-8: title, beatitude, epistolary greeting, doxology, prophecy and a divine self-identification.
- In Revelation 1.9 we begin a first-person narrative, which is what we find continued in Rev. 1.12b-20. By contrast, in 1.1-8 John does not speak in the first-person. John refers to himself in the third-person in the first verses. The only first-person speech in this section is from God, in Rev. 1.8, not from John.
- Revelation 1.9-12 is specifically a prophetic commissioning narrative. Jesus is commissioning John to write to the churches. In OT versions of such narratives, such as Isaiah 6, we see both the call narrative and a glorious description of God. That is what we find in Revelation 1.9-20.
- Working backwards we see that in Rev. 1.12b we have a mention of John’s turning. In Rev. 1.12a we learned that the turning was to find the source of a voice. In Revelation 1.10-11 we hear the voice for the first time. And Rev. 1.9 sets the stage for the narrative, introducing the protagonist (John) and his setting or circumstances. So all of these verses belong together.
Source: author’s personal study.