Revelation: Philadelphia – Persevering to the End

Peter Barnes: Revelation 3:7-13

(21 January 2018)


‘Philadelphia’ means ‘brotherly love’, and dates back to the second century B.C. when one king refused to grab the throne at the expense of his brother. Only Smyrna (2:8-11) and Philadelphia (3:7-13) are not criticised by Christ. There is such a thing as a good church!

– recall John 9:22, 34.
1. Christ holds the key to God’s kingdom.

– 3:7. Christ is described as holy and true, just as God is in 6:10. He also holds the key of David (see Isa.22:20-22). But the Pharisees misused this key – Matt.23:13. So Christ gave the keys to the Church – Matt.16:19.

– John Stott, Marcus Loane, William Hendriksen, and Sir William Ramsay write of the missionary door of opportunity (cf. 1 Cor.16:9; 2 Cor.2:12; Col.4:2-3). But it is the door to the Messianic kingdom. If Christ has opened that door, no one can shut it; if Christ has shut that door, no one can open it.
2. The church is weak, yet faithful.

– 3:8-9, 11. The Old Testament verses will rebound on the Jews; they will be fulfilled in an unexpected way (Isa.45:14; 49:23; 60:14).

3. Christ’s promises to His people.

(a) Christ will give them victory – 3:9b.
(b) Christ will preserve His people – 3:10.
(c) Christ will make His people to be pillars in the new temple, and they will be totally secure – 3:12; see 1 Peter 2:4-5.
(d) Christ will write three names on His people – the name of God the Father; the name of the new Jerusalem (Heb.12:22-24; Rev.21:1-4, 22-27; 22:1-5); and the new name of Christ in the fullness of His glory.