Rev 3:7-13 – Part 1
The church in Philadelphia is the one that everyone wants to belong to – the Church of Brotherly Love! They receive only encouragement from Yeshua. As good and blessed as this assembly is described by the Lord to be, even here the call is to be overcomers. It is not enough to be in the “right church”; or to hold the “right doctrines”, such as was in the church in Ephesus; or to do many “good works”, as did the churches in Thyatira and in Sardis.
We must be overcomers in our personal faith and relationship with our Head, and with His Body (brotherly love [Jn 13:34-35; 2Pt 1:2-11; 1Jn 5:1-5]), as we live out our lives in a world opposed to Him. It is important for us to remember that the Lord told John at the end of the Book of Revelation that this book is for all believers to read and to keep. And He also closes each of His letters with the admonition that those who have an ear to hear hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. All of these letters are for all of us, no matter which “church” describes “ours”.
v 7 To the angel of the church in Philadelphia (meaning “brotherly love”): These things says He who is holy; He who is true; He who has the key of David, who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens. (Is 22:22)
Jesus is holy in Himself (uniquely the Son of God: God manifest in the flesh). There is none like Him. We are holy in Him, and He commands us to be holy, for He is holy. When God chooses someone for His purpose – whether for good or for judgment – that person is holy. Israel is still the holy land, the holy people by virtue of being singularly chosen by YHVH as His. Yet the Jewish people and the land of Israel are not living a holy till now.
Yeshua knows fully who He is and what He is about. He is true, and He is the Truth. (Jn 8:12-19; 14:6) That God raised Him from among the dead proves that everything that Jesus spoke is true and truth – Emanuel, the Word of God, doing the works of His Father. (Jn 12:44-50)
God is faithful to His covenants and promises. Most of the book of Revelation is about the return of the Kingdom [of YHVH] to Israel, the timing of which the apostles inquired of the Lord just before He ascended back to the Throne of the Father in Heaven, from where He now sovereignly reigns until He comes again. (1Sam 8:1-9; Acts 1:4-11) Yeshua, the Anointed One/Messiah/Christ (as the Prophet, the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and the King of Israel and King of kings) had the authority to give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to the Apostle Peter, who was directed to use them to open the way for the Gentiles to come in as equal citizens of the kingdom with the redeemed and saved Jews. (Mt 16:15-19; Acts 15:6-11) This is also connected with the rebuilding of the booth/tabernacle of David, who attracted to and included in his anointed kingship both Jews and Gentiles. (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:13-20) The gospel of salvation and the Kingdom is to go out to all people everywhere until the end of the age. When the fullness of the Gentiles come in, then “all Israel” will be saved.
The salvation of the full remnant from all the tribes (God knows who is who; no one is “lost” to Him!) will be the “all Israel” that is saved. The salvation of the people and nation of Israel is the key that will bring, as it were, the blessing of life from the dead also for all the surviving nations of the world when the Father returns the Kingdom to Israel for Yeshua’s/Jesus’ 1000-year reign with the saints over Israel and the nations. (Rom 11:11-15, 25-36; Rev 20:4-6) Yeshua is the Heir to David’s throne, to rule and judge the people with equity. (Ps 98) David’s throne will be in the earthly Jerusalem. This is not a light matter in a book which says that there is a curse for those who add to or take away from the words of the book of this prophecy: for many Christians do not believe that there will be – or even should be! – the anticipated future Millennial Kingdom! (22:18-21; Gen 49: 8-12; 2Sam 7; 1Kg 12:12-24; Lk 19:9-27; Ps 89:19-37; Dan 2:44-45; 7:19-27; Lk 22:28-30; Jer 33:14-26; Is 9:7; Lk 1:26-35; Rom 1:1-4; 2Tim 2:8)
v 8 The King has opened the door that no one can shut for this church in Philadelphia whose works He knows, who have little strength, have kept His word, and have not denied His name. In other words, He has found the “angel” faithful to Him.
The Lord’s grace is sufficient for us when we know that we are weak, so we can boast in our weaknesses so that Messiah’s power may rest upon us. When I am weak, He is strong. Rather than being embarrassed or ashamed that we are not “perfect” for every situation, we can thankfully admit our short-comings and trust the Lord to obey Him and to overcome. We want to be dependent upon the grace and mercies of God, not thinking ourselves to be self-sufficient who can always succeed in the things important to Him. (2Cor 12:9-10; Phlp 4:11-13; 1Pt 1:3-9)
Believers who are ashamed of Jesus and His words in this wicked and adulterous generation, He will be ashamed of when He comes (Mk 8:34-38) We must confess the name of Yeshua/Jesus to others; not to obscure it behind titles only, or because of not wanting to sound “religious”. Often times we may say that we believe in God, or in Christ, or in HaShem, or in the Creator. What is His Name?! Which God and Anointed One and Name are we speaking of? People must call upon His Name to be saved, and His name is YHVH, and under Heaven His name is Yeshua/Jesus – the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must also agree with what He says is good, and what He says is bad; otherwise, this is to be ashamed of Him, and uncomfortable to be identified with Him in our generation. (Jn 6:53-69)
v 9 Those who say they are Jews, and are not, but lie…I will make them come and prostrate before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
There are many Christian groups who claim to be the “new Israel”, the “true Jews”, “the true people of God” – yet none of them are Jews! This is the essence of “replacement theology”. And there are also actual Jewish people who presume to be entitled to all of God’s covenants and promises, but without needing to actually believe in YHVH or in HIS Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Lord is commending the angel of this church in Philadelphia for holding to the truth of both the natural seed of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and of the Lord’s faithfulness to the seed of David; and to the uniqueness of the Church, and the New Covenant promises to the spiritual seed of Abraham — those Jews and Gentiles who believe the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God. (Rom 9 – 11)
v 10 Because you (sing.) have kept His command to persevere, and so will be kept from the hour of trial to test those who dwell on the earth. Those who are faithful to Yeshua/Jesus for who He is will pass the test, and do not have to be present during God’s wrath!
Jesus prayed not that we should be taken out of the world, but that we should be kept from the evil one. There is an end-times context in His prayer, looking ahead to the Antichrist, as well as being kept from evil generally. That needs to be our prayer as well. (Jn 17:13-20; Mt 6:9-13) YHVH knew how to protect and keep Noah and his family when He judged the then world; He knew how to deliver Lot and some of his family when He judged and overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah; He knew how to protect and deliver the children of Jacob that night of the LORD’s Passover in Egypt. We only need to be faithful, trust, and obey Him with much thanksgiving and love.
v 11 Behold! I come quickly (not ‘soon’; it was not ‘soon’ 2000 years ago, but it is much sooner now!). Hold fast what you have, that no one take your crown. Hold on to truth, and get wisdom; and do not sell them for any price! (Mt 24:36-51; 1Thes 5:1-11; Prov 2; 23:23) Love is faithful, committed, enduring. This is so for our wife or husband. How much more so for Yeshua/Jesus, our great God and Savior who loves us with an everlasting love. His death for us on the cross that we may be forgiven of our sins proves it! All glory to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb! Is this the desire of your heart? Be an overcomer to prove it! (1Jn 5:1-5)
The Holy Spirit dwells in the born-again believer to help us with the power of the living God to be so! Let us come into YHVH’s gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise! Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name! For YHVH is good, and His lovingkindness is forever, and His faithfulness to all generations! (Ps 100:4-5)
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, May 6, 2022, and reposted with permission.