There were a few Fridays during the study of Revelation last year that we had to miss, but we made sure to get the CDs. This was one of them, and as I listened to our pastor’s teaching of this letter to the church in Philadelphia this morning, I found so many things to take note of! This is an encouraging letter, for it addresses the period of Church history that we are now living in, and the promise of the Church being raptured! 🙂
The city of Philadelphia- which of course means “brotherly love”- was heavily Greek influenced, though at this time under crushing Roman rule. It was in an area of Lydia (modern-day Turkey) in Asia that is subject to earthquakes and no longer heavily populated. Philadelphia and Sardis were both destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D., and Emperor Tiberias allocated huge amounts of money to rebuild and restore them, especially Philadelphia. In this city was a church that trusted and followed Jesus!
The time of Church history that this letter represents is approximately 1800 A.D. until the Rapture. 🙂 Shortly before 1800, the church reawakened to sending out missionaries, to other countries as well as in their own communities. Jesus has no rebuke for this church!
“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,” ~Revelation 3:7b
Jesus is again revealing something about Himself- He is holy and true (John 14:6- the Way, the Truth, and the Life). He is HOLY- He is the Son of God, righteous and pure, worthy of our praise and worship. He is TRUE- there is no other truth, only Jesus. “who has the key of David”. Isaiah 22:22~ “‘Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.'” The key of David was complete and total access to the ALL the wealth of the kingdom. Power and authority- Jesus holds the key to ALL of the kingdom, the entire world!
🙂 I love this next part- “who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens”. Only Jesus can open or shut a door for us. If a door is open, it is from Him. If it has been shut, it is from Him. If you believe He has led you to the door, but it is shut, PRAY! Perhaps He will open it for you, or perhaps it will stay shut, but be assured that it is Jesus who controls the doors in your life!
“‘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.'” ~Revelation 3:8
Jesus knows our deeds. He reminds each church of this in these personal letters, and He reminds us as individuals. He walks among us and sees it all.
He has put before us an open door- in regard to this period of Church history, it would appear this is a door for missions. “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,'” ~Matthew 28:19a, had been forgotten during the dark ages of the Church, when the churches were more focused on positions of power and rituals and traditions and not on the Word of God. It had been over a thousand years since a missionary had been sent out!! Finally, mission work was again remembered, and great men and women of faith went to all the nations and taught God’s word. And now we have the wonders of the internet, radio, television, telephones- there is no reason the Gospel cannot be preached throughout the nations! And Jesus is holding the door open- no one can close it.
Jesus tells in His letter WHY He has given them an open door: 1.) “‘because you have a little power'”; 2.) “‘and have kept My word,'”; 3.) “‘and have not denied My name.'” My prayer is to keep my little power, through the strength of the Holy Spirit; keep God’s word, through regular reading and study and obedience; and to not EVER deny the name of Jesus.
Tune in next time for the promise of the Church being raptured BEFORE the start of the Tribulation! Same bat time, same bat channel…. 🙂