Revelation 4:1

1 After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this."

Revelation 4:1 Meaning and Commentary

Revelation 4:1

After this I looked
After John had seen the vision of Christ, in the midst of the golden candlesticks, with seven stars in his right hand; after he was bid to write what he had seen, and what were, and should be hereafter; and after he had by order written the seven epistles to the seven churches, he looked about him to see what else he could, having his desires and expectations raised of seeing more, and other things, for the eye is never satisfied with seeing; though this is to be understood, not of looking with the eyes of his body, but with the eyes of his mind; of his beholding things in a visionary way, as the prophets did, whence they are called "seers", and their prophecies "visions": how long this was after the first vision is not certain, it may be but a few minutes; and it is to be observed, that as the first chapter of this book, with the vision in it, is the preface or introduction to the church prophecy delivered out in the seven epistles; so this and the following chapter, with the vision therein, contain the preface or introduction to the book prophecy exhibited in the opening of the seven seals of the sealed book:

and behold, a door [was] opened in heaven:
not in a literal sense, as the heavens were opened at Christ's baptism, and at Stephen's martyrdom, but in a figurative sense; and the phrase is to be understood of a discovery of things that were, or were to be in the church of God, which in this book is oftentimes signified by "heaven": and it must be conceived as done in a visionary way, just as Ezekiel, in the visions of God, was brought to Jerusalem, and the temple there, and in at a door was shown all the abominations committed in the court and temple; so John, in a visionary way, through an opened door, had a scene of things in the church presented to him, as follows:

and the first voice which I heard [was], as it were, of a trumpet
talking with me;
this voice is not called the first voice with respect to any other voices that were to follow; but it designs the former voice, the voice that John heard behind him, when he saw the first vision; and this, as that, was clear, loud, and sonorous as a trumpet, so that he thoroughly heard, and rightly understood what was said; it was the same Person that made the following representation of things as did then, even he who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord Jesus Christ, the author of the whole revelation; the "first" is left out in the Arabic version: the allusion is to the blowing of trumpets at the opening of the door of the temple;

``every day there were one and twenty soundings of a trumpet in the temple, three (Myrev txytpl) , "at the opening of the doors", and nine at the daily morning sacrifice, and nine at the daily evening sacrifice F6.''

And one of them was called the great door of the temple; and he that slew the daily sacrifice, did not slay till he heard the sound of that door when it was opened F7; so here at the opening of the door in heaven, in the church, of which the temple was a type, the voice of the Son of God is heard as the sound of a trumpet, talking loudly and familiarly to John:

which said, come up hither;
from the isle of Patmos, where he was, up to heaven; not into the third heaven, where Paul was caught up, but rather up into the Gospel church, the Jerusalem which is above; though this, as before, is to be understood in a visionary way, in like manner as Ezekiel was lifted up by the Spirit between the earth and the heavens; and so John, in a vision, was called up from Patmos into the air, where he had a representation of the church made unto him:

and I will show thee things which must be hereafter;
in the world, in the Roman empire, and in the church of God, to the end of the world; not but that there were some things shown him, as before, in the church prophecy, which had been, and were, and which was done to give him a complete view of things from first to last: and these things were shown in the following visions of the seals, trumpets, and vials, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, who talked with him, and to whom this revelation was given to show unto his servants; and it was of things that "must" be, because determined and resolved upon in the unalterable purposes and decrees of God.


F6 Misn. Succa, c. 5. sect. 5.
F7 Misn. Tamid, c. 3. sect. 7.

Revelation 4:1 In-Context

1 After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this."
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne!
3 And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald.
4 Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads.
5 From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God;
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.