Time or Eternity? ™

The church of Philadelphia

In Revelation, The church of Philadelphia on March 11, 2011 at 8:00 am

The sixth epistle is to Philadelphia; and the remarkable circumstance connected with this church is that, though spoken of as having but “a little power,” it is not seriously blamed. In this respect it resembles the church at Smyrna in the first group of these seven epistles. What has mainly to be noticed, however, is that it is not simply, like that at Smyrna, a suffering church. It has been engaged in an earnest and hot struggle with the world, as the superscription, the commendation, and the promises of the epistle combine to testify. The superscription is, These things saith He thot is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and none shall shut, and that shutteth, and none openeth. The figure is taken from the Old Testament; and both there and here the context shows us that it is neither the key of knowledge, nor the key of discipline, nor the key of the treasures of the kingdom that is spoken of, but the key of power to open the Lord’s house as a sure refuge from all evil, and to preserve safe for ever those who are admitted to it. “I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah,” says the Almighty by His prophet, “and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Whoever be our adversaries, we know that in the hollow of the Lord’s hand we are safe. The commendation of the epistle tells the same tale: I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep My word, and didst not deny My name. The Church had “a little power,” and she had shown this in the struggle. So also with the promises: Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou didst keep the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth, to try them that dwell upon the earth. I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one lake thy crown. He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall no more come forth: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God, and Mine own new name. How fierce the struggle of Philadelphia had been with the world we learn from these words, in which the enemies of the Church—” Jews” they call themselves, the people of God, but “they are not” —are brought before us like vanquished nations at her feet, as she sits in the heavenly places, paying homage to her against whom they had so long, but vainly, struggled. It is impossible not to see the difference between this church and that at Smyrna. No doubt there had been “blasphemy of them which say they are Jews” in the latter case, but worse trials were only spoken of as about to come. Here the trials have come, and the church has risen triumphantly above them. Therefore will the Lord admit her to His heavenly mansions, and will make her a pillar in His Father’s house, whence she shall come forth no more. He Himself ” went forth ” from His Father that He might be the Captain of our salvation and might die on our behalf. He returned to His Father, and never again “comes forth” as He came in the days of His flesh. Having died once, He dieth no more; and they who have borne His cross shall wear, when victors in His cause, His crown of victory.

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