Summary: John’s vision of the throne in chapters 4 and 5 is the model for our worship of God.
Most of us have probably heard it said that “those who are heavenly minded are of no earthly good.” But chapter 4 of Revelation shows us that just the opposite is true. Since we heard the entire passage read out loud just a moment ago, I’m not going to read the entire chapter again, but I want to encourage you to open your Bibles to Revelation 4 so that you can follow along as we examine the passage together this morning.
Mary and I recently went to a couple of movies that were shown in 3D. In order to be able to view the movie, we had to wear a special pair of glasses, which in my humble opinion is a great scam to allow the movie theaters to add a $3 surcharge on their already high admission prices. Several times during the movies, I took off my 3D glasses just to see what the movie would look like without them. And I discovered that without the proper glasses the picture was very blurry and out of focus.
In a sense, chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation are our spiritual 3D glasses that we need to put on in order to see clearly the movie that begins in chapter 6. These two chapters provided John’s audience, and they will provide us, with the proper perspective throughout the rest of the journey.
Jesus has just finished giving the seven messages to the seven churches and now John, for the second time in the book, is transported spiritually into the presence of God, where he is given a vision. Here’s how John describes his experience:
1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit…
John begins with the phrase “after this”. It is a phrase that he will use five more times in Revelation. Although he uses that phrase to indicate what he is shown next in his vision, it does not necessarily indicate that the events he is about to describe occur next chronologically.
It is significant that John is not transported physically into the heavenly realm. When he hears the same trumpet-like voice of Jesus that he heard in Chapter 1 which calls him to “come up here…” he is immediately “in the Spirit”. We saw that same phrase used in Chapter 1 when Jesus told John to write down what was going to be revealed to him in a series of visions. John is not transported to another place or time to see what he sees. That is important because it reveals that for John and for us…
Heaven is another dimension of present reality that is close at hand
As John sits there in exile on a rock pile in Patmos, it is as if Jesus opens up a curtain and allows John to see what is occurring right there and then in another dimension which is every bit as real as his physical surroundings. And by doing that, Jesus provides John with the glasses that he is going to need to see clearly the scenes that will unfold before him beginning in chapter 6.