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The Judgment Throne (Revelation 4:1-3)

What Is The “Door Opened In Heaven” ?

We believe that events of the verses (Rev 4 : 1-2) speak of the rapture of the first-fruits of the Church. Here are some of the reasons :

1. The first three chapters of Revelation deal with the Seven Churches of prophesy. The Church Age comes to a close with the Philadelphian and Laodicean era. With the ending of the age, a rapture takes place.

2. The first words of the fourth chapter of Revelation, “After this” indicates that events now taking place are after the Church age. That event as taught throughout the New Testament is the rapture.

3. We read that “A door was opened in heaven”. Now a promise has been given to the faithful Philadelphia church of “an open door” (Rev 3:8). And this open door is associated in the verses that follow with the promise that He would keep the Philadelphian Church “from the hour of temptation” – the Great Tribulation. These words of Christ are evidently speaking of the rapture of the first fruits.

4. John also mentions “a trumpet” which speaks to him as a voice. Now in I Corinthians 15: 51-52, the rapture passage, there is also an allusion to a trumpet. “At the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound” (see also 1 Thess 4 : 16)

5. The voice of the trumpet said, “Come up hither”. Immediately John was caught up to a throne set in heaven. THIS CERTAINLY SPEAKS OF RAPTURE. The same words “Come up hither” are spoken to the Two witnesses when they are resurrected and raptured into heaven (Rev 11.12)

6. Abraham’s prayer when he came to know that God was going to destroy Sodom (Ref. Gen 18: 23 – 33) shows that God would not pour down His wrath when the righteous are still there. He will preserve the righteous. “And he said oh. let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once : Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said. I will not destroy it for ten’s sake -Gen 18:32”.

Was John Literally transported to heaven

He was transported in vision. ” I was in the spirit” he says, It is not necessary for us to determine whether he was physically transported to heaven or not. Paul relates that he was caught up to the third heaven, but, “whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth” (II Cor. 12:2)

Rev 4: 2 says, ” And behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne ” Who is this sitting upon the throne?

The One who sits on the throne could be none other than GOD. The prophecy in Daniel 7 has an exact parallel. Please read Daniel 7. During this present Church age, God is found at the throne of grace. We can come with boldness to that throne (Hebrews 4:16). But here we have a throne of judgment. Obviously there has been a dispensational change. God is about to judge the world in righteousness. (Psalms 9:7-8)

In describing this throne, John declares that ” there was a rainbow around the throne”. What is the significance of this ?

It means that though the throne is a throne of judgment, it is not a throne to bring the world to an end. The rainbow is a token of God’s covenant with all flesh, never to destroy the inhabitants of the world as in the Flood (Gen 9:11,17). As judgment falls on the earth fears might arise that God is about to destroy the world. The appearance of the rainbow indicates that God will keep His pledge. Further the rainbow is green (emerald) in colour and is round, not like the earthly one, which indicates that in heaven we will understand the fullness of His grace and love towards us.

The next verse declares (4:3), “out of the throne go forth lightnings, and voice and thunders.” What is the significance of this?

This further indicates that the throne is one of judgment. When God was about to send judgment upon Egypt, He “sent thunder and hail and fire ran along the ground” (Exodus 9 :23). When Israel sinned against the Lord in asking for a King, the Lord “sent thunder and rain that day” (I Sam 12 : 18). These things show that the throne now set, is not a throne of grace, but a throne of judgment.

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