Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Monday, November 07, 2005

Christ's Comments About the Church at Philadelphia

"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." (Revelation 3:8-11 - New International Version)

Verse eight relates Christ's possession of the keys to the situation in Philadelphia. Jesus has used His keys to open a door for this church. This refers to some special opportunity.

Through out the New Testament, an open door refers to some opportunity of ministry. An example of this would be First Corinthians chapter sixteen verses eight and nine. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (New American Standard)

We do not know what opportunity Jesus had opened for this church in Philadelphia, however, what ever it was, they had a chance to do a great work for God.

In our own lives, we should be looking for these open doors that God brings to us. Many times an opportunity is only available for a short time and then the door closes. If we are not looking for these new areas of ministry, a door may open and close without us even being aware of it.

There may be a group of people in our community who at this moment are responsive to the Gospel. We need to reach them now, because in time they may become cold and hard towards the Gospel. We must look for open doors and walk through them.

Jesus says that this church was weak. Possibly the number of believers in this city was small or maybe they were all poor and destitute or maybe they were young spiritually and lacked strong leadership. Jesus assures them that in spite of their weakness, He wanted to use them in a great way.

They had already proved their faithfulness and this was more important than their own strength. They could rely on God's strength. They were following the teaching of Jesus. They had already faced persecution and had not denied their Christian Faith. Jesus encourages them to continue to serve and depend upon Him.

Verse nine reveals the major problem that this church faced. In this city, there was a group of Jews who were intent upon destroying the Christians. In the letter to the church at Smyrna, there was a similar reference.

The main point that Jesus is making is that the wicked actions of these Jews should not be taken as representing the true Jewish attitude. These men were under the influence of Satan not God.
We should never suppose that the evil deeds of a few within a group represent the entire group.

Many who have claimed to be Christian have done wicked and infamous deeds. These few do not represent the true spirit of Christianity.

Jesus assures this church that those who persecuted them would be punished and would recognize their sin. This may refer to some event during the lives of these men or it may refer to what will occur upon the day of judgment when all will stand before Christ. It would be wise for people to consider what will happen to them on judgment day.

Verse ten offers further encouragement for this church. Since this church had faithfully endured past persecution, Jesus assured them of His help to face future persecution. This verse does not necessarily mean they will be rescued out of the coming trouble. It could be translated, “I will keep you within the time of trouble.”

The idea is that He would sustain and support them even during the great persecution that they would soon face. In relation to this church, this trouble would be a reference to the Roman persecution.

However, it should remind Christians today of the Great Tribulation period that we may soon face. Jesus can sustain us within the coming persecution if we must go through it.

This letter is largely one of encouragement. Jesus concludes by assuring this church that if they remain faithful, they would receive a heavenly reward.


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