"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens...Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it."
The closed and opened doors are part and parcel of the sanctuary message, and even though the full understooding did not happen all at once, these messages are an important part of the sanctuary truths.
In the above quoted text in Revelation 3:7-8 we see Christ, who holds the keys, shutting a door that no man can open, and opening a door which no man can shut. This happens during the Philadelphia period.
The seven letters to the churches in Revelation two and three, correlate closely with the events of church history.
31 - 100 A.D
"The seven churches typify the church universal in its seven ages from Pentecost till the Day of the Lord." Wrote Adam Burwell in 1835.
The fifth church's message ends with a message about a coming judgment when Jesus promises the overcomers "shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels."
So now, in the sixth church, Philadelphia, we see a door being shut which no man can open, and a door being opened which no man can shut.
The questions we must ask is, what does this door represent?
Where is it located?
Why is one door shut and another opened?
For identification of this open door, it would be wise to look in Revelation itself. Revelation 4:1 says:
Yes, here we see that the open door is into the sanctuary in heaven.
Revelation 4 shows the beginning of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. In these chapters (Rev. 4 and 5) Christ is inaugurated as the "ONLY ONE WORTHY" to fulfil the tasks of salvation, for He is the Lamb slain. Indeed the whole book of Revelation is focused on the work Christ is doing in the heavenly temple during the entire Christian era until all things are restored and the temple is no longer needed once the plan of salvation is complete.
At Christ's ascension to heaven the door to the holy place was opened for mankind. A new and living way had been opened to the fallen race. All sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God. And Jesus entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary. We see Christ by the seven lamps before the throne. We see the golden vials of incense. We see Christ, the Lamb slain, declared worthy to take up the work of salvation in the HOLY PLACE!
Yet, in our introductory text, we see Christ, who has the keys of salvation, close a door and open another door during the Philadephia period.
We can look in Revelation 11 for our explanation.
Revelation chapter eleven first refers to the 1260 year period (the prophetic years oft repeated in both Daniel and Revelation as the time of the church's oppressive dominion) It refers to the Old and New Testament (the two witnesses) who have testified in sack cloth for 1260 years and their ultimate humiliation during the French revolution, which tried to destroy faith in the Bible but their aim backfired marvellously in liberating the world from papal tyranny thus granting the Bible greater honor and distribution then was ever known before.
This brings us to the Philadephia period, for indeed, during this period the Bible was widely distributed and read. (Rev. 10) reveals that the scroll of Daniel's prophecies (sealed in Daniel 12) are now open for the 1260 years have come to an end (1798) At this time the prophecies were studied with great interest and insight. What these prophecies disclosed was sweet as honey as the people thought Christ was coming at the end of the prophetic time periods-- 1844. However, these prophecies turned into bitterness, as the disappointment enveloped them, just as Rev. 10:10 predicated. They were told to prophecy AGAIN! (Rev. 10:10-11)
WHAT WERE THEY TO PROPHECY?
We must remember that chapter divisions were added later. The writer of Revelation tells in the very next verse, exactly what was to be the message of the disappointed believers in prophecy.
They were commanded to "measure the temple".
They thought the sanctuary was this earth--
They thought the earth would be cleansed at the end of the time periods.
But no-- they were NOT to measure the "courtyard" of the temple.
The "courtyard" where the altar of sacrifice stood represents the earth.
However, the inner holy places of the earthly sanctuary represented the great heavenly sanctuary.
What was to be measured? The same three things that were to be cleansed in the day of atonement!
AND THEN, in Revelation 11:19, WE SEE the temple of God being opened!
The time announced to the fifth church begins in the sixth:
So when the time comes for Christ to execute judgement, even though they may be in their graves, they who have done good will hear his voice and come forth in the resurrection of life! (See John 5:21-30)
Yes, Jesus continues in John 5:39 "I judge, and my judgment is just."
The keys belong to Christ.
"These things says He that is holy, He that is true, He that has the key of David, He that opens and no man shuts and shuts and no man opens." (Rev. 3:7)
BUT the concept of these keys belonging to the church on earth is the Catholic rendition of these texts. They claim to have the keys of JUDGEMENT which only Christ has.
They have claimed those keys for themselves to the point where they say:
"The Priest has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise and of changing them...and God Himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of his priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution." (Dignity and Duties of the Priesthood, p.27 by De Liguori)
They have set up their counterfeit investigative judgment called the "inquisition" which has now been re-established under a different name.
But it is Christ who is our judge. He holds the keys of each individuals eternal destiny."Why do you judge one another," Romans 14:10 asks, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ....Let us therefore not judge one another...everyone shall give account of himself to God! (Romans 14:12,13) That judgment is now going on in heaven— in the heavenly sanctuary.
Yet, it is not Christ who condemns anyone, we condemn ourselves when we refuse to come to Christ, the source of life."For this is the condemnation, that Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the Light, and refuses the light, because they don't want their evil revealed, but he that does truth comes to the light, that his deed may be shown to be wrought in God." (John 3:18-21)
The Philadelphia period ran approximately from 1750 to 1850. It was an era of revivals-- a time when keeping "God's Word" was important.
It was during this time that the knowledge of the sanctuary in heaven-- the temple of God -- was brought forth. It was during this time that Christ opened the door and began His work in the Most Holy Place. "See I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut."
Yes, it was but a small group "with little strength" yet they "kept God's word and did not deny His name." Even though ridiculed and mocked they patiently endured. They saw that Christ was in the Most Holy Place, before the ark of the covenant.
Revelation 11:19 declared the judgment AND THE TEMPLE OF GOD WAS OPENED AND THE ARK of the covenant was seen. This is the ark with the ten commandments which has THE SABBATH, in the heart of them.
The controversy in the Philadelphia church message, is between the "synagogue of Satan" and their lies and those who will be "pillars in the temple of God".
"Seeing" the ark of the covenant, with Jesus before it, made it clear to our pioneers, that following Jesus means keeping the ten commandments placed under the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. With joy they embraced the Sabbath and surrendered their lives in service to HIM.
Yet, what do we see in the general trend of Christianity after they rejected the sanctuary message? We see a turning against the ten commandments, and declaring they are a burdensome yoke that Christ had to nail to the cross. The commandments were declared a "burden" because it was revealed that they contained the call to REMEMBER 7th day Sabbath and keep it holy.
During the time of Philadephia:
Yet the passage continues to say that those who have received the shut and the open door will be opposed by the "synogogue of Satan" who lie. Are these the ones who try to shut that heavenly door to the Most Holy with lies?
Yet, those who overcome will be "pillars in the temple of God." Again we see sanctuary imagery.
Those who advanced with Christ will be preserved in the time of trial ahead--
Without the truths brought forth then, the deceptions of Satan will sweep everyone into the false KINGDOM of Babylon and have everyone worshiping the dragon and the beast. That sounds like "the synagogue of Satan" to me --
Those who reject the sanctuary message-- [that Christ is NOW IN THE MOST HOLY PLACE investigating each case personally] --- those are the ones who will also give up the Sabbath which Christ asks His people to "Remember", and think they are saved in their sins. They will renounce the SEVENTH-DAY when the crises comes and go with the easy religion ecumenical crowd in accepting Sunday, the child of the papacy and the sign which she even claims is the sign that she has authority over the Bible. They will not be found among those "saints, who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12
Oct. 22, 1844. The door to the
Holy Place was closed, and the door to the Most HOLY Place was opened.
Those who follow Christ into the Most Holy Place are those who receive His Spirit, while those who remain focused only on the ministry of the Holy Place, receive the deceptive spirit. (The message here in Revelation 3 to the Philadephia church is clearly dealing with the battle between those "in the temple of my God" and those "in the synogogue of Satan") We must accept the message given in the Philadelphia period if we would be kept "in the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Rev. 3:10)
Hold fast to this message and believe that Christ is coming quickly and let no man take your crown! (Rev. 3:11)
However we cannot stay in the Philadelphia period, We must go on to the Laodicean period, and follow the counsel there given. That is the counsel we must now follow-- we cannot sit back and say, "We are rich and need nothing more." We must apply ourselves of the provisions of the sanctuary. We must obtain that white raiment, so we will be clothed...(Rev. 3:18) "He that overcomes will be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Rev. 3:5) We must recognize our shameful nakedness, and "buy of Him" that white robe and those who do will NOT BE NAKED. We must recognize our blindness and buy of Him eyesalve that we may see. We must recognize our lack of the riches of heavenly grace and faith, and seek of Him the pure gold tried in fire. And above all we must open the door of our hearts and let HIM in!
This understanding has developed under some misunderstandings both originally and lately, so let's briefly see the SDA Pioneers viewed this subject:
From EGW B1.1846-04-06.007
This is in agreement with Daniel 7:9-10 who writes about this scene which takes place sometime AFTER THE 1260 (the same period depicted in Rev. 11)
Again we see the parallel with Daniel 7:13-14
There I beheld Jesus, as He was standing before the Father, a great High Priest. On the hem of His garment was a bell and pomegranate. Then Jesus shew me the difference between faith and feeling. And I saw those who rose up with Jesus send up their faith to Him in the Holiest, and pray--my Father give us thy Spirit. "Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In the breath was light, power, and much love, joy and peace.
The Holy Spirit which enables us to WALK in newness of LIFE with Christ and writes God's law upon the heart, and empowers us to be witnesses for HIM.
Then I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it.--Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God; I saw them look up to the throne and pray, my Father give us thy Spirit; then Satan would breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived, and to draw back and deceive God's children. I saw one after another leave the company who were praying to Jesus in the Holiest, and go and join those before the throne, and they at once received the unholy influence of Satan."
The spirit of the new age movement, which isn't really new, which places love and peace above obedience and God's law. The movement that does not identify sin, or acknowledge any concrete moral authority, but only claims love and the spirit will guide all. This is the spirit that will be breathed on those who disregard the judgment message.
"EW 260.. they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the third angel's message, which shows the way into the most holy place. I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefitted by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare" ----
Now some scoff at these words, asking "Is Satan in heaven sitting on a throne?" The answer is, "of course not", Rev. 12 tells us Satan was cast out of heaven. However, you will notice that Rev. 3 makes considerable mention of another "synogogue". Yes, the Bible pictures Satan as having his own synogogue, this synogugue he sets up to try and eclipse God's sanctuary. Sadly Rev. 3 describes the people who worship (and say they are God's people) as someday coming and throwing themselves at the feet of those who recognized the "open door and shut door" and admitting it is these whom God loved. (Rev. 3:7-9)
The next door that will be shut is the door to the MOST HOLY in heaven. When Christ has finished the work of the investigative judgment and the sealing of all those found written in the book of life. He will stand up -- the door of the MOST HOLY PLACE WILL BE SHUT.
Probation will be ended--- Then, after the time of trouble, the cry will be sounded: "the Bridegroom is coming! He IS COMING!" Then we will go out to meet Christ who comes to deliver HIS PEOPLE, who have been driven from the face of society by those inspired by Satan to destroy them who abide by the commandments of God rather than the traditions and doctrines of men. He will deliver those who have washed their robes and made them white and clean through His blood. He will deliver those who would dare to keep the commandments of God when the "peacemakers of the world declared" that everyone must honor Sunday. He will deliver those who bought of Him the white robes, the eye salve and the gold tried in fire. He will deliver those who opened their hearts to Him and allowed Him into the sanctuary of their souls, to cleanse them and fellowship with them. He will deliver those Who overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and will then invite them to sit with Him upon His throne in heaven. Amen.