The sixth church addressed by Jesus was Philadelphia (meaning “brotherly love”). The city was located on an imperial trade road and served as the gateway – an “open door” – to a large, fertile plateau. Excavations indicate that Philadelphia was a center to which people came for health and healing. Shaken by frequent earthquakes, the city’s inhabitants moved to the countryside, living in humble huts.
Read Revelation 3:7-9. How does the way that Jesus presents Himself relate to the situation of this church? What does Jesus’ statement “You have a little strength” (Rev. 3:8, NKJV) say about the condition of the church?
The message to this church applies prophetically to the great revival of Protestantism during the First and Second Awakenings that took place in Great Britain and America from about 1740 to 1844. Given the light they had, God’s people did indeed seek to keep “My word” (Rev. 3:8, NKJV) at this time. There was a growing emphasis on obedience to God’s commandments and pure living. The “open door” is apparently the way into the heavenly sanctuary, because “the temple of my God” is also mentioned (Rev. 3:12, compare Rev. 4:1-2). One door being closed and another door being opened point to the change that would take place in Christ’s high-priestly ministry, in 1844.
Read Revelation 3:10-13. What indications are given that time is short and that the coming of Jesus is drawing near? What is the significance of God’s name being written on His people (2 Tim. 2:19)? If a name represents a person’s character, what does Exodus 34:6 tell us about those who bear God’s name?
Great revivals took place in churches on both sides of the Atlantic. In the years leading up to 1844, the message of Christ’s soon coming was proclaimed in many parts of the world. God’s promise to write His name on those who overcome indicates that God’s character will be seen in His people. Just as important as the message that Christ is coming soon is the message that Christ promises to make His people ready for that great event by forgiving their sins and writing His law in their hearts (see Phil. 1:6; Heb. 10:16-17).
|What does the hope of Christ’s soon coming mean to you? How does Christ’s promise to complete the work He has begun give us assurance?|