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DCF 1.0

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This chiasmus is part of a larger chiasmus (Revelation 1:4 – 3:22) that can be found here.

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The chiasmus below can be briefly outlined as follows:

A    God, the Father

B/C    Jesus

D/E/E’F’    The Church

C’/B’   Jesus

A’   God, the Father

The chiasmus can be read helically.  That is, it can be read in the order of it’s matches:  from A to A’, to B to B’, to C to C’, to D, E, E’, F’.  In my opinion, the passage actually becomes clearer when read this way:

(A)  “Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come – and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.  (A’)  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  (B)  And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  (B’)  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.  (C)  To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood;  (C’)  to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  (D/E/E’/D’)  He has made us to be a kingdom; priests to His God and Father.”

(For another example of a passage that can be read helically, see Psalm 150.)

I think the center of this chiasmus is strong, focusing on the church as a kingdom of priests.  The center offers a little ‘high churchology’, if you will.  😉

The beginning and end have a match in God, the Father.  God surrounds and centers the chiasmus – and more importantly, it’s message.

The reference to God as “Alpha and Omega” is interesting.  Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet, while Omega is the last.  The phrase’s meaning is that God is the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  In other words, He is the source of everything that is.  …  For me, it’s interesting as well because the chiasmus itself begins and ends with ‘God, the Father’.  It makes me wonder whether the writer is winking at us with this little phrase – perhaps with a small smile of creative satisfaction. ;-).

I like the way the second half ends each section with strength:  C’:  “Amen”; B’:  “Amen”; A’:  “The Almighty”.

Overall, I think this is a nice little chiasmus.  I like the beautiful, strong message in the center.  We are a kingdom – a kingdom of priests.  Wow!  Nice.

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4  John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

A    [Me:  God, the Father:]  Grace to you and peace, from Him  /  who is and who was and who is to comeand from the seven Spirits who are before His throne

B    [Me:  Jesus:]  5  and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth

C    [Me: Praise for Jesus (doxology – part a):]  To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood – 

D    (6  and He has made us to be

E    a kingdom,

E’   priests

D’   to His God and Father –)

C’   [Me: Praise for Jesus (doxology – part b):]  to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

B’  [Me:  Jesus:]  7  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 

A’  [Me:  God, the Father:]  8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,  /  who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

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jesus-seven-candlesticks

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The detailed, central D E F G F’ E’ D’ section of the chiasmus is from this web site.  I’ve expanded it with A B C and C’ B’ A’.  Over all the chiasmus can be summarized as follows:

A    A message to the 7 churches

B    John hears

C    John sees

D E F G F’ E’ D’   The vision of Jesus in detail – with a ~loud ‘voice’ at the center.

C’   John sees

B’   John hears

A’    7 messages to the 7 churches

Perhaps the singular message to the seven churches in A should be kept in mind when reading the 7 separate messages in A’.  A is actually a chiasmus, though I haven’t presented it as such here (next post?).  The center of the A chiasmus emphasizes the church as a kingdom, made up of priests.  It’s very positive and helps to counterbalance some of the criticisms in A’.

I like B C C’ B’ (seeing and hearing).  These are the basic elements in John’s experience of the revelation.  John ‘sees’ and ‘hears’.  This perhaps also explains the match in E/E’: eyes (seeing) and mouth (voice/hearing).

B and B’ both contain quotes.  Included in each quote is the approximate statement, ~’write in a book/write the things you have seen’.  Both quotes end by referencing the seven churches.

I think the center is fitting.  It emphasizes the all-important ‘voice’ John hears – which is “like the sound of many waters” (see 1:10a).  …  A nice center, imo.

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[Me:  Revelation Intro (not part of the chiasmus):]    1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,  2  who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.  3  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

A    [Me: A message to the 7 churches:]    4  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,  and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood –  and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

B    [Me: John hearing:]    9  I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,  /  saying: Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.

C    [Me: John seeing:]    Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 

D    14  His headand His hair –  /  were white like white wool, like snow;

E    and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 

F    15  His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace,

G    and His voice was like the sound of many waters

F’   16  In His right hand He held seven stars,

E’   and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword;

D’   and His face  /  was like the sun shining in its strength.

C’   [Me: John seeing:]    17  When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.

B’   [Me: John hearing:]    And He placed His right hand on me, saying: “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,  18  and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.  19  Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.  20  As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

A’    [Me: 7 separate messages to the 7 churches (2:1-3:22 … excerpts):]    2:1  “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:    …  …  2:8  “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  …  …  2:12  “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:  …  …  2:18  “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:  …  …  3:1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:  …  …  3:7  “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  …  …  3:14  “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  … .

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1024px-Anastasis_at_Chora

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This particular chiasmus comes from here.  The attribution at the bottom of the page is to:  Craig S. Keener, the IVP Bible Background Commentary, New Testament, Intervarsity Press, Downes Grove, I, Illinois, 1993.

The book can be found here at Google books, and here at Amazon.

I like the theme of salvation at the center.  It makes the center strong.

I think D/D’ is interesting.  It seems one of the purposes of Jesus’ ‘making proclamation to the spirits in prison’ (D) may have been to have ‘angels, authorities, and powers’ subjected to Himself (D’).  I also like the implied match between Hades below and Heaven above.

There’s a lot of concepts packed in here: judgment, our suffering/witness, Jesus’ suffering, Hades/Heaven, ordering of power, salvation … .  Plenty to contemplate.  Nice.

Here’s the summary from the book:

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 1 Peter 3.16 4.5

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(A?)    13  Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?  14  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,  15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;   

A    16  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered,  /  those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 

B    17  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer  /  for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 

C    18  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death  /  in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 

D    [Me: Jesus goes to Hades]  19  in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison

E    20  who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 

E’   21  Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 

D’   22  who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him

C’   4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered  in the flesh,

B’   arm yourselves also with the same purpose – because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  2  so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God

A’   3  or the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.  4  In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;  /  but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 

For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 

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Judges Gavel

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The following chiasmus is from Douglas Moo’s commentary, “Romans: The NIV Application Commentary: From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life”.  The commentary can be found here at Google Books, and here at Amazon.  Douglas’ website is here.

Here’s a quote:

God Judges Every Human Being Impartially on the Same Basis (2:6-11)

This important paragraph supports a point that is implicit, but vital, to Paul’s indictment of self-righteous Jews in 2:1-5:  God assesses Jews and Gentiles on the same basis.  In effect, Paul argues, there is a level playing field when it comes to God’s ultimate verdict.  The Jew, therefore, simply by virtue of being a Jew cannot claim immunity from judgment.  The argument of these verses is clear and logical, following a pattern we label chiasm.  This word comes from the name for the Greek letter that looks much like our “X”.  It describes a structure in which the basic sequence follows an A-B-B’-A’ pattern.  Note how verses 6-11 fall into such a pattern:

A   God will judge everyone according to his works (v. 6)

B   People who do good will attain eternal life (v .7)

C   People who do evil will suffer wrath (v. 8)

C’  Wrath for those who do evil (v. 9)

B’  Glory for those who do good (v. 10)

A’  God judges impartially (v. 11)

Sometimes in a chiasm, the main point comes at the center.  In this case, however, the main point appears at the outer edges.

Moo’s last point is worth considering.  The main point is not always at the center.  In the end, it’s up to the discretion of the writer.  The chiastic writer has options.

I’ve refined Moo’s chiasmus a little bit by adding the following lower-case connections:  a bb’ a’, a bb’ a’, a bb’ a’.

I would also like to point out the phrase, “of the Jew first and also the Greek”, which occurs twice in the chiasmus.  Interestingly, the phrase appears at the end of the two matches: B/B’ (regarding good) and C/C’ (regarding evil).  Even though the two occurrences of the phrase do not appear chiastically balanced overall, they are still reasonably / logically placed within the chiasmus.

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2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?  4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment

A

a    5  of God,

b    6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

B

a    7  to those who by perseverance in doing good

b    seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

C

a    8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,

b    wrath and indignation.

C’

b’   9  There will be tribulation and distress

a’   for every soul of man who does evil – of the Jew first and also the Greek,

B ‘

b’   10  but glory and honor and peace

a’   to everyone who does good – to the Jew first and also the Greek. 

A’

b’   11  for there is no partiality

a’   with God.

 

 

 

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A painting on wood, by Julia Stankova

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This is a nice little chiasmus.  The center, v. 18-19, is likely based on Isaiah 61:1-2, a messianic passage:

1  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
2  To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord

Interestingly, there’s no mention of ‘healing blindness’ in the above passage, even though it’s at the center of Luke’s chiasmus.  Nevertheless, healing blindness is used elsewhere in Isaiah, including the following messianic passage:

“I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”  Is 42:6-7.

I think it’s fitting to have healing of blindness at the center of this chiasmus.  Not only did Jesus heal people of their physical blindness, He also healed people of their spiritual blindness.  The center serves double duty.  The spiritual aspect of Jesus’ job was ultimately at the core of his ministry: opening peoples’ eyes to who He was and what He came to do.

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14  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.  15  And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.  16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom,

A    He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath,

B    and stood up to read.

C    17  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.

D    And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 

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18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

E    Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.

F    He has sent Me to proclaim release  /  to the captives,

G    And recovery of sight to the blind,

F’   To set free  /  those who are oppressed

E’   19  To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” 

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D’   20  And He closed the book,

C’   gave it back to the attendant

B’   and sat down;

A’   and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 

21  And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

 

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Business colleagues shaking hands

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This chiasmus is from Grant R. Osborne’s book, “Romans”.  The chiasmus can be found here at Google books, page 366.  The book can also be found here at Amazon.

I’ve creating a new center, F.

F focuses on peace with both God and man.  The new center reminds me of Jesus’ words in Mark 12:29-31, where the two social spheres of God and man (‘the vertical and the horizontal’) are emphasized:

28  And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”  29  Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;  30  AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’  31  “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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A    Judging (v. 13a)

B    Stumbling block (v.13b)

C    Clean/unclean (v.14)

D    Destroying (v. 15)

E    Peace and unity (vv 16-18)

E’   Peace and unity (v. 19)

D’   Destroying (v. 20a)

C’   Clean/unclean (v. 20b)

B’   Stumbling block (v. 21)

A’   Judging (vv. 22-23)

… Several have noted a chiastic pattern here.  Perhaps the most comprehensive is Dunn (1988b:816 …

This section addresses the strong, who should be leading the way to establishing unity in the church by opening themselves up to the “weaker” brothers and sisters.  Neither side should stand in judgment over the other, for God alone is the judge of all, and he has accepted both groups (vv. 3, 10).  In a terrific play on words, Paul tells the strong that instead of “judging” (krino) the weak, they must “decide” (krino) not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in … [the] way of the “weak” Christians.  Rather than negative judgment, they must be characterized by positive discernment.  The two words are virtually synonymous.  A stumbling block is that which causes someone to fall into sin.  Similarly,an obstacle derives from the concept of “trapping something in a snare” and therefore is used in the LXX of falling into sin.  So it came to mean “an obstacle in coming to faith and a cause of going astray,” a transgression that leads to destruction, thus something that destroys faith and causes apostasy.

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A    13  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,

B    but rather determine this– not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block  /  in a brother’s way.

C    14  I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

D    15  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

E    16  Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;  17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

F    18  For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

E’   19  So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

D’   20  Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food.

C’   All things indeed are clean,  /  but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

B’   21  It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother  /  stumbles.

A’   22  The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  23  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats – because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

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Empty Tomb Resurrection

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A   [Me: a positive beginning assertion:]    15:1  Now I make known to you, brethren,

a    the gospel  /  which I preached to you,  /  which also you received,

b    in which also you stand,

b’   2  by which also you are saved,

a’   the word  /  which I preached to you,  /  if you hold fast

B    [Me: a negative alternative:]   unless  [!!!]  in vain  [Me: Greek -‘eikay’]  you believed!

C    3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

D    4  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  5  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  6  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;  7  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  8  and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

E

1    9  For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.   10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain  [Me: Greek = ‘kenos’].

2    But I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  11  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

F

a    12  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead,

b    how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

b’   13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead,

a’   not even Christ has been raised;

E’

14  and if Christ has not been raised,

1′    then vain  [Me: Greek = ‘kenos’]  is    2′    our preaching

1′    and vain  [Me: Greek = ‘kenos’]  is    2′    your faith.

D’

a    15  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God :

b    that He raised Christ,

c    whom He did not raise,

d    if in fact the dead are not raised.

d’   16  For if the dead are not raised,

c’   not even Christ has been raised;

b’   17  and if Christ has not been raised,

a’    your faith is worthless;

C’   [Me: D’ a’ continued:]  you are still in your sins.

B’   [Me: a negative possibility:]  18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

A’   [Me: a positive ending assertion:]  20  But  [!!!]  now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep !!!

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