Revelation 3:20: Anticipating the ultimate dining experience

Revelation 3_20

I begin the day reading and reflecting upon the Verse of the Day.  Today on August 14, 2014, I find two verses: Revelation 3:14, 20, but as I focus on verse 20, my mind is flooded with warm memories of past experiences related to dining.

Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

Eleven years ago I was one of the coordinators of a summer educational program, and I composed a number of scripture memory songs to help students learn the Word of God by heart. One of the songs that we sang before serving the noon meal was based on Revelation 3:20:

Come and Dine with Me

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

 

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

If any man hear my voice and open the door,

I will come unto him and will sup with him and he with me.

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me on my throne,

Even as I also overcame and am sat down with my father in His throne.

 

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“Come and dine with me,” Jesus said.

“I have prepared the table to set before you.

Won’t you come and dine with me?”

A visit to the Hyde Park Vanderbilt Mansion brought to mind a scripture that related to a forthcoming heavenly dining experience.

A visit to the Hyde Park Vanderbilt Mansion brought to mind a scripture that related to a forthcoming, heavenly dining experience.

A few years prior to that occurrence, I recall another delightful experience related to dining when I visited to the Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, NY. Here is an excerpt from a journal entry made at the end of a writing workshop that I attended at Bard College in 1999.

Once more I gained great spiritual insight from observing a physical place which provided another glimpse of the grandeur of God. Upon entering the palatial estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a man of enormous wealth–though modest in comparison to some of his brothers–I immediately thought of the verses in John 14: “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my father’s house are many mansions.  If it were not so, I would have told.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go, I shall come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also.

The magnificent estate of fifty-four rooms with fourteen bathrooms on a mere 600+ acres is indeed modest in comparison with the Biltmore Estate built by another more extravagant brother whose mansion of 220+ rooms has as many bathrooms as the Hyde Park mansion has rooms (54) situated on originally 2000 acres.  The opulence of the rooms overwhelms me, with each individual room decorated to reflect a splendor and uniqueness.  The bedrooms, especially, but the entire house seems to have been designed with royalty in mind.  As I stand awe and walk, observing the rooms on the two levels, I sense the reality that the splendor awaiting us in God’s magnificent “buildings not made by hands,” reserved for us in the heavenlies far surpasses what I am observing in a temporal context.

The last rooms we observe before exiting the building are the servants’ quarters in the lower level of the building.  I was especially moved when I saw the servants’ dining room where we were informed that the servants of the household were served by other servants.  Mr. Vanderbilt paid his servants quite well and provided his personal physician in cases of illness, both for the servants and their children, for whom Mr. Vanderbilt provided an education from grade school through college if they so chose.

As I stood observing the servants’ dining room, I thought of Luke 12:37 in the Amplified Bible:

Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the master finds awake and alert and watching when he comes. Truly I say to you, he will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them!

That particular verse I make reference to in another musical composition:

The Servant’s Song: My Eyes Are Only on You

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As the eyes of a servant look to the hands of His Lord.

As the ears of a servant know so well his master’s voice,

So my mind stays focused to watch and learn how you move.

Create in me a servant’s heart; teach me to serve in love.

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As I continue to wait upon my Master and Lord,

I will quickly obey and gladly submit to His will.

I fulfill my calling as I watch and wait to see

When He bids me to the wedding feast, and He will wait on me.

My eyes are only on you.

My eyes are only on you.

All that you tell me that I will do.

I offer my life; I give it to you,

For my eyes are only on you.

As one who enjoys preparing and serving meals, I also appreciate dining at fine restaurants. In many instances, one must make reservations ahead of time to be assured that your party and you will be able to eat at the time that you would like. The idea of making reservations or having a place “reserved” for you, brought to mind this poem:

Reserved_Sign

Reserved

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again

to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,

 reserved in heaven for you,

 1 Peter 1:3-4

 

To know intimately the fullness of your grace,

To grasp the truest meaning of being “reserved”

For your glory: for your purpose I am preserved

To someday stand in your presence, face to face

With the Lord in the jeweled splendor of that place

Where those of every kindred, tribe and tongue shall hear

The voice sounding as though many waters are near;

To stand on the bema at the end of the race,

To apprehend living in the eternal now

When all the praises of the ages shall resound:

Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.

Where sin once reigned, grace does now even more abound.

“I ‘reserved’ you, set you apart, for you are mine.

Beloved, this is ‘reserved’ for you—come and dine.”

 

Revelation 3:20 and other related verses build our anticipation for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will be like no other dining experience known to humanity. Gary Chapman expresses the essence of this powerful message in the song “Come and Dine”:

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