“I Will … Sup with Him”

“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.” —Revelation 3:20

THESE INTIMATE WORDS of the Master are addressed to the “church of the Laodiceans” (vs. 14), and they clearly apply to his followers at the end of the Gospel Age, the time of his Second Presence. The precious truth concerning Christ’s Second Presence is presented in the Scriptures in many and varied ways, for there is no one manner of expression, and no single symbolism, that could adequately convey to our finite minds all that is involved in the great parousia truth.

He comes as a “thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10)—that is one way of expressing it—and from this symbolic language we gather the idea that only those who are awake and watching are aware of his return. But there is more than that to it—more than merely the fact that some know about his return, and some do not. The parable of the virgins reveals that when the Bridegroom returns, those who are ready go in with him to the marriage, while the foolish virgins who have no “oil” in their “vessels” have to remain outside in the darkness.—Matt. 25:1-13

Then there are the parables of the pounds and the talents, both teaching us that when the Lord returns there is a reckoning with his servants, and the rewarding of those who have been faithful. Again, there is that prophecy of Paul’s, which informs us that when the time came for the Lord to descend from heaven, the dead in Christ would rise first, and that those who were alive would remain for a time until they were ‘caught up’, or exalted to be with the Lord in the ‘air’, or spiritual phase of the kingdom.

It is to these that the Master addresses himself in the words of our text: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” This expression clearly indicates the fact of his presence, and at the same time emphasizes that the only ones who will appreciate this vital dispensational truth would be those who were willing, when they heard his knock, to open the doors of their hearts and allow the great fact of his presence to possess their lives. There have been many already throughout the period of his parousia who have learned of his return, yet have failed to appreciate the importance of this great truth because they have not invited the Master to come into their lives in the full sense of the word.


The construction of our text indicates that the terms ‘knock’ and ‘voice’ are synonymous in meaning—‘I stand at the door and knock’, ‘if any man hear my voice’. This suggests that the knock by which the Master announces his presence is in reality his ‘voice’, and throughout the Scriptures a voice is used to symbolize a message. The Lord’s voice is the Lord’s message, or the truth which he desires to convey to his servants.

There are certain fundamental characteristics concerning the voice of God by which it can be identified throughout all the ages. For example, the Apostle Peter tells us that the “times of restitution” had been “spoken by the mouth of all God’s holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21) This same message was featured in the Master’s ministry. It enters into the ministry of the apostles, and is prominently set forth in the Book of Revelation.

The voice of the Lord also has dispensational aspects. When Noah, for example, heard his voice, it was a message pertaining to the coming Flood, with instructions concerning what Noah was to do about it.

Abraham heard the voice of God. To him it was a promise of coming blessing through his seed; and, of immediate concern, the call to leave his own people and his father’s house, and go to a land which the Lord would show him.

At the burning bush Moses heard the voice of the Lord, and the message pertained to the deliverance of the Hebrew children from their bondage in Egypt. As with Moses, so also with both Noah and Abraham, while it must have been a wonderful experience to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to them, yet it was costly, for it changed the whole course of their lives.

Each of the holy prophets, in turn, heard the voice of God speaking to them. Isaiah, for example, heard the voice out of the temple which he saw in vision, and a question was asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah knew that this question was meant for him. It was the Lord knocking at the door of his heart, and he replied, “Here am I; send me.”—Isa. 6:8

Saul of Tarsus heard the voice of the Lord, and in his case a human instrument was sent to deliver the message. To Ananias the Lord said, “Go thy way. … For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”—Acts 9:15,16

Isaiah was given an important message to deliver to the Lord’s people, and Paul was made a special apostle to the Gentiles. Thus in the case of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and Paul, particular truths were given to each in keeping with what the Lord wanted each one of them to do for him. And this is particularly true of the Lord’s people during the time of the Master’s Second Presence.

The Old Testament illustrations, which we have used to show what is meant by the voice of the Lord, have to do with Jehovah. But the principle is the same when Christ is involved, as in our text. He stands at the door, not merely of individual hearts, but of the Laodicean church. His knocking at that door is a ‘dispensational’ knocking, an announcement of his Second Presence. The only ones who receive the blessing from this announcement are those who hear his voice, his message, and not only hear it but respond to it in full consecration to do whatever the Master’s will might be for them at this time.

Whether it be Jehovah, or his beloved Son, who speaks, it is for the purpose of inviting those who hear to cooperate in the divine arrangements. It means that there is a work to be done which human ambassadors are given the privilege of doing. That is what the voice of the Lord meant to all his faithful servants of old, and it is what the voice of the Master means to us today.


It is well to remember that when the Lord invites cooperation in the work he is doing, he enlightens his servants as to what he wants done, and how to do it. Some would have us believe that many of the Lord’s people have served him blindly, spending time and energy and talent in doing things which were not the Lord’s work at all, and that the Lord blessed them simply because they supposed they were doing his will. Such a viewpoint puts the Lord in the position of not being able to enlighten his servants, and thus less able to carry on his work than are the children of this world.

The purpose of all revealed truth concerning the divine plan is that those to whom the light is given might be able to cooperate intelligently with the Lord. This is particularly true during the time of the Lord’s Second Presence. His ‘voice’ , or message, makes known marvelous things pertaining to the divine plan, not merely to thrill those thus enlightened, although it does result in great rejoicing of heart, but in order also that they might become acceptable co-workers with the Lord in the work that pertains to the end of the age.

And how marvelous are the truths which the ‘voice’ has made known to the saints in this time of the Master’s parousia! First let us consider the fundamental characteristics of the voice of the Lord that can be identified in practically every message of the Lord from the very beginning—the glorious hope of restitution for the world of mankind. This great hope of the world was largely lost sight of during the Dark Ages, but because the return of the Lord Jesus marked the beginning of a transition period into the restitution age, it was due time that this message again be brought to the fore and publicized by our Lord’s witnesses.

In order for the saints to be able to announce the incoming age of restitution, it was essential that this precious doctrine be restored to them. Let us not think for a moment that because restitution is not for us, we should not concern ourselves with it. Rather, we should keep it in the forefront of our message. It is ‘meat in due season’ because the Lord wants it proclaimed to the world.

“The harvest is the end of the world [age)” (Matt. 13:39), declared Jesus in his explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares. The Master’s Second Presence is also at the end of the age, and he is the Chief Reaper in the harvest work. Appropriately, therefore, his voice announced the time for the beginning of the harvest, and in connection with that vital truth, the call to “come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4) To open the door and let the Master come in when this feature of his voice is heard, implies obedience to the call to come out of Babylon. And how richly the Lord has blessed those who have obeyed that call!


One of the strongest evidences that those rejoicing in the knowledge of present truth have indeed heard the voice of the returned Lord, is the outstanding manner in which world events have verified that part of the message pertaining to the coming of a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1) This feature of the Lord’s message was revealed to his servants, and published worldwide for many years during which the wise of this world—particularly the outstanding churchmen of the time—were emphasizing that the world was fast being Christianized, and that an era of universal peace was dawning. They scoffed at the idea that their boasted civilization was about to be destroyed. In view of what has already occurred, what better proof could we have that the ‘voice’ which was heard was truly that of the Master!

There is still another aspect to the voice of the Lord at this time—the voice of present truth. It is that which relates to the Jewish people and Israel. How little evidence there was at the beginning of the harvest of what we have now seen occur in connection with these people and their Promised Land! Yet, the ‘voice’ made it clear that the time had come when these developments should be expected. This great truth was accepted and proclaimed by those who heard the knock of the Master’s Second Presence, and now their faith in what they heard and proclaimed has been vindicated.


The Master promised that he would come in and sup with those who, when hearing his voice, opened their hearts to him. This language is similar to that contained in another promise he made. It is recorded in Luke 12:37,42. Here the Lord says that when he returned he would serve his people with “meat in due season,” using a special steward of his own appointment to do this. (Matt. 24:45-47) There is, of course, a variation of thought in the two illustrations, for in one he sups with his people, and in the other he serves the food to them. But in both illustrations the food undoubtedly is symbolic of the precious truths which are revealed to the Lord’s people as a result of the Master’s Second Presence. And how rich this portion of meat in due season has been, and how sweet the communion we have enjoyed with the Master as we have sat down to meat with him, and enjoyed his fellowship in the truth that has meant so much blessedness to the saints during this time of his parousia.—Dan. 12:10,12

The Master’s promise recorded by Luke confirms the true meaning of our text by its reference to the Lord knocking when he returns. It reads, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” (Luke 12:35,36) It is those who ‘open unto him immediately’ when they hear the knock that are served with ‘meat in due season’; and it is these also with whom the Lord sups, that is, who have the blessed privilege of communion with him.

“Let your loins be girded about,” the Master admonished. The Apostle Peter picks up this illustration and enlarges upon it, saying, “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Pet. 1:13) The ‘revelation’ of Jesus Christ here referred to is his apokalupsis, or ‘disclosure’, at his Second Presence. The Master discloses his presence to his faithful followers before his revealment to the world. He stands at the door and knocks for the very purpose of disclosing to those in the household that he has returned and is present, waiting to be admitted.

It is true, of course, that the Master revealed himself in glory to the risen saints when he returned, and in this full sense of the word his apokalupsis to the saints this side of the veil has not taken place, but he has, nevertheless, disclosed his presence to them. Throughout the entire harvest period he has been standing at the door knocking, and those who have had hearing ears have recognized his voice, have opened to him, and together with him they have been enjoying the great feast of truth which has been spread before them.

What grace, what favor this has been! Nor tongue nor pen can describe the joy it has brought to all those who have responded to the Master’s voice. Their entire outlook on life has been changed. Their questions have all been answered, and their doubts and their fears removed. May those of us who have experienced this marvelous grace of the Lord never lose sight of the importance of what it means in our lives. May the hearing of the voice of our present Lord never become a commonplace experience. May we never fail to realize how highly favored we have been above the world.

If we are losing our keen appreciation of the Master’s ‘voice’—the voice of present truth—we should consider for a moment what life would be like in this fear-filled and maniacal world of today if we knew nothing at all about the divine plan of the ages. How dark and uncertain everything then would be! Indeed, life would have little meaning, and the necessary daily humdrum to eke out an existence would seem empty and without purpose. It is the truth—the truth of the Master’s presence—that gives the enlightened Christian of today a real hope and a noble purpose in life.

The rich feast of pure truth enjoyed by those who have responded to the Master’s voice comprises not alone the dispensational features of the divine plan which pertain particularly to this end of the Gospel Age, but to the whole plan of God; for, in the light of the Lord’s Second Presence, that plan has been clarified as never before.

The true nature and purpose of the creation of the earth and of man, has been made plain.

What constitutes the penalty for sin has been clarified, and the traditional theory of torment exposed for the blasphemy that it is.

Real meaning has been given to God’s dealing with Abraham and his natural descendants, and the oath-bound covenant made with him revealed to contain an epitome of God’s eternal purpose to bless all the families of the earth.

We have learned the purpose of God in entering into the Law Covenant with the nation of Israel—that it was to serve as a “schoolmaster” to reveal the need of the redemptive work of Christ.—Gal. 3:24

We have come to understand clearly why Jesus died, and just how his death provides for the release of all mankind from the great prison-house of death. (Isa. 42:7; 61:1-3) And contrast the beauty and simplicity of this true doctrine of the ransom with the grotesque theory of the Dark Ages, to the effect that Jesus was God incarnate in flesh, and that either the God of the universe was dead for three days, or else Jesus’ death on the cross was a mere sham, that he did not die at all.

And how wonderful is the doctrine of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14) Before we heard the voice of the Master announcing the fact of his Second Presence, our conception of the church’s heavenly reward was very vague indeed. With most people in the churches of today, heaven is looked upon as a place to go when one dies, rather than to a hell of fire—a sort of last resort when it is impossible to remain here any longer. But how different is the true Scriptural teaching on this subject, and how we should rejoice in our glorious hope of joint-heirship with Christ and the earnestly-looked-for privilege of sharing with him in the work of blessing all the families of the earth!

The truth concerning the true identity of the Holy Spirit, and how it comes into our lives to control and bless us as we endeavor to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, has also been made plain. How satisfying it is to know the meaning of such expressions as “baptized” by the Spirit, “begotten” of the Spirit, “born” of the Spirit, “sealed” by the Spirit, and “anointed” by the Spirit! The best way to discover how we have been blessed with a knowledge of this precious truth is to try to explain it to someone whom the Lord has not favored with a hearing ear. That will help us to realize how dense is the darkness of the world.

And how grand it is to know that the plan of God has not failed, simply because the world has not yet been converted. It is worth a great deal to understand this truth today—this day when the whole world is fast becoming more deeply engrossed in pleasure, sin, and carnality. The lack of this knowledge is causing many to lose their faith because they recognize the failure of the churches, and they take this to mean that there is no real foundation to the claims of Christianity. But to us who have heard the voice of the Master, this situation but helps to confirm our faith in the outworking of the divine plan, and particularly does it help to substantiate our confidence in the fact of our Lord’s Second Presence; for it was he himself who asked, prophetically, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”—Luke 18:8

So we might continue recalling one point of truth after another which has been clarified through the light shed upon the Word as a result of the Master’s Second Presence. How refreshing and soul-satisfying it has been to have these precious morsels of spiritual food spread upon the banquet table and to have the privilege of sitting at this table with the Master while he sups with us and we with him!

But let us not think that this feast is in itself the Lord’s objective in allowing us to hear his voice. It is not. It is but the preparation for a work he wants us to do—a future work, as well as a present work—and we will prove worthy of joining in the future work by faithfulness in performing the service assigned to us now. And what is that service? It is that of being his ambassadors, his witnesses. To use another scriptural illustration, we at this end of the age are the ‘feet’ members of the body of Christ, and the prophet declares, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”—Isa. 52:7

Our appreciation of the banquet of truth will increase in proportion to our faithfulness in making known the glad tidings to others. So let us be faithful! Let us spurn the cold indifference of the world, and the opposition of churchianity, and fulfill faithfully our destiny as “witnesses of Jesus, and for the Word of God.” (Rev. 20:4) In this way we will be copies of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to a Roman governor, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”—John 18:37

It is not without deep significance that immediately following the Master’s assertion, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,” he should say to those who hear his voice and open unto him, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21) It is this that the Spirit is saying to the Lord’s consecrated people today. Let us keep our ears attuned to his voice, and our hearts devoted entirely to the doing of his will, faithfully, even unto death!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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