As true disciples of Jesus Christ, we would prosper greatly in life, in work, minister and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord, if we would learn from this greatly blessed church of Philadelphia and model ourselves after them.
A Brief Background of Philadelphia
What made this Church so blessed? They were faithful to God without fault according to Jesus Christ Himself. Philadelphia is also known by its modern name Alaşehir. which sits in the Manisa province of the Aegean Sea region of Turkey.
It sits about 30.8 miles east of Sardis and it remained to be a strong orthodox Christian center up until the 20th Century which is the second longest standing church before its fall. It was established in 189 BC by Eumenes II of Pergamon (197-160 BC). He named the city for the love of his brother. This is why Philadelphos means “one who loves his brother.”
Unfortunately, evidence also suggests that this city was not entirely converted to Christianity. Since there lay in ruins pagan temples. Ancient coins also found in the city revealing an “imperial cult” were housed here as well. And it eventually was succumbed by a series of wars and revolts; and a burning during the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922 that destroyed 70% of the city.
The Blessings of An Open Door To Jesus Christ
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
The resurrected glorified Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is revealing another series of characteristics about Himself. To prove to His churches, that He is the One who is speaking and not John on behalf of Christ. We see this in every one of the Lord’s opening statement as a personal signature to every church in Revelation 2-3.
The first characteristic the Lord is revealing, “He that is holy,” points to Christ’s sinless perfection and purity attribute. Just in case anyone doubts the validity of these words as being Jesus Christ’s very own words.
This is vital proof, because no one on earth has ever achieved absolute and total perfection from the time of birth to death other than Jesus Christ, as it is written about the Lord in,
Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
This is where all our justification and righteousness come from, through Jesus Christ, as it is written, Romans 5:1;17-21 V:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
V:17-21 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
“He that is true,” is another personal signature of the resurrected glorified Christ, pointing to the fact that every word Jesus Christ speaks is gold! It’s absolute pure truth! And this concurs with what Jesus Christ said about Himself,
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I Am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
The One and Only, Who also “hath the key of David.” The word “key” has always symbolized “authority” in the Holy Bible. A perfect example of this is found in one of Jesus Christ’s teachings in, Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.
Authority is what is emphasized in the Lord’s statement here, showing us that He has authority over Christians and His church. This is why He continues to say, “He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;”
No man creates opportunities to minister His gospel! No man can draw people to Christ! No man has the power to call himself into ministries. No man who builds churches can make it last. It is only Jesus Christ who has that kind of authority, and we are to follow His lead. And to seize every opportunity He provides, since He is the source of all authority, we have in Him.
And that too is what Jesus Christ is emphasizing here to His people. No man can start a ministry, build a church, nor can anyone make the Lord do anything without His direction and anointing. And on the other side of the coin of truth is: once He opens, once He starts, no man can shut it, no man can stop what the Lord is doing regardless!
He is the only one who determines all things, and without us being in His perfect will, nothing will start or last. Even the devil has no power to shut the purpose, will and plan of God. He can only try to frustrate it.
Not even the most effective and anointed; Holy Ghost praying can open and shut the things of God. And nothing can sway the Lord from opening and shutting, Because He sees ahead and knows the best path; the best course of action to take at any given moment and season. And we need to learn to trust in that and move with the Lord and of the Holy Ghost when He moves. And rest when He rests.
And apparently the church of Philadelphia learned this secret in a close fellowship, communion and relationship with God, because they were named “The Faithful Church.” They did everything right and there was nothing Jesus Christ had against them. This is why He says what He says, in the next verse,
Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.
An open door is an exclusive access to God’s physical presence on earth, into the throne room of grace in time of need if you will (Hebrews 4:14). While also having exclusive divine opportunities to minister and witness the gospel of Jesus Christ as well.
The Lord has set before the faithful church, faithful Christians an open door of intimate fellowship/communion with God as a reward for continually being right with God and being a church body of born-again Christians after God’s own heart. While enduring great opposition of satan and his disciples through many trials, tribulations and testing’s.
He also has set an open door of refreshing in the Lord’s physical presence, because what this church has been through, this is why He says, “For thou hast little strength and has kept My word and hast not denied My name.”
Just as history has revealed, among the ruins of Philadelphia, they were surrounded by the pollution of sins and sinners. This is why they had “little strength.” Showing us, not only were they “faithful” in their relationship to Christ, they were also faithful in prayer and ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ in this city.
They faithfully spent all their time and energy trying to win sinners to Christ, unfortunately they didn’t gain much ground throughout the centuries. But despite all that, being weary of the presence of open sinning, and rebellious people who shut their ears to the truth and salvation of their souls, the church remained faithful and diligent to the end.
They never denied Jesus Christ, they stayed true to His teachings, they kept the faith even in the face of all adversity. And that’s the best reward here on earth, is to have an open door in that close spiritual refreshing and communion with the Lord as it will be in paradise in that eternal day to come. And only His faithful can be this close to the Lord, which is teaching Christians:
In order to have this kind of relationship with God, you must live a penitent; holy, righteous life in Jesus Christ. Totally devoted to the Lord just like the church in Philadelphia lived by with all their heart, mind, strength and soul.
Be Ye Holy For The Lord Is Holy
Now notice throughout all Scriptures. Jesus Christ did not promise these blessings to any ol’ church or Christian, but to the righteous faithful. Which shows us, He doesn’t promise this to sinners because He cannot have fellowship with sinners. Nor can He use them for His ministry. He only uses His holy, faithful church body.
And while we are on this subject, Jesus Christ cannot have fellowship with sinners because He is Light and has nothing in common with darkness (John 1:1-14). He is holy and has no fellowship with sinners because again, He has nothing in common with sinners.
Sin originated with satan, not with God. And as the Holy Bible points out specifically, anyone who sins are children of the devil and not children of God!
1 John 3:1-8 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
And this word is of the Holy Spirit of God preaching through the Apostle John. So this specific word is open for discussion, but cannot be changed nor ignored by true born-again Christians.
Carnal Christians reject this as errant. But no matter, this word still applies today, it still is holy! Truth is truth, facts are facts whether one receives it or rejects it! This word comes from God as the Holy Spirit of God moved upon holy men to inspire these Holy Scriptures to be written (2 Peter 1:20-21) And those that reject this, do not reject men… but God. And many other Scriptures support this teaching throughout the New Testament alone, such as 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Corinthians 10:1-22.
And since Jesus Christ is Light; Life and Truth, He exposes all sins, revealing His truth to sinners (John 3:15-21), in order for sinners to come to repentance. Because sinners cannot have an intimate relationship with the holy Son of God Jesus Christ, just as light cannot have fellowship with darkness nor Christ having communion with children of the devil!
A Christian must receive the Spirit of Christ, to be His righteousness and of the Holy Ghost, in order to have power over the world, the flesh and the devil, to stay right with God and to have fellowship with God Most High through Jesus Christ our Lord and to be used by Him.
So therefore, only the righteous born-again, faithful children of God, who stayed right with God faithfully; kept His word. And has not denied the faith nor be ashamed of Christ, does the Lord give this promise of an open door to.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Jesus Christ is ministering a promise to the true born-again Christians who are seriously faithful to Christ in heart, of great favor be bestowed upon His children, that even enemies of the cross, of the gospel and of Christianity will be made to bow in subjection. Acknowledging that Christianity is the only true faith, The only way to the One and only true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the only way into Paradise through Jesus Christ.
Rapture of The Church Age
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
I believe The Lord is referring to the blessing of the rapture of the church age here in verse 10. Because notice the specific phrase, “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world”
And this is specifically directed to His born-again; righteous; faithful church body of today, who stays the course in abiding in Christ to the end of the church age in holy living, faithful to God to the end. For if we do so, I believe the Lord is telling us, He will keep us from the great tribulation period, which is in reference, “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world.”
So how will He keep His faithful from that “hour of temptation” that will take over the whole world for a short time? The rapture of the church age. Rapture: (Latin) Raptura. It means to be specifically abducted. It is derived from the Latin word Raptus which is specifically defined as, a carrying off; snatched away. This is why Jesus Christ describes this event this way in:
Matthew 24:29-47 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only.
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all His goods.
You see, there’s a warning here, only the faithful in Christ shall be kept from that hour of trial (the great tribulation period) that’s coming to all the world. This concurs what He says next,
Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Because if we allow the world, the flesh or the devil to deceive us away from Christ and from salvation, we will not be taken away, abducted into the rapture of the church age. But will go through the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen, nor will it ever go through again.
Stay Faithful To Christ To The Very End
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of Heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.
There’s a whole lot of revelation to this one verse the Lord Jesus speaks. First, He promises these series of eternal blessings to those “that overcome.” But overcome what? This church was right with the Lord. They have done nothing wrong. There’s no sin that Jesus Christ addressed.
So, what did the Lord mean to overcome? It’s really simple, He’s not only instructing the church of Philadelphia, but to all the body of Christ in the entire church age, who is faithful unto Jesus Christ. Who has perfected holy (sanctified) righteous living as like the Lord (1 John 3:3). He’s warning us to remain in this state of spiritual purity and perfection from the heart until the end.
Because that statement alone sums up all that we have studied in this lesson, while it also points back to Verse 11, “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” The Lord is teaching here once again that no matter how deeply spiritually perfected you are in Christ, we all can still fall away, and come short of the glory of God.
Jesus Christ is showing us through the church of Philadelphia that all Christians can reach these spiritual heights of purity and perfection, but the elect can still be deceived and fall away. He’s showing us the two sides of the coin of truth.
On one side, He taught, Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. This is the Lord’s way of encouraging all who follow Him faithfully, that you can reach heights of purity in heart. Like for another example, in verse 48 He also concludes, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”
If this kind of spiritual purity were not possible from the heart, The Lord would never have taught this. He doesn’t set us up for failure or disappointments. But He is challenging all disciples today, who follow Him to be that sold out completely to God through Jesus Christ, in order to accomplish this by faith, as He has also taught in,
Matthew 16:24-26 Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
On the other hand, He also warned in, Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
If it were not possible for the elect of God to be deceived, then again Jesus Christ would not have taught this. This is why again He warned, “hold that fast which thou hast, that no man (no false Christ’s or false prophets) take thy crown.” You see how powerful yet few, the Lord words really are? They speak volumes of revelation knowledge of life.
In fact, all that the Lord taught, the entire New Testament is a direct reflection of all His teachings. through His disciples and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, such as a warning to all Christians through the Holy Spirit, ministered through the Apostle Paul in,
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
So, in all things considered, this is the very reason why Jesus Christ warned His faithful, spiritually pure and perfected church body to overcome. Because we can still be deceived. The destroyer, satan, will never give up hunting Christians down and deceiving to the point of Spiritual death. satan is still out to steal, kill and destroy, seeking whom he may devour. Just as it has happened to the church of Philadelphia.
And this is why we must always stay on our guard, be alert, watch and pray, and always resist the devil and draw near to God; abiding in Jesus Christ our Lord.
When we have overcome all things at the end of our life, or when the rapture takes place; and for those faithful “saints” of God in the great tribulation period overcomes the world; the flesh and the devil to the end of life or the end of the world, Jesus Christ promises these eternal blessings, “will I make a pillar in the temple of My God,”
Jesus Christ will make a pillar in the temple of God in commemoration of you in all eternity as a result of your complete dedication and commitment to Jesus Christ and to God His Father as a legendary strong faithful servant.
The Lord highly honors those who honor, glorifies and magnifies Him in faith and in all manner of conversations (conduct) while we live on earth. And this is one of many infallible proofs of this fact. You really cannot out give God. Case in point, God is specifically speaking to His children
Psalm 91:14-16 Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.
The Lord will only honor those who absolutely and faithfully honor Him. But the eternal blessings don’t stop there, He continues to reveal, “and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.”
This signifies the highest honor to be called God’s property forever, by having God’s name, new Jerusalem and the Lord’s new name eternally written (branded, if you will) on our bodies by Jesus Christ; for all to see as His legendary champion of faith, love, strength and purity without compromise.
Far from corruption and completely faithful and obedient to God through Jesus Christ. Again, these blessings are only promised to the faithful in Christ to the end
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches