Ekklesia: Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
by Dr. Patti Amsden
by Dr. Patti Amsden
Prior articles have established that Jesus opened the doors of death. Sin had incarcerated. Death had imprisoned. Penalties had required payment. Humanity was in need of a payment for the transgression before the doors of death’s prison could be opened. Old Testament saints were in the bondage of sin, death, a hardened, and the fallen nature passed on to them through their lineage with Adam. Old Testament saints did by faith receive the promise of a future deliverer, a yet to come redeemer, a forthcoming Messiah. Those saints, who believed that God would fulfill His promises, were in right standing with God while they lived and after they died.
When those Old Testament believers died, they remained in right standing with God. They were forgiven. They were covenantally adopted into the lineage of the righteous. They were sons and daughters of Abraham. Therefore, their after death experience did not produce pain or punishment. They were conscious; they were in Paradise (Lk. 16:19-31); they awaited the completing of the promise and the coming of the one who was qualified to abolish the penalty of sin and death attached to Adam and all his heirs.
Adam had been expelled from God’s presence. Expelled humanity could not be re-admitted back into God’s glory and throne because angel’s guarded access and stood at the gate. Every bible student remembers that cherubim were set with flaming swords to guard the entrance to God’s presence and the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23-24). Eden was, in effect, God’s throne house in the earth. Man was banished and barred from the throne both in Eden and in Heaven.
To reinforce the theme, God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle of Moses and to put a barrier to His presence. Moses’ Tabernacle would function as God’s new house in the earth. The Tabernacle had three compartments, and the third section was called the Holy of Holies. In that compartment resided a golden Ark that was constructed to function as God’s earth throne. God’s presence came to rest over the golden Ark after the Tabernacle was completed. Men, represented by the priest, had access to the Tabernacle and were assigned duties associated with it. However, as the priests approached the third compartment where the presence resided, they were hindered by a veil. The veil barred the way to the throne and the glory. Embroidered on the veil were cherubim, as if God was reminding His people that the way into His presence had been closed in Adam and remained closed to them (Heb. 9:8).
Throughout the whole Old Testament period, two incarcerations were in force. Two sets of doors were closed. The first set was the doors of sin, death, and sin’s penalty. The second set was the doors that led into God’s presence. Adam’s transgression incarcerated men under the penalty of sin. Not until Christ came could the full payment completely cancel all indebtedness. Jesus paid the full fine whereas the sacrifices in the Old Covenant order were just types, shadows, and promises of what Jesus alone could bring. The blood of bulls and goats had insufficient cleansing power and inadequate purchasing power for a Son (Heb. 9:12-15). Jesus eradicated the debt. The doors of sin and death, which were held in place until the penalty could be paid, were open. Old Covenant men received what they had expectantly awaited; they were free to come out of death’s hold or Abraham’s bosom.
Not only were the Old Testament saints free to come out, they were free to go in. They were free to enter back into God’s presence. If sin had expelled them, then forgiveness would grant them re-admittance. On the day that Christ died, the actual veil in the temple that stood in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom (Mt. 27:51). God was speaking. He was giving a visible sign to state that redeemed man could return to His throne and His presence. The second door opened. Those released from death – door #1 – could return to the God’s presence – door #2. The gates of eternal glory opened on the same day that the gates of death opened.
Ephesians, chapter 4 tells the reader that Jesus ascended to Heaven after His death and resurrection and that He led captivity captive (verse 8). Old Testament saints were held captive by death but Jesus opened the gates of death for those in Abraham’s bosom. Then, He led them. He led them to return to the Father’s presence. He led them into the Jerusalem that is above. He led a grand processional from death’s waiting compartment to Heaven’s splendor. The image produced in Ephesians 4 calls to mind David’s grand processional, when he carried the Ark back to Zion and all the covenant people participated in the joyous parade (II Sam. 6). The Ark in David’s day was the picture of Jesus, who was God’s portable Ark or presence in the earth. After His resurrection, Jesus transitioned to the Heavenly Zion (Heb. 12:22-24). And, traveling with Him as He returned to glory were all the Old Testament saints. The soul of King David was in that grand caravan as were the souls of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and all the heroes of faith who had long awaited re-admittance into glory through the veil that Adam had closed.
As the grand pageant marched Heavenward, the parade approached those ancient gates. Perhaps the exchange between Jesus with His recently released captives and the guardians of the gate of access went something like the words of Psalm 24.
Christ: “Lift up you heads, O you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors! Let the King of gory come in.
Guardians: “Who is this King of glory?”
Christ: “The Lord strong and mighty; the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up you heads, O you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors!”
Guardians: “Who is this King of glory?”
Christ: “The Lord of Hosts; He is the King of Glory!”
And with those credential presented, heaven opened her gates; and the Old Testament saints went through door #2. Heaven was filled with the occupants of Paradise. The opening of both doors had an eternal effect on those pre-Christ saints, but the release from death and return to glory also had astounding effects on all post-Christ saints. Learn more in the next article.