Behold! A Door

Behold! A Door

Behold! A Door.

There are some individual words and short phrases in Scripture that need to be highlighted as they are read, words or phrases that are significant or point to something meaningful. Some phrases might be: Fear not. Here I am. Woe to you. One another.   And maybe some words are: AmenHallelujahBlessedAbba. Come.  The word Behold! is one of those significant words, an exclamation that is intended to get our attention. Listen, people, this is something you need to hear! Behold says to the audience, Look at this and take note! You would be wise to remember these words and think about them! Careful now, don’t be deaf to what I am about to say! Stop what you’re doing and listen up! As the Eastern Orthodox Christians say before they read the Gospel in the Liturgy… Attend! The following verse begins with Behold! So the words that follow must be important.

“These things says He who is holy, He who is true; ‘He who has the Key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: ‘Behold! I have opened in front of you a door that no one will be able to close.” (Rev. 3:7-8).

Key of David. In His letter’s introduction, Jesus quotes directly from Isaiah 22:22. The context in Isaiah is the pronouncement that the king’s prime minister had the authority to control access to the king. The key is the symbol of authority and control. David is the messianic figure who controls the access to the Father and His Kingdom. Only Jesus has the authority to open doors and close doors to God, to heaven. Jesus is the only one who can judge in God’s Name, who can admit to the new city of David, or exclude to that city. When He opens the door to the Kingdom, salvation is assured. When He closes the door, judgment is also certain. Jesus wields the key to eternal life, to God on His throne. Jesus called Himself “the Door” in one of His I AM statements in John 10:9. And St. Ignatius once said, “Christ is the Door to the Father.” Jesus Himself controls access to the New Jerusalem and to the Father. He is both the Door to the Kingdom and the Key of David.

The Church. Similar to Smyrna, there was an antagonistic Jewish community in Philadelphia. Jesus, though, once again, didn’t consider them certified Jews in His mind. They say they are Jewish, but they have strayed from the essence of Judaism. Their synagogue in Philadelphia evidently excommunicated all the Christians from their assembly, and openly antagonized the Christian believers in town. It seemed that the non-Jews oppressed the Christians to the extent that they were collaborators with the Roman authorities in their Christian harassment. Jesus is saying that even if the non-Jews closed the door to their assembly, Jesus will simply open another door into full fellowship with Yahweh. The believers were wondering if they had a church home. Jesus wanted them to know that He will open a door to them to the Kingdom, and to the church family that will be their place to grow as believers in Jesus.

The Door of Opportunity. Jesus said He has opened a door that will not be closed, an open door of opportunity to share and witness to God’s grace and power. Paul would talk about open doors and opportunities as well, including to the believers in Colossae: “Continue to earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ…” (Colossians 4:3); and Corinth: “I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me here…” (1 Corinthians 16:9). Also, Luke records in Acts 14:27 a bit of history with Paul and Barnabas, “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Once God has opened the door of opportunity for spreading the faith, the door will not be shut.