The Letter From Jesus to The Local Church at Philadelphia

The 7 letters from Jesus were given to 7 specific local churches and those same letters were also given so that every church thru the ages, and that includes us, can know what pleases Jesus and we can know what He wants us focused on doing, and so that we can know what things are to be avoided. These 7 letters have foundational information on how a group of believers should walk with the Lord.

We can learn from each and every one of the 7 letters, even the letter to Sardis.  The letter to the church at Sardis should be a warning to all about letting things slip.  They at one time had received the truth.  Jesus tells them to remember and repent.  They had let things slip and slip and slip until it is so bad that Jesus calls them dead.  And that the things they have left are ready to die.  And even when they are at that almost totally gone state, Jesus still wants them to return.  That is the love of God.  Even a church that is so bad that Jesus has not one good thing to say about them, Jesus still wants them to return to sweet fellowship with Him.  The call goes out just repent and come back.  Here we see forgiveness, longsuffering, patience, and mercy.

The letter to Philadelphia.

Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 

The pattern continues.  Something from the intro to these letters is brought back up in a letter.  And what is brought up is something that has to do with the condition of that specific church.

Rev 2:18  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 

Fire and brass speak of judgment.  And Thyatira was the one that let Jezebel into their midst.

To the church at Ephesus is was that Jesus is the one who walketh in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks.  The candlesticks are the churches.  Jesus walks in the midst of them.  He is active, he is noticing all.  He is in the midst not on the edges.  That fits with their problem of leaving their first love.  Jesus knows it because Jesus is their watching.

In the letter to the church at Philadelphia the pattern continues but with a difference.  What is referenced from the intro is not fire or brass.

Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true

In the intro to the letters it says.

Rev 1:14  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;

White is often used in the bible to stand for purity.  Not always but often.  You have to look at the context.  In Isaiah it is real clear that there white is symbolizing purity.

Isa_1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

In Daniel’s prophecy it says that Jesus’ garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool.

When Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration it says.

Mar_9:3  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

When in the into it says. Rev 1:14  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;

It is making a reference back to all of those scriptures.  This is the same Jesus that Daniel and Isiah prophesied about.  This is the same Jesus who came and walked the earth and was transfigured on the mount.  And He is pure.  He is without sin.  Not even one spot.

And in our letter to Philadelphia we are told These things saith he that is holy, he that is true

Holy means entire or perfect in a moral sense.  Free from sin.  Pefectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character.  And it says he that is true.  He cannot lie, and he cannot do anything wrong.

Another truth that is brought up is that Jesus has the key of David.  Which obviously is referring to David the king.  Jesus is the one who will sit on the throne of David forever.  He is the promised King.  This speaks of authority.  Kings make up the laws and rules.  And bringing up the fact that Jesus has the key of David speaks to the fact that Jesus is the one who will rule forever.  He is the one that was promised.

In the intro it says Rev_1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.

Jesus is the prince of the kings.  He is over all.  He is above all of the other kings in every way.  He is the prince of kings.  In the intro to the letters it says:

Rev 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. 

The Almighty.  Jesus is the first and the last, the one who is eternal and knows all.  He is the Almighty.  The one with all power.

Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 

The statement he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

That is all about His power and His authority.  He is the Almighty.  What Jesus opens no man can shut.  And what Jesus shuts no man can open.  When He decides to move, no man can undo what Jesus does.  Period.

He can do amazing things by opening and shutting.  We personally know this is true.  And when He does something there is no use fighting it.  And when Jesus says that what He opens no man shuts and what He shuts no man opens brings to mind all kinds of examples from the Old Testament.

All of these things that are brought up in this letter are not about judging them.  In fact Jesus has not one bad thing to say about the church in Philadelphia at all.  Instead these things are brought up because He is going to promise to use His power to help them.

Rev 3:8  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:

Jesus sees their works.  Notice the colon that connects knowing their works with behold, I have set before thee an open door.  Their works are good.  And because of that behold,

Behold is an important word here.  Behold is to fix the eyes upon, to see with attention, to observe with care.

The Almighty is going to act, He is going to move.  The one who is above all.  The one who has all glory, He is going to do something for these people.  This is an amazing thing.  The one who is so high and lifted up.  The one who is the creator of all.  He is going to take time to notice what they are doing and then give them a blessing.

Behold His care.  Behold His attention.  Behold His love.

He knows their works (plural) and because of that fix your eyes on this He is opening a door for them and no man can shut it.

And this is the way it works.  The door does not get opened first.  First they had to work in faith.  And at that time the door was shut.  God is going to open the door but only after He sees their works.

They had to first learn from His Word what Jesus wants done and then they had to get busy and do it no matter what.  They had to step out and work in faith, even when the door is currently shut.  Even with very little or even no results.

Work and labor for the Master and with patience and be faithful to it.  Then when and if God chooses He will open the door.  We cannot open the door, we cannot force anything to happen.  We have no power in and of ourselves to move anything.

for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

all they could do is keep His word, that had a lot to do with doing.  Obeying.  Putting His principals, and truths, and orders that are in His Bible into action.  They did that.

And then they would not deny His name.  Now Jesus is going to tell them what is the door that He is opening for them.

Rev 3:9  Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;

So in their town are people who are Jewish.  They are Jews as far as bloodline.  But they are not His people.  They are not Jesus’ people in their heart.  In their heart they are of the synagogue of Satan.

I did not say it.  Jesus did.  And I believe they could have been like Paul before he got saved.  They thought they were following God but were really doing the work of Satan, and were clueless about it.

The church in Philadelphia had not denied Jesus’ name.  that means someone was persecuting them trying to get them and even force them to deny Jesus’ name.   So the church in Philadelphia had local enemies.

What does Jesus say to do to your enemies.

Mat_5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Jesus is pleased with this church and He says they have kept His word.  And Jesus has not one bad thing to say about this church.  So that leads me to believe that they were blessing them that curse them and doing good to them that hate them and they were praying for those who were persecuting them.

Now look at the last half of verse 9.

Rev. 3:9  …behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 

Jesus is going to make them ( who?) their enemies who are religious but lost.  Jesus is going to open a door for them to get saved.

Behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet.  Now be careful.  Worship directed anywhere but to Jesus is sin.  So Jesus is not going to make them worship the people in this church.

Instead Jesus’ is going to work in those professing Jews’ lives and they are going to get saved and come worship Jesus with the church at Philadelphia.  This is a miracle.  Jesus is going to supernaturally bring conviction and He is going to take the scales off their eyes and let them see the truth.  They are going to put away their pride and humble themselves and bow down on their knees (it says at their feet) and worship Jesus.

Can you even imagine it.  You know these people, they are your enemies.  You have obeyed the Word of God and witnessed to them and took their abuse and did good anyway and prayed for them.

You could never get anywhere with them.  You have little strength.  And time passes.  You are faithful.  And bam.  One day God opens the door and here they come and instead of coming to persecute you, they join you.  I mean what a hallelujah, praise the lord day that would have been.

Rev 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 

And here it is again in another one of these letters.  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience.  Doing the work of God in faith and in patience is very important to Jesus.

Let Him bring or don’t bring results in His time.  Just keep faithfully doing the work for Him.

Rev 3:11  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 

Jesus gives instructions to live like He is coming today.  When He comes is not the issue.  What day He comes is not the point.  The point is how we are to live.  It is just one of the reasons that He never gave a date for His return.  So that all Christians no matter when they lived all had the same opportunity to in faith live the way He wants us to live and that is as if He is coming today.

And now He ends this letter in a similar way to all the others.  He reminds all churches that it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.  He is coming with rewards.

Rev 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 

Rev 3:13  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 

What a wonderful letter.  And it teaches something very important that many miss.

The opening of the doors and the blessings of it come after you are working and faithful.  If you sit still and wait until the door opens then the door will not open.  You have to be faithful and working and obeying His words.

And be patient about it.  Let Him open the door in His way in His time.  He is the only one that can.  Only He has that power.  Just love Him and do what He wants done.  Be faithful and patient about it.

See more posts on the 7 letters from Jesus