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 Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 25) (verses 7 - 11)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 25) (verses 7 - 11)   Wed Dec 31, 2014 9:30 pm

Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 25) (verses 7 - 11)

It just hit me what I think the repeated phrase: “Hear what the Spirit says to the 7 churches” really means. It supports this interpretation that the 7 churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 were not only real churches in John’s day, but also stand as prophetic predictions of the temperament of Christian churches throughout church history. The Holy Spirit is the source of prophesy. Prophesy comes from and through the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” What Jesus is saying by repeating this clause, is He is telling us to also apply His words to future things to come concerning the church. Seven, as well known, means completeness in the bible. The prophesies of chapters 2 and 3 covers the entire church age.

Today we come to the church in Philadelphia in our study. This church prophetically represents the age of Christian revival and missionary expansion, covering the years AD 1700 to approximately AD 1900. There is no distinct end date for this period. Its end seamlessly blends with the beginning of the next church age with a blur. Today this city of Philadelphia is modern Alashehir, located in Asia Minor. The Greek word for “Philadelphia” means “brotherly love.” In John’s day, this city was important for its commerce as it was strategically located on a gateway to a high plateau of the Roman province of Asia. The prophetic clause of our passage is “an open door,” located within verse 8.

Verse 7 reads, “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.” We pointed out in previous lessons that each of these 7 churches reiterates some aspect of Jesus that was given to us in Revelation chapter 1. This verse says that Jesus holds the key of David. That is a reference to Revelation 1:18, which reads, “And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” In Matthew 16:19, Jesus says, “I will give you (the Church) the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth with be loosed in heaven.” Jesus is able to hand out keys because He is the owner of all keys. A key is simply a tool that gives complete access to a destination or source or it is used to lock and prevent access; in other words, it gives one complete ownership and control. Jesus holds the keys of the universe because He is Owner of it all. He holds the key of David, which is the Jewish kingdom throne--yes, he owns that. He holds the keys of death and Hades because through his resurrection, He conquered death and Hades; but that means that He has control of who dies and lives; and who goes to Hades and who escapes. Jesus, by His keys, chose to save the Apostle Paul, for example, who was on an ominous path towards a destiny of Hades and Hell before Jesus met him on that road to Damascus. Not all Christians will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, as we will later see. He holds the keys and stands as the Judge.

Verse 8 reads, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Jesus says nothing bad about this church in Philadelphia. Here, he expresses that he’s been watching. He acknowledges the deeds of this church. The previous church had few deeds because Jesus called that a dead church with just a reputation of looking like a church with deeds. To this church in Philadelphia he says, “I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Jesus places an open door to salvation that no one can shut because He has the keys to open that door. He made access to salvation easier for this church. You recall that depressing passage in the Old Testament where God warns the people through Noah and his family to repent. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark, which equated to 120 years of time for the people to listen to Noah and repent. I don’t know how good of an evangelist Noah was, but his results were pitiful. God wanted not just animals to fill the ark. He gave an opportunity for whomever would repent to come to the ark. But time ran out in Genesis 7:16, which reads, “The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.” God closed the open door so than no more could enter. He locked the door with his “key.”

As afore noted, this verse prophetically applies to the years AD 1700 to AD 1900. It was during this period that American slavery ended. Child labor ended. It was a period when sin was called out and the invitation to salvation was greatly extended. There was a great concern for the poor during this time. Christianity benefited from worldwide missionary efforts of some of the greatest evangelists since the early church began. This was the age of DL Moody, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, George Whitfield, John Wesley, and Charles Finney. Many converted to Christianity. It was an open door period. George Mueller of England had a ministry and philanthropy movement. William Kerry went to India for his Christian missionary work. Hudson Terry went to China and made many converts. David Livingston went to Africa. Adoniram Judson went to Burma and translated the bible to their language. John Gibson Paton went to the New Hebrides cannibals. Translations of the Christian bible came to nearly every nation and tongue. One thing that fueled the impetus of the missionary movement of this time was the belief that the Rapture will happen soon as the Gospel has reached all nations. This belief was based on Mark 13:10, which reads, “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” Well, unfortunately, this verse was a little misplaced. The Rapture comes first. The Gospel will not reach all nations until during the Tribulation period (after the Rapture) when the 144,000 Jewish Christian converts fulfills this verse and finishes bringing the Gospel to all nations. This passage concerns the Tribulation period, not the end time of human history leading up to it. Christians won’t fulfill this passage, rather Jewish Christians will. We will be looking at these passages as well later on.

Jesus said that this door will be opened and no one can shut it even though the Christian expansion did not come about by force as the “other” religion did during its expansion. In fact, Jesus says in the rest of verse 8, “I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” The Christian expansion did not rely on the strength of man. God opened that door by his strength.

Verse 9 posits, “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.” Jesus is now talking eschatology stuff. In fact, the rest of what Jesus says to this church is about eschatology. In this verse, the sin happened during John’s day, but the punishment will happen after the Tribulation period. We know that the punishment will take place in the future, because we know that it has not yet happened throughout history. The enemies of Jews have not bowed down to the “Jewish” Christians that Jesus is addressing here.

Satan still has a synagogue. He has infiltrated Christian churches and doctrine in all church ages. The bible says that Satan comes as an angel of light. In order to be successful propagandizing a false doctrine, it must include some truths that appeals to the masses. If it were all lies, it would be exposed and no one would bite; therefore Satan’s doctrine includes truths. He said to Eve in Genesis chapter 3, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (That was a blatant lie. He said they were free to eat from any and all trees except one). Satan continues, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In order for Satan to sell this scheme to Eve, he had to include some truths. If we analyze this, we can pull out the truths that Satan used to draw Eve. One thing that was sort of true of what Satan said to Eve was that they will not die. Both Adam and Eve ate the apple and lived on centuries longer before they final died. Of course Satan didn’t explain that the moment they were to bite into the apple that they would immediately die spiritually. And Satan was right when he said their eyes will be opened. The point of the tree was to open the eyes of the one who eats its fruit into a knowledge of good and evil. Because God had his eyes opened to both good and evil, they would in essence, in that sense, be more like God. And many things Satan said to Jesus when he tried to tempt him to sin were true statements. He even quoted the bible to Jesus. But his motives were evil, thus Satan is able to use truth, tainted with a false agenda and some lies to sell what looks good and acceptable and even holy, right, and politically correct. He is able to mix truth and lies to come up with a concoction that God’s Christians often accept and drink. Satan is in our churches today. He is in our pulpits. He is in our doctrines that many have accepted as truth. Satan loves church as long as church promotes his agenda.

Verse 10 reads, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on earth.” “Hour” here simply means time period. This verse is evidence that supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view, that is, the Rapture of Christians precedes the Tribulation and therefore Christians escape the wrath of the Tribulation Period. We will look at other stronger proof later on. This verse doesn’t really prove the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view because Jesus is talking to the church age of Philadelphia, which as we stated represents AD 1700 - AD 1900; and we know that neither the Rapture nor Tribulation came to pass yet, therefore this verse has already been fulfilled for the church of Philadelphia. Jesus has allowed the Church in Philadelphia to escape the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. There is still one more period, the Laodicean Period, which represents our church age today. This verse does disprove those who believe that the Tribulation takes place during the entire history of the church. Those who believe that say that you and I are living in the Tribulation period today because it started back when Jesus was crucified.

Verse 10 also gives one reason for the Tribulation: “to test those who live on the earth.” I’ll briefly cover the next verse and then close this post with the reasons for the Tribulation that the bible offers. Verse 11: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” I can’t exhaustively cover “crown” here because this post is long enough. I’ll defer that topic for later. But you see here that it is possible to lose your crown, which is a reward. Jesus says here, “I am coming soon.” What does “soon” mean? It’s been over 2,000 years now! There is only one more church age to come. That is what “soon” means here. This is the period prophetically before the last period. The time of the end is soon. We are living in that last church age now.

One reason for the Tribulation is to test those who live on the earth. Man during the time of the Tribulation will be stubborn, self-willed, wicked, and will have no concern for God. People will have the attitude of the Egyptian pharaoh during the time of the Exodus. Their god will be themselves. God is going to show Himself to man as He showed Himself to Pharaoh and tested him. He is going to show Himself through obvious signs and wonders. This period will draw out how wicked and rebellious man really is. It will draw out how much man does not want to submit to God. I’ll quickly share with you 4 more passages that give explicit reasons for the Tribulation period. Micah 5:15 says, “I will take vengeance in anger and wrath upon the nations that have not obeyed me.” That needs no more commentary except to say that verse ends a passage that is talking about the Tribulation period. Micah 5:5-15 is about the Tribulation period. Ezekiel 20:38 says, “I will purge you of those who repent and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” During the Tribulation, God will separate His people from the wicked people of the world. God will “purge” the land. The reader might say, “But I thought you said Christians won’t be there during the Tribulation. I thought you said the Church gets raptured before the Tribulation happens.” Yes, they do get raptured before the Tribulation. But the Church will leave behind its works: Christian books, online Christian forums, audio tapes, video tapes, Christian bibles and bible commentary. From those relics, 144,000 Jews will convert to Christianity and become evangelizers. They will note the Rapture of all the people who disappeared and realize that only Christians have disappeared and will look further into Christianity to see why only Christians disappeared. Also 2 of God’s prophets will come back and they will draw new Christian converts. These will be the Christians during the Tribulation period. Right after this verse in Ezekiel, Ezekiel discusses the future Millennium period.

The next reason I’d like to share is found in Isaiah 2:11-12. Verses 9-21 here are discussing the Tribulation period. Verse 11-12 reads, “The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled).” One reason for the Tribulation period is it will be a period where God will come down to humble prideful man. He will break down man’s god of self and their will. He is going to mentally break their stubborn pride when they see His great wrath unveiled. Only God will be exalted in that day. The final reason I’d like to share is found within 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, but we will quickly look at only a few of these verses. This passage mostly is talking about the Anti-Christ who will be revealed during the Tribulation period. Verse 6 says, “And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.” Verse 7b, “but the one who holds it [the Anti-Christ’s power] back will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way.” What is this passage telling us? The One who is holding the Anti-Christ back is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way then the Tribulation will occur because the Holy Spirit will no longer be on the Earth to continue holding back the Anti-Christ’s power. Where is the Holy Spirit? He is within every Christian believer. So when the Rapture occurs, Jesus is going to take away all Christians and thereby taking the Holy Spirit with them. The mere fact that we are here, our presence is preventing that end period from occurring. This passage is great proof that the Rapture will come before the Tribulation period. And it helps prove the Rapture itself. So a reason for the Tribulation is that the Holy Spirit will no longer be here to defer it any longer.
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Revelation Chapter 3 (Part 25) (verses 7 - 11)
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