Summary: Glimpse of Heaven
Today people have an unprecedented longing to understand spiritual things. People will go to “mediums” or spiritualists and pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in an attempt to “touch” the supernatural. Despite all these claims of going to heaven and the Lord, the person returning with a message from “God” these stand in stark contrast to Revelation 4, and the rest of the Scriptures depicting the throne room of God. To claim that someone has gone to see “God” in his highest heaven is not only wrong, it is unscriptural. No one has seen God at anytime; even those who saw the throne room did not see God in His full glory! This then stands in stark contrast to the puffed up, pride seeking people that proclaim not only that they have seen God, but that they have received a “message” from Him. With this said, I do believe that people can have visions and dreams but those should be tested purely with Scripture not our own reason, or logic, but solely based against Scripture.
This chapter opens up past what the letters to the churches said and expands. One of the things about the way the Apostle John writes is that he spins the story ever wider and wider until at last you get a full picture. He does this throughout in his Epistles, and Gospel and now in this letter of Prophecy as well. It is so that the reader can have no dispute of who Jesus is in the midst of their lives. God has a plan and a story to play out in your own life today. The purpose of the letters to the churches for us today, were to show us both corporately and individually what areas don’t please God in the operation of His Body, and what things don’t please Him in our walks with Him. As we have seen already in this study, God doesn’t want us to be lukewarm, but passionate. This is the purpose of Revelation that we would draw closer to Jesus not afraid of the images and symbolism in this book, for sure they are scary, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Draw near to Jesus during this study not closer to what you want, but closer to who He is. He alone is able to draw all people unto Himself. Won’t you allow Him as you get a picture of what is to come to all Him to His work in you. Someone once told me about the end times, “David the very fact that the end times are approaching ought to motivate you to live a holy life, a holy and pleasing life for Jesus.” This is our primary motivation in studying the end times for they are coming closer and closer while nobody may know the time of His coming, He is coming, and we are to be ready for His return.
This chapter begins the message for the church from 4:1 to 22:21. It moves from the conditions within the churches in Asia to the future of the universal church .John sees the course of coming events in a way similar to Daniel and Ezekiel. Many of these passages contain clear spiritual teachings, but others seem beyond our ability to understand. The clear teaching of this book is that God will defeat all evil in the end. We must live in obedience to Jesus Christ, the Coming Conqueror and Judge.
Revelation 4 and 5 are the greatest descriptions of heaven in the whole Bible. As G.K Beale said, “The main point of Chapters 4-5 is God’s punitive and redemptive purpose for the world beginning to be accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ, through whose reign God’s purpose for creation will be consummately executed and divine glory accomplished. The pastoral purpose is to assure suffering Christians that God and Jesus are sovereign and that the events that the Christians are facing are part of a sovereign plan that will culminate in their redemption and the vindication of their persecution.” The purpose of Revelation 4 is to give us a glimpse into the throne room.
Revelation 4:1, “Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before to me with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast. The voice said,”Come up here and I will show you what must happen after these things.”
Then as I looked: This refers to the chronology of the events that took place.
This was right after the vision of the glorified risen Christ (1:9-20) and the letters to the seven churches (2:1-3:22). The phrase then as I look or also after all these things is used throughout Revelation to mark the beginning of a new vision (7:9; 15:5; 18:1; 19:1). As John looked to his amazement he saw a door standing open in heaven (Ezek 1:1; Acts 7:56). This already open door admitted John into the third heaven (2nd Cor 12:12, the first heaven being the earth’s atmosphere and the second interplanetary and interstellar space) to the very throne room of God. It was heaven where Christ ascended after His resurrection where He has since been seated at the right hand of God (John 14:2-3; Acts 1:9-11; 3:20=21; 7:55-56; Romans 10:6; Colossians 3:1; 1st Thess 4:16). Heaven become John’s point of view for the remainder of the book of Revelation.