Christ’s message to Philadelphia
Revelation 3:7-8, “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; 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.”
Philadelphia means, “brotherly love” which speaks of their spiritual condition, they loved the brethren (I Jn. 4:12). They walked in the Spirit, for the fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22). Philadelphia like Smyrna no fault is found by the Judge, Jesus Christ with these two churches. Smyrna saints that are faithful unto death, represent the full overcomers who go by the way of the grave during this Church Age, and will be resurrected; Philadelphia represents the full overcomers who will be alive when the Lord comes and will be translated (I Thess. 4:16-17).
Christ has the key, the authority to open the door set before these saints, the open door of heaven, the door of translation. With little strength they have kept His word, “the word of my patience” (V. 10). Jesus is waiting the Father’s signal for His return for His bride. These saints kept His word, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:13. In their weakness they depended on His Strength (II Cor. 12:9-10). The joy of the Lord was their strength, (Neh. 8:10).
V. 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.” The same professed law keepers of the Jewish religion of works are their persecutors, who also opposed the Smyrna saints. When they bow before the Lord in worship, they will acknowledge the full overcomers right to reign conjointly with Him, for His bride will be by His side.
V. 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.” They are promised to be kept out of the judgment of tribulation days.
Vs. 11-13, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” A crown is promised if they continue running with patience, if not they could loose their reward. Smyrna saints are the only other church promised a crown. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out:” A pillar holds up and is steadfast. They held up the truth and they will be reward accordingly.
“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. Three names will be given them, the family name of God; a new address, the city of my God, the new Jerusalem; and My new name, the Lamb’s wife, Rev. 19:7. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Listen to the teacher, the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s Message to Laodicea
The Laodicea church is in quite a contrast to the Philadelphia church. They are in such a state of deterioration, professing to be Christians, but it is in name only. Laodicea means ‘just people’ or ‘rights of the people.’ They are politically correct, the people ruling, voting in pastors and electing elders, setting policy, etc.
Rev. 3:14, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” The Judge, Jesus Christ comes to them as “the Amen,” the One able to carry out His word, the faithful and true witness. He comes to them this way because they were not faithful nor a true witness.
Vs. 15-16, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” They are indifferent, the truth does not concern them. They are neither angry not glad. There is not much hope for them.
V. 17, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” They are self-satisfied and feel rich, but the Judge says they are spiritually destitute.
V. 18, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire (speaking of Deity), that thou mayest be rich (eternal riches); and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed (covered with Christ’s righteousness), and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve (the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit), that thou mayest see.” The Trinity is active in our salvation.
V. 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” God is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9). “Buy of me,” believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the visible religious conglomeration, Christendom, not the true Church. Apostasy is their chief characteristic, neither cold nor hot, just lukewarm in a self-satisfied condition, which God hates. “I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Vs. 20-22, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Christ is on the outside knocking in love for some individuals to invite Him into their heart. The overcomers of Laodicea are saved and will in that measure reign with Him. We have looked at these seven churches historically, that they actually existed and how Christ, the Judge viewed them. Next issue, we will look at them dispensationally, picturing the whole Church Age from beginning to the end.