Summary: The Lord God allows us to join with John and see Heaven’s Throne Room. We are called to acknowledge the glory and power of the One on the eternal throne. Heaven has a sovereign.
HEAVEN’S THRONE ROOM
In the first vision (starting in chapter one) we saw the exalted Christ nurturing and protecting His church. These seven churches have characteristics that belong to various churches in every generation. Chapter four begins a new vision, which constitutes the second major section of the Apocalypse. The new stage occupies chapters 4 and 5 where the scene shifts from the church on earth to church in heaven. These chapters open The Throne Room of Heaven to our eyes and ears. We are allowed to join John in observing the worship of the Lord God Almighty. God is on His throne and His endless praise has begun. We hear the call to acknowledge His power and dominion, and then in chapter 5 His right to judge the earth and its occupants.
The vision relates to things in heaven, most likely to the time between the removal or rapture of the saints, and the letting loose of the time of the great tribulation upon an apostate world. [Chs 6-19 seem to be this time of tribulation.]
I. THE INVITATION FROM HEAVEN, 1.
II. GOD ON HIS THRONE, 2-3.
III. THE 24 ENTHRONED ELDERS, 4.
IV THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD, 5-6a.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like (the sound) of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
John saw the vision of the heavenly throne after, maybe sometime after the he saw and recorded the vision of Jesus’ Word to His churches. The time sequence is indicated by the expression after this (meta tauta, “after these things”in the nasb).
John saw a door . . . open in heaven and heard a voice. The voice he heard again (1:11) was that of the risen Christ (Rev. 1:10, 17-18). The voice was like the sound of a trumpet. Heaven refers not to earth’s atmosphere or the stars but to a place that is beyond man’s natural eye or telescopes. It is called the third heaven and is where the presence of God presently resides. The door opened up into the very presence of God.
The Risen Lord of Life invites him to Come up here, since only one who has been lift up to heaven can see what happens there. The stated reason John is invited up is so that Christ can show him, and us, what must take place after this (meta tauta, same as the first after these things. Indicates a future that has not yet happened). The implication is that the prophecies now to be unfolded will occur after the events of the present age.
Many see in the invitation to John to "come up here" an anticipation of rapture which the church awaits. “It is clear from the context that this is not an explicit reference to the rapture of the church,” [Walvoord, 103] as John was probably not physically translated and his translation into scenes of heaven was only temporarily. Though there is no authority for connecting the rapture with this expression, it can be seen to serve as a typical representation of rapture. Though the rapture is mentioned in two letters to the churches (2:25; 3:11), the rapture as a doctrine is not taught in of the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation primary objective from this point on is to portray the events leading up to and climaxing in the second coming of Christ and the prophetic kingdom and the eternal state which ultimately will follow. It does not concern itself with the church on earth, since as many believe, the true church is no longer there.
[“It seems that the church as the Body of Christ is out of the picture, and saints who come to know the Lord in this period are described as saved Israelites or saved Gentiles, never by terms which are characteristic of the church, the Body of Christ. Saints mentioned from this point on do not lose their racial background as is commonly done in referring to the church where Jew and Gentile are one in Christ. At the beginning of chapter 4, then, the church may be considered as in heaven and not related to events which will take place on the earth in preparation for Christ’s return in power and glory.” Walvoord, 103.]
Thus a door opens in heaven, and the calling up through that door into heaven, can indicate to us the manner in which Christ intends to fulfil His promise to keep certain of His saints “out of the hour of tribulation”(3:11). It seems as if it is at this time that those who have died will be reunited with there body and those of them who shall be found living at the time, “shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;” and “shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”