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The Letter to the Church at Philadelphia

March 23, 2022

Leadership Notes


Revelation 3:7-13


IMPERFECTLY PRAISEWORTHY


In verse ten, Jesus commends the church at Philadelphia for their "patient endurance." The word translated as “patient endurance” can also be rendered, we wait eagerly, or sustained perseverance. It communicates the characteristic of a person who is loyal in faith and devotion to Jesus even in the greatest trials and sufferings. What great things to say about a church.


A second word, found in verse seven, the true one, means the opposite of what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated, or pretended. This is Jesus referring to himself.


Finally, also in verse seven, Jesus describes himself as one who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. This relates to the role of Eliakim, mentioned in 2 Kings. He was finance minister for King Hezekiah. He was the gatekeeper to the king. He alone decided who could be admitted to the king's chamber and for whom the king's treasury was to be opened. This was a huge Biblical reference. Its symbolism is claimed by Jesus for the highest application imaginable. Jesus decides who gains entry into heaven.


In reference to verse nine, we understand that there are people in all religions who claim that religion but are merely using it to advance personal or financial or political or manipulative or selfish or authoritarian goals. You get the point. Verse nine is talking about people who were claiming to be Jews but they weren't. They were Jews in name only. Because truly religious Jews would have no part in persecution or harassment of followers of Jesus. There should be no hostility between the two groups. And as we've seen in later history, that shameful behavior cut the other way.