Revelation 3:7-13 * Pastor Netz Gomez * May 26-27. 2018
“And to the [e]angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ’These things says He who is
holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts,
and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an
open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word,
and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan,
who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and
worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 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. 11 Behold, I am
coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He
who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out
no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God,
the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write
on him My new name. 13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
I. HISTORIC CONTEXT
Philadelphia was located about 30 miles southeast of Sardis. A king of
Pergamum named Atalo II, founded in the year 159 a. C. The city received its name
from its nickname, “Filadelfo” (“loving brother”). This king had a special devotion for
his brother, Eumenes II. The city was in a wine producing area, and was the so-called
“gateway” to Central Asia Minor. The modern name of this city is “Alasehir”
II. PRESENTATION OF JESUS (3:7-8a)
• Jesus presents himself as “He who is holy, He who is true [genuine]” which are
characteristics of the Father and the Son:
Is. 40:25 “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the
Mr. 1:24 “saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?
Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
Rev. 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and
true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
• “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and
no one opens.” This term is used to describe the One who has the authority to give
access to the palace and its treasures (Is. 22:22). Jesus is not only the “root of
David” (5:5; 22:16) but the One with the highest authority in the Kingdom over
salvation, judgment and even to distribute the resources of the Kingdom of heaven
according to His will.
III. COMMENDATION OF THE VIRTUES (3:8)
• “I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” Jesus had
established this church in that city and none was going to be able to remove them;
that open door was also the opportunity to evangelize which nobody could close.
It’s as if Jesus were telling them, even if they closed the doors. I open them to you.
1 Cor. 16:9 “For a great and efective door has opened to me, and there are many
Even though that city had been a door to the Hellenistic world they would be
a door to the messianic kingdom because they had been faithful to the Lord.
• “for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My
nam” The reason God had given them that open door was their obedience and
fidelity to the testimony of Jesus despite being a small church and the pressure of
the Jews. Having little strength (or little power or spiritual influence) is not a
pretext to be disobedient or inconstant; On the contrary, it is something that
leads us to depend on the power of God.
IV. REWARD (3:9-12)
Only this church and that of Smyrna have no rebuke from Jesus on the
contrary He gives them five promises:
1. “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews
and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your
As in Smyrna, the believers in Philadelphia experienced tensions with the local
synagogue which Jesus calls “the synagogue of Satan” (2: 9) from which the
members of this church had been expelled because they said that they were not
true followers of God but Jesus says to them “I will make them come and fall at
your feet, and recognize that I have loved you”
This is the kind of honor and vindication that Jesus as Sovereign grants to the
faithful. In fact this is a promise that God made to Israel but that also is fulfilled in
the faithful ones of the New Testament.
Is. 60:14 “Also the sons of those who aficted you Shall come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; And
they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel”.
The final fulfillment of Israel’s repentance at the Second Coming of the
Messiah will result in a respectful treatment of Gentile believers:
Zech. 8:20-22 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, Inhabitants
of many cities; 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let
us continue to go and pray before the Lord, And seek the Lord of hosts. I
myself will go also.” 22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to
seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the Lord.”
2. “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.”
It is worth noting that in five of the letters to the churches Jesus makes a
direct or indirect reference to His coming.
– Ephesus (Rev. 2:5) “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and
do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your
lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
– Pergamum (Rev. 2:16) “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight
against them with the sword of My mouth.”
– Thyatira (Rev. 2:25) “But hold fast what you have till I come.”
– Sardis (Rev. 3:3) “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold
fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief,
and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
– Philadelphia (Rev. 3: 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. 11 Behold, I am coming
It is as if at the time of the second coming of Jesus these churches were
coexisting together. Now, keeping them from “the hour of trial” has been taken as
a text to argue that we will not be on earth during the ‘Great Tribulation’ but
what this text says is that He will keep or protect us during that time. (Rev. 7).
Mr. 13:20 “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be
saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.”
3. “Behold, I am coming quickly!” (Rev. 1:1, 7; 2:16; 22:7, 12, 20) Jesus is coming
soon in the sense of the imminence of His second coming but also comes over
specific regions and people with revival. Only this closeness of the coming of the
Lord to reward the faithful provides an efective reason to be tenacious to the
4. “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he
shall go out no more” To raise columns with names of honor was a custom in
Philadelphia but here the promise refers to something much more glorious: to
place the victors in a position of honor in the temple of God in the New
Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22) in a permanent manner.
It is interesting to note that in the Temple of Solomon there were two large
columns called: Jachin (established) and Boaz (fortress) (1 Kings 7: 13-21).
Which means that faithful Christians will occupy firmly established positions
of strength and power, when they govern and reign as co-heirs with Christ in
the millennial kingdom. The columns of antiquity often bore honorific
inscriptions, and one would expect the same from the eschatological columns,
that is, us.
5. “I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God,
the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will
write on him My new name.” The New Jerusalem will come down to earth.
Rev. 21:2 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”
The prophets of the OT had already announced the future name of the New
Jer. 33:16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And
this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”
Ez. 48:35 “…and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE”
Since the overcomers and the faithful have honored the Lord on earth, He
will recognize them in heaven. To put your name to something indicates that it
belongs to you and that is what the Lord will do with His own.
The Scripture does not reveal the “new name” of Jesus but perhaps it is a
symbol of His character, that only the victors will appreciate when they see Jesus,
which speaks of the level of intimate fellowship they will have with Him.
Is. 56:5 “Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and
a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give [a]them an everlasting
name That shall not be cut of..”
We must never forget that our identity is not only individual but as a church
for each of these promises.
V. EXHORTATION (3:11b y 13)
“Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” Despite the praises of
Jesus for the perseverance of the Christians of Philadelphia, the matter is not over
yet, they had to keep clinging to what they had (3:11), that is, to keep the message
that demands perseverance (3:10), so that their persecutors will not take away their
crown; which was given to the winners of a competition; losing it basically means
the same as the warning to the previous church: the exclusion of the kingdom (3:5).
2 Jn. 8 “ Look to yourselves, that [c]we do not lose those things we worked for,
but that we may receive a full reward,”
The closing order that is familiar “He who has an ear, let him hear” (v.13)
reminds us, once again, that the message of each of these seven letters is applicable
to all the churches including us.
1. What part of the message was the one that touched your heart the most?
2. In what areas do you need to follow the example of fidelity of the Church of
3. Which of the five promises to this church motivates you the most and why?