Morning Bible Study
apostle has been exiled to the island of Patmos where he sees a vision of Jesus walking among lamp
stands. We’ve seen this as a picture of Jesus acting like the priest who cleans, refills,
and relights the lamps in the Temple. We
are the, “lights in this world”, and Jesus is using this book to help us burn
brightly in this dark world we live in.
Today we enter
a new section. A door opens in heaven.
4:1 A Door Opens
:1 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.”
:1 After these
things – meta tauta
The two Greek words sort of “frame” this verse.
They are the
first two words of the verse translated “after these things”
They are the
last two words of the verse translated “after this”
We saw back in chapter one that Jesus gave John a key to how this book was
going to be laid out.
—19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the
things which will take place after this.
Three parts to the book
The things John saw – the vision of Jesus among the lampstands
The things which are – the letters to the seven churches
The things which will take place after this
the same Greek phrase that begins this chapter.
The events in this chapter and beyond take place “after”
the things in Revelation 2-3
(Let’s backtrack a
bit…) We’ve focused on how the letters of chs. 2-3 ought to apply to all
of our lives in all of the churches (“let him who has ears hear”).
But there are reasons
for the letters being in the order they are.
The Postal Route
Postal Route map video
If you plot the cities on a map, you discover they are in an order. The
letters fall in a circular route, most likely the route that a messenger would
take in delivering the letters to these seven churches.
I believe there’s a prophetic/historical order as well. I believe there is a broad pattern to church
history being painted here. The dates
I’ll give are approximate. This is not
an exact science. Look in your Bible to
the letters in chs. 2-3.
Of the seven churches, Ephesus would be the oldest of the churches –
according to the history in the book of Acts. I think that sets up the
potential to look at this as a sort of historical list.
Ephesus – the early church AD 33-100
This was the
age of the apostles. They had good
works, they had good doctrine, but they had begun to leave their first love.
Smyrna – the persecuted church – AD 60-300
tells us that during this time something like six million Christians were
martyred for their faith during the Roman government's attempt to wipe out
Pergamos – the compromising church – AD 300
Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. This stopped the persecution, but it also
brought heathen traditions into the church.
Thyatira – the corrupt church – AD 1000 (Roman
Even though the Roman Catholic Church had established itself around AD 600,
the “Great Schism” took place around AD 1000 when they broke off from the
Sardis – the dead church – AD 1500 (Reformed)
Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg
in 1517 and sought to bring reform to the Catholic church. Some could argue that he didn’t go quite far
Philadelphia – the outreach church – AD 1750
Whitefield brought thousands to Christ with his preaching in England and
America prior to the Revolution. William
Carey took his first trip to India in 1793.
Preachers like Finney, Spurgeon, Moody, and Graham brought thousands to
Laodicea – the lukewarm church – AD 1900
liberalism creeps into the church.
Preachers no longer believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of
God. Concepts like sin, hell, and
salvation are no longer talked about.
If you look at it, you see that most of these churches are still around
Keep in mind that there are “overcomers” in all of these churches.
It’s after this flow of church history (chs. 2-3) that John writes,
(Re 4:1 NKJV) 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.”
is going to have a “rapture” experience, and it takes place “after these
things”. After what things? After the history of the church.
After the church age.
:1 a door standing open in heaven
3:8, the door in Philadelphia was a door of
opportunity. In Rev. 3:20,
the door is to your heart.
Here, the door leads
The door has already been opened. Jesus opened the door
when He died on the cross and paid for our sins. But now John notices it.
We often think of heaven as being somewhere far “out there”. But maybe it’s close and we just don’t see
What if there was a doorway to transport us into this other dimension?
:1 voice … like a
Trumpets in the
Bible were used for several reasons:
They were used
by the army to tell everyone when to advance and when to retreat (Judg.7:18; 2Sam.2:28)
They were used
to warn a city of an impending attack (Ez.33:3)
They were used
in worship, to praise the Lord (Ps.150:3)
They were used
to gather the people together to recruit an army
When the Judge Ehud called Israel together to fight the Moabites, he blew a
called Israel to form an army against the Midianites, he blew a trumpet (Judg.6:34)
When the Bible talks about the rapture, it is connected with the sound of a
trumpet. God is calling His army
together, His people together.
(1 Co 15:51–52
NKJV) —51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we
shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trumpet. For the trumpet
will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
:1 Come up here
John hears a trumpet and the next thing he knows, he’s in heaven.
It’s just like
the event that we call the “Rapture”
(1 Th 4:16–17 NKJV) —16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in
Christ will rise first. 17
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the
Our word “rapture” comes from the Latin translation of this verse, for the
words we translate “caught
The Rapture is a “resurrection” where people get new bodies. Those who have already died and whose spirits
are now in heaven will receive their new bodies. Those of us who are still alive will be
caught up and changed.
Some say that the “Rapture” isn’t in the book of Revelation, but I think
that John hints at it right here.
Many churches teach that there will be a “Rapture” of the church, but they
don’t always agree as to when it will happen.
that the Rapture happens just before Jesus comes back at the end of the
Tribulation – this is called the “post trib” position.
that the Rapture will happen at some point in the middle of the Tribulation
period – these positions are called “mid-trib” or “pre-wrath”.
I believe the
Rapture will happen before the Tribulation period starts. Our position is called “pre trib”.
Reasons for a
1. Perspective & Presence
John’s perspective in Revelation:
and you’ll see that John describes everything from chapters 4-22 from the
perspective of heaven. That includes the
Tribulation period (chs. 6-18)
Why does John write from heaven’s perspective to describe the tribulation?
Because John is
writing to the churches (remember the seven letters?), and I believe the church
is going to be seeing these things happen from the perspective of heaven.
The church is going to be raptured BEFORE the Great Tribulation period,
which starts in chapter 6.
The presence of
the church in Revelation. Where is it?
The word “church” (eklessia) is
found 18 times prior to chapter four (during the times that “are”), and only
once after chapter four (during the times “after these things”), at the end,
when Jesus says:
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I
am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Once John is in heaven, his focus is directed primarily to the things on
is no Gentile church on the earth, there is no mention of it. There are believers on earth, but they are
2) Who’s Who
Daniel has an
amazing prophecy we call “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel”. It describes 70 “weeks” of years (70x7) and actually predicts
the day that the Messiah would show up in Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).
But the prophecy hasn’t been completely fulfilled. The final “week” (seven years) is the time period we
call the Tribulation, God’s judgment on earth.
Look at who the “weeks”
are intended for:
(Da 9:24 NKJV) “Seventy weeks are determined For your people
and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To
make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To
seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
Who is Daniel’s “people”? Israel.
There are some
who make the mistake of thinking that God is finished with Israel and that all
the promises for Israel in the Old Testament now apply to the church.
These same people tend to think that the church will go through the
Tribulation and that God will protect the church through it.
But God isn’t finished with Israel.
(Ro 11:1 NKJV) I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I
also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
(Ro 11:25–26 NKJV) —25
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest
you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel
until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is
written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away
ungodliness from Jacob;
Israel has only been temporarily blinded until the
“fullness of the Gentiles”.
We believe that the “fullness of the Gentiles” happens
when that last pagan Gentile gets saved.
That’s when the church is taken out of here, the blindness of the Jews
towards Jesus is lifted, and God will once again be working through the nation
of Israel instead of through the church.
Israel will be
going through the tribulation, not the church.
3) Wrath and
church don’t mix
is a time of God’s wrath
(Re 6:17 NKJV) For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to
Some people wonder why God doesn’t do something about all the evil in the
world. Just wait.
God’s wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving world.
Yet wrath is not in God’s plan for the church.
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he talked a lot about the second coming
of Christ. In this context, Paul writes
to the church,
(1 Th 5:9 NKJV) For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
How could the church go through this time of “wrath” when
God has not appointed us to wrath? We
will be raptured before the Tribulation.
4) The faithful
Jesus talked about the coming Tribulation period and said this:
(Lk 21:34-36 NKJV) —34
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing,
drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a
snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and
pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all
these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
To the church in Philadelphia, Jesus wrote:
(Re 3:10 NKJV) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you
from the hour
of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the
We see some similar Old Testament examples as pictures of this:
Both Noah and
Lot are held up by Peter (2Pet.2)
as examples of those who escape.
They both escaped times of judgment by being removed before the judgment. Peter
(2 Pe 2:9 NIV) if this
is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the
unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
In contrast, it seems that Jesus promises the unfaithful to go through the Tribulation.
Jesus wrote to the unrepentant in Thyatira:
(Re 2:22 NKJV) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit
adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
Kind of sobering, huh?
The Scripture talks about the suddenness of the Second Coming.
(Mt 24:36 NKJV) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of
heaven, but My Father only.
(Mt 24:44 NKJV) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an
hour you do not expect.
Yet Scripture actually gives us the day when Jesus will come back, tied to
an event during the tribulation period.
(Da 12:11 NKJV) “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the
abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred
and ninety days.
How can there
be a surprise, when it’s something that can be calculated?
It’s because they are two separate events – the Rapture and the Second
comes first, unexpectedly, and is not tied to events in the Tribulation. I found a preacher from Australia who
explains it perfectly:
“Rapture” video clip.
Second Coming, when we return with Jesus, will be calculated, 1290 days after
the abomination of desolation.
We’ll see that when Jesus comes back, the armies of the earth are gathered
together to fight against Him. They are actually
If the Rapture came at the end, right before Jesus comes back, there would
be no surprise, we would be expecting it.
We are to live our lives as if it could be today.
For some people
it takes a call from the doctor with bad test results before we get serious
about getting ready to meet God.
Warning: I’m going to show you a
beer commercial. I am concerned that some of you are going to be so sidetracked
that I showed you a beer commercial that you miss the point. Watch carefully.
Did you notice
that the fellow didn’t really get the message.
He said, “See you next week doc”.
The doctor responded, “Oh no you won’t”.
This guy came
home from the doctor looking very worried. His wife said, “What’s the problem?”
He said, “The doctor told me I have to take a pill every day for the rest of my
life.” She said, “So what? Lots of people have to take a pill every day their
whole lives.” He said, “I
know, but he only gave me four pills!”
Jesus told a story about “being ready”
(Mt 25:1–13 NKJV) —1 “Then the
kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went
out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were
foolish. 3 Those who
were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took
oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed,
they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is
coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their
lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our
lamps are going out.’ 9
But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for
us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to
buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the
wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also,
saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not
know you.’ 13 “Watch
therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of
Man is coming.
Are you ready? What
if it were to happen today? (Invite/Candle