“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’” Revelation 3:7.
The above has been added to maintain context, in this post we will examine Revelation 3:8-13.
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Revelation 3:8.
“A little strength”, a name here, Philipp Spener, a few names there, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and separated by distance, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney, wrestling with state church machines and apathy, David and Goliath, but, “little is much when God is in it”, Kittie L. Suffield.
You “have kept My word”, these Christians not only believed in the word of God, they lived it.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16-17.
They continually showed the face of Christ to all and in great faith went off into lands that they knew nothing of to reach the lost, many losing their own lives in doing so.
You “have not denied My name”, they were unswerving in their belief in the deity of Christ, the power of His name, and that there is salvation no other, as it is written:
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
This at a time when Satan’s blasphemous counterfeits were becoming entrenched, Joseph Smith’s Mormonism, Charles Russell’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science and a resurgence of interest in spiritism.
This and the many religions they encountered throughout the world did not deter them from following Paul’s example.
“But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:8-9.
“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie – indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” Revelation 3:9.
Again we have this synagogue of Satan; it is made up of Jews who think that just because they are children of Abraham and have the Law of Moses it means that they are righteous.
This thinking is similar to the thinking of the Reformation church members discussed earlier. There is no faith involved.
Join the right church, do the ritual and you are on your way to heaven. And the others who do not believe as you do, they are wrong.
“But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” Romans 9:6-8.
Having missed the whole point of salvation by grace, the Jews then began to persecute those who disagreed with their theology.
This synagogue of Satan will worship before the feet of the Philadelphians, this worship will be directed to the Lord Jesus Christ not the Philadelphians, and will be proof enough that the error was on the part of the Jews who persecuted the church.
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 3:10.
The hour of trial is to come upon the whole earth, the entire world, not just a part of it. This has happened once before.
“And behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; and everything that is on the earth shall die.” Genesis 6:17.
This trial that comes upon the whole world can only be the tribulation period that is about to be described in this book, so the things described are not local to Israel or the middle east, but the whole world.
Jesus promises, “I also will keep you from the hour of trial”, this is a good indicator that the rapture of the church will be before the tribulation begins.
But notice that the Christians are not only removed before the trial comes upon the whole, the entire world, but the reason is given for the tribulation, “to test those who dwell on the earth”.
The Greek word for dwell katoikeo, is a very strong one meaning earth-dwellers, and refers to those who have settled down on this earth as their home and have completely accepted its commerce and religious system. Earth Day is an example of the earth-dwellers described as katoikeo.
Look the site up and see that it includes not just noble things such as planting trees and trash cleanups. But the more sinister things which expand incompetent government control over our lives.
“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’” Isaiah 45:18.
God given freedom should not be surrendered easily.
Psalm 17 has another good example of the type of earth dweller that the Lord is referring to here.
“Arise, O Lord, confront him, cast him down; deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, with Your hand from men, O Lord, from men of the world who have their portion in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, and leave the rest of their possession for their babes. As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” Psalm 17:13-15.
I always think of Homer Simpson from the cartoon show when I think of this word katoikeo, because this world is all he lives for and he has no curiosity or even desire to consider God.
“An unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates; I would rephrase this and say “the unexamined life is a life not lived”, I have met people like this, it is tragic.
Conversely Christians are not earth-dwellers but strangers and pilgrims on this earth.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13.
“Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” Revelation 3:11.
The crown is not just something for your head; it suggests a reward of some sort for the Christian for using the gifts for service that the Lord has given them.
It is hard to imagine someone like George Whitefield receiving a set of dishes for his toils on this earth for the Lord. So too it is hard to imagine a Christian who squanders his talents by doing nothing during his sojourn here to receive much more.
Moreover the crown may be lost, even the Apostle Paul concerned himself with this.
“…I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:12.
A pillar has the sense of stability and in an earthquake plagued city like Philadelphia the thought of a house built by God with its solid immovable pillars must have been most comforting.
For the church too such a thought of being in heaven forever away from the instability and worries of this present evil world is a thought that brings peace to the heart.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
The New Jerusalem is the Christian’s home so it should not seem odd to have the seal of God on us with the name of our home where we will dwell in His presence forever.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” Revelation 21:1-4.
The above describes the eternal state after the millennium, after judgment day, and after the world and all it contains is vaporized. It is then when God’s promise of, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5a will come about as prophesied.
Christ will also give those who overcome a new name; one I am sure that will reflect their heart toward Him.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:13.
Revelation 3:8-13 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 10-6-16 reposted on 5-14-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.