Four different times in Revelation, John found himself “in the Spirit” and transported to a new location where he received another vision.
In the fourth chapter of Revelation, John “came to be in the spirit, where he was summoned to heaven to see a vision about the “throne,” the “sealed scroll,” and the “slain Lamb.” Previously, in his first vision, he came to be “in the spirit” and saw a vision of “one like a son of man” standing among the “seven golden lampstands,” that is, the “seven churches of Asia.”
At four different times, John was transported “by the Spirit” to locations where he received new visions. The first descriptive clause first occurs twice; first, in the opening vision on Patmos, and second, when he was called by the “voice” to “come up here” before the “Throne”:
- (Revelation 1:10-20) – “I was in the isle called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I CAME TO BE IN THE SPIRIT on the Lord’s day.”
- (Revelation 4:2) – “Come up here, and I will show you the things which must come to pass after these. Straightway I CAME TO BE IN THE SPIRIT.”
In the first vision, he heard a trumpet-like voice behind him, then turned and saw the figure “like Son of Man” standing among “lampstands.” That figure proceeded to dictate the seven letters to the “churches of Asia” – (Revelation 1:10-3:22. Compare – Daniel 7:13).
In the next vision, John was summoned by the same “voice” to ascend to the “throne,” where he saw the “throne,” the “sealed scroll,” and the “Lamb,” who then began to break the “seven seals” that enclosed the “scroll.” The scene before the “throne” was followed by visions that presented events from the perspective of the “throne set in heaven” – (Revelation 4:1-16:21).
The remainder of the book is divided into two sections, both of which begin when John finds himself “in the spirit” to receive further visions. In each case, he was “carried away in spirit,” and each time by one of the seven angels that had the “seven bowls of wrath.” In these two sections, John saw visions of two cities, “Babylon” and the “New Jerusalem” – (Revelation 17:1-5, 21:1-8,21:9-22:15).
First, John was “carried away in spirit to the wilderness” to see the vision of “Babylon.” The scene marks the start of the destruction of the cosmic enemies of the “Lamb.” The section ends with a glimpse of “New Jerusalem” as it descends from “heaven.” The division concludes with promises to overcomers and dire warnings to the unrighteous, especially to liars – (Revelation 17:1-21:8).
Next, John was “carried away in spirit to a great and high mountain” to see the vision of the holy city, “New Jerusalem.” Likewise, this section concluded with promises to overcomers and dire warnings to the unrighteous, especially to liars. Both visions conclude with the same warning. They are not in chronological order, instead, the two sections contrast the two cities – (Revelation 21:9-22:15).
Thus, in Revelation, John received glimpses “in spirit” into HOW the “Lamb” will consummate his past victory by defeating all his cosmic foes, so that, his people will stand victorious before him and the “throne” in “New Jerusalem.”