Source Parallel Formation

A source parallel formation analyzes how a work incorporated a single source. If a pattern emerges then we can assume that the author was consistent in that approach for all or most of the duration that the source was imported. As in all things there are variances that must be accounted for, such as the earlier that the material was added the more disjointed the pattern would be, since subsequent additions would cause previous material to shift around. Thus this process may have to infer based upon a consistent and yet limited set of data.

On the surface it may sound extraordinary to assume that an author like John would be consistent within the framework of adding material from a source. Yet we find this consistency in books such as Revelation, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Matthew, and Luke-Acts. For example, when we read Ezekiel and Revelation together, Revelation seems to follow Ezekiel from Revelation beginning with the encounter of the four living creatures and God on his throne in heaven and ending with being in a city of God with a river of life flowing through both cities. Both cities have a tree or trees that bear twelve kinds of fruit (a different one for each month), and leaves used for healing. The difference that the two exhibit is the order of things; some things follow the same order in both books while others are shifted around. Since they, for all intents and purposes, begin and end the same, we can assume that when John used Ezekiel it was a direct linear copy of selected material from Ezekiel. In reality it was a much involved process (See How John Created the Ezekiel-Isaiah Draft in

The book of Zechariah is the opposite of Ezekiel in that John takes the first twelve chapters of Zechariah in reverse order and aligns Revelation by subject order. We see clues for this in how the coronation of Jesus in Rev 5:1-14 is similar to that of Joshua the high priest, and how the four horsemen in Revelation have the same colors as the four chariots in Zechariah. We have the four winds in Revelation which are another name for the four chariots in Zechariah. Revelation steps out of order when it comes to the woman flown inside a basket by two stork wings to the wilderness because we have two women taken into the wilderness, the woman by two eagle wings and the harlot flown into the wilderness by a scarlet-colored beast. The parallels are restored again in the mighty angel scene with the flying scroll. This is not the complete list of common content between Revelation and Zechariah, nor is it the end of the parallels, but it is sufficient enough to make the assumption that when John used Zechariah he both shaped the material in the reverse order of the first twelve chapters of Zechariah and added material from Zechariah (see How John Created the Zechariah Draft ).

From John’s perspective, how he uses Hebrew Scripture sources is no different than how he wrote Revelation. John’s use of Ezekiel would be to consider forming a simple parallel and John’s use of Zechariah would be no different than him forming a complex parallel. This is important to note because there are many other sources that John used to make Revelation and none of the sources are used differently than how he wrote Revelation. We can also make the same statement with other writers of this genre.

From the standpoint of reconstructing the order and what each draft might have looked like. We have to establish the process of how each parallel formation was made with Revelation and then organize each process into an order that produces an end result similar to what we have in Revelation today. Therefore, identifying the order of each Hebrew Scripture added will become the major means of identifying the order of passages. It is also our primary means of organizing our description of how Revelation was constructed. This is why this book is organized in terms of “drafts” based upon the primary Hebrew Scripture used.