Revelation 4:1
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
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(1) After this (better, these things) I looked (literally, I saw; not “I looked,” as though the prophet turned his gaze then towards it), and, behold a door was opened (or, set open) in heaven.—He did not look and see a door opening; he saw, and lo! the door stood open. There are differences as well as similarities between this vision and others where glimpses into heaven were given to prophets and saints. In Ezekiel’s vision, and in the scene of Matthew 3:16 (comp, also Acts 7:56; Acts 10:11) the heavens divide; in this a door stands open. The way into the presence of God lies open (Hebrews 10:19-20); all who have faith may enter; in the minds of such the thoughts of the heavenly will mingle with the sorrows of the earthly, and the calm of security will be theirs (Psalm 46:5). But the scenes of earth’s troubles will always be dispiriting to those who cannot reach the heavenly view-point.

And the first voice (or, behold, the first voice) which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; (even one) which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee (the) things which must be hereafter.—The first voice here spoken of is the voice which the Apostle had heard in the opening vision (Revelation 1:10); he heard, and recognised that trumpet-like voice again. It is strange that any should have maintained that this is not the voice of Christ. It is admitted that it must be the same as the voice of Revelation 1:10; but it is said that the voice of Christ is heard afterwards (Revelation 1:15), not as a trumpet, but as the voice of many waters. The answer is simple; the voice of Christ has many tones; and the voice like a trumpet said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” (See Revelation 1:10-13.)

Revelation 4:1. The former vision which John saw, contained in the foregoing chapters, represented the state of the church at the time when the vision was given, or the things that then were, (Revelation 1:19,) and gave suitable directions to the churches, with their pastors, to encourage their faith and patience, and excite them to constancy and perseverance. Now the apostle records a second vision, in which the things were revealed to him that should be afterward, namely, to the end of time: or the things which were to come to pass, in successive order, from the time of the vision till the mystery of God should be finished. In order to raise the greater attention of the church, and to represent the certainty and great importance of the things revealed, both to the glory of God and the salvation of mankind, God himself is represented as seated on his heavenly throne, in the midst of his saints, and the whole general assembly of his church, and the glorious majesty and infinite perfections of God are set forth by very lively, expressive, and beautiful images, together with the high regard which the churches ought always to have for the counsels, designs, and dispensations of divine providence, declared and published in so solemn a manner.

After this — That is, after I had seen the foregoing vision, and had written as I was directed, the seven letters to the seven churches, from the mouth of Christ; I looked — Being directed so to do; and, behold, a door was opened in heaven — So it appeared to me, and hereby I understood that other heavenly discoveries, such as had not been made before, were about to be communicated to me, and that I should obtain a further insight into the divine counsels. Other openings like that here spoken of are successively mentioned. Here a door is opened; afterward, the temple of God in heaven, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 15:5; and, at last, heaven itself is opened, Revelation 19:11. By each of these openings, St. John gains a new and more extended prospect. He saw and heard, and then, it seems, immediately wrote down one part after another. By the particle and the several parts of the prophecy are usually connected: by the expression after these things, they are distinguished from each other, Revelation 7:9; Revelation 19:1; and by that expression, And after these things, they are both distinguished and connected, Revelation 7:1; Revelation 15:5; Revelation 18:1. And the first voice which I heard — Namely, that of Christ, (afterward he heard the voices of many others,) was as it were of a trumpet talking with me — There may probably be an allusion here to the custom of the Jewish Church, in which, upon opening the gates of the temple, the priests sounded their trumpets to call the Levites and priests to attend to their several offices; which said, Come up hither — Not in body, but in spirit, which was instantly done; and I will show thee things which must be hereafter — To such things, then future, the whole subsequent prophecy refers.

4:1-8 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.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 Revelation 1, the scene is transferred to heaven, and he is permitted to look in upon the throne of God, and upon the worshippers there.

I looked - Greek, "I saw" - εἶδον eidon. Our word "look" would rather indicate purpose or intentions, as if he had designedly directed his attention to heaven, to see what could be discovered there. The meaning, however, is simply that he saw a new vision, without intimating whether there was any design on his part, and without saying how his thoughts came to be directed to heaven.

A door was opened - That is, there was apparently an opening in the sky like a door, so that he could look into heaven.

In heaven - Or, rather, in the expanse above - in the visible heavens as they appear to spread out over the earth. So 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.


Re 4:1-11. Vision of God's Throne in Heaven; the Four and Twenty Elders; the Four Living Creatures.

Here begins the Revelation proper; and first, the fourth and fifth chapters set before us the heavenly scenery of the succeeding visions, and God on His throne, as the covenant God of His Church, the Revealer of them to His apostle through Jesus Christ. The first great portion comprises the opening of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets (fourth to eleventh chapters). As the communication respecting the seven churches opened with a suitable vision of the Lord Jesus as Head of the Church, so the second part opens with a vision suitable to the matter to be revealed. The scene is changed from earth to heaven.

1. After this—Greek, "After these things," marking the opening of the next vision in the succession. Here is the transition from "the things which are" (Re 1:19), the existing state of the seven churches, as a type of the Church in general, in John's time, to "the things which shall be hereafter," namely, in relation to the time when John wrote.

I looked—rather as Greek, "I saw" in vision; not as English Version means, I directed my look that way.

was—Omit, as not being in the Greek.

opened—"standing open"; not as though John saw it in the act of being opened. Compare Eze 1:1; Mt 3:16; Ac 7:56; 10:11. But in those visions the heavens opened, disclosing the visions to those below on earth. Whereas here, heaven, the temple of God, remains closed to those on earth, but John is transported in vision through an open door up into heaven, whence he can see things passing on earth or in heaven, according as the scenes of the several visions require.

the first voice which I heard—the voice which I heard at first, namely, in Re 1:10; the former voice.

was as it were—Omit was, it not being in the Greek. "Behold" governs in sense both "a door," &c., and "the first voice," &c.

Come up hither—through the "open door."

be—come to pass.

hereafter—Greek, "after these things": after the present time (Re 1:19).Revelation 4:1-3 John seeth the throne of God in heaven,

Revelation 4:4,5 encompassed with four and twenty elders,

Revelation 4:6,7 and four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

Revelation 4:8-11 The continual adoration and worship offered by the

beasts and elders before him that sat on the throne.

After this; after I had the first vision, mentioned Revelation 1:1-20, and had written what it was the pleasure of God I should write to the churches, in a book, perceiving the way God designed to reveal himself to me was by vision.

I looked; I looked again, hoping and being desirous to see something further as to the mind of God.

And, behold, a door was opened; I saw the heavens opened, as Matthew 3:16 Acts 7:56.

In heaven; he, doubtless, meaneth the third heavens. Such a vision, as to this particular, John had at Christ’s baptism, Matthew 3:1-17, and Stephen when he was stoned. He also heard the voice of one speaking aloud to him, like the voice he heard, Revelation 1:10;

which said, Come up hither, into heaven, the new Jerusalem which is above; as the old Jerusalem stood upon a hill, or rising ground, so as they who went thither are constantly said to go up, Isaiah 2:3 Acts 11:2 Galatians 1:17,18 2:1.

And I will show thee things which must be hereafter; not which have been, (for to what purpose had that been)? But which shall happen hereafter both to my church and to her enemies: from which it appears, that God did not here show his prophet the destruction of Jerusalem, for that was already past, in the time of Titus Vespasian the Roman emperor, about the year 69, or 70, after the incarnation; this (as all confess) was in Domitian’s time, about the 11th or 12th year of his reign, about twenty-six or twenty-seven years after that was past, which makes the notion of two late annotators very strange.

After this I looked,.... After John had seen the vision of Christ, in the midst of the golden candlesticks, with seven stars in his right hand; after he was bid to write what he had seen, and what were, and should be hereafter; and after he had by order written the seven epistles to the seven churches, he looked about him to see what else he could, having his desires and expectations raised of seeing more, and other things, for the eye is never satisfied with seeing; though this is to be understood, not of looking with the eyes of his body, but with the eyes of his mind; of his beholding things in a visionary way, as the prophets did, whence they are called "seers", and their prophecies "visions": how long this was after the first vision is not certain, it may be but a few minutes; and it is to be observed, that as the first chapter of this book, with the vision in it, is the preface or introduction to the church prophecy delivered out in the seven epistles; so this and the following chapter, with the vision therein, contain the preface or introduction to the book prophecy exhibited in the opening of the seven seals of the sealed book:

and behold, a door was opened in heaven: not in a literal sense, as the heavens were opened at Christ's baptism, and at Stephen's martyrdom, but in a figurative sense; and the phrase is to be understood of a discovery of things that were, or were to be in the church of God, which in this book is oftentimes signified by "heaven": and it must be conceived as done in a visionary way, just as Ezekiel, in the visions of God, was brought to Jerusalem, and the temple there, and in at a door was shown all the abominations committed in the court and temple; so John, in a visionary way, through an opened door, had a scene of things in the church presented to him, as follows:

and the first voice which I heard was, as it were, of a trumpet talking with me; this voice is not called the first voice with respect to any other voices that were to follow; but it designs the former voice, the voice that John heard behind him, when he saw the first vision; and this, as that, was clear, loud, and sonorous as a trumpet, so that he thoroughly heard, and rightly understood what was said; it was the same Person that made the following representation of things as did then, even he who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord Jesus Christ, the author of the whole revelation; the "first" is left out in the Arabic version: the allusion is to the blowing of trumpets at the opening of the door of the temple;

"every day there were one and twenty soundings of a trumpet in the temple, three , "at the opening of the doors", and nine at the daily morning sacrifice, and nine at the daily evening sacrifice (f).''

And one of them was called the great door of the temple; and he that slew the daily sacrifice, did not slay till he heard the sound of that door when it was opened (g); so here at the opening of the door in heaven, in the church, of which the temple was a type, the voice of the Son of God is heard as the sound of a trumpet, talking loudly and familiarly to John:

which said, come up hither; from the isle of Patmos, where he was, up to heaven; not into the third heaven, where Paul was caught up, but rather up into the Gospel church, the Jerusalem which is above; though this, as before, is to be understood in a visionary way, in like manner as Ezekiel was lifted up by the Spirit between the earth and the heavens; and so John, in a vision, was called up from Patmos into the air, where he had a representation of the church made unto him:

and I will show thee things which must be hereafter; in the world, in the Roman empire, and in the church of God, to the end of the world; not but that there were some things shown him, as before, in the church prophecy, which had been, and were, and which was done to give him a complete view of things from first to last: and these things were shown in the following visions of the seals, trumpets, and vials, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, who talked with him, and to whom this revelation was given to show unto his servants; and it was of things that "must" be, because determined and resolved upon in the unalterable purposes and decrees of God.

(f) Misn. Succa, c. 5. sect. 5. (g) Misn. Tamid, c. 3. sect. 7.

After {1} this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

(1) Hereafter follows the second part of this book, altogether prophetical foretelling those things which were to come, as was said in Re 1:19. This is divided into two histories: one common to the whole world, till Chapter 9 and another unique to the Church of God, till Chapter 22. These histories are said to be described in several books Re 5:1,10:2. Now this verse is a passage from the former part to this second: where it is said, that heaven was opened, that is, that heavenly things were unlocked and that a trumpet sounded in heaven, to stir up the apostle, and call him to the understanding of things to come. The first history has two parts: one the causes of things done and of this whole revelation in this next chapter, another of the acts done in the next four chapters. The principal causes according to the economy or dispensation of it, are two: One the beginning, which none can approach, that is, God the Father, of whom is spoken in this chapter. The other, the Son, who is the secondary cause, easy to be approached, in that he is God and man in one person; Re 5:5-9.

Revelation 4:1. Μετὰ τοῦτα εἰδον. The formula marks the entrance of a new vision, and that, too, a greater or more important one,[1649] while the formula ΚΑῚ ΕἾΔΟΝ introduces the various individual features represented in the course of a larger main picture.[1650] The formula ΚΑῚ ΕἾΔΟΝ, Revelation 13:1 and Revelation 17:3, stands at the beginning of an entirely new important division, and is therefore regular, because in both passages the opening of a new scene is indicated by the entire preceding verse, which in a measure prevents there the ΜΕΤᾺ ΤΑῦΤΑ. But since by the ΜΕΤᾺ ΤΑῦΤΑ the vision now following is distinguished from what is completed in Revelation 3:22,—the ΤΑῦΤΑ referring back to the entire vision in Revelation 1:10 to Revelation 3:22,—it is in no way indicated that between Revelation 3:22 and Revelation 4:1 there is a space in which John was not “in the Spirit,” but in his ordinary consciousness, and perhaps penned the seven epistles. Thus Beng.: “John always comprehended one part after another in sight and hearing, and immediately wrote it.” Cf. also Aret., Grot., Calov., Hengstenb.; and, against the latter, Ebrard’s correct protest. Even De Wette, who nevertheless correctly acknowledges that John is already (Revelation 4:1) “in Spirit,” viz., from Revelation 1:10, fixes the committing of the seven epistles to writing between Revelation 3:22 and Revelation 4:1. But nowhere in the course of the entire revelation (Revelation 1:10 to Revelation 22:16) is any temporary return from the ecstatic condition to ordinary consciousness conceivable, and therefore a partial noting-down is nowhere possible. The ΕἾΔΟΝ, Revelation 4:1, undoubtedly indicates that the “being in Spirit” beginning with Revelation 1:10 continues unbroken;[1651] and from Revelation 4:1 to the close of the entire revelation, an interruption of the ecstatic consciousness can nowhere be admitted, since the vision which follows always is developed from that which precedes.[1652] There is only one “being in Spirit,”[1653] in which John beheld the entire revelation with all its changing, yet coherent, scenes.

ΘΎΡΑ ἨΝΕῼΓΜ. ἘΝ Τ. ΟὐΡΑΝῼ. The opening of heaven[1654] is explained by means of a door, from the fact neither that heaven is regarded a firm arch,[1655] nor that John is to enter heaven,[1656] nor that heaven appears as a temple;[1657] but that heaven is the house,[1658] the palace of God (in which he is enthroned, Psalm 11:4; Psalm 18:7; Psalm 29:9).[1659]

Ἡ ΦΩΝῊ, Κ.Τ.Λ. Not the voice of Christ,[1660] who indeed had spoken (chs. 2., 3.)[1661] after the first voice,[1662] but the voice first heard, which already (Revelation 1:10) is no further defined, and here also cannot be further designated than as it is identical with the former.

ΛΈΓΩΝ. The construction “according to sense”[1663] is especially easy with the ΛΕΓΩΝ[1664] introducing the direct address.[1665]

ἈΝΑΒΆ. With respect to the form, cf. Acts 12:7; Mark 15:30 (var.); Ephesians 5:17. Winer, p. 76. John ascending to heaven and to the things there to be seen, through the door opened on this account, which he beheld in Revelation 4:1, is immediately present in spirit[1666] at the significant representation of that which is henceforth to happen.[1667] Klief., in violation of the context, asserts that a more elevated station is meant, from which John could look as well through the opened door into heaven, as also to a greater distance upon earth.

καὶ δεἰξώ, κ.τ.λ. Thus the heavenly voice speaks, although the person to whom it belongs cannot be more definitely known,—as in later visions, where, however, the same angel does not everywhere appear as interpreter, and “show,”—because the voice sounds forth in the name of the personal God himself, who, nevertheless, is efficacious beneath the one who shows (Revelation 1:1), and causes also the prophet to be in the Spirit (cf. Revelation 4:2).

ἃ δεῖ γεν. Cf. Revelation 1:1.

μετὰ ταῦτα, as Revelation 1:19.

[1649] Revelation 7:1; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 15:5, Revelation 18:1.

[1650] Revelation 5:1; Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:11, Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:8-9; Revelation 6:12, Revelation 8:2; Revelation 8:13, Revelation 4:1. μετὰἰδού introducing as usual in an independent clause (instead of a simple accus., Vit. ii. 8 f., 31, 173, 174, to which he reverts in Revelation 4:4) some fresh and weighty revelation; lesser phases are heralded by the simpler καὶ εἶδον. The phrase indicates a pause, which of course may have covered days as well as hours in the original experience of the seer, if we assume that his visions came in the order in which they are recorded. He is no longer in the island but up at the gates of heaven. In his trance, a heavenly voice comes after he has seen—not heaven opened (the usual apocalyptic and ecstatic symbol, e.g. Acts 10:11 = a vision, Revelation 11:5, Ezekiel 1:1, Matthew 3:16, Ap. Bar. xxii. 1) but—a door set open (ready, opened) in the vault of the mysterious upper world which formed God’s house. Then follows the rapture (which in Revelation 1:9 precedes the voice). The whole vision is composed by a man familiar with O.T. prophecy, in Semitic style: short clauses linked by the monotonous καί, with little or no attempt made at elaboration of any kind. Traits from the theophany of God as a monarch, surrounded by a triple circle (cf. the triple circle surrounding Ahuramazda), are blended with traits drawn from the theophany in nature. The ordinary Jewish conception (Gfrŏrer, i. 365 f.) tended to regard God as the royal priest, to whom angels rendered ceaseless levitical praise and service (cf. Revelation 4-5), or as a glorified rabbi whose angels act as interpreters of the heavenly mysteries for man (cf. Revelation 10 and apocalyptic literature in general with its angelic cicerones). In the seven heavens of Chagiga, 12b, the third is the place where “the millstones grind manna for the righteous” (Psalm 78:23-24, cf. Revelation 2:17), whilst in the fourth are the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:10) and the temple (Revelation 15:5 f.) and the altar (Revelation 8:3 f.) where the great prince Michael offers an offering, but in the fifth the ministering angels, who sing God’s praise by night, are silent by day to let Israel’s adoration rise to the Most High (see on Revelation 4:8). ἀνάβα ὧδε (cf. the common phrase, ἀναβαίνειν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, of penetration into heavenly mysteries), from Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:24, φωνὴ τῆς σάλπιγγος ἤχει μέγαεἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Κύριοςἀνάβηθι. As in the O.T. the revelation is vouchsafed spontaneously, whereas in Iranian theology (e.g., in the Vendidàd) “it is the wish of man, not the will of God, that is the first cause of the revelation” (Darmesteter, S. B. E. iv. p. lxxxv.). The seer does not enter the door till he is called; to know the divine will is the outcome of revelation, not of inquiry or speculative curiosity (similar idea in 1 Corinthians 2:9 f.). Enoch (xiv. 9 f.) also does not enter the palace of God with its fire-encircled walls, but sees through the open portals “a high throne, καὶ τὸ εἶδος αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ κρυστάλλινονκαὶ ὄρος χερουβίν … and from underneath the great throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon. And the great Glory sat thereon and his raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow.” He is finally called by God to approach but not to enter. Cf. Ap. Bar. li. 11, Test. Levi. v., “and the angel opened unto me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy One, the Most High, seated on the throne”.

Heaven opened Chap. Revelation 4:1-91. I looked] Better, I beheld, and lo! as Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:11 &c.; Daniel 7:6; Daniel 7:11 &c. The purport of the word is rather that he continued looking at what he had seen before, than that he looked in another direction. There is a transition: henceforth he goes to another point of view, and sees no more the Son of Man in the midst of the seven candlesticks: but the transition is not indicated in this word.

[was] opened] The participle is used without any verb: he saw the door standing open, he did not see the fact of its opening.

[was] as it were] Here the insertion of the verb is even more misleading. The true construction and sense is, “Behold a door set open in Heaven, and [behold] the first voice which I had heard, as of a trumpet [Revelation 1:10] saying.…”

which said] The participle does not agree with the substantive “voice,” and perhaps we ought to render “one saying.”

hereafter] Lit., after these things, as in Revelation 1:19 : i.e. after the state of things described in the Epistles to the Seven Churches. See note l.c.

Revelation 4:1. Μετὰ ταῦτα, after these things) In this passage there is a great division of interpretations into two paths. For the question arises, Whether the event of the seals began immediately after the writing of the book, or whether it is still altogether future? The celebrated D. Lange, besides others, maintains the latter opinion; the former is plainly shown even by the particle, after these things, repeated in this verse. The former expression (after these things) connects the vision [with what has preceded], the other connects with the same the result itself. After these things, that is, after those things, which ARE, which relate to the seven churches and their angels, must come to pass the things, which the Lord will now show. The past and the present and the future, Revelation 1:19 (from which verse the expression, after these things, is here repeated), comprise the whole of the book which follows: and, as the past and the present are so joined together, that the present, in Revelation 1:11, what thou seest, passes into the past, which thou sawest, Revelation 1:20; and again the past, which thou sawest, passes into the present, are, are, in the same verse; so the present and the future immediately cohere, without any hiatus, and the connection between the past and the present is only subservient to the connection between the present and the future. Not only is there no trace of delay from the age of John until the last times, but delay is even openly excluded. Future things, the quick approach of which is evidently declared, Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6, are closely connected with the present by the expression, after these things.

D. Lange so explains the particle, after these things, that, according to the prophetical meaning of the seven epistles, after the lapse of the same number of periods of the Church, the seals are completed, etc. Comm. Apoc. f. 62, 73. I reply: I. We have refuted such a prophetical meaning of the seven epistles, in ch. Revelation 2:1. II. If the historical meaning of the epistles is preserved, the particle, after these things, has its limits within the events of the churches in Asia; and this would be the case, even if these churches had a prophetical meaning affixed to them. III. If they were periods, they would not be interrupted by the destruction of the Whore and the Beast, as D. Lange imagines, but they would rather extend beyond the millennium and the short time of the loosing of Satan to the end of the world, together with the time of the Church itself being a wayfarer, the change in the condition of which he also makes too great in the millennium (see below, on ch. Revelation 19:11, Revelation 21:2), and thus they would run out beyond the seals, and trumpets, and vials. He says, that the CHIEF subject of the Apocalypse is the mystery of the last times, ch. Revelation 10:7, Revelation 11:15, and following verses. See Comm. Apoc., fol. 5; Hermen. Einl., p. 27. It easily happens, that when any truth is gladly received, it is too eagerly declared, and carried beyond its proper limits. Thus this celebrated man takes the millennium for the half-hour during which there was silence in the seventh seal, the former seals being thus very much crowded together, and all the trumpets being accommodated to this: then, having stated his opinion respecting the mystery of the last times, as the chief subject of the Apocalypse, he presently afterwards assumes, and continually takes it for granted, as though it were demonstrated: fol. 9, and 11 at the beginning. This is the hinge of the Apocalyptic system made up by this most celebrated commentator. But by such a method that CHIEF point is extended too much. That is no doubt the subject of the Apocalypse, from the passages quoted (since it is there set forth as such), thenceforward even to the end of the book: but the very words of the text extend the subject of the preceding chapters to a much wider range than he supposes. In them there is no beast, no whore: it is not until after ch. 10 that they come forth upon the stage, and that too after an interval. Wherefore the beginning of the judgments upon the antichristian enemies ought not to be reckoned from the seals themselves. See this treated at greater length on ch. Revelation 6:2, Revelation 11:15.

In the same place he so divides the chapters of the Apocalypse, that almost all are deferred to the future. We thus arrange them:—

Chap. 1. 2. 3.

contain the Preparation.

4. 5.

the Proposition.


are fulfilled, as is shown, without any violence.


are in course of fulfilment, and have been for some time, as is proved by suitable arguments.


exhibit things about to take place shortly.


look to things more distant.

Whoever has the power, let him subject to the most severe laws of DEMONSTRATION both his treatise and mine.

Verse 1. - After this; or, after these things (μετὰ ταῦτα). There is no good ground for supposing, as some do, that, after the events narrated in Revelation 3, an interval occurred in the visions, during which St. John possibly wrote down the matter contained in the first three chapters. Nor is there any justification for assigning what follows to a time after this world. It would be pressing ταῦτα very far to make it apply to these present things of the world; and μετὰ ταῦτα certainly need not mean "the things after this world." The expression is used here in its ordinary, natural sense: "After having seen this, I saw," etc.; introducing some new phase or variety of spectacle. I looked; or, I saw (εῖδον). No fresh act of looking is signified. I saw in the Spirit, as formerly (Revelation 1:10, 12). And, behold, a door; or, and, behold, a door, and the first voice. Such is the construction of the Greek. Was opened in heaven; or, an open door, in heaven. St. John did not see the action of opening the door, but he saw a door which had been set open, through which he might gaze, and observe what passed within. Alford contrasts Ezekiel 1:1; Matthew 3:16; Acts 7:56; Acts 10:11, where "the heaven was opened;" and supposes that the seer is transported through the open door into heaven, from which position he sees heaven, and views all that happens on the earth. Victorinus aptly compares the open door to the gospel. And the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet talking with me. Omit the "was" which follows, as well as the colon which precedes, and repeat "a voice," as in the Revised Version: And, behold, an open door in heaven, and the first voice which 1 heard, the voice which was, as it were, of a trumpet. The voice signified is not the first, but the former voice; viz. that already heard and described in Revelation 1:10. The possessor of the voice is not indicated. Stier ('Reden Jesu') attributes the voice to Christ; but it seems rather that of an angel, or at any rate not that of Christ, whose voice in Revelation 1:15 is described as "of many waters, "not as" of a trumpet." Which said. The voice (φωνή) becomes masculine (λέγων). Though whose voice is not stated, yet the vividness and reality of the vision causes the writer to speak of the voice as the personal being whom it signifies. Come up hither. That is in the Spirit - for the apostle "immediately was in the Spirit" (ver. 2). He was to receive a yet higher insight into spiritual things (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:2, where St. Paul was "caught up into the third heaven"). And I will show thee. It is not necessary, with Stier (see above on ver. 1), to infer that these words are Christ's. Though from him all the revelation comes, he may well use the ministry of angels through whom to signify his will. Things which must be hereafter; or, the things which must happen hereafter. The things which it is right should happen, and which, therefore, must needs happen (δεῖ). "Hereafter" (μετὰ ταῦτα); as before in ver. 1, but in a somewhat more general and less definite sense - at some time after this; but when precisely is not stated. The full stop may possibly be better placed before "hereafter;" in which case "hereafter" would introduce the following phrase, exactly as before in this verse. There is no "and;" καὶ, though in the Textus Receptus, is omitted in the best manuscripts. Revelation 4:1After this (μετὰ ταῦτα)

Rev., literally, after these things. Not indicating a break in the ecstatic state of the seer, but only a succession of separate visions.

I looked (εἶδον)

Rev., better, I saw. Not of the directing of attention, but of the simple reception of the vision.

A door was opened (θύρα ἀνεῳγμένη)

Rev., rightly, omits was. A door set open. The A.V. implies that the seer witnessed the opening of the door.

In Heaven

Compare Ezekiel 1:1; Matthew 3:16; Acts 7:56; Acts 10:11. In all these heaven itself is opened.


Omit. Render, as Rev., "a voice as of a trumpet."

A trumpet (σάλπιγγος)

See on Matthew 24:31. Properly a war-trumpet, though the word was also used of a sacred trumpet, with the epithet ἱερά sacred.

Speaking - saying (λαλούσης - λέγουσα)

See on Matthew 28:18. The former verb indicates the breaking of the silence, the latter the matter of the address.


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