Parallel formation is the primary tool that Biblical authors used to convey stories in both nearby and faraway passages.
Parallels come in two basic types: the simple parallel and the complex parallel.
The simple parallel can be thought of as two lists that contain similar items in the same order.
The complex parallel (commonly called an introverted parallel or chiasmus) is when one list is in reverse order of the other.
In both simple and complex parallels each item in each list will be seen as an element. Each element can form a complement or an opposite to its corresponding element.
As with any structure the author may combine both types of parallels in order to make a composite parallel.
The author may have one part of the process form a perfect parallel, and if the reader looks at the parallel in a different way it will form an offset––we will call these types of parallels offset parallels.
The most complex of all parallels is the multilayer parallel in which the parallel is written in such a way that it is encoded by the source text one way and forms a parallel in the resulting text another way.
Parallel Formation of the Fifth Church, Fifth Seal, Fifth Trumpet, And Fifth Bowl
The table below shows how John built the content for the fifth church, fifth seal, fifth trumpet, and fifth bowl.
By simply laying the content side by side, all he needed to do was to tweak the text as he copied it from one section to the other.
The end result is providing the reader with a unique story with the minimal amount of creative writing.
The Fifth Church
The Fifth Seal
The Fifth Trumpet
The Fifth Bowl
They think they are alive but they are dead (3:1).
The saints are dead but they are alive (6:9).
The wicked are alive but wish they were dead (9:6).
The wicked are alive on earth and curse those dead in heaven (16:11).
Smyrna is told to wake up and obey the commandments (3:2)
The saints that have obeyed the commandments of God are given a robe, and told to rest (6:9-11)
The saints with the seal of God live pain free (9:4)
The wicked are in severy pain (Rev 9:6)
Those remaining on earth are in severe paine (16:10).
The saints in heaven calls to be avenged (6:9-11).
Those blaspheme God and curse the saints in heaven (16:11).
The saints are on the earth (3:1-6).
The saints are beneath the throne in heaven (6:9).
Both saints and wicked are on the earth (9:1-11).
The wicked are at the throne of the beast (16:10-11).