We know very little about heaven. We get little glimpses here and there in Scripture, but the full detail of what heaven is like – what it looks like, what it smells like, what we will do there – is out of reach for us. At least for now.
But John got invited up. “Come up here.” I guess he just walked through the open door.
It is one thing to walk the earth. Here, we can go just about any place we want. Human beings may shut us out of some spots. You can’t just walk into Fort Knox, so they say. But it is physically possible to go there. It’s not entirely out of reach.
Heaven, for us, is out of reach. We must receive an invitation. “Come up here.”
To go to heaven is to leave behind what we know best – this world and the ways of this world. In heaven, we are out of our element. We are out of control. This is a place for the Other. This is where God dwells.
And, apparently, it’s hard to describe. A lot goes on in heaven. John’s senses must have been overloaded. Power emerged from the throne of God. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled. Worship – full-bodied worship – goes on there.
But what else goes on there? God leaves this to our imaginations. For now.
There is a role for humans in heaven. The twenty-four elders are a sign of that. God grants his people a place in heaven. We can wonder what our place will be. This, too, is left to our imaginations. For now.
Perhaps today is a day to ponder heaven. You might spend some time looking at this familiar world – a world that most of us enjoy in a lot of ways. But heaven is different. What will those first tentative steps in heaven be like?
“Come up here.”