Posted by: watchmancurtis | December 15, 2009

Revelation Study Week 7

2 Chronicles 16:9 says,  “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”  I love that verse.  It lets me know that God is actively looking for those He can help.  He wants to encourage and strengthen those who love Him and are living for Him.  The church in Philadelphia was such a church.  You will find no words of condemnation or warning in their letter.  What you will find, though, is exactly what is promised in 2 Chronicles 16:9.  They are promised help and strength.  You and I have that same promise today if we will commit our hearts to Him and trust in faith that He can conquer any obstacle in our way.

Philadelphia means “brotherly love”

Verse 7 of chapter 3:  There are four attributes of Christ revealed here.

  • Christ is Holy- As I’ve mentioned before we often lose sight of the holiness of the Lord.  Yet this is one of His main characteristics.  It is holiness that is the consuming fire of God which keeps sin out of His presence.  Without holiness Jesus could not be our perfect sacrifice.  We are called to holiness because He is holy, and I pray that we will heed that call.
  • Christ is true- This word conveys the idea that Christ is genuine, honest, just and perfect.  Jesus is also the embodiment of truth.  Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that He is “the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.”
  • He has the key of David- Isaiah 22:22-24 shows this same picture.  We see that Jesus sits upon the throne of David forever.  To Jewish people this holds much more significance than to our Gentile minds.
  • What He opens cannot be shut and what He shuts cannot be opened- This speaks to the authority and power of Jesus.  It reminds me of the beginning chapters of Hebrews where we find that no one is greater than Jesus.  It also brings to mind Jesus telling Peter in Matthew 16:18 that “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Verse 8:  The church of Philadelphia was probably small and weak in size, but because of their faithfulness Christ is using His power to keep the door open.  One member of our group said that the other churches possibly looked down upon this small church and expected them to get a stinging rebuke or warning like they did, but their perception was wrong.  Sometimes we look at the size of a church or how many programs they have going on to determine the faithfulness of a church.  God, however, looks at the heart and the faithful perseverance of the saints.  Jesus mentions that they have little power, but this is actually a blessing because 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

Verse 9:  Sadly there are many people who claim to be followers of God, but are not.  Jesus reminds those in Philadelphia and us that He knows the genuine from the fake.  He knows those who are not His, but are pretending to be.  He will also bring justice and vindication to them come to honor those who really are His.  Someone mentioned that many times people may try to smear our name in gossip or rumor and we feel like we must clear our name, but sometimes we need to let the Lord take care of things.  He knows the truth.  He hasn’t forgotten you.

Verse 10:  This is a very interesting verse.  We had an interesting conversation regarding this verse today that sparked a lot of passion and emotion.  Before I get to the heated part of our conversation, I will mention that this verse is used by most if not all of those who hold to a pretribulational rapture.  Ironically those who are posttribulational also claim that this verse supports their view.  I do not believe that a conclusive view can be drawn from this one verse.  The controversy surrounds the phrase “Keep you from”.  I won’t get into a lot of technical Greek here, but will try to summarize the situation.  The phrase “keep you from” can mean take you out of or protect you through.  That is why both views claim this verse supports their side.

Now our bit of controversy came about because someone asked me about my view of the seven churches.  I believe they were seven literal churches, but also represent types of churches and Christians existing at the time of the second coming.  The question was that if that were true then only 1/7 of the churches in existence would be raptured.  I didn’t exactly get to answer that very well because we got sidetracked on another issue.  That issue stemmed from whether there will be a great revival before the rapture or not.  I would like to address the initial question first.  While I think the churches represent types of churches and Christians at the End of the Age, I do not think that it limits it to only 1 of 7 churches being raptured.  I think all Christians will be raptured.  The seven churches give us a picture that there will be many churches who do not have faithful members in them.  I think the image is that there will only be one church in seven that the majority is faithful within.  Hopefully that helps clear things up.

Now to the other issue which I have already blogged about here https://watchmancurtis.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/great-end-times-revival-or-a-great-falling-away-which-is-it/  There are several within our group that feel strongly that there will be a great end times harvest before Christ returns.  I greatly respect these people and their views even though I may disagree with them.  I always pray for truth.  If I’m on the wrong side of an issue I want the Lord to show me.  While I see scripture pointing a different direction, I am open to changing if it can be shown from scripture.  I do want to clarify that by great revival or end times harvest I do not believe that we will Christianize the world so that Christ can return.  I think there is a great deal of evidence that there will be a great falling away from the faith and that the love of most will grow cold.  Yet at the same time I don’t see myself becoming a hermit and telling everyone to just hang on because things are going to get worse.  On the contrary, I think that it should give us a greater since of urgency to live our lives in holiness and do whatever we can to make a difference before Christ returns.  This is the very thing that changed my life and woke me up.  To me this is the wake up call that should be sounded through the body of Christ.  We need to be warning against deception even as we are setting the captives free.  I do not have a negative outlook even though I believe the Bible does paint a picture of the world getting worse.  I believe God is doing and will do miraculous things in the midst of difficult times.  Once again if I can be shown from scripture that I’m wrong, I want to be the first to admit it.  I’m thankful for friends who are passionate about the Lord, and that we can share our differing viewpoints in love.

Verse 11:  Again we have a clear reference to the second coming.

Verse 12:  He who overcomes will be a pillar in the temple of God and will not go out from it anymore; and Jesus will write the name of God, and the name of the City of God as well as His name on them.  What a powerful description!

With the holidays upon us we are going to take a two week break (although I will try to blog in the meantime on a variety of subjects).  When we return we will finish up the letters to the churches and then move on to chapter 4 and a Heavenly scene of majesty and power.  I pray that everyone has a blessed week.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for “Watchman’s Gaze” which makes a person think! You might enjoy Googling “Famous Rapture Watchers” which shows how leading Greek scholars have interpreted Rev. 3:10. Another fascinating web piece is “Pretrib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice” which I found on Joe Ortiz’s “End Times Passover” blog last Dec. 29th. Lord bless.
    Tilly

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tilly. Sounds like some interesting suggestions. Be blessed and drop by again sometime!

  3. Rev 3:7-13 7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
    He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
    8 ‘ I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 ‘ I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 ‘ He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; 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 My new name. 13 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    Philadelphia (brotherly love) the city still exists today under a different name and was founded by the King of Pergamum who named it for his brother, the king famously loved his brother (Philadelphus) and the people adopted it for its name. It was city destroyed by an earthquake in 17AD and rebuilt generations later. This church had similar persecuted experiences as Smyrna and was its contemporary. This was the missionary era and persevered despite tremendous persecution. Christ demonstrated to the people His Kingliness being the one who has the keys of David who is a “type of Christ”. Christ has endowed the people with the right to evangelize or bring other believers to faith and would be spared from the time of testing which is yet to come on the earth. Look at the description of Christ, His commendation, and His reward (no reprove).


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