THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 3:9 - Continued 6

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 churches."' - Revelation 3:10-13

Complaint

There is no complaint or warning for this church, but there are many promises, including these: an encouragement that Jesus is "coming soon," and that He would keep them from the hour of trial that is coming on the world. These are definite allusions to the Rapture and to its timing: before the trials of The Tribulation Period.

Counsel

"Because you have kept My command to persevere"

The normal word for command is not used here. Instead, it is the Greek expression, ton logon tes hypomones - literally "the word of my patient endurance." It reminds us of the words of Hebrews 12, following the great list of heroes of the faith in chapter 11.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2

The Philadelphian Christians were privileged to live in the time and place of a great "open door" of missions, but like all Christians they had their own trials as we noted above with Judaizers who opposed the teaching of grace. In addition, all First Century Christians were considered suspect by people of Greek and Roman backgrounds. But they followed Jesus, the "author and finisher" of their faith who was persecuted more severely than they would be.

To these faithful followers Jesus promised, "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." This is the promise of the Rapture of the Church. As we have mentioned before, there is a vast difference between the normal (though possibly deadly) trials caused by being a true Christian (2 Timothy 3:12), and this dreaded "hour of trial which shall come on the whole world." This tribulation is still future, and will be a fulfillment of the last week of Daniel's prophecy of the last "week" (seven years). That will be the last of the 70 "weeks" of years of Israel's history (Daniel 9:24-27) leading to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. It also corresponds to an intense time of suffering that Jeremiah called "Jacob's trouble."

Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it - Jeremiah 30:7

We will address these and other Old Testament passages when we begin our study of Chapter 4. At that point we will also consider the difference between the Rapture of the Church and Christ's Glorious Return as King of Kings. In addition, we will cite evidence for the timing of the Rapture. As you can see from this promise to the Philadelphians, it appears to be before the Tribulation. We will discover many other reasons to hold this position.

The Lord then reinforces this expectation of His return for the Church by saying, "Behold, I am coming quickly!" This has been the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) of the Church in every generation from the First Century until now. Those who understood this promise that was given by Jesus Himself to the Disciples (John 14:1-6), lived each day of their lives in the wondrous expectation that He may return for them quickly - meaning immediately. Living in this way has a powerful influence to maintain holiness and to be faithful to share the Gospel with others while there is still time (2 Peter 3:11-12).

"Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."

There is also a warning not to let anyone take their crown. This probably refers to the Crown of Life, which was also promised to the overcomers of the Smyrna church (See chapter 2, verse 10). Sadly, some people have failed to receive Christ as Savior, and thus receive eternal life because of the influence of another person who misled them. The apostle John described such people in this way:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. - 1 John 2:19

As in the message to each of the seven churches, "He who overcomes," is a description of a true believer (explained in the notes on chapter 2, verse 1).

To the overcomers in this particular church, Jesus added this: "I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God." Some commentators consider this a reference to a place of safety. There were no Christian temples, or even church buildings at that time, but in that future New Jerusalem there will be a glorious temple, and it will be a most-secure location. To be a pillar there would be the privilege of providing some supporting service there where the Lord Himself will dwell.

For the residents of Philadelphia this concept would have had some temporary relevance too. A few decades earlier there had been a massive earthquake in the area, followed by many major aftershocks for a long time afterwards. The residents of Philadelphia would prefer to spend their nights in the fields for many years rather than trust the weakened buildings of the city. That may have been why the Lord added, "and he shall go out no more."

As a further picture of adoption and ownership, Jesus said, these believers would receive a three-fold mark of identification. First He said, "I will write on him the name of My God." Jesus is God the Son, (see chapter 1, verse 4), but when He refers to God or His God, He is speaking about the Father. This new name, like the changed last name of a Bride or an adopted child in our society, is a mark of ownership or adoption, and privilege.

The overcomer will also receive the name of the New Jerusalem: "and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God." No one knows yet what that name will be. We will study the amazing New Jerusalem that will descend from outer space in Revelation chapter 21!

Finally, the privileged new member of God's family will also receive Jesus' own new name. "And I will write on him My new name." This also shows His eternal love for His followers.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." As in all the previous letters, this closing thought is repeated. See notes about this expression in chapter 2, verse 7.



Next: Revelation 3:14



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