Summary of passage: Jesus is speaking to the church of Philadelphia, telling them he has placed an open door before them and he knows their deeds and those who are liars will come and fall at their feet and he will also keep them from the hour of trial (most likely the Great Tribulation) that is going to come upon the earth.
3a) They have kept his word and have not denied his name.
b) Persecution especially from those claiming to be Jews (non-Christian Jews)
4a) Holy: Jesus is God, Yahweh (Lev.11:44; John 17:3; Isaiah 40:25; 43:15).
True: Jesus is real, genuine. Not a false prophet or god.
Holds the key of David: Jesus is the judger who holds the power to open and shut the gates to heaven and hell, essentially granting or denying access to God.
b) The entrance into heaven or hell. Access to God, His kingdom, and eternal life. In John 10:7 & 9 Jesus says he is the gate which leads to salvation.
5) The Jews in Philadelphia who are persecuting Christians. (See Historical Note Below).
6a) Obviously, the complete opposite.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Proclaim His name. Never give in. Never deny where my strength lies.
Conclusions: Was expecting a question on the “hour of trial”. The Great Tribulation is an overarching theme of Revelation and an important one for Christians. I am curious as to how BSF will handle this discussion.
End Notes: As most of us know, Philadelphia is two Greek words meaning “brotherly love.” It was founded for the sole purpose of spreading Greek culture to Asia and was named after its founder whose nickname was philadelphos. It was a beautiful city, full of temples and forums and statues and sat on the thoroughfare to Asia. It also suffered numerous earthquakes. Cool posts HERE and HERE
This is the second church Jesus found nothing to chastise the members about (the other being Smyrna). He praises them.
The “open door that no one can shut” has two interpretations. The first is that Christ holds the key to God and salvation and only belief in himself can open and close that door. This is the more popular belief since Isaiah 22:22 used this metaphor and Revelation is so heavily influenced by the Old Testament.
The second refers to evangelism (1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, and Colossians 4:3). Just like Philadelphia was founded to spread Greek culture, Jesus wants the Christians here to spread His word.
Another secondary sense more literal here is the ability to enter God’s kingdom as it seems from this wording that the Christians were forbidden to enter the Jewish synagogue.
Only Jesus can shut the door; he alone decides who is worthy and who isn’t.
Note how a little strength in Him is all you need.
Nothing negative is said about the church of Philadelphia. Jesus is completely pleased with them. They evangelize, have strength in him, and are faithful. This is the key to heaven.
Unbelievers will fall down and acknowledge Jesus is lord, not the people here (See 1 Corinthians 14:24-25).
“Synagogue of Satan” is seen here as in the church at Smyrna. Seems the same Jewish persecutors are here as well.
Love is the best way to turn enemies.
BSF does not ask about “the hour of trial” which most scholars agree refers to the Great Tribulation. As I’ve explained BEFORE, the Great Tribulation is the time period where unbelievers will be judged by Christ. Some, however, think it could refer to upcoming persecution by the Romans.
“Those who live on the earth” is used 9 times in the Book of Revelation and refers to unbelievers not in Christ. As Christians we are not of this earth. Our home is in heaven (Colossians 3:3; Ephesians 2:6).
Does this passage promise we won’t experience the Tribulation or we will be protected during it? Both sides of the argument say it supports them.
The argument hinges on the word “persevere”. Believers are commanded to persevere, supporting those who say Christians will be here during the Great Tribulation. Those who believe Christians will not be here say Jesus promises to keep us from the hour of trial and use Matthew 24:21 and Revelation chapters 6, 8-9, 16 to support this as well.
However, persevere is in the past tense, lending the sense that Christians will not be here since they have already persevered and now will be rewarded for it. Scholars say the first century took this literally and they would be kept from the Tribulation.
Remember: those tested are NOT Christians (Philippians 3:20). So hold on to Jesus!
Historical Note: As we see in Acts 2, the first Christians were Jewish converts. It wouldn’t be for a bit before Paul ministers to the Gentiles. Both Jews and Christians were claiming to be God’s chosen people. The Jews have been since Abraham–millennia. Now, there’s a new group in town, claiming the same thing. Both sets probably attended the same synagogue together so tensions would be high.
Non-Christian Jews were horrible to their relatives at times, calling them usurpers, liars, and faced persecution.
Hence, John’s encouragement to the church, saying “No, Jesus holds the Key of David–the way to God.”
John is saying that the Jews are no longer the people of God as a nation since they have rejected their Messiah (Matthew 21:33-43). The new Israel is the Christians, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
Revelation 3:9 underscores the fact that the Jews will finally acknowledge (fall down) their Savior and the largely gentile church as the people of God. In that time, “All Israel (the Israeli people as a whole) will be saved” (Romans 11:26). This is a mark of the End Times and what Jesus is waiting for–the Jews to turn to him–before the End of Times.