What makes the seven letters to the churches special is that they were dictated by the Lord Jesus Himself. It was a privilege to preach through all seven letters from October 27-December 8, 2019. What I have attempted to do here is not a formal exposition of the text. I have tried to simply summarize the text, its theology, and its application as an aid to study and meditation. I pray that you, dear reader, find it helpful as you ponder the text.
Revelation 3:7 - “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:”
Summary: Jesus tells John the apostle to write to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia, and identify Him as the one who is holy and true, who possesses the key of David so that what He opens cannot be shut and what He shuts cannot be opened.
Theology: Jesus is the holy and true one (a name used for both Messiah and God), and He possesses the key of David (governmental authority [cf. Isa 22:22-23]) so that no one can thwart His actions.
Application: Let us worship Jesus, the holy and true one, who holds the key of David and cannot be overpowered. Let us rejoice that His plans cannot be thwarted. Let us bow to Him who rules forever and ever.
Revelation 3:8 – “‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”
Summary: Jesus comforts the church in Philadelphia by telling that that He knows their deeds, and thus He has put an open door before them that cannot be shut (cf. Rev 4:1). They were a small church, but they had kept His word and had not denied His name.
Theology: Jesus knows about the little churches and is pleased when they keep His word and do not deny His name. He sets before the faithful believers and open door of upward call in Christ Jesus at the Rapture.
Application: Let us rejoice, though we may be small in size, because the Lord knows and cares for us. Let us keep His Word and not deny His name, no matter what comes. Let us be faithful, knowing that we will receive the upward call of Christ Jesus through the door that is open for us in heaven.
Revelation 3:9 – “Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.”
Summary: Jesus tells the church in Philadelphia that He will cause those people that belong to the synagogue of Satan (who claim to be Jews but were lying since they were not really Jews) to come and bow down at their feet and force them to know that He loves the church.
Theology: Jesus will bring those who persecute the church to bow down at the feet of believers so that they will know that they are truly His church.
Application: Let us endure persecution, knowing that Jesus will overcome our enemies and put them in subjection under our feet (cf. Psa 110:1).
Revelation 3:10 – “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
Summary: Jesus tells the church of Philadelphia that He will keep them from the hour of testing (which is soon to come upon the whole world for the purpose of testing those who dwell on the earth) since they have kept the word of His perseverance.
Theology: Jesus will keep from the great tribulation those who persevere to the end. He will send the great tribulation upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth that they might repent.
Application: Let us be faithful to the end so that we will not experience the great tribulation which will soon come upon the world. Let us constantly remind people that this hour is coming and that there is but one Ark to escape the judgment: the holy and true one, Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:11 – “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Summary: Jesus tells the church of Philadelphia that He is coming soon, and He exhorts them to hold fast to what they have so that no one will steal away their crown.
Theology: Let us hold fast to our confession, lest anyone rob us the life we were promised. May it be ever on our minds that Christ may return at any moment.
Revelation 3:12 – “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and 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 My new name.”
Summary: Jesus tells the church of Philadelphia that those who overcome will be made pillars in the temple of God (not going out from it anymore) and will have the name of God and the new Jerusalem, and Christ’s new name written on them.
Theology: Jesus will make true believers pillars in the temple of God so that they will never leave it (they will dwell in its midst). He will also write the name of God and the new Jerusalem and His own new name on them so that it will forevermore be obvious whom they belong to.
Application: Let us rejoice that Christ will name us as His own people and will write upon us His name and the name of God and of the New Jerusalem during eternity.
Revelation 3:13 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Summary: Jesus exhorts all believers to hear and ponder these words that the Spirit has written to the churches.
Theology: Jesus desires all believers to hear the words of this letter.
Application: Let us heed the words of this letter.