"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Heaven's Open Door

The book of Revelation is often characterized as confusing and divisive, and I think I can understand why.  I am certainly no eschatologist, so I have only a very limited grasp of the Bible's explanation of what will come when the world as we know it ends.  This is one reason why (I hate to admit) I often find reading Revelation...tedious.

But it is part of the inspired Word of God, and it is included in the Bible reading plan I have been attempting to follow.  Recently, I opened my Bible to my assigned reading for the day, unsure if I would even understand what I read - or if I could possibly relate it to my life.  But the first verses of Revelation 4 stopped me in my tracks as my eyes hurried through the mysterious verses.

"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'" (Revelation 4:1, ESV).

"A door standing open in heaven..."  That phrase alone is packed with mind-blowing truth.  Imagine: an open door in heaven!

Those who have heard and studied the Gospel know of the uncrossable chasm our sins have created between fallen human beings and the holy, perfect God.  This was once symbolized by the temple curtains dividing one temple partition from another.  The Israelite masses could congregate outside the temple, the priests could go into the first area (after undergoing purification rituals), but only one person - the high priest - could go into the final partition of the temple: the Holy of Holies.  Even the high priest could only go into the Holy of Holies once a year, and only after painstakingly preparing himself to approach the living God.

A curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, and another curtain separated the rest of the temple from the majority of the Israelites.  These curtains would have spanned the entire length of the tabernacle; there was no door, no opening, no entrance for sinful man to approach his Maker.

Think of it!  A door open in heaven!

That God would even care to notice our earthly predicament is a grace itself.  That He would make a way for us to enter His perfect presence is...inconceivable.

During His time on earth, Jesus made a shocking declaration: "'I am the door. If anyone enters by me, 
he will be saved...'" (John 10:9a).  What incredible grace!  The only One who perfectly fulfilled all requirements to enter the presence of God is the One who freely offers us His perfection.  There is only one way to heaven, and that is through - what else? - the door: Jesus Christ.

The Door Won't Always be Open
"'Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, "Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise answered, saying, "Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves." And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut" (Matthew 25:1-10, ESV).
As God closed the door of the ark once Noah and his family had entered, so one day the door to heaven will be closed for all eternity.  The offer of His pardon, peace, and perfection still stands, but it will not stand forever.  One day, when the time is up, this door, too, will close.

Which begs the question:

the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be..."? (2 Peter 3:10-11, emphasis added).

Think of it: a door open in heaven!  There is nothing tedious about that.

Image courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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