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.” (Rev.4:1)
If your head is bowed and your heart is broken, it is time for a change of perspective. We can choose to lift our head and incline our heart heavenward. While it may not change the circumstances, it will alter our attitude. We cannot always control what happens outside us, but we can choose what happens inside us.
My mother-in-law, Louise Crayton—now in heaven—was one of the most radiant Christians I have ever known. For the last years of her life she was debilitated by multiple sclerosis that left her immobile. She couldn’t feed herself, clothe herself—she was like a baby who had to be diapered and cared for. Despite this, you seldom heard her complain. Here is what she did say: “It is good that I have been sick because it gives me more time to pray. When you’re flat on your back, you have nowhere to look, but up!” Louise had a choice—to wallow in a sickbed of self-pity or to soar by faith into heavenly places.
The Apostle John, in the fourth chapter of Revelation, gains a new perspective. He looks up when feeling down. Remember, he was exiled on the prison island of Patmos. His only crime was faithfulness to Jesus. Then, Jesus shows up. He is without human companionship, but in chapter one he encounters the glorified Christ. Next, Jesus speaks up. Chapters two and three record the messages Christ had for His churches. They were having their struggles. These seven prophetically point to the course of the age—from the apostles to the apostates—a downward direction. Yet, even in the midst of decline, there was a faithful remnant—a bride preparing for the bridegroom to come.
Jesus showed up, spoke up, and now in chapter four, John is caught up. This speaks figuratively of the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH (v.1-3). At the end of Rev.3, the word “church,” is nor used again until 22:16. During those chapters of tribulation—as judgments are poured out on a Christ-rejecting world—the church is missing on earth because she has been taken to glory. John has seen a door opened in heaven and the invitation to enter has been given. He has heard a trumpet voice that called him. Maybe today, the trumpet will sound calling the dead in Christ from their graves and the living saints to be translated with them into the clouds (1 Thess.4:16-18).
There follows the REWARD OF THE CHURCH (v.4-5). The church will wear a righteous robe. The soil of sin will be washed away, and we will be dressed fully in the righteousness of Christ. The twenty-four elders represent the redeemed of all the ages—12 patriarchs of the Old Testament and 12 apostles of the New Testament. They wear not only a righteous robe, but a royal crown. We will wear a crown of victory some day!
This brings the REJOICING OF THE CHURCH (v.6-11). The natural creation adores the Creator. That is what the four living creatures represent. The new creation acclaims Him, casting their crowns at His feet!
As the old hymn says, “Some golden daybreak, Jesus will come!” As the darkness grows about us, look up dear brothers and sisters—a new day will dawn with the coming of the Son!