In chapter 4, we begin to read of future events. The words, “after this” tell us John is now writing about things that will happen after the events of chapters 2 and 3, which describes the Church Age in which we now live. Between chapters 3-4, the rapture will have occurred; Jesus will have come as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.
vs. 1 The chapter opens with a scene in Heaven. The voice telling John “come up hither,” is a hint of the voice of the Lord calling His saints to rise and meet Him in the clouds.
vs. 2-3 John was transported in spirit to heaven, where he sees a throne being set, which is the throne of God. During this Church Age, God has been seated on a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), with Jesus at His right side. However, after the rapture, a time of judgment begins. Therefore this throne John sees is a judgment throne. And yet, we note the rainbow around this throne – the rainbow is indicative of God’s mercy, given in the time of Noah after the flood. Even as the Lord will begin to pour out His judgement on the earth for seven years, His mercy will still be manifested. It is not His will any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).