Thursday 26 July 2012

Bible Book:

"I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." (v. 8b)

Revelation 3:7-13 Thursday 26 July 2012


In the sixth of seven messages to the churches of Asia Minor(contemporary Turkey), the risen Christ addresses the church ofPhiladelphia with an encouragement to stay faithful. As in all themessages, this one begins with a short description. Here, Jesus isthe "holy one, the true one" (v. 7) and "has the key of David" - areference to his royal role as Messiah. Jesus opens the door thatno-one else can shut, most likely here the door of salvation.

The message is one of encouragement, one of only two of theseven letters to the churches where the risen Jesus offers nocriticism (Smryna (Revelation 2:8-11) is the other one). Althoughof little power, the church has stayed faithful to its calling. Thereference to the "synagogue of Satan" (v. 9) reflects the hostilitybetween church and synagogue at Philadelphia, where Jewishnon-Christians may have excluded Jewish Christians from theirassembly. The local Jewish synagogue, however, will learn thatthose who follow Christ are loved by God.

Since they have remained faithful, the church at Philadelphiawill be kept from the "hour of trial" (v. 10) that is coming uponthe earth. This probably does not mean that the church will escapesuffering, but that it will be strengthened throughout it.

The reward for conquering - standing firm in commitment to Jesus- is being incorporated into the community of God forever. In verse12, a variety of metaphors communicate this reality: believers willbe made a "pillar" in the temple, having the name of God and theheavenly city 'written' on them. Those who remain faithful will befirmly established in God, secure in God's presence like brickworkin a building.

The whole passage also rests on the expectancy that Jesus iscoming again. After 2,000 years, it is easy to lose a sense of thiseschatological urgency, and yet such a posture is reflectedthroughout the New Testament.

To Ponder

  • To what extent should the expectation of Jesus' return shapeour discipleship?
  • What does 'patient endurance' look like for the Church intwenty first-century Britain? 
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