Come Up Hither by Segun Ogunfile
The series of meditation in the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ
has brought us to the fourth chapter, an important turning point in
its message. We shall be examining the first and second verses of
Revelation 4. Our topic is “COME UP HITHER”, a phrase in the
passage of choice.
“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. And immediately I was in the spirit: and,
behold, a throne was set in heaven and one sat on the throne.”
You will recall that John was the human instrument used of God to
pen the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. In the 10th verse of
Revelation 1, we are told that John while in the Island of Patmos
received visions from the Spirit of the living God concerning the
day of Christ. Notice, he says, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s
day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet.” It is the same
voice that is speaking here in Revelation 4 inviting him to “come
In Revelation 1:13, Jesus was seen in the midst of seven golden
candlesticks dictating certain messages to John, which he sent to
some named congregations of God’s people. These representative
churches are referred to in the figure of the seven candlesticks.
In the nineteenth verse of the first chapter, he was asked to write
the things, which he “hath seen, the things which are, and the
things which were to come hereafter.” We may rightly infer from the above
that the subject matter of the book of Revelation is entirely
covered in that phrase: “the things which are, and the things which were to
We may therefore divide the book into two great divisions: chapters
1, 2 and 3 deal with the things, which are. From Revelation 4:1 up
to the end of the book forms a second division and covers the
things, which shall be hereafter.
That is, from chapter one through three, the Lord Jesus is speaking
about things, which were then true of all the churches. John, by
means of the gifts of the Holy Spirit was seeing and hearing the
Lord Jesus. But, in chapter 4, with the second division setting in, we
notice a change. John was asked to come up to a higher realm in
the spirit, where he would be enabled to have a fuller view of the
things of God. This required him to be entirely in the spirit. He was
actually caught up to the spirit realm. He had an out-of-the-body
Let us also notice a change in the position of the Lord Jesus as
the vision unfolds. In the first three chapters, He is seen standing
in the midst of the churches carrying out His mission. But here in
Revelation 4, the Lord Jesus is shown as seated on His throne
executing judgement. Thus the Lord, once standing, correcting the
ills in the churches, encouraging and supporting her mission in
propagating the gospel, was now shown as sitting to administer in
Recall that John said, “a door was open unto me in heaven and
immediately, I became spirit.” We have already observed that the
phrase, “I became spirit” refers to John being caught up to the
spirit realm. Compare this with what he says of himself in
Revelation 1:10. John simply says, “I was in the spirit”. The
reference is to being under the anoniting to operate in the gifts
of the Holy Spirit. John remained essentially in the human estate.
But here in chapter 4, the workings of his human faculties were
suspended as it were. He was only alive to the spirit world.
We see a similar situation in the book of Zechariah. In the first
three chapters of that book, the prophet received a series of
visions. He was in the normal realm of the operation of the gifts
of the Spirit. However, in the next vision, he was virtually called
into the spirit realm as was the case of Apostle John in Revelation
chapter 4. In Zechariah 4:1, this state of affairs is described
thus: “.and the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me,
as a man that is wakened out of his sleep.” This observation is
Now, let us come with John to the spirit realm, that heavenly
position to which he was invited. What do we see? What were the
things that John was shown?
First, from that heavenly position, he was shown two women, one is
discussed in Revelation 12, and the other in Revelation 17. These
two women are actually signifying two histories springing from the
same holy beginning, two developments flowing from a common origin.
The two symbolic women speak of the same persons that the Lord had
been addressing all along in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Eight
times in those two chapters the Lord Jesus Christ called His people
to repent from certain named sins. Those who took on the path of
obedience and hearkened to the word of repentance became as part of
the first woman of Revelation 12. But those who treated His word
with levity and walked on in habitual disobedience, rejecting the
word of warning became as the second woman of Revelation 17.
Again, from the heavenly position, we see two cities. The first is
discussed in Revelation 18, the great city; the second is described
in Revelation 21, the holy city. That is, in the passage of time,
what began as small congregations developed into what is
spiritually called cities. Those in these congregations who were faithful to
the Lord and His word, were by Him separated and built up to become of
the holy city. In the same way, those who were habitually
unfaithful to our heavenly bridegroom found themselves members of the great
city, Babylon. It is the same today.
Those who hearkened to the voice of the Lord and allow His word to
govern their lifestyles, ever following the Lord in all things are
being constituted members of the New Jerusalem, the holy city.
Thus, the holy city here is speaking of the church in God’s purpose. It
is not merely what shall be in the future, when we get to heaven,
rather, it is a setting forth of what is obtaining now on earth.
The promises given to the Philadelphia church in Revelation 3:12
confirms this. Anyhow, we will be taking that thought in another meditation
later in this writing.
So, we have the holy city, described in Revelation 21, and the
great city, Babylon, described in Revelation 18, two histories (as we
first observed) flowing from the same holy beginning.
Then again, we are shown two Lambs, the first we find in Revelation
14. All who partake of redemption that is in Christ Jesus are
called upon to submit to a change in their nature. We are to be grown
into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ in every respect. Thus,
those who take on this heavenly course become as the Lamb in Revelation
14:1-5. While those who take an earthly course, who live in sin
and to themselves become as the lamb described in Revelation 13:11-18.
We are told there was a beast coming up out of the earth. From out
of the earth class, of the earthly-minded believers, there arises a
lamb similar in structure to the Lamb of God, but manifestly
different in character. This is clearly the case as we consider
verse 11 in the context of the remaining verses in chapter 13. So
there are two kinds of lambs; one in Revelation 13 and the other in
Revelation 14. Again, we see two kinds of minds represented in the midst of God’s people. The heavenly-minded ones are said to constitute the
heavenly class, simply called ‘heavens’. While the earthly-minded are said
to be of the earth class. In Revelation 12:12, we read, “.rejoice ye
heavens, and them that dwell therein.”. Of course, the heaven, as
we explained in the book, “Language of Prophecy”, is not referring to
the abode of the Most High God and of the spirit angels. It is
rather, speaking of the realm of the overcoming church. Then, in
the same verse, we read, “.woe to the inhabitants of the earth.”. So
two kinds of believers are to be revealed in this time of the end: the
heavenly minded, and the earthly minded.
Again, we see two kinds of harvests, for, whether the Lord’s people
listen to His voice calling them to repentance and hearken to Him,
or not, there would be a harvest of judgement and a harvest of full
inheritance. There will be a reward of whatever lifestyle that the
Lord’s people choose. So, in Revelation 14, we are shown two kinds
of harvests. The first harvest is of the overcoming church. The
church receives the full inheritance of moral perfection and a
glorification to the divine nature. The second harvest is of such
persons who had their beginnings as children of God but who in the
process of time became fully identified with the spirit of the
present age, having allowed worldliness, materialism, and moral
failures to take the hold of them. They come to doom and
Finally, we see two kinds of streets, one is mentioned in
Revelation 11:8 while the other is seen in Revelation 21:21.
These several contrasting pictures we have taken note of were
brought before John’s view as from the fourth chapter of the book of
Revelation. Jesus Christ was simply saying to John, “.if any of my
people will not hearken to the voice of correction but go on in
their own ways, their iniquities will remain with them. Those evil
things will become fully developed in them in the passage of time. Their
shame shall come up to such a level that they cannot escape the
judgement of destruction coming upon wickedness.”
It is our purpose in subsequent meditations in this writing to
examine more fully these two sets of contrasting pictures. It is
strange how persons who had their beginnings in God, veer off the
heavenly course in unfaithfulness. There is today a great falling
away from the path of life among those who profess to be
Spirit-filled believers. Whole congregations are heavily spotted
with grievous marks of unfaithfulness. They hardly can pass for
the kingdom that shall be revealed. The spirit of prophecy indicates
that things will get worse among the disobedient. Let each one of
us re-examine our lives and make such self-adjustments that lead to
breaking free from the hold of evil.
Now, let us reflect much on the thought that the Lord Jesus Christ
will deal compassionately with the penitent of His people. We
must develop extreme sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit, eager to
submit to His rule in our lives. Remember that there is absolutely
nothing in the things that we read of in the later chapters of the
book of the book of Revelation that does have their roots in those
seven letters written to the churches (Revelation 2 and 3). For
example, take the message of the Lord Jesus Christ to the church in
Thyatira. There, we are told of the woman Jezebel. And you will
recall that we used the historical figure Jezebel, the wife of
Ahab, to illustrate the things that the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking to
the church about. It is this same woman, refusing to repent who
become of the woman of Revelation 17. This woman would represent a
many-member-body, a group of persons submitting to the same kind of
corrupting influences. Once set in motion, unfaithfulness in a
spiritual movement turns it into a denomination. Denominationalism
is the vehicle of travel in that great city, Babylon.
Quite often, when a word comes like this speaking very decisively
of certain tendencies among the Lord’s people, there is a question
that is often asked: ‘How can you regard the church of Jesus Christ as
Babylon? Our answer is that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is
not Babylon. What ultimately becomes Babylon was once a church of
Jesus Christ, a prospective bride of Christ. Unfaithfulness to
Christ secured through a marriage to the world made her a harlot.
Those who have their beginnings in God, but only think and consider
the favours of Christ’s saving work, and will not have Him rule
over their lives end up in destruction. In the process of time, they
develop such characteristics that are alien to the christian faith.
Remember what we read in Jeremiah 2. Jesus was saying through the
prophet Jeremiah to His people: “I have planted you a holy, noble
vine, how have you become to me a degenerate vine?” This is a sad
picture and we must all hold out against this evil in our lives and
So, you find that it is not how we begin that matters, but knowing
and submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ all the way. In Revelation
14 showing Jesus as a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, we are shown a
host of other believers that have taken on His Lamb-like nature.
These are said to have virgin hearts towards the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 17, these same people (the over-comers) are said to
‘follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth’. They are “the called,
the chosen and the faithful.” Some must stand in this blessedness.
This estate is open to all that have known Jesus Christ in salvation.
It is however possessed by those who tremble at His word. A broken
heart and contrite spirit are of great value in the kingdom of God.
And, notice that the letters were written to the angels of the
seven churches. Of course, John, a human person could not be writing a
letter to spirit angels when he was in fact receiving the
ministration itself from an angel sent from the presence of the
It is the human angels who were in charge of the various
assemblies that the letters were addressed to. Each angel represents the
plural leadership (many persons in the given assembly), who have been
called to the estate of ministry. These servants of God were to receive
the messages, internalise them, and then speak in ministry to the
Lord’s people, drawing their attention to His instructions and counsels.
Apostle John wrote the last five books in the Bible. It is
interesting to note that John wrote the first of these five books
after the great encounter with the Lord in the Island of Patmos.
It was after he had received the book of Revelation that the gospel
and the three epistles of John were written.
Let us put it this way. John, having internalised the message in
the Revelation, now wrote to the churches in plain words, bringing to
focus the things that the Lord was saying to His people. For
example, in I John 2, he says, “.love not the world, nor the things
that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. The world passeth away, and the lusts
thereof. But, they that do the will of the Lord will abide forever.”.
We are at a time when human institutions are experiencing collapse
whether in the religion, political, economic or social spheres.
And we know that the hour is come when the Lord will destroy all false
foundations. His judgements have begun in the house of his
friends. In a matter of time it will become so evident not only to the
discerning but to all.
Will you come with John to the heavenly realm? Will you hearken to
the voice of the Lord saying to you, “come up hither?” We know
that as we seek the face of the Lord, He will open our understanding to
things as they may be seen from the standpoint of the Highest, the
living God. His glorious word will manifest to us that which is
acceptable in His sight. The Lord keep you, the Lord bless you, in
Jesus’ name. Amen.
Beloved Brethren, here we will stop for now until some other time
when the Lord in His mercies brings us your way again. Next
meeting by His grace, we will be considering the topic, “Two Kinds of
Cities.” We do earnestly covet your prayers especially as regards
this great work of the harvest in this seventh prophetic day of the
Lord. Stay blessed in Him.
JESUS IS LORD!
Your Brother – ‘Segun Ogunfile.