The Door

(Exodus 26:36, 37; John 10:7, 9).

You will notice in John 10 we have two doors named. In verse 9, we have a door of which the Lord says, “I am the Door; by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved.” In verse 7, another door is spoken of, but of it, it is not said, “If any man enter in.” It speaks of those who enter it as “the sheep”—“I am the Door of the sheep.” Christ is the Door in each case, but we may speak of Him here as the Door for the saint, and the Door for the sinner. You may say, “Does the saint need a door?” Of course he does. He needs Christ as the Way to God in praise and worship. And the sinner needs Christ as the Way to come to God in his guilt and sin, for pardon and for peace. See how these doors are here illustrated. Any one of the men of Israel, no matter of what tribe, could enter by the gate, and bring his sacrifice to the Altar. But only a priest could go through the door into the Tabernacle. The gate speaks of salvation, and the door speaks of worship; the gate of our coming to God as lost ones, and the door of our coming to God as saved ones, in praise and thanksgiving.

There is another thing. The gate has width, and the door has height. There are just the same number of square inches in the gate as in the door; only, while the gate is 20 cubits wide it is only 5 cubits high, and the door, while only 10 wide, is 10 high. You see that what the one has in width, the other has in height. Now, it makes a big difference presenting the Gospel to a sinner, how we present it. In preaching the Gospel we stand by the Court gate, and proclaim that way of entrance is for all. This is like John 10:9, and speaks of full, free salvation for every sinner.

It is many years since my mind first opened to the very precious truth of election. Before that, I had no right knowledge of it—in fact, I felt like opposing it. But I thank God my heart was opened to its reception from the Word of God. Since then, it has pleased God to give me the joy of preaching Christ in many places, and seeing souls led to him—and I think I can say, I can never remember being hampered in the least in presenting the Gospel, because I believed in election as the Bible teaches it. As sinners outside, we have nothing to do with the counsels of God. God has given the Gospel, which is for everybody. You may not be able to “harmonize” man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty, nor do they need harmonizing. By-and-bye you will understand better how both are true. Take your stand by this gate, and proclaim with all the powers that God has given you, “Whosoever will may come,” and, “If any man enter in he shall be saved.”

Those who have believed most firmly in the doctrine of election have been the greatest soul-winners. Spurgeon, for example, believed it with all the intensity of his being—and who won souls, throughout a long ministry, more than he? Do not be hampered by the thought that the Gospel is not for everybody, for it is. Duncan Matheson was a man who believed in election, and once he was preaching in a church in the North of Scotland. When he was finished, one of the elders who had been listening uneasily to Duncan making the gate wide enough for “whosoever will” to enter, and who was evidently afraid that a lot would get in who had no business there, because they were not of “the elect,” said to Matheson, “Duncan, man, ye’re nae preaching to the elect,” to which the evangelist replied, “If you will chalk them on their backs, then I’ll preach to them.” Since no one can do that, let us preach the Gospel as we are bidden, to “every creature.”

But over the Door we might read, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” And so we found that our salvation was no haphazard thing, but the result of God’s eternal purpose in Christ. Thus as we progress in the knowledge of the truth of God, we learn every lesson in its proper place.

You remember the gate was supported by four pillars, which would remind us of the four witnesses chosen by God to present to us the life, death, burial, and resurrection of His blessed Son—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When we come to the door we find, not four pillars, but five. Now, why is this so? God uses five writers to give us the Epistles—Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John. And their ministry is especially to believers. It is the same blessed Person who is set forth in all, but in the Gospels He is seen as the Way to God for sinners, and in the Epistles as the Way to God for purged worshippers.

These pillars were acacia wood covered with gold, speaking of Christ now in the presence of God. When it is brass, it is Christ on earth, in reference to the judgment of sin, but in the gold we have Christ as the glorified One. The wood and the gold are beautifully brought out in that remarkable passage, Isa. 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Do you ever think of the marvellous exactitude of the Word of God? “Unto us a Child is born”—that is the Wood, His holy humanity. “Unto us a Son is given”—that is the Gold, His Deity. Bethlehem was not His origin. Away back in the eternal past, He was the Son in the bosom of the Father. But in grace He became the Child born. And as one of the perfections of our precious Bible, and not a mere redundancy of speech, it is added that He was the “Son given.”

Then we get what would answer to the five pillars—“Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Five titles, which assure us that He was no mere creature, for of no creature could it be said that he was “The Mighty God and the Everlasting Father.” We read in Rom. 9:5, “Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” In Heb. 7:26, we get other five things, “For such an High Priest became us who is Holy, Harmless, Undefiled, Separate from Sinners, and Made Higher than the Heavens.”

The Door Curtains.

There are the different kinds of material—blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, each bringing out a special feature of the beauty and perfections of Christ. God, in giving us four accounts by the Evangelists, does not mean them to be merely four corroborative witnesses. They do corroborate; but the thought is, that God wanted the different writers to bring out each his own peculiar feature of the Lord’s character.

Matthew, or the Purple.—The great thought in Matthew is the Kingship of Christ, so the genealogy of Christ is traced up to Abraham, through David, and Christ’s title to the throne established. The wise men in the second chapter ask, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” This is the Purple, or Royal colour.

Mark, or the Scarlet.—In Mark we get no genealogy. There are genealogies in Matthew and in Luke, but none in Mark. Here, Christ is presented as the Servant, and it is in keeping with that character that it should be omitted. The word “scarlet” really is “worm scarlet”—the colour was obtained from a worm. What grace, that He should stoop so low, the One of whom we read that He was the Mighty God. Newberry gives the word “scarlet” as “the splendour of a worm.” And what glory will ever equal the glory of His humiliation?

Luke, or the Fine Twined Linen.—The genealogy of Christ in Luke is traced right up to Adam. All through Luke, the phrase is, “A certain man.” The same parable which has “a certain king” in Matthew, has “a certain man” in Luke. The burden of Luke is the Manhood of Christ, and his pen was guided to unfold to us in that way peculiar to him, the grace that in Christ as man, came near to us in all our need and ruin, yet was ever the holy spotless One.