Noah and the Open and Shut Door Doctrine

In Genesis 7:16 the Bible says: “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut them in.” Genesis 6:16 states that when God instructed Noah to build the ark there was to be only one door. When Noah, and his family, and all of the animals went it and were settled, then God shut them in. God commanded them to go into the ark, Noah obeyed God and did as He commanded, and when He was ready He shut them in. Noah was not in charge of the door to the ark, other than to build it. God was responsible for the door.


In Genesis 8:6-14 we have the description of Noah starting to investigate the post-flood world. Noah opened the window, and he took off the covering of the ark, to enhance his ability to assess the situation. Noah sent out birds to give him feedback as to how much of the water had dried up. When the dove came back with an olive leaf in its beak Noah knew that the trees were starting to bud. But the Scriptures do not state that Noah opened the door of the ark and left. Genesis 8:15-18 states that Noah waited until God commanded him to leave the ark, and then Noah, his family, and the animals left the ark.


Ellen White, in the book Patriarchs and Prophets pages 105-106 states the following:

“Noah and his family anxiously waited for the decrease of the waters, for they longed to go forth again upon the earth. Forty days after the tops of the mountains became visible, they sent out a raven, a bird of quick scent, to discover whether the earth had become dry. This bird, finding nothing but water, continued to fly to and from the ark. Seven days later a dove was sent forth, which, finding no footing, returned to the ark. Noah waited seven days longer, and again sent forth the dove. When she returned at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth, there was great rejoicing. Later "Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." Still he waited patiently within the ark. As he had entered at God's command, he waited for special directions to depart.

At last an angel descended from heaven, opened the massive door, and bade the patriarch and his household go forth upon the earth and take with them every living thing…”

Noah knew that he should wait upon God. God had instructed him to go into the ark, and Noah would wait for God’s instructions before leaving the ark. He waited for the Divine testimony before leaving the ark, and thus he remained in harmony with the mind of God.

Noah’s experience with the open and shut door is one of several interesting experiences that God has placed in the Bible. Each of these experiences is related within the context of a judgment scene. God, as always, is clearly trying to communicate ideas of how He handles problems and how He wants us to relate to Him. The following examples will be given and a brief summary of each event:

1.      In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were to remain there forever as long as they obeyed God’s command to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God came to investigate the situation and when it was confirmed God escorted Adam and Eve out of the one door in the Garden. But instead of shutting the door behind them, God had angels watch the door and with the flaming sword of the Word of God “keep” the way of the Tree of Life. Genesis 3:23-24

2.      In Genesis 19:1-11 God tells of another investigative judgment regarding the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God discusses the situation with Abraham and then sends His two angels into Sodom. When they arrive Lot invites them into his home to protect them and keep them safe from the citizens of Sodom and their criminal behaviors. That evening the men of Sodom seek to rape the men/angels, and Lot seeks to intercede in behalf of the men. When the men of Sodom attack Lot, the angels reveal their power and blind the men, and drag Lot through the door of the house and shut the door. This shut door symbolizes that the judgment is complete and Sodom is found wanting. The angels warn Lot to gather his family and to leave Sodom for judgment would fall on the cities as soon as the last righteous people leave the city.

3.      In Exodus 12:1-23 God tells the story of the Passover. In this story the time sequence is at the end of the series of signs and wonders. All the Egyptians have had the experience of 3 days and nights of meditation with no light. Israel has had light and is preparing for deliverance from God. Moses, the prophet of God, is instructed to warn all that the next plague will be the destruction of all of the first born children. To protect your child one would have to put the blood of a lamb on the doorposts. If one did not put blood on the doorposts then the first born child would die. This issue is a judgment scene that separates all who trust and believe in God from those who choose to rebel. All of the Israelites put blood on the door post, and all of the Egyptians who chose to believe in God and His prophet, put blood on their doorposts and were saved. All who rebelled against God were judged worthy of losing their first born child. This judgment scene opened the door to leave Egypt and walk with God.

4.      In Matthew 25:1-13 God tells another shut door story. In this one there are ten virgins waiting for a wedding party so that they may all go in and celebrate the wedding with the bride and groom. There is a tarrying period of time to separate the wise from the foolish virgins. At midnight the wedding party arrives and a loud cry goes out to the people and the wise virgins have sufficient experiences with the Holy Spirit to keep the lamp of the Word going in their hearts, minds, and experiences, and they are ready to go into the Wedding Feast. The foolish virgins do not have this kind of experience with the Holy Spirit and are left outside to try to find oil for their lamps. When they finally come to the door the Groom comes out to tell them that He does not know them and that they can not come through the door and are lost.

5.      In John 10:1-18 Jesus tells the story of the sheepfold. He states clearly that He is the Good Shepherd and He is the door to the sheepfold – the place of safety for His sheep. He declares that anyone who tries to get into the sheepfold any other way than through him is declared to be a robber. He invites all His sheep, even those in other folds, to come unto Him and He will give them rest. All who will not come with Him are robbers and will be destroyed.

6.      In Revelation 3:7 God writes about the church of Philadelphia and speaks of the fact that He is the one who opens the door and no man can shut it and closes the door and no man can open it. The time of the church of Philadelphia is that of 1840-1844 at the time of the shutting of the door to the Holy Place which had been open since 31AD all the way down to 1844. At the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, 457 BC to 1844 AD, God opened the door to the Most Holy Place and started the official Day of Judgment – The Antitypical Day of Atonement.

7.      In Revelation 3:20 we have another door that God speaks of. In this door God is speaking to the church of Laodicea. He is calling for His people of judgment, to open the door of their hearts so that He may come in and accomplish His wonderful work in their lives. If this door stays shut to Jesus these people will be lost. If they open the door then Jesus will enter it and shut it to the entire world. Each person will make this final decision as the judgment comes to its final conclusion as spoken of in Revelation 16:17; 22:11.

God has given us these door stories to get a glimpse of how He conducts His judgment. In each story we are told of the circumstances, that God Himself would come and judge the situation, and that in each case a door is a symbol of the judgment scene. Today, let us study these things out and make a decision to keep the door of our hearts open to Him.

 For further studies on Noah see: