Summary: John saw and open door into Heaven. Jesus has swung wide the door to Heaven for all who do as John did and "Come Up Hither".
GOD HAS AN OPEN DOOR
FREEDOM! Isn’t that a wonderful sounding word? The full meaning of freedom is more than we can comprehend and often taken for granted until freedom is lost. Words can never describe the wonderful feeling of being set from bondage that limits our ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
What young person has not heard the words of Patrick Henry, one of the heroes of our nation, who stood before the Continental Congress in 1775 and gave a rousing speech in support of the War of Independence from King George of England?
Here is the final paragraph of his speech:
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
That last phrase became a rallying cry and America was born from the hearts of men who wanted freedom more than anything in this world!
Freedom from the slavery of another man or another nation is wonderful but there is a greater freedom that all men must experience. It is a freedom from sin that can only be made a part of our lives by the power of God and the blood of Jesus Christ!
The disciple John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he had to serve a prison sentence for the sake of the gospel. John’s body of flesh was imprisoned, but John’s spirit soared above all that man could do him. Certainly John desired freedom to travel where he pleased, and to perform the ministry that he knew God had called him to do, but God saw fit to keep John in that place until God’s time and purpose had been fulfilled.
I wonder if John would have ever had the time to get close enough to God and be in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day if he would have had his way and been free to preach wherever he wanted to? I wonder if we would have ever had the Revelation of Jesus Christ, so that God could reveal to the world that Jesus would prevail and righteousness would reign in the end?
Perhaps that is a lesson that all of us need to learn. God will put us where he wants us for his own reasons that we won’t always understand.
I wonder how many times John questioned God?
Why, Lord, am I confined to this island while multitudes are dying without Christ?
Why am I here, what did I do to deserve this punishment.
Yes, I am happy to suffer for the cause of Christ, but could not my life be more productive for the building of the Kingdom of God than sitting on this barren rock?
Would not it be better if I were preaching from city to city, establishing churches, training pastors and teachers, or holding revival meetings? What good am I to you in this place?
I have already witnessed time and again to my fellow inmates to no avail. My life and my time so often just seem to be wasting away.
You are God and your will is sovereign. I will trust you and worship you no matter what my circumstances! I know that you are ever present.
John had to finally decide that even though his freedom to move about was restricted in his prison, his spirit, soul and mind were free in Christ.
Paul and Silas sang praises in the prison. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day in Prison. Man had bound all of them but that could not keep them from being free in Christ, nor could their bondage keep them from experiencing God’s great miracle working power.
Revelation 4:1, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."
God rolled back the curtain between Heaven and earth and opened a door into Heaven for John to hear God’s voice and see things that no man had ever seen before. What an experience that must have been to be lifted from the bonds of a Roman prison into the glorious freedoms of Heaven’s throne!
Looking at this event, I am reminded that God is still opening that door for those who will look to him and listen for his voice. God wants us to see what he has in store for those who love him. He also wants us to see what is waiting for those who reject him.