The Real Relationship Between Closed Doors and Opened Windows

September 24, 2012 at 5:15 am 3 comments

Last week, Melody and I were startled awake to the sound of our shih tzu, Bandit, growling and barking frenziedly.  My hackles – and nerves – were immediately raised.  “What is he barking at?” I thought to myself.  “Is something wrong in the house?  Is something on fire?  Is there an invader?”  After I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, I sat up to see Bandit sitting on our bedroom floor, tail wagging back and forth, barking ferociously…at our cat.  There was no fire or invader.  Just a feline, as frustrated as we were at Bandit’s barking.

Melody was not at all amused by this nocturnal rowdiness, nor was she amused at the fact that, rather than putting an end to Bandit’s snarling, I just sat in bed, taking it all in.  “Get those animals out of here!” she exclaimed.  The dog and cat did eventually settle down.  But a few hours later, they were at it again.  And Melody was awoken again.  After kicking the animals out of the bedroom, I did what I should have done earlier that night:  I closed the door.  And peace ensued.

In our text for this past Sunday from Revelation 21, we catch a glimpse into the new Jerusalem, that is, the new creation which God will usher in on the Last Day.  In John’s description of this heavenly hub, I find this to be especially notable:  “On no day will Jerusalem’s gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there” (verse 25).  Like I shut our bedroom door at night to keep out the pets, ancient cities would often shut their gates at night to keep out nefarious invaders.  For example, when the city of Jericho learns that the Israelites are drawing near to attack, the book of Joshua notes, “Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites.  No one went out and no one came in” (Joshua 6:1).  Ancient cities closed their gates.  The new Jerusalem will not.

Why will the new Jerusalem’s gates always be open?  Because unlike the municipalities of antiquity, the this cosmic metropolis will have no foes of which to be afraid.  For all of the city’s enemies will have been conquered, even as John says:  “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (verse 8).  Thus, Jesus opens the city’s doors.

Jesus is in the business of opening doors.  As Jesus Himself says, “Knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  Paul, after a mission tour through Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe rejoices that God “had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).  He later prays “that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains” (Colossians 4:3).  Christ’s desire is to open doors for His followers.  Even at the beginning of Revelation, Jesus exclaims to the church at Philadelphia, “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut (Revelation 3:8).

There’s an old, oft-repeated, and tired Christian cliché:  “Whenever God closes one door, He always opens a window.”  The premise of this statement is that God will make a way, even when things don’t turn out how you might expect or want them to.  As much as I appreciate the general sentiment, I’m not so sure that the specific imagery is accurate.  For when it comes to this specific image of a door, Scripture portrays God as one who opens doors rather than closing them. If we run up against a roadblock, before we blame God for slamming a door in our face, perhaps we should wonder if the door was ever open in the first place.  Or perhaps we should consider whether it was our own sinfulness that closed a door rather than God.  In fact, the only time that God is portrayed as closing a door is in Luke 13:23-28 when someone asks Jesus:

“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
But He will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with You, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from Me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth.”

The door out of hell, it seems, will be locked up tight by Christ so that the gates of the new Jerusalem can be left open, free from the fear of God’s enemies.

So today, rather than bemoaning the “closed doors” in your life, why don’t you thank God for the ones He has opened for you?  For they are many.  He has opened the door to his knowledge through the pages of Scripture.  He has opened the door to forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.  And He has opened the gates of His new Jerusalem so that we may come in.  I can’t wait to walk through.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. revkev97  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Hi, Zach! Dogs barking at night, protecting us from all enemies real and imagined. How many times that’s happened in my house with our three mutts!

    The relationship between door and window is indeed tenuous, if not completely misguided. I base my comment on Jesus’ words in John 10: Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…”

    If we’re running up against a door we believe God has slammed in our faces, it’s usually because that door is not Christ. The desire for the window is to have something opened for us to fit our own will rather than seeking Christ. What is needed is not a window, but repentance.

    By the way, that imagery of the heavenly Jerusalem with its gates that never close is one of the sweetest to hear. Temptation, fear, and persecution have all been banished to the lake of fire. Remaining is only the One who sits on the throne and the Lamb, surrounded by God’s people in everalsting life as it was intended from the beginning.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • 2. pastor bob nordlie  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Wide open, wide open
    They nailed his arms wide open
    After three days in a cold grave
    The power of sin was broken
    Now with outstretched arms He welcomes in
    Everyone who trusts in him
    His nail-scarred hands hold heaven’s gates wide open

    Words to one of my favorite CCM songs by Newsong.

  • 3. pastorbobnordlie  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Wide open, wide open
    They nailed his arms wide open
    After three days in a cold grave
    The power of sin was broken
    Now with outstretched arms He welcomes in
    Everyone who trusts in him
    His nail-scarred hands hold heaven’s gates wide open

    Chorus to one of my favorite songs by Newsong.


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