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Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: "if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Does Rev 3:20 refer to: the hearts of sinners or of the saved? Is Jesus "knocking" at the door of the heart of the lost or is Jesus calling believers back to fellowship with God?

Closeness with the Lord can be lost if we become lukewarm in our love for Jesus, see the church of Laodicea to whom this verse is directed to. The context of Rev 3:20 is referred to those of the church of Laodicea that were lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, but were nonetheless, believers. That's why He portrays Himself as standing outside the door of our heart waiting to be invited in so that this sense of intimacy can be renewed. Disobedience can break that close fellowship, but it can be restored: by repenting, opening our heart's door anew to Him, and letting Him take full control once more.

Moreover, it must be noted: if any man hear my voice. Only His sheep hear His voice and respond, and He knows them, beforehand: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" Joh 10:27.

The non-believers cannot recognise the voice of the Master nor can they "hear", nor they seek Him,  for it is written: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (Romans 3:11)

In the case of the Laodecians, they were His sheep, they were hearing His voice and He knew them personally, but they were following Him not, for their love had waxed cold and had become lukewarm.  For this reason the Lord, in His infinite love and longsuffering, was exhorting them to renew their relation with God. a

It seems clear that Rev 3:20 is directed to the <believers> rather than <unbelievers>, that is, specifically to the lukewarm believers of Laodicea, a type of modern church, and still now He exhorts all the lukewarm believer to renew their covenant with God and to become zealous for Him, again.

To apply this verse to "non Believers" is to take the verse out of context and apply an ecclesiastic twisting.  Such bending does not bring honour to God for it reduces Him to a poor idiot desperately imploring His creature to open the door to let Him in out of the cold.  Is this our god?  Surely it is NOT the God of the Bible for the true God is Sovereign over all and does what He wants, in Heaven as on earth, an no one can say. "What are You doing?"  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35 )

This is the meaning of this verse.

aymon de albatrus

John Gill     Expositor
Behold, I stand at the door and knock
. The phrase of standing at the door may be expressive of the near approach, or sudden coming of Christ to judgment, see Jam 5:9; and his knocking may signify the notice that will be given of it, by some of the immediate forerunners and signs of his coming; which yet will be observed but by a few, such a general sleepiness will have seized all professors of religion; and particularly may intend the midnight cry, which will, in its issue, rouse them all in the appearances of things and providences in the world and open the door; or show a readiness for the coming of Christ, look and wait for it, and be like such that will receive him with a welcome:

I will come unto him, and sup with him, and he with me; to and among these will Christ appear when he comes in person; and these being like wise virgins, ready, having his grace in their hearts, and his righteousness upon them, he will take them at once into the marriage chamber, and shut the door upon the rest; when they shall enjoy a thousand years communion with him in person here on earth; when the Lamb on the throne will feed them with the fruit of the tree of life, and lead them to fountains of living water, and his tabernacle shall be among them.

Poole Matthew’s NT Poole’s     Commentary
There is a double interpretation of this text, each of them claiming under very valuable interpreters; some making it a declaration of Christ’s readiness to come in to souls, and to give them a spiritual fellowship and communion with himself; others interpreting it of Christ’s readiness to come to the last judgment, and to take his saints into an eternal joyful fellowship and communion with himself: hence there is a different interpretation of every sentence in the text.

I stand at the door; either, in my gospel dispensations, I stand at the door of sinners’ hearts; or, I am ready to come to judge the world.

And knock by the inward monitions and impressions of my Spirit, or my ministers more externally; or, I am about to knock, that is, I am ready to have the last trump sounded.

If any man hear my voice, and open the door that is, if any man will hearken to the counsels and exhortations of my ministers, and to the monitions of my Spirit, and not resist my Holy Spirit; or, if any man hath heard my voice, and opened his heart to me.

I will come in to him; I will come in by my Spirit, and all the saving influences of my grace; or, I will come to him as a Judge to acquit him.

And will sup with him, and he with me and I will have a communion with him in this life, he shall eat my flesh, and drink my blood; or, I will have an eternal fellowship and communion with him in my glory. The phrase seems rather to favour the first sense; the so frequent mention before of Christ’s coming to judgment, and the reward of another life, as arguments to persuade the angels of the churches to their duty, favours the latter sense.


Jamieson, Fausset, Brown      Commentaries
—waiting in wonderful condescension and long-suffering.

knock—(Sos 5:2). This is a further manifestation of His loving desire for the sinner’s salvation. He who is Himself "the Door" and who bids us "knock" that it may be "opened unto" us, is first Himself to knock at the door of our hearts. If He did not knock first, we should never come to knock at His door. Compare Sos 5:4-6, which is plainly alluded to here; the Spirit thus in Revelation sealing the canonicity of that mystical book. The spiritual state of the bride there, between waking and sleeping, slow to open the door to her divine lover, answers to that of the lukewarm Laodicea here. "Love in regard to men emptied (humbled) God; for He does not remain in His place and call to Himself the servant whom He loved, but He comes down Himself to seek him, and He who is all-rich arrives at the lodging of the pauper, and with His own voice intimates His yearning love, and seeks a similar return, and withdraws not when disowned, and is not impatient at insult, and when persecuted still waits at the doors"

my voice—He appeals to the sinner not only with His hand (His providences) knocking, but with His voice (His word read or heard; or rather, His Spirit inwardly applying to man’s spirit the lessons to be drawn from His providence and His word). If we refuse to answer to His knocking at our door now, He will refuse to hear our knocking at His door hereafter. In respect to His second coming also, He is even now at the door, and we know not how soon He may knock: therefore we should always be ready to open to Him immediately.

if any man hear—for man is not compelled by irresistible force: Christ knocks, but does not break open the door, though the violent take heaven by the force of prayer (Mat 11:12): whosoever does hear, does so not of himself, but by the drawings of God’s grace (Joh 6:44): repentance is Christ’s gift (Act 5:31). He draws, not drags. The Sun of righteousness, like the natural sun, the moment that the door is opened, pours in His light, which could not previously find an entrance.

I will come in to him—as I did to Zaccheus.

sup with him, and he with me—Delightful reciprocity! Compare "dwelleth in me, and I in Him", Joh 6:56. Whereas, ordinarily, the admitted guest sups with the admitter, here the divine guest becomes Himself the host, for He is the bread of life, and the Giver of the marriage feast. Here again He alludes to the imagery of Sos 4:16, where the Bride invites Him to eat pleasant fruits, even as He had first prepared a feast for her, "His fruit was sweet to my taste." Compare the same interchange, Joh 21:9-13, the feast being made up of the viands that Jesus brought, and those which the disciples brought. The consummation of this blessed intercommunion shall be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, of which the Lord’s Supper is the earnest and foretaste.