1 ¶ After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
There is a door standing open in heaven. This is not historical in the sense that John saw this and it passed. There is still a door standing open in heaven. And what is “heaven” by the way? The Greek word for heaven is ouranos. It denotes more of a realm that a place. We have all grown up hearing and using the term “going to heaven.” Heaven is not a place in that sense. The word ouranos embraces both the natural heavens and the spiritual heavens. Here are the definitions according to Strong’s.
1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it
1a) the universe, the world
1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced
1c) the sidereal or starry heavens
2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings
We have a door standing open in the heavens. We have an ascension to make in God. This is akin to Jacob’s ladder.
10 ¶ Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran.
11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.
12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and *said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
51 And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
In Jacob’s dream a ladder is set on earth with its top reaching into heaven. This is indicative of how we walk in the earthly realm but our spirits are reaching into heavenly realms. We are to learn how to abide in both realms simultaneously. It is the top of the ladder that reaches into the heavens. This is also akin to Jesus saying in John 14 that in the Father’s house are many abiding places. We can settle in many different realms, or rungs on the ladder. This is what Christianity has done. But God is calling us higher. The command to John in Rev. 4 is “Come up here.”
In Jacob’s dream God stood above the ladder and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.” It is from the “top of the ladder” that we receive the promise of possessing. When Jesus spoke to Nathaniel in verse 51 He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” The same Greek word, ouranos, is used for heavens. Yet, in verse 51 the word is translated as plural. This is an example of how translators struggle to convey spiritual realities. It is the heavens that are open to us. The realms of spirit are open.
God continues to give us the practical means by which we ascend “Jacob’s ladder.” When John was given the command to “come up here” he was immediately in the Spirit. The first thing he saw was a throne and One sitting on the throne. Ascending in God always reveals His Lordship to us in a greater way. It is the struggle of submitting to His Lordship and embracing the cross that propels us up the ladder. There is no other way of ascension. We must be driven to “come up here.” The casual climber will never ascend the ladder to the top. The passivity of religion will never attain the door open in the heavens. It is a spirit of holy desperation that must drive us. When John was told to “come up here,” he was then told that he would be shown what must take place. The only way of seeing and understanding God’s agenda is to abide in the realm where we are capable of understanding. He will show us all things as we ascend into the realms that enable us to see.