In the temple, there were two important sets of doors. There was a set of doors at the entrance to the Holy Place and a set of doors at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. What is their significance? Why would there be two sets of doors, or any doors at all instead of just an opening in the wall through which entrance could be gained? Although there is some mystery shrouding the doors, as we think about the function of doors on buildings, we gain some clues as to what the doors on the temple meant. The doors of the temple were carved with cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. This leads us to believe that the doors were intended to be symbolic. Like the carvings on the walls, the cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers on the doors were not real, but were representative of something.
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
From this verse, we know that Christ definitely is door-like. Those who enter into the door, Jesus Christ, will be saved. So it is crucial that we enter in through Christ the Door. Psalms 118:19-21 says “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.” We have no righteousness of our own with which to enter in through those gates. It is only through Christ that we can have the righteousness that is required to be able to enter. Have you entered into the temple through the gate of the Lord? If you have entered in, then is your heart full of praise to God for hearing you and for becoming your salvation?
Let’s think about the functions of a door on a building and we will consider how Christ is like this.
- Doors provide access. If there were no door on a building so that the building was totally enclosed, there would be no way to go inside. A building without any doors would be a strange building. It would be useless to try to get inside. If Jesus had not come, but had stayed in His dwelling place, there would be no way a person could get to God. The temple would not have had a door. Jesus did not stay inside the temple and keep people out of his presence. No, Jesus became a door. He opened the way to God by leaving His place and reaching out to us. It would be useless for us to try to reach God without Jesus. Jesus provides access to God. Jesus, the Way, is our door into the presence of God. God wants us to meet with Him in His temple. He wants us to praise and worship Him there. He is the one who can open the gates when we call on Him; and He can influence us to decide to come into His house.
- Doors move. “…and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.” I Kings 7:50b Much as the hinges on the doors to the temple were made of gold, the turning point of each of our lives swings on the golden hinges of the sacrifice of Christ. Without hinges, no man could have moved these massive gold covered doors. Without hinges there would be no way to enter the temple. Without those golden hinges of the bloody sacrifice of Christ, God could not be moved to allow us into His presence. There is something unexplained about the hinges. Pure gold is a very soft metal. Gold does not seem to be something that would be capable of providing the mechanical support and wear properties required of a hinge. How did the hinges work? Did the hinges wear out right away? The Bible doesn’t mention any problems with them. How the hinges could do the job is a mystery. In much the same way it seems impossible that one man would be able to bear the incredible load of all the sins of the world. We know, however, that Christ, through His sacrifice, has indeed borne the crushing weight of our sins.
- Doors provide opportunity for change. Doors provide the opportunity to go from one place to a different place. A person can change his surroundings by going through a door. Nothing can change a person’s heart, which is enslaved to sin, unless he enters in through the Door, Jesus Christ. When a person enters in through Jesus Christ, the Door, he leaves his surroundings of hopelessness and enters into surroundings of a sure hope. He leaves despair and the weight of sin behind and enters into a place of faith and joyous holiness. When a person enters the temple, he leaves behind his enmity with God, and enters God’s presence to fellowship with Him. He leaves behind the fellowship of the world, and begins associating with God’s children.
- Doors can protect. Our Door protects those who are His. Christ will not let the evil one ruin those who are His. Christ keeps the wolves and the thieves away from His sheep. He is mighty enough that they can not possibly push Him out of the way. He is our Foundation. No predator can reach under or get inside. God’s house is a place of refuge; He will defend those who are His.
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower…In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth….He bowed the heavens also, and came down…He delivered me…”
- Doors can deny access. In much the same way as God shut the door on Noah’s ark, someday God will close the grand doors of the temple which allow access to salvation. Those who are not inside will be lost forever. If you have not entered, come into the safety of God’s house while there is time.
- Doors can let friends in. God wants to fellowship with us. God calls the temple a “house of prayer” because He wants us to know that the temple is a place where we can talk with Him and be His friend. God’s door is wide open to our fellowship.
- Doors provide privacy. Someday at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb the doors will be closed, and Christ will be with His bride, the church, forever. (Matthew 25:1-10)
- The doors are to look up in anticipation of the coming of the King of glory.
So far we have discussed how the doors were like Christ. However, Christ is not the only one who is door like for the verses from Psalms below talk about the King of glory coming in. The gates are told to lift up their heads. Obviously Christ wouldn’t be lifting up His head in anticipation of His own arrival.
“This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face…Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory…” Psalm 24:6-10
Someday the King of glory will come and we shall be with Him. Lift up your head. Knowing that Christ could come at any time gives us hope. Have you made Him your hope? Are you reaching out, stretching toward Him in anticipation of welcoming His coming? Lift up your head with joy; the King of glory is coming!
Notice how the words Lift up your heads are repeated in these verses. It seems that the words are mentioned twice because there were two sets of doors on the temple. The words are stated once for each set of doors, the doors to the holy place, and the doors to the holy of holies.
- The doors on the temple folded in the middle.
“…the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.” I Kings 6:34b
These doors were grand doors opening to provide a majestic entrance way. The doors folded to get out of the way of the One who was to enter them. In much the same way, we must get out of the way when Christ enters us. We are less important than the One who enters us. If we love Him, we should put His desires ahead of our own selfish wishes. We should bow to Him, being broken and submissive to His will.
Now let’s shift gears and look at the doors from a different angle.
- The door to the future.
Doors can represent what lies ahead in the future. When we are standing on one side of a door we can not see what is coming up on the other side. We can not see what lies in the future except that God has given us a glimpse of it in His Word. Perhaps we might say that Christ the door and living Word of God has a peep hole so to speak that allows us to see select bits of the future. But, much as when you look through a peephole, from our side of the door, what you see is very limited and often hard to see. The Word shows us enough, however, to know for certain that Christ is on the other side.
The force that moves the doors of all history is the entrance of Christ into the world. He is the King of glory to whom all heads look up.
Now consider with me the second set of doors. These doors were the entrance to the oracle, or Holy of Holies. The symbol of Christ, the Ark of the Covenant, was physically present in this room. In much the same way, Christ will be physically present on earth during the period of His millennial kingdom. Remember that the ark had a crown of gold around it. The crown appears to indicate that Christ will reign as King on earth during the millennium. Now think with me about the great event of history that will mark the coming of Christ to earth for the second time. Since you may not be familiar with the story, I will run through it briefly.
Someday, we do not know when, but it does not seem that it can be far off; Jesus will come in the air to catch His bride, the church, away from the earth. This is called the rapture. The dead in Christ will be resurrected from the dead and will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Those of us who are alive, who have trusted in Christ, also will be caught up in the air to be with Him. After we are gone, a terrible time of tribulation will come upon the earth for seven years, and a large percentage of the people on earth will die of war, famine, disease, and disasters. During this time Satan’s antichrist, who is an imposter posing as Christ, will rule the world. He will demand that the world worship him. At the end of the tribulation, the Antichrist and all the armies of the world will be gathered just outside of Jerusalem getting ready to annihilate the Jews. It will look absolutely hopeless for the Jews, and then just in time, Jesus Christ will come in His glory to rescue His chosen people and crush the enemies of God. The armies of Satan will be annihilated, and Christ will reign as King on earth for a thousand tremendously prosperous years.
The second time that Jesus comes to earth the “doors”, the nation of Israel, will literally be lifting up their heads looking to Christ to save them. The Jews who look up and see Him coming in the air to rescue them will believe on Him.
In Luke, Jesus described the time just before His second coming. We see in this passage, Jesus giving the same instruction as the Psalmist gave, the call to “lift up your heads”.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28
Where was Christ when He spoke these words? He was in the temple, in Jerusalem, the very place where He will return a second time. The temple was the very place where the doors were. Who was Jesus telling to lift up their heads? It was the Jews. What is this call to “lift up your heads”? It is a statement that says lift up your heads, because there is hope, and it is a sure hope. The first time Christ came, He brought hope to the Gentiles for now salvation would be preached to them. The second time when Christ shall come, He will bring hope to the Jews who will be facing annihilation without His intervention. He will bring the hope of victory and of the kingdom of God.
Now think with me once again about the verses in Psalms where the doors are twice told to lift up their heads. The first time, the Lord is described as “mighty in battle”. It seems that this is a description of His second coming, pictured by the doors to the Holy of Holies, when He will mightily defeat His foes on the day of the Lord and enter into his place as the great King. The second “lift up your heads” mentioned in the verses in Psalms appears to be referring to His first coming as pictured by the doors to the Holy Place.
Lift up your head in anticipation that we could meet Him at any time.