Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
To prepare the mind for the door and the trumpet of chapter 4, let’s review the Revelator’s response.
John Is Literally Paralyzed By Fear
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid.I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” 1.17
The Trumpet Of His Voice
“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet..” 1.10
“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.” 4.1
Let’s take a second to appreciate this window into the heavenly realm. These precious details should make you hunger for more.
Let’s Speculate For A Moment
Roman cornu found at Pompeii, Public domain
While the “trumpet” is used metaphorically, there’s a particular kind of trumpet that John may have been thinking of. It’s called the Roman Cornu.
This brass signal trumpet was around nine feet long, curved into a “G” shape, and supported by a crossbar. Recently, two of these horns were found by archeologists in the ruins of Pompeii.
These trumpets were used to direct Roman troops on the Roman battlefield. One military strategist by the name Vegetius said,
“The rules (given by blowing the horn) must be punctually observed in all exercises and reviews so that the soldiers may be ready to obey them in action without hesitation according to the general’s orders either to charge or halt, to pursue the enemy or to retire.”
A trumpet that could be heard over the din of battle? That had to be loud.
Click hear to listen to a short example of a perfect replica of a Cornu horn being blown. It’s loud, exciting, and terrifying.
That’ll raise the hair on your neck.
Traveling Through The Door In The Sky
The voice of the Lord was like that of trumpet, and it was calling John to come through a door in the sky (4.1).
We read that John was in the Spirit in Revelation 1.10, but something else seems to be going on here. This is a new experience and even with the help of Inspiration, it’s difficult to describe in a limited human language.
Did John’s body travel through the door as well? That’s anybody’s guess and while on earth— a concrete answer is impossible to find.
Paul hardly even tried to describe his journey into the spiritual world as descriptive terms don’t seem to do it justice (2 Cor. 12.1-4).
The Meaning Of The Door
Was it a portal? Did it have hinges and a knocker? Was it floating?
Before the imagination runs wild, let’s look at a couple of the practical points.
- The door, while both symbolic and physical in some respects, represents perspective. John is stranded on an island, but God gives him another vantage point. Seeing things from a spiritual high place can help reorient ourselves. How does God see our lives? What does the church look like from up there? That’s what Revelation 1-3 is all about.
- There’s a plan being worked out behind the veil of eternity. Just like Job suffered without knowing the details (Job 1), we can take comfort in the fact that things down here always go according to His plan.
While the details aren’t as colorful as we would like them to be, here’s 3 important facts He would want us to remember.
- There’s definitely a way into heaven.
- God’s the only one who can open that door.
- We should focus on preparing our souls to step across that final threshold.
If you couldn’t confidentially walk into His throne room right now, that should be your number one concern.
“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”