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Meditation 1*

Lift Them Up, You Ancient Doors!

Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
He is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:9-10

In the depth of his soul, King David had a hankering that he himself be allowed to build the temple for the Ark of God. But a prophet came with a message from God that it was not he but “one of your own sons... is the one who will build a house for Me,” the son referring to David’s successor King Solomon (I Chronicles 17:11-12; II Samuel 7:12-13). Once David was convinced, he did not complain or try to force the issue but surrendered his heart’s deepest desire and comforted his spirit in what his son was to fulfill instead of he himself.

Ah, what a blessed, glorious day it would be when the Ark of God would be ushered into the completed Temple! In Psalm 24, David was so taken up by that vision as if that day had already arrived for him! He envisioned it all as if it were really happening right in front of his eyes. Those magnificent pinnacles, those stately and dignified walls. And then the ascent of the Ark of God as it signified His majestic presence in the Holy of Holies. It was as if David looked beyond the Ark and the Temple, right into the heart of that Other David, for whom his ancestors had prayed so fervently and of whom both Ark and Temple were nothing but a shadow and symbol.

David envisions the Ark of God ascending the slope of holy Mount Zion till the delegation runs dead into its fortress wall. That wall is punctuated by gateways, each of which has doors. For the ark to gain entry, it has to go through one of these doors, but they are too low, too diminutive, too stifling for Him, for whom the ascent of the Ark is a mere symbol of His real ascent into glory. But listen! Now in the Spirit, David sings a psalm summoning the gateway to arise, to open up, to raise its doorposts and broaden its entryway! Oh, ancient doors, expand, befit yourself for royalty, unlock yourself! For look, the King of Glory is about to enter, the Lord of the heavenly hosts, He who revives and delights my soul.

Psalm 24 does thus certainly point directly to the narrow gateway in Zion’s wall. Imagine the scene: Here’s Jerusalem with the Temple high above it and between these two that fortress wall with its formidable gateway and its ancient doors. That’s why, with the Ark as carrier of God’s majesty approaching, David sings this psalm in holy ecstasy:

Be lifted up, you ancient doors,
Lift up your heads, you gates;
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

And then once more:

Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
He is the King of glory.

However, all this, glorious as it is, is not the really essential thing, because the earthly Zion was not the essence of it. The earthly Jerusalem was only a shadow, as were the Temple and the Ark itself. Similarly, Zion’s fortress wall that separated Jerusalem from the Temple was also a shadow. All of that was nothing but graphic teaching, a symbolic representation of the real, pointing and alluding to the future permanent, the real, the eternal.

The “wise” do not understand all of this, but the Church of God and the beloved ones He has chosen do understand it. And that is the reason that throughout the ages the Church of God consciously, aggressively, and with determination declared loud and clear that David, while singing about the Ark in symbolic language, was actually referring to the actual Ascension of Jesus!

In the earthly Jerusalem people thirst after the living God, but He lives high up on Mount Zion. There are that impenetrable wall and those ancient unforgiving doors. Always that separation! To see the Temple; to know the Ark is there; to know there, there is the presence of the Lord and then those impenetrable walls, those narrow gateways and those ancient doors! Ach!

But, arise, oh, arise my soul; arise, oh, languishing Jerusalem! At the real Ascension, those barriers burst open. There flows forth salvation. There comes the King of glory! Now those impossible walls yield; those narrow gateways lift themselves up. Now, rise, rise you ancient doors for Him to enter, He the Lord of the heavenly powers and hosts, while you, who were thirsting after your God, sing and jubilate in victory!

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What then are those “ancient doors?” They represent everything that separates Jerusalem from the Ark. They are symbolic of everything that constitutes a wall between the languishing heart of the wretched and the holy glory of their God.

A door invites you to enter, but it is bolted and prevents you from entering. It is an ancient door that prevents you from entering. No matter how hard you knock and kick, it remains impenetrable, so that you conclude that it will never open. They seem like eternal doors that will keep you outside forever!

But now comes the Messiah. God has compassion for the wretched and sends you a Saviour. But what will happen? Will those doors, those ancient doors, also resist Him?

It is precisely to this question that David prophecies in the Spirit. For Him, that Messiah, those ancient doors will fly open; they will open up wide and rise on high to allow Him, the King of Glory, to enter His Kingdom.

Note well: time and again it is a door, a barrier. First, there is that ancient door of the flesh that holds you in bondage and won’t allow you to enter, that flesh that suffocates you. But Christ bursts through all of this and comes to you in that flesh Himself through that ancient door of the flesh. And so He is near you already, one with you, become like your brother.

But you have still not arrived. The Word, another name in the Bible for the Messiah, becomes flesh with you, but in such a way that the Messiah and you are both in a position of wretchedness, locked out of the heavenly Zion, banned from the desired glory with that wall and its ancient door still preventing you.

Therefore, it is imperative that out of and with that flesh further steps be taken. Ascend that mountain, from the level earth to heaven on high. That’s where the glory is, not here on earth. He is here in weakness, but once He has reached that place, He will become mighty, great in majesty and empowered to rescue you and bring you salvation.

That is the reason for the Ascension.

To Heaven! That is, to the place where weakness is glorified, where there is strength and power. That is where your flesh goes, your Messiah in your flesh, in the same flesh and blood that hung on the cross of disgrace on Golgotha.

It is now finally that those ancient doors widen themselves and rise high. Now the King of glory enters in. Your King, oh Church of God, who alone has the wherewithal to bring you

salvation, to justify and sanctify you for full salvation. Now, finally, by having entered those ancient doors into the better Tabernacle not made with hands, your King dispenses salvation and blessing. His power exudes from Him and satan slinks away, because the godless are being justified.

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But even now we have not yet reached the end of the road. There still is one more ancient door, that is, the door to your own heart, the door to your soul that satan bolted shut and sealed. Oh, how many thousands of times have you banged your head against that ancient door to your heart. It was too stuffy; in your anxious heart you could no longer stand it. You had to get out and you banged against that door and shouted, “Open up! Open up! Have mercy and don’t let me suffocate in this stuffy place.” It didn’t help; No one heard you. That door to your heart turned out to be permanent as well.

Until.... until He came, He the King of glory! When He sent His Word from His majestic throne..., it became clear to you that where the Word of the King is present, there is power. For at that moment the locks snapped and the bolts cracked; the doors opened, rose up and He entered, the Lord strong and mighty. Halleluiah!

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