How will 2024 be similar or different to 2023? While we need to live in ‘healthy realism’ and not denial of what’s happening, there is some good news. Despite spiritual opposition, the Lord is opening a welcome door in 2024 that no one can shut (Revelation 3:8). What does it mean and how can we enter into the blessing? Read on …
Jesus Christ to the church at Philadelphia in Asia Minor -Revelation 3:8: I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
For a person who is an organic pessimist, there is plenty to be pessimistic about:
- A furious war in the Middle East rages with the possibility of going regional, if not global (and let’s not forget Russia and Ukraine are in a similar situation).
- Economists warn of an economic crash – not a correction – the biggest since the stock market crash of 1929.
- A US Presidential election is in November; even at this early date, it is shaping up to have much turbulence and drama.
- The UK goes to the polls this year and the outcome is anyone’s guess.
- The culture war is going into a higher gear, pitting the woke left against conservatives and their new allies – common sense liberals.
- The great universal shaking (Haggai 2:6; Hebrews 12:25-29) continues, though this is good news – this shaking heralds the arrival of the unshakeable everlasting kingdom of God.
The waters are deep and uncharted but like everything else in the life of faith, there is the visible temporal realm and there is the invisible spiritual eternal realm. Trust and hope in God are our anchors to counter the choppy seas.
And there is a silver lining. The path of the just gets brighter and brighter to the perfect day (Proverbs 18:10). God is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7). We will see the greatest revivals in church history (Acts 2:17; Revelation 14:6)
The above passage from Revelation 3 was written on the eve of tribulation (though not the ‘great tribulation’) to a God-fearing spiritual church at Philadelphia in Lydia, Asia Minor (modern Turkey). They were given a fantastic promise that is available for us in 2024. God sets before them – and us – ‘an open door.’ Open door means opportunity, answered prayer, breakthrough, insight, anointing and authority,
Almost like an escape hatch, during times of trouble, God prepares for His people – the bride of Christ who is watching and waiting for the bridegroom – an open door. We need to be clear that the open door is God’s doing, not ours. No one can shut the door God has opened for us; however, we would be fools not to go through it.
Many times we are not aware that a door exists at all until we feel trapped and call out to the Lord. Here are some Scriptural precedents:
- Pharaoh’s double-dream led to the opening of the door for Joseph so in one calendar day, he was catapulted from prison to the palace (Genesis 41:12-15).
- The plagues of Egypt opened the door of freedom and Moses led the children of Israel through that door (Exodus 11:1).
- The power of the Spirit and angelic strength raised Christ from the dead. The stone at the mouth of the tomb was rolled away and Jesus walked through that open door (Matthew 28:2; Romans 8:11).
The challenges of 2023 – listed above plus many more – are still with us. They are big, numerous, complicated, and, in some cases unsolvable, humanely speaking. These challenges have been rolled over into 2024.
Yet remember this: the more pressure and intensity, the more glory. We are being prepared for a glorious kingdom. Our capital is the city with foundations, whose splendour is so overwhelming that we will be speechless (see Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 4; 21; 22). God’s glory replaces the pain, burden, and hopelessness with light, life, and love. Troubles, trials and tribulations will be easily and quickly forgotten. The shame, stain, and stench of sin will be replaced with the sweet incense of the prayers and praises of the saints. And that’s why we need to focus on the open door because it is the gateway to glory.
We can learn a lot from the Philadelphian church about the open door, the glory, and the refuge. Here was their pre-requisites:
- They had little power,
- They kept Christ’s Word;
- They did not deny His name (Revelation 3:8).
- Most importantly, they patiently endured. They kept believing, trusting, and walking with the Lord. This separates the mature fruit-bearing believer (John 15:8) from the barren immature believer. Churchill was known to say ‘Never ever give up’ and as the old British war motto says: ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ That’s patient endurance. It makes you an overcomer and earns you an unfading crown.
Here is a shopping list of four things you need to do to patiently endure and go through the open door of glory. They are called the ‘Four ‘W’s’
- Wake: Ephesians 5:14: The ‘sleeping saint’ is told to wake up, arise from the dead, and Christ will give him/her light. Revival starts when we are asleep to the world and awake to God.
- Watch: Mark 13:35-37: 35. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. Once you are awake, it is time to watch what’s happening and heed the prophetic signs
- Wait on God: This means to cultivate the lost art of ‘waiting on God.’ It says in Psalm 62:5: My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Only God is the only One Who can direct, guide, provide, and protect you. Isaiah 40:31 says those who wait on God shall renew their strength. Those who actively, passionately, devotionally, and prayerfully ‘wait on God’ will not fail to get to the next level.
- Work: Nehemiah 4:6: …the people had a mind to work. Once a person waits on God and He speaks to them, it is time to go to work. In Acts 13:2: As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted (this is part of waiting on God), the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. This dynamic duo was deployed into the mission immediately.
Back to the church in Philadelphia, Christ promised to keep them from the hour of temptation which will come and try those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:10); in other words, God is providing a way of escape. He does not outline exactly what it is but the church is called to trust Him with the details. The reason He is providing this escape is because they kept the word of His patience. Do your part and God will do His.
Finally, if you want the benefits and blessings of the open door in ’24, then remember in command in Psalm 24:9: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
When you open the door of your heart to the King of glory, He will reciprocate by opening His door to you. As a bonus, God will give you a transfusion from ‘red blood to blue blood’ as He makes us ‘kings and priests’ (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10).
It is truly the offer too good to refuse.