To The Waiting Heart, Jesus Says, Come Up Hither

Bible Book: Revelation  4 : 1
Subject: Heaven; Invitations of Christ
Series: Invitations of Christ

Prior to the Christmas emphasis of recent weeks, we were looking at some of the Invitations of Christ that are recorded in the New Testament scriptures. I’m sure most of us have at one point or another received an invitation – perhaps to a birthday party, or a wedding, an anniversary celebration, or maybe a baby shower. It’s exciting to receive such an invitation, but truly the most thrilling invitations that I’ve found are those that Jesus issued. They are the Calls of Christ. They are the Savior’s Summons’.

So far in this series, we have considered the fact that…

1. To the Worn-Out Heart, He says, “Come Forth,” as He did to Lazarus in John 11:43

We considered the fact that…

2. To the Wanting Heart, He says, “Come Down,” as He did to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:5

We considered the fact that…

3. To the Wondering Heart, He says, “Come And See,” as He did to John and Andrew in John 1:39

We considered the fact that…

4. To the Weary Heart, He says, “Come Unto Me...” as He says in Matthew 11:28

We considered the fact that…

5. To the Willful Heart, He says, “Come, Take Up The Cross, And Follow Me,” as He says in Mark 10:21

We considered the fact that…

6. To the Weak Heart, He says, “Come And Dine,” as He did to the disciples who had fished all night and caught nothing in John 21:12

And then, as a part of our Christmas emphasis, we considered the fact that…

7. To the Worshipping Hearts, the invitation was “O Come All Ye Faithful” as we looked in Luke 2 and Matthew 2

This morning, we’re looking at an invitation that is extended specifically and primarily to John the beloved disciple as he was in exile on the island of Patmos. The invitation and summons is “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1). And in this invitation, every heart that waits for the return of Christ can hear their own personal summons to “Come up hither,” and this seems to coincide with the rapture of the church. So, (8) To the Waiting Heart, the invitation is “Come Up Hither.”

While the word “rapture” is not found in our English Bibles, the concept certainly is. John Walvoord explained that the word “rapture” is from “rapere,” which is the Latin translation of the expression “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This expression “caught up” is translated from the Greek term “harpazo,” which has the idea of taking for oneself, or seizing, or pulling, or taking as if by force.

J. Vernon McGee said…

“Come up hither” is heaven’s invitation to John, and it is an invitation to all of the fellowship that know Christ as Savior. … “And the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me.” This is the sound which calls the church to meet Christ in the air. And whose voice is it? (McGee said) It is the voice of Christ.

Similarly, Joseph A. Seiss in his book on The Apocalypse wrote…

This open door in heaven, and this calling up of the Apocalyptic seer through that door into heaven, indicate to us the manner in which Christ intends to fulfill His promise to keep certain of His saints “out of the hour of temptation;” and by what means it is that those who “watch and pray always” shall “escape” the dreadful sorrows with which the present world, in its last years, will be visited. Those of them that sleep in their graves, shall be recalled from among the dead; and those of them who shall be found living at the time, “shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52); and both classes “shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The same voice which John heard, even “the voice as of a trumpet, “whether dead or living, they shall hear, saying to them, “COME UP HITHER.”

I wanted to deal with this invitation today because as we begin a new year, the future is about to unfold before us. And that’s exactly the position that John was in. The future was about to unfold before him. God told John, “I will show thee things which must be hereafter.”

Now I can’t make any specific predictions about this New Year. If I did, I would most likely be wrong.

During the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, a group of social analysts gazed 100 years into the future and tried to forecast what the world would be like in 1993. They predicted that many people would live to be 150. They said that the government will have grown more simple, because true greatness tends always toward simplicity. And they predicted that prisons would decline, and divorce would be considered unnecessary.

In an article in the September/October 2000 issue of “The Futurist” magazine, writer Laura Lee catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time:

· In 100 A.D., a Roman engineer named Julius Sextus Frontinus said, “Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.”

· In 1873, John Eric Ericksen who was the surgeon to Queen Victoria said, “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.”

· In 1893, a journalist named Junius Henri Browne said, “Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed.”

· In 1895, Albert Einstein’s teacher said to Einstein’s father, “It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.”

· In 1949, a computer scientist named John von Neumann said, “It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology.”

· In 1954, the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles said, “The Japanese don’t make anything the people in the U.S. would want.”

· Alex Lewyt, who was the president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, was quoted in the New York Times on June 10, 1955 as saying, “Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years.”

· In 1959, Arthur Summerfield who was the U.S. Postmaster General under President Eisenhower said, “Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.”

· In 1986, Roger Smith, who was then chairman of General Motors, said, “By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society.”

Obviously, none of us can accurately predict the future according to our own wisdom. But by reading and studying the book of Revelation, we can know some of the things that are going to happen sometime in the future.

In Revelation 4:1, John said, “After this I looked, and behold…” A. T. Robertson said that this word “Behold” is an “Exclamation of vivid emotion as John looked.” And as he sees the inspiring view, John hears the inviting voice.

I. Let’s Look At The Circumstantial Aspect Of This Invitation

(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 show thee things which must be hereafter.

A. The Circumstances Involved A Progression

1. “After This” Marks An Ecclesiastical Progression – It Is The Next Step After The Previous Scene

Chapter 2 and 3 is dealing with the church age, “but now,” as Jerry Vines reminds us, “after this … That is, after the age of the church ends, after the churches are taken away, after God’s people are caught up into heaven, then the things that John describes will take place in this book. So the verse is transitional in nature, it moves us from the age of the churches to another age altogether.”

2. “After This” Marks An Eschatological Progression – It Is The Next Step In The Panoramic Summary

God’s threefold instruction to John in Revelation 1:19 was, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” And wrapped up in that threefold instruction is the summary of the book of Revelation:

‘The things that John had seen’ refers to what transpired in chapter 1.

“The things which are” refers to messages to the seven churches in chapter 2 and 3.

“And the things which shall be hereafter” refers to chapter 4 on through the end of the book.

The word “hereafter” in Revelation 1:19 is the same word that is used twice in Revelation 4:1. It is the combination of the Greek words meta and tauta. It is translated “after this” or “hereafter.”

To use Paul’s words, John seems to be moving “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18), as he beholds the impact of the risen and glorified Christ.

· As he looks at Christ from his own perspective in chapter 1, he realizes the personal impact that Christ can have upon a Christian.

· As he looks at Christ from a historical perspective in chapter 2 and 3, he realizes the panoramic impact that Christ has upon the church.

· As he looks at Christ from a heavenly perspective in chapter 4 through 22, he realizes the pinnacle impact that Christ will have on creation.

Revelation 4:1 marks a transition not only in John’s perspective, but also in his position as he is invited to move from the human sphere to the heavenly sphere.

B. The Circumstances Involved A Portal

1. Notice What This Door Suggests

door – Greek 2374. thura; a portal or entrance (the opening or the closure):--door, gate.

door – Greek NT:2374. thura; to rush in, properly, that through which a rush is made (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

2. Notice Where This Door Is Situated

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that the word “heaven” here in Revelation 4:1 refers to “the highest heaven … the dwelling-place of God.”

Adam Clarke said that this door “appears to have been a visible aperture in the sky over his head.”

Albert Barnes said…

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.

II. Let’s Look At The Conversational Aspect Of This Invitation

(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 show thee things which must be hereafter.

John refers to “the first voice,” which may refer to the first voice that he heard after the Spirit had ceased speaking to the churches (3:22), or it may refer to the voice that he heard at the first, back in chapter 1, verse 10. The Pulpit Commentary states, “‎The voice signified is not the first, but the former voice; (namely) that already heard and described in Revelation 1:10.”

voice – Greek 5456. phone, fo-nay'; prob. akin to G5316 through the idea of disclosure; a tone (articulate, bestial or artificial); by impl. an address (for any purpose), saying or language:--noise, sound, voice.

A. There Is A Mighty Voice

1. Notice The Trumpet

a. This Was A Suggestive Sound

As you study the Old Testament, you discover that that the blowing of the trumpet signified many things such as the beginning of a battle or the victorious outcome of a battle. It signified that the camp of Israel was to begin a movement and a marching forward. It signaled an assembling of the people. The blowing of trumpets served to remind the people on their worship days that the Lord was God. They blew trumpets on the day that David brought up the Ark of the Covenant. Trumpets were blown to mark the coronation of a new king.

John Gill said…

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.” 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; 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.

b. This Was A Specific Sound

(Revelation 1:10-11) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, {11} Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

(1 Thessalonians 4:16) 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:

2. Notice The Talking

(Revelation 3:22) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

And as he was listening to the final echoes of the Spirit’s message to the churches, he sees the open door and he hears the voice… talking. Marvin Vincent said that the word “talking” or “speaking” “indicates the breaking of the silence.” (From Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament)

B. There Is A Magnificent Verb

(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 show thee things which must be hereafter.

1. Consider The Definition Of This Verb

come up – Greek 305. anabaino, an-ab-ah'ee-no; from G303 (ana – up) and the base of G939(basis from baino – to walk, by implication the foot); to go up (lit. or fig.):--arise, ascend (up), climb (go, grow, rise, spring) up, come (up).

The word literally has the idea of “stepping up.”

2. Consider The Direction Of This Verb

hither – Greek 5602. hode, ho'-deh; from an adv. form of G3592; in this same spot, i.e. here or hither:--here, hither, (in or to) this place, there.

III. Let’s Look At The Climactic Aspect Of This Invitation

A. There Is An Important Seat In Heaven

(Revelation 4:2) And immediately (we might even say “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”) I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Apparently, the first area that one come to in entering heaven is not Peter standing at the gate, but it is the throne room of God. Listen to Stephen’s experience when the crowd gnashed on him with their teeth…

(Acts 7:55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

1. It Is An Expansive Throne

A. T. Robertson said…

As the vision opens John sees the throne already in place as the first thing in heaven. This bold imagery comes chiefly from 1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 7:9. One should not forget that this language is glorious imagery, not actual objects in heaven. God is spirit.

(From Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament)

Cf. (Isaiah 66:1) Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

“Heaven” in this verse seems to refer to the celestial heaven where the planets and stars are.

Cf. (Acts 7:48-49) Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, {49} Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

When Ezekiel saw a scene similar to what John saw, the throne appeared as a sapphire, which is a bright blue color.

Cf. (Ezekiel 1:26) And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

2. It Is An Established Throne

set – Greek 2749. keimai, ki'-mahee; mid. of a prim. verb; to lie outstretched (lit. or fig.):--be (appointed, laid up, made, set), lay, lie.

James Young spoke of “The stability of the throne.” He said, “It is ‘established in the heavens.’ It is ordered and arranged, guarded and disposed by infinite wisdom and unerring skill. It is firmly fixed, stable, and immutable.”

(From The Biblical Illustrator)

Cf. (Psalms 45:6) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

(Psalms 93:2) Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

B. There Is An Impressive Sovereign In Heaven

(Revelation 4:3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

Warren Wiersbe said…

The key word in this chapter is throne; it is used fourteen times. In fact, this is a key word in the entire book, appearing forty-six times. No matter what may happen on earth, God is on His throne and is in complete control. Various teachers interpret Revelation in different ways, but all agree that John is emphasizing the glory and sovereignty of God. What an encouragement that would be to the suffering saints of John’s day and of every age in history. Using the throne as the focal point, we can easily understand the arrangement of this exciting chapter.

(From The Bible Exposition Commentary)

1. Look At The Comparisons Of The Sovereign

(Revelation 4:3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says of Jasper…

“It was the last of the twelve inserted in the high-priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:20; 39:13), and the first of the twelve used in the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:19): the difference in the order seems to show that no emblematical importance was attached to that feature.

Jasper was the final focus of worship’s preparation and the first foundation of worship’s place.

It was the stone employed in the superstructure of the wall of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:18). It further appears among the stones which adorned the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13). Lastly, it is the emblematical image of the glory of the divine Being (Revelation 4:3). The characteristics of the stone, as far as they are specified in Scripture (Revelation 21:11) rare that it was,’ most precious,’ and ‘like crystal’; not exactly ‘clear as crystal,’ as in the A.V., but of a crystal hue. We may also infer from Revelation 4:3 that it was a stone of brilliant and transparent light.” The ancient jasper thus appears to have been frequently translucent (transparent).

The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia says of the Sardius stone…

“On this stone all the finest works of the most celebrated artists are to be found; and this not without good cause, such is its toughness, facility of working, beauty of color, and the high polish of which it is susceptible, and which Pliny states that it retains longer than any other gem.” Sards differ in color. There is a bright red variety which, in Pliny’s time, was the most esteemed; and perhaps the Hebrew odem, from a root which means “to be red,” points to this kind. There is also a paler or honey-colored variety; but in sards there is always a shade of yellow mingling with the red. The Hebrew name is derived from a root which signifies redness. The sardius or carnelian is of the flint family, and is a kind of chalcedony. The more vivid the red in this stone, the higher is the estimation in which it is held. It was anciently, as now, more frequently engraved on than any other stone.

God said…

(Isaiah 49:16) Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

2. Look At The Centrality Of The Sovereign

Everything in Revelation 4 revolves around the throne…

(Revelation 4:2-6) And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. {3} And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. {4} And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. {5} And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. {6} And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

(Revelation 4:9-10) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, {10} The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

But what about Jesus? Where is He in relationship to the throne? Read Revelation chapter 5.


Don Hussong tells the story of a little girl who came to her mother after church one Sunday when she had heard about the Second Coming of Jesus. The little girl said, “Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?” He mother said, “Yes.” The little girl said, “Today?” Again, the mother said, “Yes.” The little girl said, “Could He come back in the next few minutes?” And again, the mother said, “Yes, dear.” And then the little girl replied, “Mommy, would you comb my hair?”

Are you ready to meet Jesus if He comes today and says to you who are believers, “Come up hither”?

Other Possible Concluding Thoughts:

While preaching on the radio on the subject of the second coming of Christ, the Rev. C.A. Blackmore was outlining some of the marvelous things that would happen to Christians at the Rapture. A lady who had been bedridden for twenty-three years heard the message and wrote, “Will I really be well? Will all pain and sorrow actually be gone?”

Blackmore replied: “Yes, my friend, some glorious day, when Jesus comes, you will leap from that bed with all the vigor of youth and never know pain again.”

Blackmore’s son, Carl, was greatly impressed with the reality of this coming event. As he pondered the glorious prospects, the words and melody of a chorus took form in his mind, and he said to his father: “Dad, you should write some verses for this chorus.” After much prayer, early one morning, unable to sleep as he anticipated the thrill of the rapture, the elder Blackmore rose from his bed and wrote the verses of “Some Golden Daybreak.”

At the church that operated the Bible college where Angie and I met, they would sing the song’s chorus every Sunday morning. The chorus says…

Some golden daybreak Jesus will come

Some golden daybreak, battles all won

He’ll shout the vict’ry, break thro’ the blue

Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

There was an excerpt from the Our Daily Bread devotional that said…

The word “maranatha” is a Syriac expression that means: “our Lord comes.” It was used as a greeting in the early church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say “hello” or “goodbye” but “Maranatha!” If we had the same upward look today, it would revolutionize the church. O that God’s people had a deepening awareness of the imminent return of the Savior!

The next to the last verse of the Bible says…

(Revelation 22:20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Notice The Trumpet

Notice The Transport

Notice The Triumph