March 17 2022
Today, Thursday March 17
“After These Things” Revelation 4:1-3 “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." Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.”
The Bible records the accounts of two people who actually were taken to heaven in visions. In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul wrote of being transported to the third heaven (the abode of God). But he was forbidden to speak of what he saw there (2 Cor. 12:4).
The apostle John also had the wonderful privilege of visiting heaven while still on the earth. Unlike Paul, John was permitted to give a detailed description of his vision, which he did in chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation. In those two chapters, John recorded the second vision he saw, the first being his vision of the glorified Lord Jesus Christ in 1:12-17.
The Bible refers to heaven more than five hundred times, and others, such as Paul (2 Cor. 12) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 1), wrote descriptions of it. Yet John's description in chapters 4 and 5 is the most complete and informative in all of Scripture. Escorted by the beloved apostle, we are carried far beyond the mundane features of this temporal realm to behold the realities of eternal heaven. Through John's vision, we have the privilege of previewing the place where they will live forever.
The first occurrence of the phrase “after these things” (v. 1) relates to John's personal chronology. It notes that this second vision followed immediately after John's vision of the risen, glorified Christ (1:9-20) and the letters to the seven churches (2:1-3:22). The phrase “after these things” is used throughout Revelation to mark the beginning of a new vision (Rev. 7:9; 15:5; 18:1; 19:1).
The second occurrence of after these things relates to God's chronology. Its use marks an important transition in the book of Revelation from the church age (the "things which are"; 1:19), described in chapters 2-3, to the third great division of the book (the "things which will take place"; 1:19), found in chapters 4-22.
The scene shifts from matters concerning the church (which is nowhere mentioned in chaps. 4-19) on earth to a dramatic scene in heaven. That scene centers on the throne of God and forms the introduction to the future historical events (the Tribulation, millennial kingdom, and eternal state) that unfold in chapters 6-22. In keeping with the Lord's promise to spare His church from the hour of testing (the outpouring of wrath before the Lord returns) given in Revelation 3:10, the church will be raptured before that time of tribulation (described in detail in chapters 6-19) begins.
Remember the very last thing that the Lord promised to the overcomers at Laodicea. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21) The Lord finished every letter to the seven churches by making a specific promise to the believers who were overcomers. It is interesting to me that every promise was different and the last promise had to do with “sitting on His throne.” And then the first thing John sees in heaven in chapter 4 is the throne of God.
Today we have been invited “to come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) What kind of mercy, grace and help do you need today?