Heaven’s Door

Revelation 4:1
“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.’”

John looked into the future of mankind and saw the day when the heavens will open, not to speak, but to call home all who have trusted in Christ for salvation. Paul explained that the dead in Christ would rise first, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). What a day that will be, when we are no longer looking through a glass dimly, but we are face to face with Christ (I Corinthians 13:12) steeped in His glory.

John gives us a glimpse of what we have to look forward to. He writes of a radiant throne, encircled by a rainbow, and surrounded by elders. In front of the throne, a sea like glass, and flying around the throne angel beings, ever declaring the Holiness and mighty power of God. The beauty of the throne is only overshadowed by the glory of the One sits upon it. Whenever the angels begin to sing, the elders cast down their golden crowns in homage and worship.

One day, not too far in our future, we will hear the sound of the trumpet blast, watch as the door opens in heaven, and the believers are called home to meet the Lord in the air. Live expectantly, who knows how soon, before that day appears.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Revelation 4

Remember that Revelation 1:19 gives us an outline of the book. Chapter 1 was the things that he had seen; chapter 2 and 3 were the things which are; and chapter 4 begins the section of the things which will take place “after this”. 

1. Notice at the end of verse 1 that John is about to be shown things that will take place “after these things”. What things is he referring to in chapters 2 and 3? 

2. In verses 1 and 2, where was the open door to and where is John then called to? 

3. John saw a door open in heaven, then he was called up to heaven and was immediately there. Have you considered how quickly/suddenly the Lord could return for us? Read Mark 13:32-37 

4. Look at verses 3-8. Some of the descriptions are of things that we have never seen before. John must frequently use the word “like” to describe things. His (and our) only point of reference is earthly things that we have already seen. Part of the reason for the dramatic imagery is to get our attention. But heaven will be full of new things that will blow our mind! Read 1Cor 2:9, and Job 42:3. 

5. Notice that the 24 elders have crowns and white robes. Look up 2 Tim 4:8, James 1:12, and 1 Peter 5:4 for clues as to the crowns that they could be wearing. Also look up Isa 1:18 and 61:10. 

6. You may have noticed that in the book of Revelation the number 7 has been mentioned many times. Seven is a number that in biblical numerology means “completion”. In verse 5, we see mention of the seven Spirits of God. Since we never have a listing of seven spirits of God elsewhere in the Scripture, it’s a good bet that this speaks of the “completeness” of God’s Spirit, in every way. Be on the lookout for sevens as we go through the book. 

7. The living creatures are “full of eyes”, which is a pretty bizarre picture to imagine. However eyes are used for sight. The object of their attention is God Almighty upon the throne. What do they whose eyes are always upon Him have to say to Him? How can we keep our eyes focused on Jesus? 

8. Notice the effect of the living creatures worship on the twenty four elders. The most effective way that we can influence others is to grow in our own relationship with God. Look up John 15:4-5. 

9. In this life crowns give power, authority and glory. Note what the elders do with their crowns and what they say to God. How is God totally different from us and why should He be worshipped? 

Old Testament
Ezekiel 20- Navigating Life

2 thoughts on “Heaven’s Door

  1. Debra Mercuri November 12, 2021 / 10:29 am

    Hi Jim,

    I have a question that has always stumped me about this part of scripture. When a believer dies I am always quick to comfort their loved ones with “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”. Then this piece of scripture talks about the dead in Christ will rise first…where are they rising from? I thought they were with Him as soon as they stopped living in this earthly realm. Can you help me to understand this better?? I would appreciate your help.


    Debbie Mercuri



    • pjimgallagher November 19, 2021 / 8:57 am


      That is a great question and one that is very commonly asked. I would suggest that to address the issue we want to keep in mind a very simple principle of interpretation where we always want to interpret unclear passages in the Bible with the light given by clear passages. What we know for sure, without question is that when a believer passes from this life and their earthly body (called a tent) they are immediately in the presence of God and clothes in a body fit for eternity. This is illustrated with the conversation between Jesus and the thief on the cross “today you will be with me in paradise” although his body remained upon the cross and then likely was thrown in a common grave. Paul put it like this

      2 Corinthians 5:8
      We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

      2 Corinthians 5:2-4
      For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

      We can conclude that when we pass from this body we will be clothed in a glorious new body and be in the presence of the Lord. The question then has to do with the future bodily resurrection. Which although is a tenet of the faith is less clearly explained in Scripture. We are told that the dead in Christ will rise and we are told that it will be with a body that is somehow connected to the earthly body as a plant is connected to a seed but we are not given clear teaching on exactly how these two truths work together.

      Once again we can and should be assured that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord not unclothed but further clothes in a glorious new body designed for eternal life.


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