Doesnt Revelation 3:20 teach that we have to ask Jesus into our heart for salvation?


Ironically, the words "ask," "Jesus," and "your heart" are not even found in this verse! How could this verse then ever be teaching that? So what is Revelation 3:20 teaching? The general context of this verse is Jesus Christ's letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3), WHICH ARE ALL JEWISH CHURCHES (see Rev.2:9; Rev.3:9). These are actual local churches that will exist at the time of Daniels 70th week; Revelation 3:14-22 is addressed by Jesus Christ to the church of Laodicea in particular. Like the waters that flowed into the city of Laodicea, the spiritual state of this church will be "lukewarm" and will make Christ want to vomit (3:15-16). While the church viewed itself in a good condition materially, our Lord viewed this same church in a wretched condition spiritually (3:17). They will be in desperate need of what Jesus Christ alone can provide for them (3:18). Verse 19 is especially significant to our discussion where the true Head of any church, in any dispensation declares:


Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

This raises the important question: who is it that Christ chastens or disciplines in His dealings with Israel? Is it the unsaved or the redeemed? Hebrews 12:6-8 answers this by teaching

Hebrews 12:6-8 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

While God judges the unbeliever, He chastens the Israelite so that they "might be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:10) in their walk according to the curses of the law. This indicates that these verses in Revelation 3:19 are addressed to Jews under the law. Regarding the use of the word "love" in Rev. 3:19, Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace has insightfully written, "Here 'phileo' is used for 'love,' a term that is never used of God/Jesus loving unbelievers in the NT. (Indeed, it would be impossible for God to have this kind of love for an unbeliever, for it routinely speaks of enjoyment and fellowship.) Agapao, rather, is the verb used of God's love for unbelievers [cf. John 3:16]. This 'phileo' must be applied to the Laodiceans here, for the verse concludes, 'Be zealous, therefore, and repent.' The inferential 'oun' ("therefore") connects the two parts of the verse, indicating that the Laodiceans are to repent because Christ loves (phileos) them!"  Thus, Jesus Christ must be addressing genuine believers who are members of the Little Flock in verse 19. Furthermore, it would be inappropriate to command a spiritually dead unbeliever to "be zealous" (or "hot" - 3:15). The Bible knows nothing of "cold" or "hot" unbelievers. And like the corrective commands given to the other four churches in this section (Rev. 2:5, 16, 22, 3:3), the believers of the church at Laodicea were to "repent." This would involve them choosing to have a decisive change of mind (metanoeson aorist active imperative of repentance) regarding their spiritual condition. This results in genuine confession of sin to God (which is further proof that the law is in effect in these passages [confession is never a doctrine of grace, it only is in affect when the law is present; 1 John 1:9; Prov. 28:13]) and a change in national direction. Right on the heels of this corrective rebuke, Jesus Christ then gives these believers a wonderful offer: Rev 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. "Behold (pay attention, listen), I stand at the door." Jesus Christ has been and continues to stand (perfect, active, indicative) at the door. The question is "what door?" Now, to assume this is the door of your "heart" is totally foreign to the passage. It would seem more appropriate to understand this as the door of the Laodicean church meeting. While this church was saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing," they actually had Jesus Christ on the outside of the church. No wonder He is then described as repeatedly "knocking" (present tense). Moving from the Laodicean church generally, Jesus Christ then appeals to the individual believers on the inside of this Jewish church. "If (3rd class condition one might or might not) any man (singular) hear my voice, and open (singular) the door, I will come in to him." Notice the two conditions that Christ requires to be fulfilled by those on the inside:

#1: "if any man hear my voice" This refers to what Jesus Christ has been saying in verses 14-19.

#2: "and opens the door" (Verses such as 2 Chronicles 27:2;28:24;29:3 talk about shutting the doors to the temple). This, again, refers to the door where the church is gathered and involves the genuine repentance He required according to the Mosaic law. Perhaps a good student of God's Word will compare Luke 22:28-30 and Revelation 3:21. Very clearly John is teaching that the Overcomers in the Seventieth Week of Daniel will get to reign with Christ! Connected with these two conditions are three wonderful promises by Jesus Christ Himself to this particular Jewish Church:

#1: "I will come in to him" This is a promise of Christ's personal, actual, entrance into the church to meet the believer face to face (the literal idea of the Greek word "pros," translated "to").

#2: "and will sup with him" This is a promise of Christ's personal fellowship with this Jewish believer at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Luke 22:28-30), and how the overcomers will get to reign with Christ, as in the next verse, Revelation 3:21.

#3: "and he with Me" This is a promise of reciprocal fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Some people have misunderstood the phrase "I will come in to him" to mean that Jesus will come into their heart, i.e., penetration into their heart. Michael Cocoris clarifies this when he writes, "Now, verse 20 itself says Christ will come "in to" (two different words), not come "into" (one word). The verse is saying that Christ will come in the church to the person, not that Christ will come into the person. When He gets in the church with the person, He will eat dinner with him. That is, He will have fellowship with him. This is not a hair-splitting of the English text, but an accurate reflection of the Greek. In Greek, "come in" (eiserchomai) is one word. It is followed by the preposition "to" (pros). That construction occurs eight times in the New Testament (Mark 6:25, 15:43; Luke 1:28; Acts 10:3, 11:3, 17:2, 28:8; Rev. 3:20). In each instance it means to enter into a building and stand before a person."  Now please note that there is no need to ASK JESUS IN! He promises to come in and is knocking, wanting to come and fellowship with any Jewish believer if he/she is willing to hear His word and open the door of this particular local church. Chester McCalley further writes, "verse 20 is speaking of fellowship, not salvation. There were different words for the morning, noon, and evening meals. The word translated dine was the one used for the evening meal that consisted of leisurely, relaxed conversation and fellowship around the food. This verse is not appropriate in the evangelization for the unbeliever. The proper term for the required response to the gospel message is to believe."  Revelation 3:20 is a verse for the Little Flock, NOT the MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. It is a promise of personal fellowship with and from Jesus Christ, NOT AN OFFER OF SALVATION. And even if it was a salvation verse (though it is not), nowhere is the concept of "asking Jesus into your heart" found in this verse. "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I WILL COME IN TO HIM." You need not ask Him in.