The Open Door

I have put before you an open door which no one can shut

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. ‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Philadelphia, the second of only two churches of which the Lord has nothing against. Yet there is still caution in his words; “hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown.”

Something else is very interesting, notice; “He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this…” Up until this point, all of the descriptions Jesus uses of himself in the introduction of the letters, come directly from Revelation 1. However, here, to the church in Philadelphia, Jesus alludes to Isaiah 22:22 “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open;” Words which He proclaimed over 700 years prior. Let’s examine that context.

“The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What is the matter with you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops? You who were full of noise, You boisterous town, you exultant city; Your slain were not slain with the sword, Nor did they die in battle. All your rulers have fled together, And have been captured without the bow; All of you who were found were taken captive together, Though they had fled far away. Therefore I say, “Turn your eyes away from me, Let me weep bitterly, Do not try to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.” For the Lord GOD of hosts has a day of panic, subjugation, and confusion In the valley of vision, A breaking down of walls And a crying to the mountain.”

And, “Therefore in that day the Lord GOD of hosts, called you to weeping, to wailing, To shaving the head, and to wearing sackcloth. Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.” But the LORD of hosts revealed Himself to me, “Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you Until you die,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.”

Please, read all of Isaiah 22 for the entire context–I have edited it for time’s sake. But one last passage in Isaiah 22 which I think will help us greatly; “And I will depose you from your office, And I will pull you down from your station. “Then it will come about in that day, That I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah And I will clothe him with your tunic, And tie your sash securely about him, I will entrust him with your authority, And he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”

Eliakim was King Hezekiah’s minister. He was the one that controlled who, and when the King could be seen. He, essentially, was the most important man in the kingdom because he controlled who could be in the presence of the King. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. It never ceases to amaze me–how many Messianic types can there be in the Bible?

But it gets even better. Have you seen it yet? Why did Jesus quote himself from Isaiah to the church in Philadelphia. And why did I begin my blog with The Closed Door and Finish the Epistle section with The Open Door? To be honest, I didn’t know myself, until now.

As Revelation does, I am doubling back. Seven (coincidence?) Years ago, after living my life fighting on the proverbial fence between me and Jesus–I lost, thank God–I admitted his call on my life and looked for ways in which I could serve. I began meeting with a mentor, something that I recommend to all. I found myself writing letters defending my opinininated outbursts to my spiritual mentor–eventually, I began including others in these missives, as my mentor called them. So, to John, thank you. Right now he’s lamenting; I have created a monster. It wasn’t long before I was, once again, a youth leader, then co-youth director, then youth director. Although I never earned a college degree, my major was youth ministry. As I became overwhelmed with said ministry, I stopped writing the missives. I also was neglecting my family, so I resigned from the directorship, and everything else. However, I did continue teaching one night a week at a different church at which I had also been volunteering. But after six and a half years of teaching young people the Bible, I have taken a step back to reassess my ministry and I started this blog. It all started with a picture. IMG_20170419_124035907 (1)

When thinking about what I would blog for my first missive in over a year, and on an entirely different format, I remembered this picture and thought of Laodicea. Little did I know that now, after we have read all of Revelation up to Jesus’ words of which I wrote in my first missive, we would come full circle. Though by now I should expect it, he is always faithful.

Just a little background for you–you still have no idea what I am ​thinking. As we roll along, remember my seemingly random beginning in Revelation 3 and the church in Laodicea, the closed door, the open door and Isaiah 22.

“Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” As Paul also says, “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”

Do ​we see it yet? “I will depose you from your office, And I will pull you down from your station,” Jesus proclaimed this prophecy in Isaiah 22. In Philippians 3, Paul writes, “beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision…If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” And Jesus says to the church in Philadelphia, “behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. ‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown.”

I hope you are still with me and we will be working this out more in the future as we roll through Revelation. For now notice the similarities between the texts. Notice the content. Notice Jesus, himself, made the link between the letter to the church in Philadelphia and his prophetic proclamation in Isaiah 22. We cannot ignore this, nor can we take it for granted. It is there for a revealing reason. Jesus has shut the door on the self righteous. Better yet, he, at this point in Revelation, is about to permanently shut the door on the law. However, he, himself, who has the keys of David, has opened the door, which no one can shut-which no one can shut–no one! He opened the door to those who as Paul says, “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

And Christ kept them from the tribulation that was about to come upon the whole Earth. Not by rapturing them up into the clouds, but by preserving them through his grace.

I always enjoy giving Paul the last word, consider the context: “God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew…there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace…Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you… Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

 

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