Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 4:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A door was opened in heaven - This appears to have been a visible aperture in the sky over his head.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

After this - Greek, “After these things”; that is, after what he had seen, and after what he had been directed to record in the preceding chapters. How long after these things this occurred, he does not say - whether on the same day, or at some subsequent time; and conjecture would be useless. The scene, however, is changed. Instead of seeing the Saviour standing before him Ezekiel 1:1, “The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” The Hebrews spoke of the sky above as a solid expanse; or as a curtain stretched out; or as an extended arch above the earth - describing it as it appears to the eye. In that expanse, or arch, the stars are set as gems (compare the notes on Isaiah 34:4); through apertures or windows in that expanse the rain comes down, Genesis 7:11; and that is opened when a heavenly messenger comes down to the earth, Matthew 3:16. Compare Luke 3:21; Acts 7:56; Acts 10:11. Of course, all this is figurative, but it is such language as all people naturally use. The simple meaning here is, that John had a vision of what is in heaven as if there had been such an opening made through the sky, and he had been permitted to look into the world above.

And the first voice which I heard - That is, the first sound which he heard was a command to come up and see the glories of that world. He afterward heard other sounds - the sounds of praise; but the first notes that fell on his ear were a direction to come up there and receive a revelation respecting future things. This does not seem to me to mean, as Prof. Stuart, Lord, and others suppose, that he now recognized the voice which had first, or formerly spoken to him Revelation 1:10, but that this was the first in contradistinction from other voices which he afterward heard. It resembled the former “voice” in this, that it was “like the sound of a trumpet,” but besides that there does not seem to have been anything that would suggest to him that it came from the same source. It is certainly possible that the Greek would admit of that interpretation, but it is not the most obvious or probable.

Was as it were of a trumpet - It resembled the sound of a trumpet, Revelation 1:10.

Talking with me - As of a trumpet that seemed to speak directly to me.

Which said - That is, the voice said.

Come up hither - To the place whence the voice seemed to proceed - heaven.

And I will show thee things which must be hereafter - Greek, “after these things.” The reference is to future events; and the meaning is, that there would be disclosed to him events that were to occur at some future period. There is no intimation here when they would occur, or what would be embraced in the period referred to. All that the words would properly convey would be, that there would be a disclosure of things that were to occur in some future time.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 384

Verse 1

IN the first three chapters, John presents the vision he had of the Son of man, comprising a description of his majestic person, and a record of the words, which, with a voice as the sound of many waters, he was heard to utter. A new scene and a new vision now open before us; and the expression “after this” does not denote that what is recorded in chapter 4 and onward was to take place after the fulfillment of everything recorded in the three preceding chapters, but only that after he had seen and heard what is there recorded, he had the new view which he now introduces.DAR 384.2

A Door Was Opened in Heaven. — Let it be noticed that John says, “A door was opened in heaven,” not into heaven. It was not an opening of heaven itself before the mind of John, as in the case of Stephen (Acts 7:56); but someplace, or apartment, in heaven was opened before him, and he was permitted to behold what was transpiring within. That this apartment which John saw open was the heavenly sanctuary, will plainly appear from other portions of the book.DAR 384.3

Things Which Must Be Hereafter. — Compare with this chapter 1:1. The great object of the Revelation seems to be the presentation of future events, for the purpose of informing, edifying, and comforting the church.DAR 384.4

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches "the things that are," there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God's awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 11.4

Infinite Love has cast up a pathway upon which the ransomed of the Lord may pass from earth to heaven. That path is the Son of God. Angel guides are sent to direct our erring feet. Heaven's glorious ladder is let down in every man's path, barring his way to vice and folly. He must trample upon a crucified Redeemer ere he can pass onward to a life of sin. Our heavenly Father's voice is calling us, Come up hither.... The humble, trusting ones are guided and protected in the way of peace. But He who is infinite in wisdom compels none to accept Heaven's most precious gift—compels none to walk in the path which has been cast up at such a cost. Every one is permitted to choose for himself the narrow, shining steep that leads to heaven, or that broader and easier way which ends in death. OHC 11.4

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