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Whilst John was in the spirit on the Lord's day on Patmos, he heard and saw many strange and wonderful things.

Revelation 1:9-11.

9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

During each vision, John uses different word terms which are as follows,

  • Rev 1-12 (niv),
    I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands.

After John has finished writing to the seven churches, he opens the next vision by saying,

  • Rev 4:1-2

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

John continues on, and the phrase, "After this I looked", is mentioned twice more in 7-9 and 15-5. A total of three times in the whole book.

  • 5:1, Then I saw, 5:6, Then I saw, 5:11 Then I looked and heard

  • Rev 6:1, I watched

  • Rev 7:1, After this I saw, 7:9, After this I looked

  • Rev 8:2, And I saw

  • Rev 10:1, Then I saw

He then stops using these sequence of words until Rev: 13-11,and then the sequence continues,

  • Rev: 13-11, Then I saw.

  • Rev 14:1, Then I looked, Rev 14:6, Then I saw, 14:13, Then I heard, 14:14, I looked

  • Rev 15:1, I saw, 15:5 After this I looked

  • Rev:16-1, Then I heard

John does not open Rev:17, in the same way as he opens the other chapters, but then continues with the sequence in Rev :18-1

Rev 18:1, After this I saw, Rev: 18-14, Then I heard

Rev: 19-1, After this I heard

Rev 20:1, And I saw

Rev: 21-1, Then I saw

The phrase "After this I looked", is first mentioned immediately after John has written to the seven churches. Rev 4:1,

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.

John then goes on to say in 4-2,

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

It seems a little odd to me that John, after he has looked, sees in his vision, a door standing open in heaven, and he is not at this time in the spirit. It is after he is called up that he is immediately in the spirit

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

But that is not my question.

My question is, every time John uses the phrase, "After this I looked", is John out of the spirit, prior to seeing a new sequence of events.?

This question may help for further understanding

1 Answer 1

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There are (depending on how they are divided) seven visions in the book of Revelation:

  • Rev 1:1-8 - Introduction/prelude
    1. Rev 1:9 - 3:22 - Seven Churches
    1. Rev 4:1 - 8:1 - Seven Seals
    1. Rev 8:2 - 11:18 - Seven Trumpets
    1. Rev 11:19 - 15:4 - Cosmic Conflict
    1. Rev 15:5 - 16:21 - Seven Bowl-plagues
    1. Rev 17:1 - 20:10 - Evil Destroyed
    1. Rev 20:11 - 22:5 - New Jerusalem
  • Rev 22:6-21 - Epilogue

The Phrase "in the spirit" occurs at or very near the beginning of four of these visions: #1 1:10; #2 4:2; #6 17:3; #7 21:10.

Throughout all these visions, John actively participates in the visions by listening and seeing and talking with those in the visions. See appendix below.

In the rest of the NT, "in the spirit" usually denotes some activity done by the prompting of, or the impelling power of the Holy Spirit, eg, Luke 1:17, 2:27, Acts 18:25, Rom 8:4, Eph 1:13, Col 2:5, 1 Thess 1:5, 1 Tim 3:16, etc.

Therefore, according to the phrase, 'in the spirit", John certainly had at least four separate visions and more probably seven visions. Between these visions he was not in vision.

APPENDIX - Antithesis Passages

The following pairs of passages speak of the same thing using symbols that are the opposite of each other. In each case, John hears one thing and sees something apparently different.

John hears something John Sees Something
Rev 1:10 Voice like a trumpet Rev 1:12 7 lampstands and one “like the Son of man”
Rev 5:4 Lion of the tribe of Judah Root of David Rev 5:5 Lamb looking as if it had been slain standing in center of throne
Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7 Voice of living creature Rev 6:2, 4, 5, 8 Horses of various colors
Rev 7:4-8 144,00 sealed saints from 12 tribes of Israel Rev 7:9-10 An innumerable multitude from all nations
Rev 14:13 Blessed are the dead . . Rev 14:14 White cloud with Son of Man
Rev 17:1 Prostitute sits on many waters Rev 17:3 Scarlet woman rides on the beast
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  • Could be the way that i have worded my question Dottard, which i found very difficult to do. I am trying to get answers that focus specifically on Rev:4-1-After this i looked, Rev: 7-9-After this i looked, and Rev: 15-5- After this i looked. Three times it is mentioned in the whole book. Every time John say's, "after this i looked", it appears that a new sequence of events start to happen and just before John speaks these words, would he be out of the spirit? "After this i looked," seem s to act as a "starter", for a new set of events happening in the Revelation +1 anyway for your input.
    – Bagpipes
    Jan 22, 2022 at 21:33
  • @Bagpipes - OK - now you are asking a slightly different question. What not edit you question to better reflect what you ask. I will update my answer.
    – Dottard
    Jan 22, 2022 at 21:38
  • @Bagpipes - I am reticent to put words in your mouth. Your question is very long and cluttered with much detail that is extraneous to the question. I am happy to edit your question but it would be very severe if I did it. In any case, I have attempted to partly answer it by the table in my response.
    – Dottard
    Jan 22, 2022 at 21:42
  • OK no problem. I think i will just leave it as it is and hope people can pick up on the comments. Thanks for your offer anyway.You feel free to edit your answer.
    – Bagpipes
    Jan 22, 2022 at 21:46
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    @Bagpipes - sorry - ὁράω is the very to see or look.
    – Dottard
    Jan 22, 2022 at 22:24

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