Revelation 4: After These Things
Jan 07, 2016
The fourth chapter of the book of Revelation correlates with the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet: daleth, “an open door.” It begins with Revelation 4:1,
1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
It says, “After these things.” After what things? It refers to the time after the seven churches. But as we have seen, there is more than one level of interpretation in regard to the seven churches. The most immediate understanding is that “after these things” means “after these revelations that were given to John, Christ spoke to John himself, inviting him to come higher in the realm of the Spirit, in order to receive a greater revelation of things to come.
However, when we understand the seven churches to be seven eras in church history, it is does not stretch the imagination to say that this open door was to be presented to those living in the post-Laodicea era. The time of the seven churches was limited to the framework of the reign of King Saul who reigned forty years and established the 40-Jubilee reign of the church in the Pentecostal Age. From 33 A.D., when this Age began, until 1993 was forty Jubilees.
Therefore, we can say that “after these things” refers to any time beyond May 30, 1993, which was Pentecost that year. I know something about this open door from personal experience, because shortly afterward, the word of the Lord came, instructing me to issue my first “call to arms” in order to lead the Jubilee Prayer Campaign in November of 1993.
My own life has been somewhat of a prophetic pattern subjected to these long-term cycles. In previous years (during the final 12 years of the Laodicean era) I was trained in the areas of intercession and spiritual warfare. During that time, God held me back, for my ministry pertained to the next Age, which did not begin until “Saul” died in 1993. I made many mistakes during those training years, as we all do, but I learned far more from my mistakes than from any successes that I may have had.
In fact, it was necessary to make those mistakes, because most of them were mistakes that the Pentecostal realm has made over the years, often without realizing what they were doing. In moving from one Age to another, I started out with the same blindness that afflicted Laodicea and began to be healed as the revelation of God stirred within me and opened my eyes to the big picture of the divine plan.
One thing clearly emerged from that training time: the mistakes were always rooted in our ignorance or misperception of the law. I learned that the law was not merely a moral boundary, but an entire way of life subjected to the leading of the Holy Spirit. More than this, the law prophesies, because it reveals the divine plan for the earth, His judgments, and His vows to intervene in history to save mankind.
In that sense, I could personalize Revelation 4:1 and apply it to my own ministry and calling in life. “After these things” (1993) a door opened in heaven, as if to invite me to “come up here,” so that He could show me “what must take place after these things.” The Jubilee Prayer Campaign did indeed open the floodgates of revelation about the overthrow of Mystery Babylon and the Kingdom of God that was to replace it by the anointing of the feast of Tabernacles.
Much of the church pictures the “catching away” of the saints in terms of the “rapture,” without realizing that this event is rooted in the feast of Tabernacles. Without understanding this feast, it is not possible to have a clear picture of prophecy regarding the second coming of Christ and the “catching away” (Greek: harpazo; Latin: rapto) of the saints.
Many Bible teachers identify Revelation 4:1 as the “rapture of the saints,” seeing the invitation to “come up here” as a prophecy of the rapture at the end of the Church Age. However, none of the rapture teachers had any real knowledge of the feast of Tabernacles, and so this teaching was developed in ignorance of the most important foundational prophecies that speak of Christ’s second coming. Their teaching, then, was inevitably warped.
It was not until about 1950 that any serious study of Tabernacles was made in the context of the New Covenant. Prior to the publication of George Warnock’s book, The Feast of Tabernacles, in 1952, most studies had been by Jews who viewed it through the lens of the Old Covenant. Few understood that the two sets of feast days (April-May and September-October) prophesied of the two works of Christ.
Bible teachers have long known, of course, that Christ died to fulfill the feast of Passover, was raised from the dead and presented to the Father on the wave-sheaf offering, and that the feast of Pentecost was fulfilled in Acts 2 with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In each case, the timing of the feast day established the date of its fulfillment.
However, for some reason they did not take this further in regard to the second set of feast days. The feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hoshana) prophesies of the resurrection of the dead saints. The Day of Atonement prophesies of the church’s repentance for its lack of faith. The first day of Tabernacles prophesies of the transformation (“change,” 1 Corinthians 15:51) of the overcomers who are alive during that time. The middle of Tabernacles prophesies of Christ’s coming in order to unite the Head with the Body of the New Creation Man.
The eighth day of Tabernacles is the actual harpazo, the “catching away” of these saints. They are then presented to the Father as the “sons of God” in the same manner that Christ the Head was presented as The Son of God shortly after His resurrection when the high priest waved the sheaf of barley in the temple at the third hour of the day.
Once these saints are recognized by the courts of heaven and are empowered with the full authority that their legal position requires, then these sons of God will return to be “manifested” in the earth. Each step is laid out in the second set of feast days. Those who developed the “rapture” idea without understanding the feast days tended to lump all of these events together and to place a seven-year tribulation between the harpazo and the return of Christ to rule the earth. They did not understand that the tribulation of Israel was to last “seven times,” or 7 x 360 years, as explained in Daniel 7 and in Revelation 13. (See Daniel, Prophet of the Ages, Book 2.)
Understanding the feasts of the Lord is crucial to understanding the book of Revelation, for in the past 150 years this book has been understood in the context of the “rapture” theory and the Futurist interpretation of the book of Revelation. Prior to the mid-1800’s, the book was understood predominantly by the Historicist view (which is my own approach as well).
Revelation 4:2 says,
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
When John was invited to “come up here,” he was caught up “in the Spirit,” that is, his spirit was transported to heaven to the throne of God. We all have more than one consciousness. Normally, we perceive things through the soul’s consciousness (or conscious awareness). Our spirit also has a mind (conscious awareness) of its own that is separate from that of the soul.
John had an out-of-body experience. There is no reason to believe that his body was transported to heaven. His soul, too, remained with his body. This involved only his spiritual seat of consciousness. Even so, as many have learned by experience, there is a “window” that connects the soul to the spirit, allowing the soul to see (to the best of its ability) that which the spirit communicates to the soul. The soul’s conscious recollection, then, allows one’s earthly faculties to remember and to record the events using bodily tools (i.e., one’s hands for writing).
So John was taken to the throne room. The One sitting on the throne is not immediately identified, but the words of the 24 elders in Revelation 4:11, and again in Revelation 5:9, indicates that it is Jesus Christ.
Revelation 4:3 describes Him,
3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
How is it that the One sitting on the throne in heaven “was like a jasper stone”? Why was this metaphor used here? The term jasper literally means “speckled stone.” Jasper is a translucent stone, most commonly red on account of its iron content. Iron has an atomic weight of 26, which is also the numeric value of Yahweh. John himself would not have known anything about atomic weights, but all things were created by the word and therefore contain hidden revelation.
But jasper can also be yellow or green. In fact, green jasper has often been compared to emerald, so this also seems to be connected to the rainbow that appears as an “emerald.” A green jasper stone set in a gold ring is pictured here from the Walters Art Museum:
Jasper was one of the twelve stones in the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:20). It was the third stone in the fourth row. In other words, it was the last stone representing the twelve sons of Jacob “according to their birth” (Exodus 28:10). Benjamin was the twelfth son of Jacob.
The Hebrew word translated “jasper” is yasfeh. The Greek translation (Septuagint) uses the Greek term laspis, which was the term normally reserved for green jasper. Laspis was the most prized form of jasper in ancient times.
Somehow, the One sitting the throne identifies Himself with (green) jasper and thus also with Benjamin. Green itself speaks of life and/or resurrection. The story of Benjamin’s birth prophesies of the two works of Christ. Genesis 35:16-18 tells the story:
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 And it came about when she was in severe labor that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 And it came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
This son had two names. His mother called him Ben-oni, “son of my sorrow.” Christ came the first time as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). His father called him Benjamin, “son of my right hand.” So Christ comes the second time as the Lord of Heaven, seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father (Hebrews 10:12).
In each case, Christ’s position on the throne in heaven is explained first by green jasper, which is then reflected as an emerald rainbow, and secondly in the revelation of Ben-oni/Benjamin. Together, the jasper stone suggests that the One sitting on the throne had been raised from the dead after becoming a “man of sorrows,” and that He was now seated at the right hand of the Father (“Benjamin”).
This is part 37 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones