1. Structure and outline

The way in which Revelation 4 connects to what precedes it

Revelation 4:1–11 (ESV)

1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

The Lord Jesus Christ was showing John a revelation concerning “the things that must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1). Already Jesus had revealed his great majesty to John in the impressive vision about himself (Revelation 1:12–20). Jesus had then passed seven letters along to John for the seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 2:1–3:22). Those seven letters had revealed Jesus’ intimate knowledge of what was happening in each of the churches and had contained Jesus’ response to those realities (perhaps rebuke, perhaps encouragement). But what had come through loud and clear in the seven letters was the degree of weakness in the churches; there was so much wrong, so much out of place, and there was so little power to fix things up. Moreover, those churches were so vulnerable to the attacks of the devil and the world. If this was the work of the Christ revealed in Revelation 1:12–20, this Christ was clearly out of his depth. These seven churches, representing the churches of all times and places, needed more encouragement about who Jesus Christ really is and what he is doing in this world. With Revelation 4:1–11 the Lord begins to show John heavenly glories that encourage greatly the struggling church on earth.