Thoughts on Revelation

I don’t know how you view John and the book of Revelation. Perhaps you envision him sitting and writing while having a vision unfold like watching a movie. While this was the type of experience Peter had in Acts 10, which he described as a trance and seeing a vision, John was more intimately involved in Revelation. John’s encounter began with hearing Jesus’ voice and receiving a message from Him for seven churches in the area (Revelation 1:10 – 3:22). John’s experience shifted to being involved when he responded to an invitation.

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.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Revelation 4:1–2 (NKJV)

Scripture doesn’t record John verbally responding to the invitation but his heart obviously responded as his experience immediately shifted. As things progress, we see John involved in the vision and interacting with characters in it. For example. 

4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:4–5 (NKJV)

We have John weeping and interacting with one of the elders (see also 7:13-14). He was both observing and a part of the vision. He also later spoke and further interacted with an angel (10:9-11). This Revelation or unveiling came to John in a powerful memorable encounter.

Now we might wonder if encounters like this are available to us. Some think so. A number of years ago I was helping lead a small group and one evening a new lady showed up, a common experience in this group. She was excitedly sharing, based on Revelation 4:1, that we could choose to enter the spiritual/heavenly realm at any time. When I challenged her theology, she never returned to the group. I think I was a bit of cold water on her fire. That wasn’t my intent, I simply wanted us to walk according to scripture. Yet I have heard well known figures in the church make the same claim that the door to heaven is open and we can enter in at any time.

Truthfully, this is not taught anywhere in scripture. As I noted, John had to be invited, while Paul described his heavenly experience as being ‘caught up’ not ‘going up.’ The Greek word literally means to be seized. Paul didn’t simply decide to go to the third heaven one fine afternoon!

1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:1–2 (NKJV)

Some of you may now be wondering if there is a point somewhere here. There is, though I have had some experiences with the Lord over the years I haven’t had something like what John and Paul describe, nor do I think it is the norm for believers. It is possible, not probable. At the same time, I do think He is always calling us to come to draw near His heart and hear His voice. Whether that includes dramatic spiritual encounters or a still small voice, the important part is being available, listening and ready if He calls. In Acts 10 Peter had gone to the roof to pray when he had his encounter. John said he was ‘in the Spirit’ when Revelation was unfolded to him. We don’t know what Paul was doing but from what we have revealed of his heart in scripture I am confident that he was ready to hear and obey. These men weren’t seeking spiritual experiences when theses events took place, they were seeking His face.

            Thus, I think we need to learn to cultivate the same posture of a hearing heart and be ‘in the Spirit’ so that when an invitation is given, we can respond. It may be an invitation to worship, to sitting quietly before Him or an invitation to service in some capacity. Whatever it is let us seek to be ‘found faithful’ (1 Corinthians 4:2). I close with something Andy Park wrote decades ago, a song that is an invitation.

In the Secret

In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness you are there
In the secret
In the quiet hour I wait only for you
Cause I want to know you more

I want to know you
I want to hear your voice
I want to know you more
I want to touch you
I want to see your face
I want to know you more

I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward
Pushing every hindrance aside
Out of my way
Cause I want to know you more

Published by


I have been walking with Jesus since 1985. I am currently retired from my career in the helping professions but still focused on ministering to others. I completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in Apologetics in September 2020.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Revelation”

  1. I hear what you’re saying and am wondering if you have any thoughts on near death experiences where some people claim to have encounters with Christ and equally experiences with hell. Do you think they are fabricating these experiences?
    I have never experienced anything like that but have frequently used them as examples of both the beauty of heaven or the horrors of hell. You have caused me to ponder whether this in incorrect theology. I am curious to see what you think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *