"Come up hither,and I will shew thee things."
Revelation 4:1 -Mark Lawrence, 2008.
Mixed media on canvas,60 x 40 inches
When guests come to our home, I normally see them coming long before they get a chance to knock on our door. I anticipate their arrival, open the door for them and say, “Welcome. Come on in!” Those are the words John heard. “Then I looked, and, oh! — a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter.” (4:1) The Ascended Jesus was opening the door for John to visit his heavenly home.
Earlier Jesus had said, “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) But John does not have to knock here. Just a couple of verses earlier, Jesus had said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” But in chapter four, it is Jesus own front door; knocking isn’t necessary. Jesus opens his door wide, and with a loud welcoming voice declared to his beloved disciple, “Come in. I want to show you something!”
It is an invitation to Spirit. “At once I was in the Spirit.” (4:2) Did John have an “out-of-body experience?” A near death experience? No, he had an “in the Spirit” experience. This is a door to Spirit, the wardrobe door to Narnia, the gate into the Kingdom of heaven. John physically never left the rocky isle of Patmos, but “in the Spirit” he was in the kingdom of heaven.
Spatial categories do not apply to the Realm of the Spirit. Neither do temporal categories. Commentators get bent out of shape trying to chart the chronology of Revelation. The Realm of the Spirit cannot be charted. On old maps when cartographers came to the end of their knowledge of the world, they would leave the map unfinished and pen the words “Here be dragons.” We will see dragons in Revelation, and much more.
As soon as we enter through this door with John, we enter a different way of seeing and hearing. It is like entering into a Chagall painting. Colors have meaning. Numbers are symbolic. Sounds are metaphorical. Time does not go in a straight line. It goes in cycles and turns back on itself. When you enter this door you have to leave your left brain behind – the logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, dissecting way of thinking. Through this door you must use your right brain – the random, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective, holistic way of thinking. The door stands open. Come on in.