“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this‘”
Chapters 4 and 5 give a prologue perspective of the raptured church on the events of chapters 6 and following (the tribulation, coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom and the eternal state).
After these things I looked
For two chapters, Jesus spoke to the churches, now John, the human author of the book of Revelation, is the speaker.
The phrase “after these things” indicates a change in succession of events. We now move to the category of future things. Two times in this verse, John uses the words “after this.” After Revelation deals with church issues, it now deals with the future. Revelation does not mention the church again until the final chapter (22:16).
Two times in this verse, John uses the words “after these things.” After Revelation deals with church issues, it deals with the future, mainly regarding the nation of Israel. Revelation does not mention the church again until the final chapter (22:16).
“Behold” is a term of vivid exclamation. This vision of a heavenly throne surprises John and maybe even shocks him.
a door standing open in heaven.
John sees a vision “of a door standing open in heaven” (chapters 4-5). First, Jesus shows John the vision of the seven churches; then, He shows him a vision of a throne room in heaven. This vision introduces a series of three sevens: seals (4:1-5:14), trumpets (8:1-5), and bowls (15:1-8). This is the longest of the visions of Revelation.
And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this’
With the words “Come up here,” a voice summons John not only to look into heaven but also to come to heaven itself. This voyage to heaven is via a vision. The remainder of Revelation is the perspective of John.
Now the book of Revelation shifts to dealing with the future — “things which must take place after this.” Remember that the apostle John gave the structure for Revelation in 1:19.
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Revelation 1:19).
The things “which you have seen” were the past revelation of the person of Christ in chapter one. The things “which are” deals with the church, things present. The things “which will take place after this” are the things of the future (eschatology).
Chapter 4 is a transition verse from “things which are” to “the things which will take place after this.” Note that John uses the same terminology for future things in 1:19 and this verse.
The structure of Revelation is crucial to understanding eschatology (future things). First, John presents the church in heaven (4-5), then the tribulation (6-18), the Second Coming (19), the Millennium (20), and finally the eternal state (21-22). The climax of these events is the coming of Christ in chapter 19, for the centrality of Christ is the central idea of Revelation.
The seven seals of chapter 6 begin the chronological progress of the Great Tribulation culminating in the Second Coming. The seven trumpets follow the seventh seal and the seven bowls of the wrath of God follow the seventh trumpet. God designed the tribulation to bring Israel to her knees to prepare her for embracing Christ when He comes. When the nation of Israel receives Jesus as the Messiah, then Jesus will usher her into the Millennium. After the Millennium, Jesus will bring all His people into the eternal state.
The voice in heaven says that the things that will happen “must” take place. God’s sovereignty determines these events. No person or thing will deter God’s plans for creation.
The Second Coming is not the Rapture. The Rapture occurs at the beginning of the tribulation and the Second Coming comes at the end of the tribulation.
Nothing will deter God’s plan for creation.
The events of time are not capricious; these events fall within the sovereignty of an eternal God. No transaction on earth takes place without God’s concurrence.
God reveals only what falls within the tolerance of what we can receive. He reveals what we need to know to orient to His program for time.