LETTER TO THE MESSENGER OF THE CHURCH OF PHILADELPHIA

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;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and 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.
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.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
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.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

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;

"These things saith he that is holy:"

HOLY: 40 hagios (hag'-ee-os); from hagos (an awful thing) [compare 53, 2282]; sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated): KJV-- (most) holy (one, thing), saint.

The Lord addresses this messenger and refers to Himself as "He that is Holy".

In the Old Testament, He is revealed as "Jehovah M'kaddesh:

Lev 20: 8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.(KJV)

He is our Holiness, our Sanctification. He is the One Who sanctifies, or separates us for Himself. As we yield to Him, He does the required Work in us.

The Expectation of the Lord is that we are to be Holy just as He is Holy. We are to be a reflection of our Heavenly Father. The messenger that speaks the Word of God must speak the Word of God in Truth, and not his own opinion.

Moses was a messenger of God, and he was told the words that he was to speak to the congregation of Israel:

Lev 19: 2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.(KJV)

Jesus tells the messenger of the church of Philadelphia that He is Holy. God has chosen us to be sanctified to Him.

Lev 20: 26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

But this isn't just an Old Testament requirement of the Lord for Israel. All those who embrace Him through the Blood of Jesus Christ are to be holy:

1 Pet 1: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (KJV)

He Is our All Sufficient One. He enables us to be what HE wants us to be, if we yield to Him. In John 15, He promised His disciples that He would cause them to bring forth much fruit, IF they remained IN HIM:

John 15: 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)

I believe that this messenger of the Church in Philadelphia has held on to that promise of the Lord; and that he is bearing much fruit in his ministry, because he remains in the Lord.

Those who REMAIN in the Lord will walk in Love toward the Lord, and to each other. The very name of Philadelphia means "brotherly Love". I believe that this messenger of the Church is living up to that name.

He has separated himself from the things of the world, and has clung to the Lord.

Deut 26: 18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken. (KJV)

ANOTHER ATTRIBUTE THE LORD IDENTIFIES AS PERTAINING TO HIMSELF IS:

"He that is true"

We can see that the Lord identifies Himself as being True. Jesus Christ identified Himself as the Way, The Truth, and the Life. In all things He is True.

A Christian can depend on the Word of the Lord, and His promises. I believe that the Lord identifies Himself in this way to the messenger of the Church of Philadelphia, in order to encourage him.

In a world filled with lies and deception, this One is True.
He has promised us that He will never leave or forsake us.
He has promised us that He will provide all of our needs.
He has promised us Eternal Life.

I believe this messenger is one who has learned to Trust Him in all things and in all circumstances.

"He that hath the key of David"

We can see a progression here as to the Nature of Jesus Christ:

He is Holy.
Separate. Separated unto God.
His Life is not a life of Compromise.
The world has no part of Him.
As such, He is the Truth. There is no lie in Him.
Because of this, He has the Key of David.

The only other place where this "Key of David" is mentioned is in relation to a prophetic word by Isaiah concerning a man called Eliakim (Isaiah 22:15-25).

Eliakim was to take the place of a servant named Shebna, who had misused his office.

Just as I have mentioned that I believe these letters are to the messengers to the churches, so I believe that Jesus uses this particular phrase to bring the reader to mind of the situation with this Shebna and Eliakim.

The Lord removed Shebna from his office of service, and placed Eliakim in his stead. Shebna did not altogether lose his position of ministry. He was "demoted", so to speak, from the office of being over the house of Hezekiah, to that of a scribe. His ambition and the motivation of his heart (to acquire power and fame) was evident to the Lord, so the Lord moved him out of his place, and put another man in his position.

Isa 22: 15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?
17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord's house.
19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.(KJV)

The Word of God assures us that the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance…God will not take away that which He has given, but He will exalt another in a place of honor over the person who has exchanged his desire to see the furtherance of the Kingdom of God for the selfish ambition of building his own kingdom.

We can see this in the pastor who starts out with a great anointing, and has a large flock of sheep whom he feeds, but then because of immorality or a desire for selfish gain, or compromise of the Word of God, he sees his flock dwindle, and sees other pastors' ministries flourish while his struggles.
The Lord had great plans for him, but he lost sight of his primary purpose in serving the Lord with a pure heart. He may still be a pastor, but his ministry doesn't have the degree of influence it once had.
There have been instances where a once-successful senior pastor resigns, because his ministry is suffering, and the assistant pastor is put in his place, and his ministry thrives.

Or we have heard of the evangelists who have risen to a place of prominence, and their names were known everywhere. But then through Greed or immorality, they fell, and lost their position.
They may still be evangelists, but their ministry isn't as great as it once was.
Their names become bywords in the mouths of Christians and non-Christians alike.

Those of us in ministry would do well to heed what the Psalmist says:

Ps 75: 4 I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
5 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

The Lord proceeds to tell this Shebna what his place is as a result of his self-seeking:

Isa 22: 19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
21 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.
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house.
24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.
25 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it. (KJV)

The Lord is the One Who humbles a person, or exalts a person. He ultimately has the Key of Authority, which He bestows upon those who are faithful, and takes away from those who are not.

The Key of David represents this authority.

He gives the faithful minister Authority over Principalities, Powers and Spiritual Wickedness in High Places.
He gives the faithful minister the Authority to bind and loose, to remit sins and to retain sins.

No man can bind that which has been loosed in the Authority of Jesus.
And no one can Loose that which has been bound by that Authority. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 when He said:

Luke 4: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (KJV)

The faithful minister will be able to walk in that same anointing, because Jesus said:

John 14: 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

The key to the fulfillment of this promise is verse 15:

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.(KJV)

Jesus bestows the Keys of David upon those who are uncompromisingly faithful to Him and to His Word. David was promised that his kingdom would endure throughout time, if he would be faithful.

The Kingdom of God IS at hand to every person who enters into the covenant with God in faithful obedience to His Word. The Word of God tells us that if we say that Christ abides in us, we need to walk as He walked.
We need to reflect His life by the Life we live.
Just as He is Holy, we need to be Holy.
Just as He is True, we need to be True.
We are to be ambassadors for Christ.

This faithful messenger of the Church of Philadelphia is assured that because of his faithfulness, great things are his. What JESUS sets in place cannot be taken away, IF we walk in obedience to His Word.

8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Because of this messenger's faithfulness, Jesus tells him that He has set before him an open door. This man's ministry cannot be hindered from going forth, and accomplishing what he has been called to do.

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

Another thing worth noting is that Jesus tells him he has a LITTLE strength. The word "strength" here is the Greek word "dunamis".

1411 dunamis- strength power, ability
a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
b) power for performing miracles
c) moral power and excellence of soul
d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
e) power and resources arising from numbers
f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

This is the same word that is used in Luke 9, when Jesus gave His disciples power and authority before He sent them out:

Luke 9: 1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.(KJV)

At one time, we see that when the disciples came back from the mission the Lord had sent them on, they were rejoicing because of the wonderful things that their new-found power had accomplished through them:

Luke 10: 17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. Jesus put it in perspective for them:
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (KJV)

The important thing was not so much that they were able to demonstrate the Power of God in their ministry, but rather that their names were written in heaven. This is a reminder to those of us who are in the ministry not to get caught up in the sensational.

The witches and warlocks and newagers of this world are caught up in the allure of demonstrations of power. God gives us the authority and power over all the power of the enemy, but this too, can be used by Satan to cause a minister to be puffed up with pride. Indeed, there will be those who will remind the Lord that they had done many "mighty" things in His Name:

Matt 7: 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(KJV)

Christians in America are subject to being fooled by men who do "many wonderful works" in the Name of Jesus. Today's American Christian's yardstick of whether or not a man is a man of God, is if wonderful works are being done through his ministry. But the Lord's "yardstick" is obedience to the Word of God.

Matt 7: 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.(KJV)

These ministers spoken of in Matt. 7 are men who believed that they were doing "many wonderful works" for the Lord. But the fact of the matter is that regardless of who we are, we only have a little strength in the light of the Most Holy All-Powerful God.

We can't call things into existence. Only He can.
We can't do any wonderful works on our own…Only He can do the work through us, if He sees fit to do so.
It is a PRIVILEGE to be used by the Most High God.
Anything we do as ministers to further the Kingdom of God is not a "favour" done for Him. We are called to be servants. We are called to SERVE others.

The true Power of God rests in the humility of His servants.
The Power of God is demonstrated in the servant of God who is only seeking to further the Kingdom of God.
The Power of God is demonstrated in the servant who is no respecter of persons, and who seeks not favor in the eyes of men.

Many ministers have lost sight of that fact, and thier focus in ministry becomes one in which they are served by others. They bask in their popularity and their recognition and admiration from others.

We need to understand that Jesus doesn't need any of us. He has called us and equipped us, and He is not indebted to any of us. Many ministers get puffed up with pride because of the fact that they are used by God.

I believe this is why Jesus told His disciples that He beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven. Satan's sin was that he got puffed up over the fact that God had done a marvelous work in him. Because of that pride, he was cast out of heaven.

Jesus' warning to the disciples was that regardless of how God may use us, we must not lose focus on the fact that it is His Work, and not ours. Our rejoicing should be that we have a place in heaven, and that we are privileged to serve Him.

I believe this Messenger of the Church of Philadelphia hasn't lost sight of that fact.

"...and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."

The Lord commends him for this. He sees that he walks in the power of God, and has not been moved away from the Word of God.
He hasn't gotten puffed up with pride over the fact that the gifts of God flow through him, and he hasn't compromised the Word of God for popularity's sake.

He hasn't lost focus on his responsibility before the Lord.

Titus speaks of ministers who profess to know God, and they can even declare His Name, yet in their works, they deny Him (Titus 1:16).

They can deny Him through covetousness, and encouraging others to be covetous.
They can deny Him through their condoning of sin in others and in themselves.
They can deny Him through being given over to sin themselves.
They can deny Him in justifying their sin. They are not godly examples to others.
We can read about this kind of minister in Jude verse 4:

" For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

They can deny the Lord through receiving the praise and the honor of men.
They can deny the Lord through seeking the limelight.

Fame may come to a man of God who is walking in the power of God. But it is how he handles that fame that shows whether he is denying the Lord or not.
Is he heaping up accolades and material wealth for himself?
Or is he giving of himself to God and to others in every situation?

Though the Lord is using him, and all of his strength has come from the Lord, and all of the works he does are a result of the power of God flowing through him, the temptation for any minister of God is to get caught up in the recognition of men.

Many "men of God" have fallen prey to this trap, and as a result have really been rendered ineffective as far as furthering the Kingdom of God is concerned.
They are very successful in furthering their own kingdom, but the message of the Kingdom of God has been diluted by their compromise.

Some of the areas where the message is diluted are in the area of Holiness, repentance, and obedience.

The Gospel message of Holiness is substituted for a message of self-indulgence. "Forget denying yourself...you are King's kids! ENJOY!"

The Gospel message of repentance is substituted for a message of "you can't help it, God understands your lusts".

The Gospel message of obedience is substituted for a message of liberalism. "All of this talk of 'obeying the Lord' is just legalism!"

Titus 1: 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (KJV)

But this messenger of the Church of Philadelphia has not fallen into that trap. He preaches the unadulterated Word of God. He hasn't denied the Lord in the things that he teaches or that he does.
He has stood the test, and seeks to glorify the Lord in everything He does. His desire is not for recognition or acclaim from men. He just desires to further the Kingdom of God.

9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and 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.

"THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN"

We touched briefly on the subject of the synagogue of Satan in our study of the messenger to the church in Smyrna. There are many who profess to be "spiritual Israel", because they prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Indeed, Paul says:

Rom 2: 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (KJV)

But what is it to be a Jew inwardly? In verse 29, Paul mentions a circumcision of the heart. In the old Testament, we also see that the Lord uses the term "circumcision of the heart" in reference to their obedience to Him or "uncircumcision of the heart" concerning their disobedience.

In Leviticus 26, the Lord mentions that He would bless His people if they walked in obedience to His statutes and His commandments(Leviticus 26:3-12).

He reminds His people that His intentions for them is that they would know the Freedom He has ordained for them:

13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

His intentions for those who are Christians (Jews inwardly) today is that they would be free from bondage to the world.

But in Leviticus 26:14-40, the Lord tells His people that if they walk contrary to His Will, and break their covenant with Him, that He would give them severe punishment for their disobedience. He tells them that because of their disobedience, their hearts are uncircumcised (verse41). But He gives a remedy for this. It is called repentance:

41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

In Deuteronomy 30:6, the Lord promises His people that if they repent and return to Him, that He will pour out His blessings upon them, and will circumcise their heart.

6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jer 4:4 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.(KJV)

We can see that circumcision of the heart is manifested in OBEDIENCE to the Lord. Those who are walking in habitual disobedience to the Word of the Lord are uncircumcised in their hearts. These men are men who do not worship or honor the True God in spirit and in truth.

As we have seen throughout this study in Revelation, there are teachers and preachers, pastors and evangelists, prophets and apostles who are uncircumcised in their hearts, and yet have a position in the church.

I believe that these are those who are identified as saying they are Jews but are not. They are identified as the Synagogue of Satan, because the Word of God is not being preached in Truth.

The Lord addresses a similar thing in Ezekiel 44:6-9:

6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,
7 In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.

Just as Israel heaped to themselves teachers who would tell them what they wanted to hear, there are those today in the Churches who do the same thing. Men with great flowery words, flattering lips and lying tongues are easier to listen to than those who call the church to walk in obedience to the Word of God.

These "successful" ministers may have some contempt for the messenger who walks in the simplicity of this messenger of the Church of Philadelphia. Because of the uncircumcision of their hearts, they may even ridicule such a man.

The messenger of the Church in Philadelphia has been promised that these who are uncircumcised in heart will come to him and will acknowledge that the Truth of God is in this man.


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.

It is his patient continuance in well doing despite the adversity that enables this one to overcome.

Let's take a rabbit trail to look at what it means to "KEEP THE WORD OF THE LORD'S PATIENCE":

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience"

This messenger is commended for having "kept the word of the Lord's patience"…he has endeavored to walk blamelessly before men and God, regardless of whatever situation he may find himself in.

I believe we can look at Paul's message to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 6:1-12) as a wonderful example of what it means to "keep the Word of God's Patience:"

In context, we can see that prior to this segment of his message to the Corinthians, Paul had just explained to them that those who are in Christ are new creatures. Old things have passed away, and all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17).

Because "All things are become new" through Christ's Presence in our lives, "all things" are of God:

2 Cor 5: 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.(KJV)

Paul says that God was in Christ, "receiving the world into favor" with Himself (reconciling), not meting out the just punishment that we deserve. He exchanged His Innocence for our guilt:

Ps 32: 1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.(KJV)

He exchanged His Righteousness for our unrighteousness:

Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,(KJV)

He exchanged His Liberty From Sin for their bondage to sin:

Ps 119: 133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.(KJV)

Rom 6:14 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.(KJV)

Though we have fallen out of favor to God through our sin, Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself so we could receive God's favor once more, and so we could walk in Christ's Righteousness, and not our own.

He says that because God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, He, in turn has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.

This ministry of reconciliation is defined as "receiving one into favor". Now, since we have tasted of His Grace and goodness, like Paul, the Lord has called us to be ministers of reconciliation. We are to tell others how they can be received into favor with God.

Paul says that we are "ambassadors" for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). We are His "spokes-persons".

We don't just present the gospel, we beg others in behalf of Christ to receive this reconciliation from God. This is what the words "beseech" and "pray" imply in verse 20 of 2 Corinthians 5. This implies a sense of urgency on the part of the ministers of God concerning a person's soul.

The picture we should be getting of a TRUE minister of God is one in which the man of God earnestly desires to see others attain a right understanding of the RELATIONSHIP which God intends for them to have with Him.

This man of God will not be satisfied with the flock complacently sitting in the pew, and being satisfied with religious works. He will want to see them excel in the things of God. He will go to ANY length to see this occur.

Paul uses the term "beseech" again in 2 Corinthians 6:1. He says that as a co-worker with Christ, his earnest desire is that these Christians have not received the Grace of God in vain:

2 Cor 6: 1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

The word translated as "vain" here is the Greek word "kenos", which means, empty, or devoid of truth. According to Thayer's, one of the definitions of this word is:
c) metaphorically, destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith

In a parenthetical note, Paul quotes from Isaiah 49:8. We can see Paul's heart concerning his burden for these Christians, when we look at the entire passage in Isaiah:

Isa 49: 8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. (KJV)

Though this passage can be attributed to a prophetic passage concerning the coming of Christ, I believe that because we are to be Christ's ambassadors, Paul quoted this in reference to those who are born again believers as well.

Throughout the Bible we can see that God's commission to His people has not changed. Christ came into the world as a Light to the Gentiles, and to restore Israel to Himself.
We are given the commission to be a light to the world, and to walk in the ministry of reconciliation.
We are to see those who are captives to sin to be set free.
We are to show others the way from darkness into the Light of Christ.
We are feed the flock of God with the Word of Truth.
We are to show them the Way to the shelter of the Almighty.

I believe that Paul is saying in essence, "As a coworker with Jesus Christ, I am begging you, brethren, not to be unfruitful in the things of the Lord, because He has called you to a high calling. He wants to use you mightily for the furtherance of His Kingdom!"

Then Paul explains the fact that he does all he can to avoid anything that would cause others to sin, so that the ministry of reconciliation which was given to him would not be discredited in the minds of others:

2 Cor 6: 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

Paul says that IN ALL THINGS, he and those who are sincerely walking in their calling as ministers of reconciliation show themselves to be the ministers of God in much patience regardless of what comes their way.

This word patience means "cheerful endurance". He is not just enduring all things, but he cheerfully endures all that comes his way. This cheerful endurance toward God and others is displayed in their lives despite afflictions, necessities, distresses, or abuse at the hands of others.

2 Cor 6: 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The true minister of God will walk in much patience toward others despite his lack of sleep ("watchings" verse 5), or lack of food. The fact that he may minister this word of reconciliation with God to an errant soul is enough to cheer him up regardless of the situation.

The way that he is able to walk in this cheerful endurance, is by seeking to live in purity before God. He has cultivated his patience through learning the things of God, because he delights in the things of God.

Through perseverance in pursuing after the things of God (diligently seeking Him and His will in his life), he has acquired this cheerful endurance.
To live a life of integrity (kindness) has been his goal. Without the Holy Spirit, none of these things would be possible.
In essence, we can see that come what may, the true minister of reconciliation will endure many inconveniences, even to the point of imprisonment or beatings, to see a soul be reconciled to God.

I believe this messenger to the church of Philadelphia is a faithful reflection of Paul's description of what a minister of reconciliation is, and the Lord commends him for his patience. He says that because this messenger has kept the word of His patience, that He would:

Rev 3:10... also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (KJV)

Many people believe that this passage means that this is describing the "pretribulation rapture". I don't think that is what this is speaking of.

Remember that the messenger was commended for "keeping" the word of the Lord's patience. This word translated as "keep" can also mean to guard from loss or injury. It implies that the messenger guards the word of the Lord's patience.

He holds on to the promises of the Lord regardless of whatever may come his way. He trusts the Lord in all things. To see the definition of this word, we can see that the guards of the tomb of Jesus are mentioned as "keepers" in Matt. 28:4:

Matt 28:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (KJV) (see also Acts 12:6, 16:23, 24:23, etc…)

I am reminded of the passage where David said:

Ps 119: 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (KJV)

The implication here is that David guarded the word of God, with the intent that he would not sin against God. One of the definitions of this word "hid" is to "protect".
Just as this messenger has guarded the word of the Lord's patience, so the Lord says that He would protect, or to guard him from the hour of temptation which would come upon all the world.
Every man, woman and child can be assured that they will be tempted in their lives. Jesus taught us that when we pray, we are to pray that the Lord would not allow us to be led into temptation (Matt. 6:13).
The promise that this messenger is receiving from the Lord is that because of his faithfulness to the Lord, He would protect or guard him from these temptations which he is confronted with. We have been promised this in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

I believe that the reason the phrase "hour of temptation" is used is because this messenger who has been commended for his patience, needs to be reminded that whatever temptation may come our way, it is just a short time in the light of eternity.

In 1 Peter 1:5, we are told that the believers in Christ are "kept" (this word also means protected or guarded) by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
In the following verse, he mentions that these believers in Christ may have to endure a "season" of temptations:

1 Pet 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:(KJV)

The word translated "season" here carries with it the connotation of a very short time.

3641 oligos- little, small, few a) used of number: multitude, quantity, or size b) used of time: short c) used of degree or intensity: light, slight

So I believe we can see that the Lord is saying, in essence, "because you have guarded my word in your heart, and have learned patience, I will protect and guard you in the temptations that come your way. You will see that no matter how intense the storm was, it really didn't last that long in reality, because I am with you through the storm."
Indeed, we have been promised that very thing in 2 Peter 2:9:

2 Pet 2: 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (KJV)

In 2 Corinthians 4:1, Paul mentions the fact that because of the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to him, he would not faint.

1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

This word "faint" carries with it the meaning of becoming weary, despairing, or losing heart. Paul says that he doesn't lose heart. He then proceeds to mention all the temptations and trials he endures in his service for Christ:

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

Then he mentions that these trials, when compared to eternity with Christ, which is to come are merely "light afflictions" which only last for a moment.

16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.(KJV)

The messenger to the church in Philadelphia has not fainted, and has endured seasons of momentary affliction because of his service to Christ. He is told that Jesus will guard him in those seasons of temptation. If God is for us, WHO can be against us?

11 Behold, I come quickly:

After He gave this messenger this wonderful promise and encouragement, the Lord reassures him that He is coming quickly.

Whether the Lord comes in a day or if He doesn't come for another thousand years, His coming is SOON.

Peter says that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day (2 Pet. 3:8).

Regardless of WHEN He comes, our earthly existence is only momentary compared to eternity. God's desire is that His Creation would be saved…
A
s we have seen in 2 Cor. 4, a minister of God is to have the view in ministry that regardless of what he goes through, it's nothing compared to the opportunity to further the Kingdom of God in other people's lives.

"…hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

He tells this messenger to hold tightly to that which he has, to continue in the walk of integrity and the ministry that has been committed to him, so that no one could take his crown.

This crown spoken of here is the Greek word "stephanos", which means the wreath or garland which which was given as a prize to victors in public games. Paul mentions obtaining such a crown concerning his ministry and service to the Lord.

1 Cor 9: 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.(KJV)

Those of us who are entrusted with the ministry to others to further the Kingdom of God, should strive for excellence in the service to the Lord.

By using this word "stephanos", I believe the Lord likens our position in ministry as a contestant in between good and evil.

We are on the Lord's team, and Satan has his own team that he pits against us. In the days of Roman rule, there were great life and death contests in the coliseums, pitting gladiator against gladiator, or sometimes men against beasts. Those who would win would receive a "stephanos" crown. Those who lost, lost everything.

In the spiritual realm, Paul says that the stephanos crown of the minister of God consists of souls that have been snatched away from the grip of Satan, and won for the Glory of God:

1Thes 2: 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (KJV)

Phil 4:1 1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. (KJV)

The faithful minister of God is exhorted to be an example to the church of God, patiently feeding them out of a pure desire to see them become all they can be in the Kingdom of God.

When the Lord comes, this minister will receive this victor's crown for his faithfulness and his steadfastness in his service to the Lord.

1 Pet 5: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.(KJV)

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

Those of us who are entrusted with the ministry to others to further the Kingdom of God, should strive for excellence in the service to the Lord.

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

The Message from the Lord to this messenger is to keep patiently serving the Lord, to ensure that no man would take his crown.

Earlier in this study, I mentioned that there were pastors and ministers whose position was replaced by another because of their compromise in their walk with the Lord.

Just as the letter to the messenger of the church in Ephesus warned him that Jesus would move his church (lampstand) out of his place, unless he repented, so the Lord encourages this one to be diligent, so that no man would take his place in ministry.

We know that Matthias received his position as an apostle as a result of Judas' betrayal (Acts 1:20).

The word to those who are in ministry is that we need to be faithful in our walk before the Lord. If we are not, we may lose that position to another.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God

I believe the Lord is promising a place of influence in the Kingdom of God to that messenger who overcomes the temptations to compromise in his work for the Lord.

See where some were identified in the New Testament as "pillars".

Gal 2:9 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. (KJV) "

These men, James, Peter and John, impacted the world around them in their service to the Lord. A few of the "pillars" through time could be John and Charles Wesley, Charles Finney, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, and Billy Graham. These are men that did not compromise the Word of God, and who impacted the world because of their uncompromising stance before God and men. I believe the Lord is saying that this faithful messenger will be assured of a place in eternity.

… 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."

The one that overcomes will not backslide from the Will of God.

When people see this messenger, they know Who he represents. This one is obviously not a citizen of this world, but a stranger and a pilgrim. He can honestly say "Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come."

Wherever this one goes, the Name of Jesus goes with him. This one has overcome the world through his unyielding faith in Jesus Christ. The soil his seeds fall on is good soil, and his work bears fruit abundantly.The faithful minister has a great reward to look forward to.

2 Pet 3: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV)

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