I’m a skipper. I skip ahead. I know what’s coming so I gloss over stuff until I get there. Some parts of God’s Word I read . . . some parts I speed read. Some verses I chew on . . . and others I barely taste. Such, I think, is the case most often with the opening verses of Revelation 4. I’m so excited to leave the things of earth, where the Son of Man walks amidst the churches, and be drawn into the happenings of heaven where the twenty-four elders go facedown before the throne of God. I’m so ready to leave the continual call for those who have ears, to hear, and move to the rhythm of heaven, where living creatures beyond imagination cry out, day and night without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God Almighty!” But in that anticipation, most often I miss the transition. But not this morning. For some reason (can anyone say Spirit of truth) I’m drawn to an open door and a loud voice.
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne. (Revelation 4:1-2 ESV)
That there should be a door standing open in heaven should be enough, in and of itself, to illicit great praise. That mortal men should have any access into eternal realms . . . that sinful man would possess any hope of passage into God’s holy presence . . . is a reminder of God’s over-the-top love . . . and Christ’s hold-nothing-back sacrifice.
The door is open because God the Father so loved the world. It is open because God the Son so humbled Himself . . . making “Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men . . . And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), shedding His blood as the once-for-all atoning sacrifice for man’s rebellion. And, having offered Himself on the altar of Calvary’s cruel cross, the work was finished . . . and the barrier to the Most Holy Place was torn from top to bottom . . . and a door into heaven was propped open.
But what good is an open door if no one knows about it? What good is sure passage if it’s obscured by the distractions of the storms of this life? Cue the loud voice!
John heard “the first voice” . . . a loud voice like a trumpet . . . the voice he had encountered back in chapter one . . . the voice of “One like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest. . . . the hairs of His head were white like wool, as white as snow . . . His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters” (Rev. 1:10-15). It is the voice of the King of Kings, Himself, to His redeemed people . . . the voice of the Shepherd to His lost-and-found sheep . . . the voice of the Bridegroom to His blood-bought Bride . . . the voice of the Son of God to those He calls brothers and sisters. It is the voice that says, “Come up here!”
O what grace that we have heard and responded to the voice that beckons to all people, “Believe in me!” What grace that we continue to hear the voice, through the active agency of the Spirit within us, inviting us into deeper and deeper relationship, “Abide with me!” What grace that, one day, we too will see the open door and hear His blessed voice, “Come up here! Behold, I will show you the fulfillment of your hope . . . the ultimate fruit of your faith.”
An open door . . . a loud voice . . . a guy sitting in his chair at his desk lingering over the wonder of it all . . . not a skipper today . . . by His grace . . . for His glory.