Wednesday, February 13, 2013

To the Church in Philadelphia

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 
“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 3:7-13

6. The Church in Philadelphia (AD 1750-1884)

   He who has the key of David and the keys of hell and of death in 1:18 sends this message to the church which is facing an open door; a door, which no man could shut.

   Of course, we know that Philadelphia means, "love of the brethren".  For the Church of that period that was a fitting name.  Christ has only words of praise for this church.  Surely, this represents the church during the missionary age of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  I have set before you an open door; it was then that The Church had an open door to spread the word into the entire world.  

   Christ says that those who are of the synagogue (church) of Satan, will when they are converted to Christianity, come and worship God before your feet, (at the feet of the missionaries).   They will not worship the missionaries, but down on their knees, they will worship Jehovah.  Then the converts will know that Jesus loves His church. They will know that I have loved you.

   I also will keep you from the hour of trial.  Dr McGee* writes, The Rapture takes place during the Philadelphian period, and the so-called church which continues on the earth is just an organisation. That “so-called church” would be a reference to the Laodicean Church which is also written about in chapter 3.    

A statement like his raises questions: 

   What does Dr McGee* do with the statements in The Revelation that refer to the church, on earth, after the rapture in chapter three since he believes that The Apocalypse must remain in the order in which we have it?

   What does he do with the story of the birth of the Church as it is found in the first few verses of chapter 12? 

    What does he do with a statement like this; Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 18:4, if the church was already moved to heaven in chapter 3. 

    What does he do with Paul’s teaching that Christ is coming back at the sound of the seventh trumpet, which in the Apocalypse, is not recorded till the end of chapter eleven? 

   It seems like an implausible interpretation to have the rapture of the church take place even before the last church is named!

   About the words, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world Dr McGee* writes, Christ’s final word of encouragement to His church is that it will not pass through the Great Tribulation.  By any stretch of the imagination, you could not say that this church is going through the Great Tribulation period. I believe that the period of the Philadelphian church continues right on through to the rapture of the church. This is the church which will go out at the time of the Rapture.  

   His statement is in direct opposition to Christ’s statement; Immediately after the tribulation of those days…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29,   

   According to Matthew, Christ distinctly said that He is coming after the tribulation – not before!  What Christ is saying to the Philadelphian church, here in the Apocalypse, is that the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world will not arrive until the Laodecian church is on the scene.                

  After the Philadelphian church, has run its course and the lackadaisical Laodecian church, which I believe is the church of our time, has taken its place, the church will pass through the hour of trial, and when that is over Christ will return.  

     Behold, I am coming quickly!  For many, many years the church has translated this as, Behold, I am coming soon.  That is not what Christ said.  He said that when He does come, He will come quickly; so quickly that sinners will not have time to repent and cold hearted Christians will not have time to mend their ways.  That is why Christ urged his followers to watch and pray. Mark 13:33

Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  If you are asleep you can be easily robbed by those who deny that Christ is not mandatory for our salvation.  Paul said, I have kept the faith, no one has talked me into giving up my crown, and so there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day. 2 Timothy 4:8

      I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God.  Matthew Henry writes: He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; ... a monument of the free and powerful grace of God, a monument that shall never be defaced nor removed, as many stately pillars erected in honour to the Roman emperors and generals have been.

     We sometimes hear someone say, He is a pillar in the church, or, she is a pillar of the organisation.  That is the way the word is used here. 

1. On that pillar will be written, "Jehovah".  That is the name of Christ's God.

2. also, written on the pillar will be the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem, which came down from heaven.

3. On the pillar also will be written his permanent address, the New Jerusalem.

4. I will write on him My new name.    Matthew Henry states that Christ's new name is, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the captain of our salvation. That is His new name since His resurrection.

   Notice that four times, in verse 12, Christ, the Son of Jehovah, speaks of His Father and He calls Him "my God".  This would not be the right term for Christ to use if Christ is also God and an equal with the Father.  The Bible does not allow for the doctrine of the Trinity.

* Thru the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee

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