It's hard to fathom the loss that takes place in between Genesis 1:31("God saw everything He had made and it was very good") and Genesis 3:23 ("God sent them out from the Garden of Eden"). In just two chapters, the story swings from blessed and rested to cursed and restless, from being "at home" to being "on the outside looking in." That's because Adam did what we'd all have done: he doubted God's truth, he accepted the devil's lies, he ate the fruit and welcomed death. And in that we all lost out big time as the door of heaven was closed to us ... it seemed forever.
In one sense, the story of Scripture is the story of God opening that door and meeting us when we wouldn't expect it. Many times, He spoke through that door - to Abraham or Moses - or sent messengers through that door - Gabriel and others. But only rarely did humans actually come through - Isaiah or (here in chapter 4) John.
So, even though we were told that the door was barred by a flaming sword (Gen 3:24), what does John then see in Rev 4? A door, but not one that's locked or shut tight. It's open, and John hears the invitation: "Come up here, and I will show you ..." So John took up the invitation in the Spirit to come see. Similarly, we get invited into this vision along with John, and what we've seen along with Him is awe-inspiring.
Don't miss the gospel here; there's good news in this invitation. What John got to see - the glories of heaven, the gall of human rebellion, and the grandeur of His redemptive work - was only because of God's gracious invitation. God's never been under any obligation to include us in His program, and He's never been required to reveal any of His ways to us.
And yet He does! He could have left the door shut and left us in the dark, but He invites us to see His plans and to savor the power of His saving work. We don't deserve this grace, but we get the honor of accompanying John through that door and seeing Jesus the Victor.
So, let's read Revelation (let's actually read every verse of His Word) this way and enjoy it - because God called it a blessing (Rev 1:3). As we boldly charge through this open door, we get to see what God is doing and to worship Him alone.
Have there been times when you've been more aware (or less aware) that God has given you an open door to see what He's doing in the world?
Think about times when God has made things known to individuals in Scripture (Ex 33:11, Dan 2:20, Gal 1:16). How does it make you feel that God brings you into a group like that as you read His Word?
How does this open door concept help you to think about ... Reading Scripture? ... Enjoying fellowship with Jesus? ... Inviting others to a relationship with God?
Take Time to Pray
Praise God for the fact that His nature is gracious and welcoming to rebels, outcasts, and sinners.
Thank God for inviting you from the darkness into His glorious light.
Ask God for help to understand this book of Revelation (and every book in Scripture) through this lens of an "open door" to God and His ways.