Rev. 4:1 "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 show you things which must be hereafter."
Some teachers of the pre-tribulation view teach that this verse is a type of the rapture of the church. They emphasize the first two words, "AFTER THIS", and ask the question, "AFTER WHAT?" Then before you form an answer they answer the question for you by saying, "After the seven churches of course". Then they make the statement that you will not find the word "church" until the very last chapter of Revelation. Then they go on to explain that the reason you don't find the church mentioned in Revelation chapter 4 through chapter 21 is because the church is raptured in Rev 4:1. Then they quote part of this verse that says, "Come up hither". Then they say that after John is CAUGHT UP into heaven he is told these words, "And I will show you things which must be HEREAFTER". Then they ask another question, "HEREAFTER WHAT?" Again before you can answer they fill in the blank for you and say, "Why after the rapture of course". Then they quickly skim through the scene in heaven and go to the opening of the seven seals and begin expounding on the horrors of the great tribulation period.
Now it is true that Revelation 4:1 is a type or example of the rapture of the church, BUT is it just ONE of SEVEN types or examples of the rapture of the church found in the book of Revelation.
Let me start by again saying I agree totally that this verse is a type of the rapture of the church. It is the FIRST of seven such types of the rapture of the church that I have found in the book of Revelation. In other words, there are six more places in the book of Revelation alone were you can observe a type or shadow of the rapture of the church. We will cover these examples of the rapture of the church when we get to those verses in this verse by verse study of the book of Revelation. Many in the church are seeing and beginning to see that Revelation chapter 7 is ALSO a type or example where the rapture of the church takes place right after the SIXTH seal. Again we will come this and the other places when we get to them.
Secondly it is also true, but misleading, that the statement that the WORD "church" is not found in Revelation chapter 4 through chapter 21. Yes the actual WORD "church is not found in the ENTIRE book of Revelation after Revelation 3:14, but even those who teach a rapture before the great tribulation teach that the "CHURCH" is indeed found in Revelation 21 and 22.
So you see dear child of God just because that actual word "church" is not found among the verses that describe the great tribulation period does not mean that the church does not go through the great tribulation.
Yes the word "church" may not be found, but phases like the patience of the SAINTS, they that have the testimony of Jesus are found; words like brethren, witnesses, and prophets are also found, which are ALL associated with the church and in fact ARE the CHURCH. So you can clearly see that the statement that the "church" is NOT found until the very last chapter of Revelation is NOT the truth of God's word, but rather has been twisted to say what the teachers of the PRE-tribulation point of view what you to see.
To even try and use such an argument like this to me is absolutely ridiculous, because the WORD "church" is not found in some entire books of the New Testament. The actual word church is not found in the entire gospels of Mark, Luke or John. The word church is not found in 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. And again the word church is not found past Revelation 3:14 and those who teach a rapture before the great tribulation also teach that the church IS found in Revelation 21 and 22 even though the WORD church is NOT found in those chapters.
So then, when the saints are found throughout the book of Revelation going THROUGH the 3 1/2 years of great tribulation it must be READ INTO the meaning of those verse that these saints are NOT the church, but rather the so called "tribulation" saints.
Now I am convinced that they themselves have been deceived by the enemy and they sincerely believe that what they are teaching is the truth. Remember we do not war against flesh and blood. I myself was once deceived by this teaching of the PRE-tribulation view. For a in-depth teaching on the TRUTH of the great tribulation please read the study "THE GREAT TRIBULATION".
Thirdly I would like to comment on the word HEREAFTER. Normally one would conclude that hereafter means after this or what follows next after something else has happen. This is one meaning or understanding of the word "hereafter", but it is NOT it's ONLY meaning. If you look this word up in the Greek you will find something quite interesting.
There are six different Greek words that are translated to the English word "hereafter". Some of these are a combination of two or more Greek words. For example in Mark 11:14 Jesus curses the fig tree and says,
"No man shall eat of you HEREAFTER for ever."
The Greek word used here is "meketi" (3371), which means never again, no more, henceforward, henceforth, or hereafter. In other words, from this day forward no man would ever eat of that tree again. Now if this same Greek word was used in Revelation 4:1, then that which the pre-tribulation view teaches might possibly have some validity.
However, the word translated as hereafter in this particular verse in Revelation 4:1 is composed of two Greek words. The Strong's numbers are (3326+3778). The first Greek word is "meta", and the second Greek word is "houstos". Here is what Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines "meta"; denoting accompaniment, amid, (association, succession) with which it is joined, follow, hence, hereafter. And "houstos", which means in this way (referring to what precedes and to what follows).
In other words, every thing that PRECEDES this word "hereafter" and every thing that FOLLOWS this word "hereafter" are directly connected and CANNOT be separated. Simply put they occur simultaneously.
So what does that mean exactly? It means that the entire book of Revelation from beginning to end is written about the CHURCH, even though the word "church" itself does not appear in chapters 4-21. So then, one may ask, "Does EVERYTHING that is written in the book of Revelation come upon the church?" This answer to this is a NO, because we, the church are NOT appointed to God WRATH.
Now please understand and know that the 3 1/2 years of great tribulation is NOT the WRATH of Almighty God. In other words the ENTIRE book or Revelation INCLUDING chapter 2 and 3 teach us about the 3 1/2 years of great tribulation and the WRATH of God. Remember is Revelation 3:10 that I told you that the HOUR of temptation or trial that will come upon all the world is the WRATH of God and NOT the 3 1/2 years of great tribulation. We will cover this in more detail when we get to chapter 8. For now let me just say that Revelation chapter 2 and 3 ARE the TRIBULATION of the church age beginning with the first persecuted disciple of Jesus all the way THROUGH the ENTIRE 3 1/2 years of GREAT tribulation. Then the rapture takes place in Revelation 4:1. This will all come together as you begin to see a PATTERN in the book of Revelation, which I will explains when we get there. For now on to verse 2.
Rev. 4:2 "And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne."
Notice that it says immediately, which corresponds to 1 Corinthians 15 that tells us that we shall be changed immediately in a MOMENT in a TWINKLING of an eye. The rapture, or more precisely our CHANGE will take place in a very brief moment of time with no time to repent so be ready. Also we see in this verse that there is ONE who sits on the throne. We will find in chapter five that the the ONE who is on the throne is Almighty God the Father, but for now let's move on to verse 3.
Rev. 4:3 " And he that sat was to look upon like as jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald."
No thought on this verse as yet, other than the word SAT signifies ruling or reigning. And the fact that the throne of God is extremely beautiful and surround by magnificent colors of LIGHT like the radiance of fine gemstones like the colors of the rainbow. This could be like the northern lights around the throne radiating our from the throne. Or it could be simply and arch like the rainbow after a rain arching over the throne. An emerald is green to transparent so John saw the throne surround by a green light where other colors could be seen through this green light.
Rev. 4:4 " And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold."
Again we see that ruler ship is indicted in this verse by the words sitting and crowns of gold. The white raiment signifies purity, righteousness, as in, freedom from sin. It is my OPINION that this number of elders is divided into two groups having twelve in each group, but yet ONE group of 24. I believe that the twelve apostles will occupy twelve seats, and the other twelve seats will be occupied by twelve elders of the twelve tribes of Israel having one elder from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Look at Rev. 21:9-14 where it talks about the CITY of God having TWELVE gates being the TWELVE tribes of Israel and the TWELVE foundations being the TWELVE apostles. So again we have TWELVE plus TWELVE or 24 parts of this CITY of God, called the new Jerusalem. Again we will cover that verse in more detail when we get there.
Rev. 4:5 " And out of the throne proceeded lightening and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
The seven lamps ARE the seven Spirits of Gods. Again, my opinion, but I believe the seven lamps to be the seven churches. It seems like a contradiction when we read SEVEN Spirits of God here in Revelation 4:5 and in we read there is one God, even the Father, one Lord, Jesus Christ, and one Spirit.
However, we know that there is only one body of Christ, which is the church. The body has many members, but is only ONE body. Even though the Bible states that there are SEVEN churches there in fact is only ONE church, if you follow what I am saying. There were seven literal actual churches in Asia just like we have many many church CONGREGATIONS all over the world, but we are all part of the ONE body of Jesus Christ, which is the ONE true church. Likewise there are many gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, but just ONE Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.
So in reality there is but ONE Holy Spirit of God, but he choose to work differently in each of us, where each of us are a representation of the seven churches. In other words, there are seven basic works of the Spirit of God and the church. For instance, some churches seem to focus on healing, while other churches seem to focus on evangelism, while other churches seem to focus on prophecy. These different areas of each church seem to be their calling, so to speak, but there is in reality all together we are ONE church where we are all members with different purposes to fulfill.
A lamp is used to give light to see. The spirit of man is the CANDLE of the Lord searching our inward parts or our hearts. God knows our heart by his spirit of life that gives life and light to every human being. Please read Proverbs 20:27.
"The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD (or the LAMP of God), searching all the inward parts of the belly."
This is different from the Holy Spirit, who can dwell ONLY in a clean vessel, which has been cleanse by the shed blood of Jesus by our FAITH in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rev. 4:6 " And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind."
Rev. 4:7 " And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast was like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like flying eagle"
Rev. 4:8 " And the four beast had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day or night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Here again in verse 8 we see the phrase, " which was, and is, and is to come," which is referring to God the Father, the Lord God Almighty. This will become apparent when we read the next three verses in chapter 4 and get into charter 5, which we covered briefly in chapter 1. in this verse by verse study of the book of Revelation.
Now as far as who or what these four beasts represent I have NO clue. Sometimes BEASTS in the Bible represent KINGDOMS, but I do not see how this would apply here in this situation. As we continue this study in God's word you will find a lot more of this figurative language, where some of which we are GIVEN the meaning and other parts are left hidden for the time being.
Be careful when people say, this MEANS this or that and they do not give you other scripture to support what they SAY a particular verse means. I always try to be sure and state that this is MY OPINION if I do not have sufficient SOUND BIBLICAL evidence to support what I am saying. I find no shame is saying, I simply do not know, if I simply do not know. I believe this is where some of our FALSE doctrine came about, because some have OVER stated what was beyond what the CLEAR and PLAIN word of God is teaching.
Now I do say many things in the studies I write where I do NOT back up each and everything I say each and every time I say. That would be like me saying that Jesus is the SON OF God, and then given you all the verse that prove that Jesus is the Son of God each and every time I say that Jesus is the Son of God. We would never get anywhere if we had to thoroughly back up every word we say be scripture each and every time.
So then, most all of the studies I write are one SUBJECTS and thus what I back up by scripture is related to the particular SUBJECT and it is ASSUMED by me that you have your own concordance to look up words for yourself to find the verses to read for yourself the things that I say, which are not specifically what we are studying. For example I may be teaching about a prophecy that will be fulfilled during the 1000 year reign of Jesus and I do not give any scripture to prove to you that there IS a 1000 year reign of Jesus. The reason that I do not give scripture and verse for every single word I say is because, I assume you already KNOW that there is a 1000 year reign of Jesus and you do NOT need me to PROVE it to you. If you do then write to me and a will write a study proving what I say by the word of God.
Moving on to verse 9.
Rev. 4:9 " And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne, who lives for ever and ever."
Who is it that sits on the throne that these four beasts cry Holy, holy, holy unto day and night? To me there is no question that it is Almighty God the Father, but for now I just want to draw your attention to the fact that he that sits upon the throne is the he which was, and is, and is to come, who is the Lord God the Almighty. Next I want you to see that WHEN these four beasts GIVE glory and honor to the Almighty, THEN the 24 four elders fall down and worship before the Almighty God.
Rev. 4:10 " The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat upon the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne saying,
Rev. 4:11 " You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are created."
Again it is only speculation, but I believe that the twenty four elders are the twelve disciples of Jesus and the 12 leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps the twelves sons of Jacob. Perhaps the twelve patriarchs. Or perhaps one from each of the twelve SEALED tribes of Israel in chapter 7. Again if you want to know what I am talking about by the SEALED tribes of Israel, then get out your concordance and look up the word "sealed" and read every verse where that word sealed or seal appears. Also I may not expound on every word in every verse because I may already have and in depth study on that subject.
For example here we see the word "created" so I assume you already believe that all things were created and were created for Yahweh's pleasure. Is you desire to know WHO created all things, then please read the studies I have related to that subject. I may not always give you a LINK to those studies. Now if I do not have a study and you want to know what a certain verse means, then write to me and if time permits I will write a study on that verse for you.
This brings us to chapter 5 of the book of Revelation.