Meditation Mondays: Revelation 4:1: What Must Soon Take Place
4 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.”
This is where things can begin to get weird depending on the commentaries you're reading. Illustrative pens are at the ready to draw literal pictures with literal interpretations of what John is going to describe.
But we must not forget the context. We can't forget the journey we've been on for the last few months. The first three chapters of Revelation serve as a kind of preamble to what John is about to see. John in chapters 1-3 is setting the stage for why he is writing. Remember, the book of Revelation is a letter to seven actual churches during the life-time of John. He is writing to them primarily and the letter is relevant to them. However, because the Holy Spirit guided the hand of John, there are real spiritual benefits for 21st-century readers too and we will work hard to mine the devotional content out of each section.
In verse 1, we need to take note that John is allowed access to the Lord. The heavens are open up to Him and what John observes in Heaven- the worship of our Triune God has an impact on the earth. John is about to see the impact heaven has on earth- and what he sees will take place soon.
Notice I used the word, "soon". What John is about to witness isn't happening 20+ centuries later. What God reveals to John is that "which must take place after this". What the Lord is showing John is going to have an impact on the seven churches John is to send this letter to. So, John isn't about to see helicopters and space ships and tanks and modern warfare. The journey we are about to embark on as 21st readers is history to us, not the future. It was the future to the readers of John's letter, but not a distant future. It was a future they were soon going to experience. In Daniel 12:4 the Lord commands Daniel to seal up his words because they are for a much later time. This is not the case in Revelation. John is commanded to speak about what he witnessed. He is to speak because what he sees will soon take place. And it did take place- the destruction of the temple in AD 70.
As we move through the book of Revelation, we will begin to see Jesus' prayer "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" in high definition. What happens in heaven has an impact on the earth and praise God for that. Eventually, we will get to a futuristic part of Revelation (Revelation 21), where Jesus stands and returns for us and makes all things new. This will be the day when we will see clearly the impact of heaven on earth. Spend some time today asking for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Spend some time thinking through how your citizenship in God's Kingdom can affect your relationships today.