Samson and the Open and Shut Door Doctrine
“All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 13:34-35
All through the Bible our Creator – Jesus Christ the Son of God, has spoken to us in parables, to use the things of this world to communicate specific ideas to us that we might know His holy will for us. Jesus, the Christ (I Corinthians 10:4) has used concepts, forms, and parables, to teach us about what He will do. Three examples of this form of teaching are displayed in the wedding feast of Matthew 25:1-13. In this story the bridegroom calls to have people come to His wedding. They had an unknown time to get ready for the wedding and to be prepared. When the call came out to meet the Bridegroom 50% of the virgins had prepared and went into the door of the wedding room and the door was shut. No amount of pleading could open the door to allow any other people into the wedding. Those who had used their time to prepare were ready and those who were not ready were not allowed into the wedding.
In the story of Noah and the Ark is another “door” story. In Genesis 6-7 the story is told of the Christ instructing Noah to prepare a boat and get as many ready for the flood to come because God would destroy man for his wickedness. When all was prepared the Christ brought in all kinds of birds, insects (creeping things), and animals into the ark and then Noah and his family went into the ark. Apparently even with all of these warnings, and supernatural displays, no one else repented or sought their way into the Ark. When all who wanted to go into the Ark were there and settled, then the Lord shut them in (Genesis 7:16). The device with which they were shut in was an enclosure/door. It was God who shut them in, not Noah. Once the door was shut no one else could enter, and then destruction came upon the world for their “appointed time” (Acts 17:26; Genesis 15:15) had come and there was nothing else that God could do to save anyone else.
This story is repeated in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. After Jesus had told Abraham about His investigative Judgment process He allowed Abraham to intercede for Sodom to display His own character as revealed through His follower and friend Abraham. Abraham did for Sodom what they were not willing to do for themselves. While this process was going on between Jesus the Christ and Abraham, His angels had gone to Sodom to test out their state of mind and heart. Lot met them in the gate of Sodom and warned them not to stay in the street but to come to his house. While in Lot’s house the men of the city came to the house seeking to harm the visitors. They tried to break down the door behind which the visitors were standing and by their attempts they sealed their destiny and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were confirmed. The door was the symbol of their closed probation.
In the story of Samson this principle is carried out again. All through Israel’s history God had been trying to win over the hearts of the Philistines. They had heard of the power of Israel’s God in the destruction of Egypt, the Red Sea, the conquering of Og of Bashan and Sihon the Amorite (Deuteronomy 2:24-3:11), and then the destruction of Jericho, and the conquering of the many nations of Canaan. Yet they resisted the calls of God and resisted the power of God as displayed through Samson. This finally was brought to a temporary conclusion in the destruction of the Philistines as the temple of Dagon. All knew of the power of God and all knew of the power of God displayed through Samson, yet they insisted that they would honor the gods of the Philistines in contempt of the God of Israel. They entered into the temple with the desire to reject the One True God of this earth, and of the universe, and when they entered through the doorways of Dagon’s temple, with the intent to cast contempt of the God of Israel, they closed their personal probationary period of life. When in the temple of Dagon, and fully invested in the worship of their god, God empowered Samson to pull this massive temple down upon the people. Their door to salvation had been closed and there was no more chance of salvation for them.
Because the Philistine leadership was killed off there was opportunity for Israel to break off their chains of control by the Philistines but they refused to take advantage of this opportunity and the fighting between Israel and the Philistines continued on for numbers of years. There were many sad stories of interactions between Israel and the Philistines and more and more messages of the power of the God of Israel went out to the peoples of the Philistines. Praise God there was a large group of Philistines from Gath, in II Samuel 15:17-22, who entered into the gate of Israel, when David was fleeing from Absalom. 600 families of Philistines, under the leadership of Ittai the Gittite, came to Israel to join with the people of God as allowed under the law of the stranger within the gate (Exodus 20:10). These people joined Israel as Ruth had joined Israel (Ruth chapters 1-4) long before. These people had learned from the testimony of Samson and took full advantage of the mercies of Jehovah – the Christ of I Corinthians 10:4.
These stories go back and forth all through the Bible, people wanting to find God and people trying to avoid finding God, heathen nations surrendering to God and heathen nations rebelling against God. God tells the stories of nations coming to Him, and of individuals coming to Him, of nations avoiding Him and individuals avoiding Him. But in each and every case God has known from the beginning what would happen and He made arrangements to find each and every soul out there so that not one would be lost (Amos 9:9). God has a plan to save all who want to be saved.
This process goes all the way to the end of time. And God again capitalizes on the story of Samson. He says He has the keys to the doors of the grave and of death (Revelation 1:18) and He has the key of David and can open the door and no one can shut it (Revelation 3:7-8). This sets the stage for Jesus coming to each of us to knock on the doors of our hearts and gives each one of us the opportunity to come to Him. But in the end God will give opportunity to each and every soul that wants to be saved. When Jesus determines that all have been saved who want to be saved, then He will pronounce that it has all come to an end (Revelation 16:17). All will either be saved, or they will choose to be lost (Revelation 22:11).
Jesus has testified to all of these stories throughout the Bible. He has told us the stories of the many Bible heroes in the Bible and how He used them to accomplish His holy will of saving all of the people who want to know. In the pantheon of Bible heroes (Hebrews 11) we have many people listed and right in the middle of the list is Samson (Hebrews 11:32). It is our opportunity to be ready to learn the lessons of God from the stories of the Bible, like Samson’s story. We must be ready so that when the Lord calls us we will get in the door before it is shut and our only hope of getting in is to allow Jesus to prepare us and lead us for He is the door (John 10:7). He will work until all that will choose to be saved respond to His calls. Only Jesus knows what that time will come but He requires that all of us have such a relationship with Him that when He calls we will come unto Him to have rest. This is our opportunity, let us take it and choose Him today.