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. (Rev. 4:1-2)
The Book of Revelation overwhelms me each time I walk through it. It is part of the Daily Office reading and it is fitting that is in Advent. There is the remembering of his coming along with the opportunity to stir up the longing: Christ is coming again.
I combine that with N.T. Wright’s thoughts on heaven and I have these deep times of worship. Wright was the first one to turn my attention to just how close heaven and earth really are… and John gives us this glimpse in Revelation. The veil is thin.
John hears the voice saying, “Come up here.”
He’s not “beamed up.” It’s not some journey that seems to only takes seconds, but when he “wakes up” it’s been years. It only takes seconds. He steps through the doorway opened for him… and there he is… fully in the presence of God.
The main message of Revelation, I contend, is NOT what I was taught growing up. The main message I was taught growing up was about the Rapture. Everything about Revelation was “in the future.”
That is not the message of Revelation. The main message of Revelation as I see it is WORSHIP. We need the perspective of the throne of God while we slug it out on earth. John and the early Church were caught up in some rough times. They needed the reminder that heaven carries the true perspective.
“Come up here. Get your eyes fixed on what matters. WORSHIP.”
I grew up with the “rapture” theology and I loved those old songs like “When We All Get to Heaven” and “I’ll Fly Away.”
Another one still remains my favorite, but with a different perspective now:
Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.
The change in perspective is this: I don’t have to wait. I just need to worship.
I hear the invitation John heard: “Come up here.”
The door is opened. Heaven worships. I worship.
I want to see him fully! I long for the day to truly see him face to face! Advent stirs that up in me… but until then…
I can worship.