4:1 "After this I
looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I
heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither,
and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
"After this I looked" is
referring to the fact that this revelation took place after that the Lord had
given to the apostle the letters to the angels of the seven churches in Asia.
Normally when we look at something it is because something has attracted our
attention. In this case that which attracted John's attention was the fact that
a door was opened in heaven. As we saw in the letters to the seven churches,
the Lord is the door opener (Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3) and
only he can open the door of utterance and understanding of spiritual things.
There was something unusual
about the above in that when the door was opened it was not what he saw that was
first manifest to him, but rather what he heard. Before he saw anything he
heard a voice "as it were of a trumpet talking with me." The trumpet was often
used in the Old Testament as an instrument to call to assembly or to prepare the
people to go forth to war. The context suggests that the voice is the voice of
the Lord and that the use of the word trumpet in the context suggests this to be
a call by the Lord to the assembly of the Lord's people in his kingdom.
In the Old Testament when
the Lord called the people to assemble at Mount Sinai in the giving of the law
covenant, the voice of the trumpet was exceeding loud: Ex. 19:16 "And it came
to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings,
and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud;
so that all the people that was in the camp trembled."
We read about this
also in the 12th chapter of Hebrews: Heb. 12:18 "For ye are not
come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto
blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and
the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should
not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which
was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned,
or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that
Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)" There is, however, nothing to
suggest such a fearful trembling in this call to assembly at the unveiling of
the kingdom of heaven.
"Come up hither." A journey
in the kingdom of God is an upward journey. This
is a spiritual journey that lifts us up to a realm that we cannot reach if we
continually focus our minds on the things of this world and the natural affairs
of life. Sometimes it is needful that we set our priorities so that we seek
first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and
seek after spiritual things instead of natural things. Only after we "come up
hither" are we permitted to see the beauty of the kingdom of
God and the beauty of his
holiness and the glory of his grace. John was commanded to come up hither and
he did so. What he saw after he came up to the spiritual realm that God
commanded him is simply glorious in beauty and holiness.
We also note that the only
ones that can "come up hither" to spiritual realms are those that have been born
of the Spirit of God. The Lord said, "Except a man be born again he cannot
see the kingdom of heaven." Paul wrote, "The natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he
know them for they are spiritually discerned. Thus entry into the kingdom of
heaven is restricted to those that God chose before the foundation of the world
and quickened into spiritual life.
"I will show thee things
which must be hereafter." Except the Lord had shown those things we would never
know about them. Some people think that all that is necessary for someone to
know spiritual things is to study. However, the Lord must open the eyes of our
understanding and perception and reveal unto us his precious truths if we are to
know spiritual things.
The "things" which must be
hereafter are the things set forth in this chapter. These things we will
discover are things pertaining to the kingdom of
God. The use of the word,
"hereafter," does not mean that it was a long way off, but rather that it was
present at that time and would continue throughout time and eternity. It was
not a one time event and then ceased, but rather having been established it
would continue forever. The use of the word, "must," drives away any doubt and
shows us that the reason of it being present and continuing throughout time and
eternity is that God is the effectual cause of it. If this were at all
dependent on man, then the word, "might," would be appropriate, because with men
nothing is certain to be accomplished.
"And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set
in heaven, and one sat on the throne."
There were numerous Old
Testament scriptures that told of a coming kingdom and a coming king. In 2 Sam
7:12 "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers,
I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I
will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I
will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever." The Lord told David that
of his seed that God would establish a kingdom and the throne of that kingdom
would last for ever. Some have thought that He was speaking of Solomon.
However, the Lord told David that this would happen after that his days were
fulfilled and he slept with his fathers. Solomon was made king while David was
yet alive, therefore, this was not referring to David. Peter was blessed to
interpret this for us in Acts 2:29 "Men and brethren, let me freely speak
unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his
sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins,
according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."
The promised heir to the
throne of this everlasting kingdom was Christ. The timing of the establishment
of this kingdom and its king was set for us when Daniel interpreted
Nebuchadnezzar's dream: Dan. 2:44 "And in the days of these kings shall the
God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom
shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all
these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." "In the days of these kings"
is referring to the days of the kings of the Roman empire. It was during this
time that God established the kingdom of
God with Christ reigning as the
king of that kingdom.
Many people today are
looking for a future kingdom and a future reign of Christ on earth. This,
however, is a deception. The scriptures are clear as to the time of the
establishing of the kingdom of heaven and Christ reigning in that Kingdom. When
John the Baptist came preaching he said, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of
heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). When Christ came preaching he said, "Repent:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). When Christ sent forth
his disciples to preach the gospel he told them, "And as ye go, preach,
saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10:7). In Mark 1:15 the
Lord said, "The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe
the gospel." Additionally the Lord
also said in Luke 21:31 "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to
pass, know ye that the kingdom of
God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass
away, till all be fulfilled." As to
the meaning of the phrase, "at hand," this was established by the Lord in Lk.
16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the
kingdom of God is preached, and every
man presseth into it." Thus without a
shadow of a doubt the kingdom of God was established with the
coming of John who first preached the gospel of the kingdom.
The one who was to sit upon
that throne is also clearly established in the scriptures, both in the Old
Testament and in the New Testament:
Is. 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7
"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the
throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with
judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of
hosts will perform this."
2. Is. 16:5
"And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth
in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting
3. Zec. 6:12 "And
speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man
whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall
build the temple of the LORD: 13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and
he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be
a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."
4. Lk. 1:31 "And,
behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call
his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the
Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his
kingdom there shall be no end."
5. Acts 2:30 "Therefore
being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the
fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on
6. Heb. 1:8
"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre
of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
7. Heb. 8:1
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high
priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the
heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the
Lord pitched, and not man."
Rev. 1:4 "John to the seven churches which are in
Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him
which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which
are before his throne."
There are different thrones
that the Lord is said to sit upon in the scriptures. There is the throne of
judgment (Ps. 9:7; 89:14; 97:2; Is. 9:7; 16:5). There is the throne of glory (1
Sam. 2:8; Jere. 14:21; Zec. 6:13; Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 4:9;
5: 13). There is the throne of
grace (Heb. 4:16). There is the throne of mercy (Prov. 10:28; Is. 16:5). All
of these thrones are manifest as one throne in the 4th chapter of the
book of Revelation.
Rev 4:3 "And he that sat was to look upon
like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the
throne, in sight like unto an emerald."
The sardine and the jasper stones were the first
and last stones in the breastplate of judgment of the High Priest. The jasper
stone is fire red, whereas, the sardine stone was blood red. The emerald is a
Fire in the scriptures is associated
with God's judgment:
1. Gen. 19:24 "Then the LORD rained
upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven."
2. Ex. 9:23 "And Moses stretched
forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire
ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the
land of Egypt."
3. Ex. 19:18 "And mount Sinai was
altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke
thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly."
4. Ex. 29:14 "But the flesh of the
bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp:
it is a sin offering."
5. Lev. 10:2 "And there went out
fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."
Thirty five times the statement is made in the
Old Testament of the sacrifice that it was an "offering made by fire." God is
said to be the judge of all the earth. He is also said to be just and right.
God is perfect in judgment. Every transgression and disobedience receives a
just recompense of reward. Because God's justice is perfect there is never an
instance that sin will not be brought to judgment. The fire of God's wrath goes
out in judgment against all sin. Our God is a consuming fire. Thus the jasper
stone represents God's judgment against sin.
Set over against God's judgment against sin is
the Lord's atonement of sin:
1. Heb. 9:22 "And almost all things
are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no
2. Matt. 26:28 "For this is my
blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
3. John 19:34 "But one of the
soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and
4. Acts 20:28 "Take heed therefore
unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made
you overseers, to feed the church
of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
5. Rom. 5:9 "Much more then, being
now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
6. Eph. 1:7 "In whom we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches
of his grace."
7. Heb. 9:14 "How much more shall
the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
The sardine stone, being blood red, is associated
with the atonement of sin by the blood of Christ. According to II Cor. 5:21,
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made
the righteousness of God in him." In the kingdom and throne of God, God's
justice and His atonement for sin are brought together in the atonement of the
elect's sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God: Ps. 85:10,
"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each
other." Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary
God's judgment (righteousness and truth) are joined with his atonement (mercy
and peace). The result of this union is eternal life (emerald) for the elect.
The rainbow is associated in the scriptures with
God's covenant: Gen. 9:11 "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither
shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall
there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is
the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living
creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow
in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the
earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth,
that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my
covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh;
and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And
the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the
everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is
upon the earth. 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the
covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the
earth." This covenant was an unconditional covenant. The creatures had to
do nothing for this promise to take effect.
The covenant of redemption is also an
unconditional covenant. The elect are chosen by grace and all the terms of the
covenant are completed and fulfilled by God:
Rom. 8:28 "And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to
his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many
brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also
glorified." Through God's covenant of redemption (rainbow) God's justice is
satisfied (jasper stone) by the justification of Christ's atonement (sardine
stone) and the end result of that covenant is eternal life (emerald).
"And he that sat was to look uponů" Jesus
is the one who we look upon: Heb. 2:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of