Revelation #10 Revelation 3:7-13 (MSG) End Time Dilemma, The Need to Endure
Revelation #10 Revelation 3:7-13 (MSG) End Time Dilemma, The Need to Endure
Ephesus the spirit is judgmental. Smyrna is in danger of
giving in. Pergamum infected with a spirit of compromise. Thyatira tolerates
false teachers. Sardis looks alive but is spiritually apathetic to the point of
being spiritually dead, hypocrisy is the problem. Jesus' message: Are you
awake? Are you listening? You are in a war for your soul. Now Jesus turns His
attention to the congregation in the city of Philadelphia. Not Philadelphia Pennsylvania by the way.
The city of Philadelphia was an agricultural area noted for
its vineyards, so it is not surprising the patron God is Dionysus. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine. The city
conducted a yearly festival called Bacchanalia known for wild dancing, drinking,
and sexual activity. The city is also on
a major trade route, its nickname was “Gateway to the East.” The city was prosperous. Jesus is impressed
with how well the congregation was serving the Kingdom.
Revelation 3:7-13 (MSG)
Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The
Holy, the True—David's key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking
doors no one can open—speaks:
8 "I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've
opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much
strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny
me when times were rough.
9 "And watch as I take those who call themselves true
believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in
the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to
acknowledge it's you that I've loved.
10 "Because you kept my Word in passionate patience,
I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over
the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.
11 "I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight
grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown.
12 "I'll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary
of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I'll write names on you, the
pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God's City—the new Jerusalem coming
down out of Heaven—and my new Name.
13 "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind
Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches."
Jesus introduces himself to the congregation as the Holy and
True the holder of David’s key. In Jewish culture, the Holy One is the title
for God, for Yahweh (Isaiah 65:16). The true one can be understood to mean
genuine, the real deal, the real Messiah.
The Greek word translated as truth means that which is real as opposed
to that which is unreal. Jesus is reality.
This reference may give us insight into Jewish opposition to the
congregation, who stood the party line that Jesus was a false Messiah. Holy and
True means that Jesus has been set apart to carry out His messianic mission
(Mounce, p 116). The Key of David refers to Jesus’ lineage, He is a son of
David, and having the key is a way of indicating that Jesus has undisputed
authority to admit or exclude from what we will read later on in the Revelation
is called New Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:22. Mounce, p. 116). That Jesus allows
people into the Kingdom may be contrasted to the local Synagogue being only
able to excommunicate people. Jesus lets
people in, and all anti-Christ positions keep people out. Access to God was
through Judaism, but now it is through Jesus. In John 10:9 Jesus refers to
himself as the door, the gate, for His sheep. Despite what the opposition may
say only Jesus has “absolute and exclusive power to give entrance to or exclude
from His Father’s Kingdom” (Ladd, p.59).
The congregation in Philadelphia might have been small, it
might have been poor, and it was most likely not very influential, so their
activities in evangelism didn’t stir up a lot of hate and discontent among the
pagans. But the Jews on the other hand
were oppressive. Even though the believers don’t have much strength, much power,
they haven’t let that stop them from doing the work of the Kingdom. The work of
the Kingdom is bringing God’s reign to earth, we pray thy will be done on
earth, those who have bent the knee to Jesus are to do this work. Preaching the gospel, teaching the Bible,
making disciples, and serving others are all activities involved in bringing
God’s will for justice and righteousness to earth. The believers in this
congregation are commended for their work.
These brothers and sisters also have been dealing with
persecution. To what extent we do not
know but they went through a rough time according to Jesus and they stayed
true, they passed the test. Most likely
opposition in the Synagogue to this Jesus Messiah cult led many believers to be
shown the door, they were excommunicated from the community. The door was closed to them. Because of the
stalwart Jews, Jesus identifies them as members of Satan’s club, a synagogue of
Satan. In the gospel of John, Jesus rebukes the crowd and tells them: “You're
from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a
killer from the very start. He couldn't stand the truth because there wasn't a
shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying
nature and fills the world with lies” (John 8:44 (MSG). The dualism that John
employs again places a person in one of two camps, those who believe and belong
to Jesus, and those who refuse to believe and belong the Satan, the Devil, the Liar,
the Murder, the Accuser, or simply the Adversary. Jesus names them non-Jews,
for if they truly were Abraham’s children, they would not have rejected
Him. You certainly can understand the
animosity that exists even to this day between Judaism and Christianity.
The Jews shut the door for communion with God to believers, and
Jesus opened the door to all who bend their knee to His Lordship
The apostle Paul writes some interesting things about
Christians and Jews.
you see: It's not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who
you are. It's the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that
makes a Jew.
stalwart Jew, circumcision was a must. Paul says it’s just outward, not
inward. If faith does not manifest in
works you may be in the same boat as the Jews who reject the Messiah.
walk by this standard [the cross of Christ] are the true Israel of God—his
chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
not who your mom and dad are that makes you right with God. It is not some ritual that makes you right
with God, saying the sinners pray, for instance, rather it is following Jesus.
You walk the walk, this is the sign that you are one of God’s chosen people.
Ephesians (2:11-16) Paul tells us that Jesus has made the two groups one.
is only one “people of God.” Those who
have committed their lives to be a slave of Jesus are those who will be
recognized as such.
Colossians (3:10-11) Paul tells us that anyone who has believed is being
renewed in the knowledge and image of the Creator.
Romans 11Paul indicates that his Jewish brothers and sisters will eventually be
have a mystery about the future of unbelieving Jews or is Jesus telling the
Philadelphia Christians that there will come a time when these non-messianic
Jews will acknowledge that they were wrong and the Christians and Messianic
Jews were correct? Would Christians have found solace in Isaiah 60:14? “The
sons of those who oppressed you shall come bending low to you, and all who
despised you shall bow down at your feet."
If so, we should consider this as a recognition of Truth on the part of
those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
you are wondering what the difference is between a Christian and a Messianic
Jew, the only difference is lineage.
Christians are from a gentile lineage.
Messianic Jews are those who believe in Jesus as Messiah and are from a
Those who refused to believe threw those who did believe out
of their fellowship, out of their place of worship. There will come a time when
those who rejected Christ and who should have known better will acknowledge
that those, they persecuted were right. (Isaiah 49:23, Romans 11:23 & 26).
In this acknowledgment, will they repent and believe? The Apostle Paul hopes that they can be
grafted back into the Kingdom (Romans 11:23).
Jesus promises the congregation that having persevered
during their testing, they will persevere when the whole world is subject to
trials. Since they endured patiently the
trials put on them by the Jews, they will have the experience necessary to
endure what is coming (John 17:15). When we consider Jesus, His endurance
becomes our model for living through rough times. We endure by looking to Jesus
embracing His attitude revealed to us in Hebrews 12:1-2 which reads “who for
the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the same.” In the rough times find strength in the
promises of what is coming. Consider the rewards Jesus has promised to the
overcomers. Don’t think for a moment that Jesus doesn’t care what you are
dealing with, that He somehow doesn’t understand, pain and suffering and loss
for He has suffered, and he can help those who are suffering now to endure
(Hebrews 2:18). If you want greater power to endure, get closer to Jesus.
Christians need to endure because there is a time of testing
that is coming to the whole world. The
purpose of the test is to discern if you know the truth or not. Those who know
the truth will hold to the faith. The time of testing we will read about as we
proceed further in our study, involves natural disasters, violence, war,
economic collapse, and a greater hostility towards believers.
It's best to understand coming quickly as not a
chronological reference in the sense of a short time, but rather as a prophetic
fact that it will come to pass. When the time has come, the overcomer will be a
pillar in the Temple of God. If you are
a pillar you are a source of strength, support, and guidance. You are reliable, dependable, and
trustworthy. You are a person who can be counted on no matter what. Being made
a pillar is a recognition of the importance of your contribution to bringing
God’s salvation to humanity.
Upon you, the pillar, Jesus is going to write the name of
His Father and His city and with the new name that Jesus will be known by. The
overcomer’s ownership by God, the overcomer’s citizenship in New Jerusalem, and
the overcomer’s special intimate knowledge of Jesus will be on display.
The revelation is revealing Jesus. From this message to the congregation in
Philadelphia, we learn that Jesus is the open door to salvation. We learn that
we can trust Jesus with our lives and with our future. Within him resides all
reality. We learn that when we feel as if we are being overcome we can rely on
Jesus’ strength to endure and get us through the rough times. We learn that Jesus shares his victory
granting any overcomer a permanent place in the Kingdom of God.
Here's what you can apply to your life right now. To endure the rough times, get closer to
Jesus. The oft-neglected means of
getting closer to Jesus is the daily practice of the 7 habits of a
disciple. As you read and study
scripture, as you pray, request, intercede, and listen, as you allow fellowship
to sharpen you as iron sharpens iron, as you use your gifts to serve others, as
you obey the commands of God and the teachings of Jesus, as you, as you
celebrate what God has blessed you with, giving Him His due as the giver of
life and resources and protection, and as you allow yourself to be open and
honest, willing to learn, willing to be corrected, through your contemplation,
you will draw closer to Jesus. The closer, the more intimate you become with
Jesus, the more power you will have to endure the testing that is here now and
becoming more intense.