Recently, our church was studying a passage in
Revelation.Our pastor was inviting us to
experience the throne room of Heaven (as described by John) and familiarizing
us with some of the protocol of Heaven.Later
I went back and re-visited that section of scripture and meditated a little
more deeply on the scene.
One of the things that caught my attention was this:
I, John, your brother and
companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in
Jesus, was on the island
of Patmos because of
the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.Rev 1:9
Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean
Sea which, in John’s day, was used by the Romans as a place of exile.
According to John, he was exiled to this isolated location for preaching the
gospel of Christ.
In the natural John was about as “shut-down” as a person can
be. He was a prisoner. He was cut-off from all resources, his support group,
and his liberties as a citizen.It would
have been perfectly normal for him to experience all the distressing emotions a
person would feel in his circumstances – discouragement, disillusionment, depression,
physical pain, frustration, etc.
But the scripture says that John was in the Spirit.
On the Lord’s
Day I was in the Spirit [rapt in His power], and I heard behind me a
loud voice like a trumpet . . . Rev 1:10
John was in the Spirit. What
does that mean?
According to the dictionary, John
was cognitively communing, enjoying, fellowshipping, abiding, and dwelling
Wow. Let that sink in for a
Although John was physically
stuck on an island in exile, in the Spirit he was actively experiencing the
presence of God. His circumstances could not hinder him from accessing the
highest place of Glory.
As the story unfolds, John sees
Jesus in His resurrected, glorified state. The Lord introduces himself and tells John to write down the messages He
wants to impart to the seven churches.After
all the letters are dictated, John is invited to come to Heaven.
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.”Rev 4:1
As I meditated, I realized that John didn’t say, “I can’t,
Lord. I’m a political prisoner. I’m stuck on the island of Patmos.
I have to show up tomorrow for roll-call!”
John HEARD the voice of the Lord and he RESPONDED.The Lord began to show me that so often in my
life the voice of the Holy Spirit beckons me into the presence of God but sometimes
I can’t hear His voice. When I allow the circumstances of life to shut me down –
when I allow grief, sorrow, separation, difficulties, or fear to drown out the
voice of the Holy Spirit – I limit my ability to hear His voice and respond.
The choice is mine. Like John, my circumstances do not have the power to limit my life. Thank
God! I can dwell in the presence of God any time I hear and am willing
to respond to His voice regardless of what is going on in / around me. It is so
encouraging to me that although John was on the island of Patmos,
in the Spirit he was given the climax message of the church concerning the Last
Days and the Second Coming of Christ!
What will God be able to do in me when I am tuned in to His
voice, hear His invitation to come into His presence, and respond?