Revelation 4:1

Wednesday Night Bible Study

February 12, 1997


We enter into a new section of this book.

We've seen that this unique book is one that comes with a built in blessing (1:3)

4:1-11 The Throne Room

:1 After this

The Greek words here, meta tauta, kind of stand out that way they are written down.

They kind of frame this verse.

They are translated at the beginning of the verse as "after this".

They are at the end of the verse translated "hereafter".

They are there to remind us of the outline of Revelation that Jesus has already given to us:

Re 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

John was instructed by Jesus to write down three groups of "things":

1) The things which thou has seen (chapter 1)

Which refers to the vision John had already seen by Rev. 1:19, the vision of Jesus, which means chapter 1.

2) The things which are (chapters 2-3)

The things which pertain to current history, the times of the church.

As we've seen, there seems to have been a particular reason for the churches chosen to be addressed, as well as the order they were addressed.

We've seen that there seems to be a flow of church history depicted by the churches, from the early church of Ephesus, to the latter days church of Laodicea.

3) the things which shall be hereafter (will be chapters 4-22)

The things that shall take place after "the things which are".

The things that shall take place after the church age is over.

The future is now.

:1 a door was opened in heaven

In Rev. 3:8, the door in Philadelphia was a door of opportunity.

In Rev. 3:20, the door is to your heart.

Here, the door is to heaven.

We often think of heaven as being somewhere "out there".

It could simply be in the same place we are in, yet in a different dimension.

Our normal physical senses are only tuned to receive stimuli in what we call our "world".

What if we were enabled to perceive the "invisible" world around us?

Somehow, a way into the heavenly realm is opened up to John.

:1 the first voice ...

I believe John is referring here to the first voice that he heard earlier, back in chapter one:

(Rev 1:10-11 KJV) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, {11} Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last ...

This is the voice of Jesus.

:1 as it were of a trumpet

Trumpets had several uses in the Bible:

They were means of communication, there were no TV news casts (1Sam.13:3).

They were used by the army to tell everyone when to advance and when to retreat (Judg.7:18; 2Sam.2:28)

They were used to warn a city of an impending attack (Ez.33:3)

They were used in worship, to praise the Lord (Ps.150:3)

But most interestingly, a very common use was to gather an army together.

When the Judge Ehud called Israel together to fight the Moabites, he blew a trumpet (Judg.3:27)

When Gideon called Israel to form an army against the Midianites, he blew a trumpet (Judg.6:34)

When the Bible talks about the rapture, the catching away of the saints to be with the Lord, a trumpet is also blown. I think it's God calling His army together, His people together.

(1 Th 4:16-17 KJV) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

When a person dies, their spirit goes to be with Jesus immediately (Phil. 1; 2Cor.5)

Until the time of the Rapture, they will be in a "disembodied" state, called in theological terms the "intermediate state".

At the time of the Rapture, they will get their resurrected bodies first, then we who are on the earth will be caught up into the air and get our resurrected bodies.

And we'll be with Jesus from that point on.

:1 Come up hither

Come up - anabaino - ascend; to go up

The apostle John is being called up into heaven by Jesus, so that Jesus can show him what's going to take place "after these things", after the things of the church.

The rest of the book appears to take place from the perspective of heaven.

I believe that John is tagging along with the church in his time travel, and this is where the Rapture occurs in Revelation.

Reasons for a Pre-Trib Rapture:

1) The outline of Revelation:

John's perspective:

John describes everything from chapters 4-22 from the perspective of heaven.

Why does John write from heaven's perspective to describe the tribulation?

Because John is writing to the church (remember the seven letters?), and I believe the church is going to be seeing these things happen from the perspective of heaven.

The church is going to be raptured BEFORE the Great Tribulation period, which starts in chapter 6.

The presence of the church.

The word "church" (eklessia) is found 18 times prior to chapter four (during the times that "are"), and only once after chapter four (during the times "after these things"), at the end, when Jesus says:

Re 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

Once John is in heaven, his focus is directed primarily to the things on earth.

Because there is no church on the earth, there is no mention of it.

2) Wrath and church don't mix.

The tribulation is a time of wrath, and that's not what God instends for the faithful church:

(Rev 6:17 KJV) For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

(1 Th 5:1-11 KJV) But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. {2} For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. {3} For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. {4} But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. {5} Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. {6} Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. {7} For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. {8} But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. {9} For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, {10} Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. {11} Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

3) Jesus said the faithful would escape it.

(Luke 21:34-36 KJV) And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. {35} For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. {36} Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

To the church in Philadelphia, Jesus wrote:

(Rev 3:10 KJV) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The faithful church is kept from the tribulation.

Old Testament examples:

Both Noah and Lot are held up by Peter (2Pet.2) as examples of this.

They both escaped times of judgement (the flood, Sodom) by being taken out of the judgement.

Then Peter writes:

2Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations (NIV - "trials"), and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

This raises a question, will the unfaithful go through the Tribulation?

Jesus said to the unrepentant in Thyatira:

(Rev 2:22 KJV) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Kind of sobering, huh?

4) The element of surprise.

The Scripture talks about the suddenness of the second coming.

(Mat 24:36 KJV) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

(Mat 24:44 KJV) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Yet Scripture also gives us the day when Jesus will come back, tied to an event during the tribulation period.

(Dan 12:11 KJV) And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

How can there be a surprise, when it's something that can be calculated?

This is because the Rapture comes first, unexpectedly, not tied to events in the Tribulation.

The actual Second Coming, when we return with Jesus, will be calculated, 1290 days after the abomination of desolation.

The indication is that when Jesus comes back, the armies of the earth are gathered together to fight against Him. They are expecting Him!

If the Rapture came at the end, right before Jesus comes back, there would be no surprise, we'd all be marking our calendars.

5) The purpose of the Tribulation.

We've already seen that the Tribulation will be a time of God's wrath on the earth, but it also will be a time of bringing the Jews back to Him.

The Tribulation is recognized at the "70th" week of Daniel, a period of 70 x 7 years, of which 69 were accomplished by the time Jesus came the first time.

The Tribulation period is the last unfulfilled week of Daniel's prophecy.

Look who the tribulation is for:

(Dan 9:24 KJV) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Who is Daniel's "people"? Israel.

We mentioned this before, that this is why it's important that we understand the distinction between Israel and the church.

Those who think that God is finished with Israel, and that the church is "spiritual Israel", inheriting all Israel's promises, will point to things like this:

(Zep 2:3 KJV) Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.

They will say that this refers to the scenario in Rev.12, with the woman running from the dragon.

The woman is "Israel".

But God isn't finished with Israel!

(Rom 11:1 KJV) I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

(Rom 11:25-29 KJV) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. {26} And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: {27} For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. {28} As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. {29} For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

When the "fulness of the Gentiles" comes, at the end of the "church age", then the blindness will be removed from Israel, and their time of purifying through the Tribulation will begin.

Prerequisites for the Rapture

What must take place before the Rapture happens?

I can't see a thing.

I think all the key elements are in place.

I certainly see all the elements of Rev.2-3 being fulfilled.

How about the temple? Doesn't it have to be rebuilt?

It will be rebuilt, because there is definitely a temple in the Tribulation period (Rev.11).

But that might not take too long, and there's nothing that says the Rapture has to occur at the very beginning of the Tribulation.

There could be a few years between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.

In fact, if Rev.4:1 is a picture of the Rapture, keep in mind that there are two whole chapters to get through before the tribulation starts in chapter 6!

We know that there's going to be some serious wars going on near the end, especially the Gog/Magog incident of Ezekiel 38-39 involving Israel and it's neighboring Arab states.

Current news items:

1) From London news source, MidEast Dispatch:


22th January 1997


Washington's Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare published a report last month, on December 10th, so alarming, and so pessimistic in its outlook for the future of the Middle East, that it was promptly ignored by the international media. A story of peace processes and virtuous negotiation, this is not.

"Approaching the end of 1996" says the report, "The Middle East may well be on the verge of a major regional war. Numerous sources in the region report that the supreme leaders - both civilians and military - in most Arab states, as well as in Iran and Pakistan are convinced that the present vulnerability of Israel is so great that there is a unique opportunity to, at the very least, begin the process leading to the destruction of Israel. These circumstances are considered to be a historic window of opportunity the Muslim World should not miss. Therefore, these Muslim leaders have finalized numerous strategies and tactical alliances heretofore non-existent in the region."

The plans that have been uncovered involve agreements between Syria, Iran, Iraq, and the Palistinian Authority (not the PLO)

Iran held a major training exercise in May, 1996, to practice invading Israel.

For the Palestinian Authority:

The essence of the agreement is for the Palestinian "police" forces and other armed elements (terrorist organizations) to flare-up the Israeli interior in case of an escalation in the north....

"In Gaza, Arafat ordered the marked acceleration of the building of a personal command bunker, four stories deep...."

There is the danger of the Arab states acquiring nuclear weapons, it is assumed Iran already has operational weapons.


The resulting war scenario, according to the report, takes the following form:

1) A terrorist strike or other action by Hizbullah in South Lebanon, precipitating an Israeli counter-attack strong enough to claim the lives of Syrian troops.

2) A Syrian counter-attack coupled with a new PLO intifada tying down 50,000 troops. Further IDF troops to be tied down by Egyptian maneuvers in the south.

3) A surprise Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian surge resulting in the re-taking of the Golan heights.

4) A Saudi-led Arab oil boycott of the West - guaranteed by Prince Abdallah, who seizes power in Saudi Arabia.

2) This from the Israeli consulate in New York (MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1997)


Seven IDF soldiers were wounded on Sunday by a Hizbullah attack in the South Lebanon security zone, HA'ARETZ reported. One soldier was seriously wounded and underwent surgery at a hospital in Nahariya. The guerrillas, equipped with a cache of weapons, attacked the soldiers as they performed a mission in the area. Following the attack, a sizable IDF force arrived in the area and chased the guerrillas, who fled the scene...

3) This from Israeli consulate in New York: (TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1997)


Israel Air Force jets attacked several guerrilla targets in southern Lebanon today, including bases of Hizbullah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command of Ahmad Jibril, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. All pilots returned safely to their bases. HA'ARETZ quoted a senior analyst as saying that, in the near future, Hizbullah might increase attacks on IDF and southern Lebanon Army soldiers in the security zone. The source added that in a recent meeting between Hizbullah and Iranian leaders, the Iranians agreed to increase their support for Hizbullah in order to step up the number of attacks against Israel.

4) From Associated Press/ Date: 97-02-12

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Moscow has received a diplomatic warning from the Clinton administration about Russia's alleged assistance with Iran's missile program -- aid that could speed Iran in developing nuclear capability, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. Intelligence reports indicate that Russia recently transferred technology to Iran for the Russian SS-4 missile, unnamed senior administration officials told the Times. That missile has a range of 1,250 miles -- almost three times greater than that of any missile now in Iran's arsenal -- making it a potential threat to U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, several Persian Gulf allies and Israel. The missile carries a standard warhead that is equivalent to 3,000 pounds of TNT, but the Soviet Union once loaded the missile with a 1-megaton nuclear warhead.

Are you ready?

This is no time to be taking chances spiritually.

Jesus said (concerning the Rapture!):

(Mat 24:43-51 KJV) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. {44} Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. {45} Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? {46} Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. {47} Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. {48} But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; {49} And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; {50} The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, {51} And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

We want to be found ready.