Chapter 3 – Letter to Philadelphia

Jesus Addresses Philadelphia -2

“See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.” Because the congregation was steadfast in truth, yet with little strength of its own, Jesus assures them of His Divine intervention on their behalf. He would open a door for them through the adversity and opposition and lead them into vast new opportunities to proclaim the Word, and spread the Gospel.

“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie…” Seemingly, Philadelphia was being troubled by the same organization of Jewish heretics found persecuting the church at Smyrna (see notes—Rev.2:9).

“…indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” It’s uncertain whether to take this promise as a temporal or future event, or both. If temporal, it could suggest that through an upcoming and divinely empowered evangelism, the Jews would be constrained to acknowledge them as children of God in God’s favor. Maybe to the degree that some of the Jews would be converted and ultimately join their congregation to worship Christ in their presence. If a yet-future event, it would find its fulfillment at the end of the age, when every non-believer files through for judgment in the court of heaven and is forced to kneel at the feet of Jesus and made to confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father in the presence of His church (Phil.2:10,11).

v.10-11 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

The “hour of trial” Jesus promises to keep the congregation from is not explained. Some consider it a reference to the more extensive Roman persecution that resulted under Trajan, and others suggest it might refer to some calamity by disease, earthquake (common in that region), or famine. If so, then we should conclude that what Jesus meant when He said, “I also will keep you from the hour of trial” is that He would divinely guard and carefully watch over them to keep them from sinking under the affliction of that trial.

There is, however, another suggestion.

Some commentators take the phrase, “hour of trial” to be a direct reference to the great tribulation because the trial appears broader in scope than a local issue, for it comes “upon the whole earth” to “test those who dwell upon the earth”. Moreover, they regard the faithful in Philadelphia as a type for the true Church and Bride of Jesus Christ, and the promise given that they would be kept from that tribulation applies to the Church and finds fulfillment in the rapture. I tend to agree.

“Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one take your crown.” Many elements in the world can cause us to turn from the hope of glory that will rob us of future rewards. We must remember that Christ is coming soon and therefore always resist the temptation to do evil, whether by act of negligence or unfaithfulness.

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