|The doorway which introduces this chapter signals a transition from earth to heaven where Our Lord ministers with the Father. The door was opened for Him to sit with His Father as a key verse in Chapter 3 indicated. See re0321.|
4 verse 1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with
me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must
I looked Rather, "I saw." John's way of introducing a new scene.
A door was opened Literally, "A door having been opened." Why? See above.
Several interesting concepts in this verse help us understand the coming scenes. (1) When John looked, the door had already been opened. This implies that the opening was not to enable him to see but has special meaning for us to uncover. Also his seeing is not part of the action of the prophecy.
|(2) Because we are shown the door
"having been opened," we know it had previously been closed. (3) Remember,
in the preceding chapters, Jesus was on earth, walking among the candles
of the churches. Now we are about to see Him in heaven. This seems strange
because the literal churches did not exist when He was on earth, and we
find Him in heaven during the time they did exist and while the historical
eras they represent have existed.
After His victory on the cross, Christ ascended to heaven. Was that when the door was opened? See ac0104-9, ac0201-4.
In heaven Not "into heaven." As we continue to read we see the throne of God set in heaven v2. The seven spirits as seven lamps v5. So we have both the holy and the most holy areas of the sanctuary. More on this later.
|.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 shew thee things which must be hereafter.||First voice . . . of a trumpet John had heard the trumpet voice before as he went into vision (or was in the Spirit) on the Lord's day re0110. The trumpet voice had said "I am the alpha and the omega. . . " (1:11). When the apostle turned he saw "one like the Son of man" walking among the candlesticks (1:12, 13).|
|.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 shew thee things which must be hereafter.|| Come
up This time the apostle was called to come up and see what would
happen after the opening of the door in heaven. The comparison emphasizes
that, with this chapter, we now begin to look at Christ's ministry in heaven.
The call to "Come up here" confirms the picture.
Hereafter We would not see this as after the fulfillment of the story of the churches but, from John's perspective – after what he had previously been shown. See on re0101b. Also, the whole book is for the seven churches re0104, confirming our perspective.
| 2 And
immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven,
and one sat on the throne.
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 verses quoted here are for context. They are discussed on the next page. The commentary continues below.|
We are beginning to understand
how Jesus walks among the churches. It is through the agency of the Holy
Spirit jn1428, jn1613.
But the Spirit did not come in power to the leaders of the first church
until Jesus had gone to heaven, and until they had prayed for it. As we
continue our study of Revelation 4 and 5 we will see why He told the disciples,
". . . It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the
Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto
you." (John 16:7).
Had the door been opened to admit the victorious Christ?
Apparently so, because He moves from earth to heaven at this point in the symbolism. Heaven is the seat of His operation for most of the rest of the book. Finally He and the Father make their home with us on the new earth re2101-3, re2122. Jesus comes to earth at least once during this waiting time re1001.
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah." (Ps. 24:7-10)
With its Old Testament setting in Psalm 24, we might wonder how the passage could apply to Christ's ascension. Notice that the Lord here is "mighty in battle" and He is the "King of glory." Christ's victory in Gethsemane and He laying down His life at Calvary were victories at crisis points in eternity. His ascension into heaven may be seen in the symbolism of a strong king returning from battle. It was the glorified Christ in heaven who gave John the messages for the seven churches. What a powerful scene as the gates of heaven opened in a special way for the One who came to save you and me. How excited the angels were, but Jesus had yet to see the Father and be found worthy, as we will see in chapter 5.
And what does the mighty King's entry through the gates mean to us? Because He overcame and joined His Father on His throne, He gives us the strength to overcome and sit with Him. If we walk as He walked on earth 1jo0206, we, too, may enter through the gates into the city re2214. We may follow Him into heaven re1404, he1019ff.
Marvelous, glorious opportunity!
On the ministry of Christ beginning at this time, also see r03d.
|Following Christ to His throne does not mean we will progress to take on divinity! Satan's lie in Eden promised divinity through eating the fruit ge0304. Coveting divinity was part of his sin is1413, mr1225. We are permitted to partake of (have some of) the divine nature, but we will not have it all 2pe0104. We will always need the Father and the Son, and the Spirit. It will be a joyous relationship.|
Sanctuary pattern describes Christ's preparation to serve
We may look to the sanctuary system on earth for clues about what Revelation is describing around the throne. Here's why: In making the earthly sanctuary Moses was given specific instructions.
"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; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.. . . See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry. . . ." (Heb. 8:1, 2, 5, 6).
So the earthly sanctuary was
patterned after the one in heaven. The scene after Christ went through
the gates begins in Revelation 4. Then we see Him qualified to open the
scroll which, as we will see, involves His ministry.
When the earthly sanctuary system was set up, God, in a special inauguration service, recognized the ministry of Aaron (representative of Christ as priest). This involved entry into both the holy place and most holy place. Because of the circumstances here of finding the Lamb worthy to open the seals, we may identify this as the event to which the earthly inauguration pointed. The open door is certainly more than just a way to view heaven.
". . . the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. And he put upon him the coat. . . . And he put the mitre [turban] upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown . . . . And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times. . . . And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him." (Lev. 8:4-12). See the meaning of this ceremony in a table.
Did you notice that, in this preparation of the sanctuary, no blood was used. Aaron and the others were anointed with water and oil. Because the sacrifice at Calvary for our sins involved blood, this ceremony is not picturing what happened after the cross. Reading on in Leviticus, we find more, and we find blood. I see this earlier ceremony as preparation before the cross. Was Jesus ever anointed with water and oil?
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:16, 17)
Prepared by water
So the place of Christ's future ministry in heaven was prepared with water, representing His baptism, and oil, symbolizing the blessing of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13) which descended like a dove. Thus the Father showed His approval. The life as well as the death of our Lord were necessary in qualifying Him to be our high priest. His baptism and being led into the wilderness to be tempted also prepared Him for ministry.
I see Calvary represented in verse 15 of Leviticus 8, the acceptance by the Father in 30, and Pentecost (symbolized in Rev. 5) in 9:22. These and other steps are also seen in the 70th week of the prophecy in Daniel 9. For details, we must wait for an opportunity to study the book of Daniel.
Doors opened and closed
John saw a door having been
opened in heaven. To see the doors opening and closing, let's consider
the sanctuary system they are a part of.
In the sanctuary pattern, one special day called the Day of Atonement was judgment time when the high priest went into the inner room (the "most holy place") to stand before the presence of the Lord
above the ark of the covenant. For all the other days ministry involved the outter room, the "holy place." The cycle represents the process of God's dealing with the sin problem. Through the ages since sin first entered the world, animal sacrifices pointed forward to the death of the Lamb of God.
The door had been closed before Christ entered following His sacrifice. Why? because God's system of forgiveness and cleansing from sin could not officially begin until Christ gained the victory for us and paid the price. "for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). Through the sanctuary services, people before the cross looked forward in faith to that sacrifice. The sanctuary system showed them what would happen.
The door was opened into the first part of the heavenly tabernacle starting the time when the system began to function after the cross. Christ there had been represented as the priests who offered the daily morning and evening sacrifices and accepted the sin offerings, making atonement and assuring forgiveness (Lev. 4). This process continued through the sanctuary year until one special day reserved for the most holy place ministry. Then the door to the the daily ministry which involved the holy place was effectively closed for ministry although the morning and evening sacrifices were not suspended.
On that day — the day of atonement — the high priest went into the most holy place le1602, he0907 thus opening its door. We discussed this in studying re0307f. This happened during the time of the church of Philadelphia because they preached the angelic message 0307.
When the door of the second room — the most holy place — closes, human probation will be closed re2211 and Christ, as Michael, will stand up da2101, le2329 after being seated in judgment.
We enter through the doors in placing faith in the work of mediation Christ is doing for us in heaven. No ordinary people were allowed to physically enter the earthly tabernacle. They followed the priest in, by faith as we may do.
___|_______Ministry predicted____|___Holy place ministry___|___Most holy
Sin enters Salvation promised Cross Salvation assured Judgment Salvation confirmed, 2nd comming.
The sanctuary had a yearly
calendar of events representing the plan of Salvation. It began with the
Passover, when the lamb was slain, and ends with the Feast of Tabernacles
representing the rejoicing in heaven. The time in the most holy place represents
the preadvent judgment. Those who accept the cleansing work are prepared
to pass through the final crisis.
We discuss parts of this elsewhere so I have been brief. The purpose here is to see the harmonious picture of the opened and closed doors. See the page on the ministry of Christ in the sanctuary.