The description of these men coincides perfectly with that of the Church, for they have been clothed in white raiment, as is promised the believer (Revelation 3:5) and are wearing crowns of gold. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”
By Dustin Abbott
In this chapter the transition is made from the early stages of past and present in the Book of Revelation to the meat of the matter: the hereafter. It is at this juncture that the transition is made from the plateau of earthly perspective to a view of the heavenly. John enjoys an experience similar to the catching away, where he is transported from his earthly surroundings and vision to the very throne room of God. This chapter is devoted to describing the wonders contained therein.
(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.
The phrase “I will shew thee things which must be here” clearly indicates that the discussion of things past and present is complete, and the time has come to discuss the future. Philadelphia was promised an open door into heaven, and now the same door is opened in John’s vision. It is a portal into the everlasting. He is caught away from earth into heaven, the intangible, immortal abode of Almighty God. The second indicator that this is representative of the catching away is the voice “as it were of a trumpet.”
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thessalonians 4:16).
The sound like a trumpet that John hears is the trumpet that will literally wake the dead. After this reference, the saints, including the dead in Christ, will not be seen upon earth until the second coming of Christ when they return to earth with Him. John and the raptured saints of his vision are transported to the presence of the Almighty.
This event is central to our hope as Christians, and it is imperative that we have a proper understanding of the events and the details regarding the catching away of the saints. (See supplement on the catching away.) There is literally no other thing left to be fulfilled before this event. It could happen at any moment!
(2) And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
John says that he was immediately in the spirit, which illustrates the speed of the catching away. The transition from earthly mortality to heavenly immortality takes less time than that of the twinkling of an eye. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed’ (I Corinthians 15:52). The catching away will be instantaneous, leaving the earth in shock and disbelief. There has been a lot of supposition about this event and its results upon the earth, and there is certainly some validity to many of these assumptions. The process is instantaneous and universal, which means that somewhere cars will be left without drivers, classrooms will be left without teachers, and even planes left without pilots. It is likely that the catching away will be international catastrophe for the remainder of the earth’s inhabitants.