After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…
Of course it was not the bodily senses of John that were thus addressed — not the body that was commanded to ascend. His outward eye saw not the material heavens open. Elevation of soul, then, is our subject. What is it? First, is it the elevation of sensuous excitement? The souls of all men have great variation of mood. Sometimes they are buoyant and sometimes sluggish. Such souls often soar aloft on the pinions of an excited imagination, but in their own fancy they indulge in a hind of spiritual reverie, and find a heaven for the hour upon the mountain heights of their own creation. But this is not what we mean by elevation of soul. Secondly, is it elevation of intellect? "Is it the elevation which arises from study and culture? This is important, this is essential to soul elevation; but this is not it. Some of the greatest and most cultured intellects have often been found in alliance with souls deeply sunk in passion, depravity, and vice. It may be represented as consisting in three things:
1. An uplifting sense of the Divine favour.
2. An uplifting sense of moral right.
3. An uplifting sense of the spiritual world.
I. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS ATTAINABLE. The apostle saw "a door open in heaven." Christ is this "door." By His teaching, His death, and His ascension, He has opened the new and living way for man into the "holy of holies."
1. He is the exclusive door for man's spiritual elevation.
2. He is the door for man's spiritual elevation, and man's only.
3. He is the door for man's spiritual elevation available only for him on earth.
II. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS OBLIGATORY. "Come up hither."
1. I hear this Divine command sounding in the starry firmament. The great universe is the domain of mind. "Come up hither," immortal man, wing your flight from orb to orb, system to system; count our multitudes, mark our movements, gauge our dimensions, bathe in our brightness, rise beyond us, scale the wondrous heavens still far away, revel in the Infinite, be lost in God!
2. I hear the Divine command sounding through the biography of the sainted dead. Our nature speaks from heaven. There are the voices of the goodly fellowship of prophets and apostles, of the glorious army of martyrs and confessors, etc. There are the voices of our favourite authors, the sacred poet, the holy sage and the learned divine.
3. I hear this Divine command sounding through the gospel of Christ.
4. I hear this Divine command sounding in the depths of our higher nature. Reason and conscience unite in urging us to ascend, etc.
III. THAT SOUL ELEVATION IS DESIRABLE.
1. Man's happiness is greatly dependent upon bright prospects of the future.
2. Those bright prospects are secured by soul elevation.
Parallel VersesKJV: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
WEB: After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this."