The Message to the Church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13)


Well-Known Member
As a pastor, I feel I have been letting people down of late. I have been so busy with selling my house and moving, and preparing as God leads me into itinerant ministry, that I have not been posting the type of teachings for which I was called into internet ministry . I apologize. And, to fill the gap for a bit, I am going to post a few of my past expositional messages on RF. We have thousands more members now than when I first presented them, so I do not think they are being repeated unnecessarily. Here is the first:

The Message To The Church At Philadelphia: An Exegesis of Revelation 3:7-13

A brother in the Lord wrote recently that, in his own research, he had discovered that the church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13 is the only one of the seven churches that get the following four things—an open door; a declaration of love from Jesus; a promise to be saved from the hour of testing; and the name of “New Jerusalem”. He is quite correct. The church at Philadelphia is indeed the true church. And it is significant that the name Philadelphia comes from a Greek word φιλάδελφος ( Philadelphos, pronounced fee-LA-del-foss) meaning "brother love". And it is, in fact, the only church that receives no condemnation for any of its practices. But there is so much in this seven verse message to the Church at Philadelphia that it is worth a closer examination.

Let us begin by reviewing the entire message to that church:

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.’" (Revelation 3:7-13 NASB)​

Now let us take it verse by verse:

v7. “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:”

This verse gives the authority of the One speaking. He is Jesus, who is holy, and true, and possesses all power. Therefore we must listen to Him and obey Him. And we can know that He indeed has the power to do all He says.

V8. “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.”

Verse 8 reveals that He knows everything done by that church, in other words, by its individual members, the members of His body. There are no secrets from God. Clearly He is not speaking to those occupying pews in His Church, but only to those who are members in truth. And it is interesting what He says to His body. First, there is an open door in front of them, a door no man can shut. There are two possible meanings of this door. I believe both to be true.

The first and greatest meaning is that it is the door through which the Church may preach the gospel to all the people of earth. It is the door of evangelistic opportunity. At the moment He left earth he gave a single command, “Go.” Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15) But what hinders us? It cannot be opportunity, for Jesus has said He has placed the door in front of us and no man can shut it. Those who think they lack opportunity are not walking in faith, for God Himself has said the door is open, opened by His hand, and held there. And who can move God?

I am reminded of the day a man came to Charles Spurgeon. He had been saved under the great preacher’s ministry and wanted to know how he could win others to the Lord. He was brimming with zeal and wanted to know what great ways he could serve God.

Spurgeon asked him, "What are you? What do you do?"

The man said, "I'm an engine driver on a train."

"Then," said Spurgeon, "Is the man who shovels coal on your train a Christian?"

"I don't know," replied the man.

"Then go back," said Spurgeon, “And find out … and start on him."

The door is open. But WE have to walk through it. He has done the hard part of opening the thing that bars our way to proclaiming the gospel. And if to us the door appears closed, it is not. Walk forward. You will find it is indeed open, for God Himself has said it is.

The second door is the door of access to God Himself. It would appear from the following sentence (v 9) that the Jews in this city who apparently claimed Christ had barred their synagogues to the Christian believers who were not following Jewish commandments. By so doing they were, according to Jewish tradition, separating them from access to God. But Jesus says, No! “I have set before you an open door which no man can shut.”

Now this eighth verse also reveals that this is not a church whose members have a great deal of strength. Indeed they have only little. You see, we do not need a lot of faith, the faith some preachers and evangelists say we need to develop. We only need a little. Did Jesus not say, ""If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you." (Luke 17:6) In fact He also said, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20b) Great faith is not much faith. Little faith can be great. It is in how you use it, or more properly, in whom you place it. Too many go forward saying they have faith in God but actually are placing their faith in the favor of their circumstances, or in those who go with them, or in their own knowledge and understanding and wisdom, trusting in their abilities. Faith is not a power—though indeed it is powerful—it is a trust. And that trust should never be placed in anyone but God.

“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no victory.” (Psalm 146:3)

“Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:4)

“How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.” (Psalm 146:5-6)​

Now with this little strength—but, I suggest, enough faith as a little mustard seed—the Church at Philadelphia has remained faithful. They have kept His Word. They have obeyed His commands. They have not denied His name. This is a Church unbowed. It has stood on the Rock. It has let its light shine. And it has proudly proclaimed His name.

v.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.”

Now as we saw, verse 9 reveals that those who claimed to be God’s people had shut the true Church out of their midst, thinking that they had cast them out of God’s Presence. But Jesus Himself says those who have cast out those who keep God’s Word faithfully are liars. They claim to be His people, but they are not. Today as never before, we are seeing a clear split among those who claim Christ’s name. There are those who take God’s Word as His Word and seek to please Him by their lives, knowing that He died for them and that they are changed by the presence of the Holy Spirit within. But there are others who have no such relationship with Jesus Christ, who find in His teachings comfortable philosophies, who have added to His Word or have subtracted from it, creating from His words teachings of their own making, altering the truth of God and making it a lie.

I suggest to you that this is not a new thing. Look back down the highway of history to the founding of the Church and you will see those that have come in and perverted the teachings of Christ out of their own wisdom and their own lusts. In his final address to the elders of the church at Ephesus Paul said, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30)

The apostle Peter wrote, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1) And even the beloved apostle John, following his release from exile on Patmos after having received the great Revelation of Jesus Christ wrote: “Many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1b)

No, this split in the church is not new. But what is new is that the Holy Spirit is laying a line down the center of the visible church and separating the false from the true … in a way that can be readily perceived by those with eyes to see. God is allowing people to be deceived by their own lusts and thus those who have no root in Him are drawing themselves away from the truth and heaping to themselves teachers, having itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) People today want to hear what suits their taste, what seem good to them in their own wisdom. And Satan has promised man “peace on earth” and “wondrous prosperity” if people will just set aside their differences, unite their faiths, realize they are all serving the same God, and get rid of their strict interpretation of their religious texts because, after all, God has not really said that. That is just man’s writing.

This is something that causes many of us to throw up our hands in horror and bemoan what is happening. But surely this is part of God’s plan, to separate the false from the true, the goats from the sheep … even on this earth. Those who reject the infallibility and supremacy of His Word are destining themselves for the great deception that is already well under way. Truly it has been prophesied that “First …” (before the Antichrist can be revealed and the things of the end commence) “… there must be a great falling away ( a great apostasy).” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

And those in this apostasy, thinking themselves to be the wise ones, will persecute those who refuse to abandon the faith once delivered, refuse to accede to man’s constructed faith, refuse to deny Christ as He is, refuse to accept a man-made gospel. Indeed it has been prophesied that those who persecute the true Church will think they are actually serving God!

“They will put you out of their assembly; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” (John 16:2)​

Prepare for it, dear ones. The persecution has already started within the church and we are beginning to see the state in many countries, including in North America, prosecute those who stand up for God’s truth against the evils of abortion, homosexuality and other abominations.

But, what does Jesus say to His true church? He says that the day will come when the false church, the man-made church, the so-called followers of His will come and bow down at the feet of those true Christians whom they rejected and in that day He, Jesus, will make them to know that it is the true Church He has loved, not those who have called themselves the Church while denying him in their will, their ways and their worship.

v. 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.”

But there is a far greater promise contained in this letter! The promise that we on Rapture Forums have as our ensign and in our name! In verse 10 Jesus reveals that there is an hour of testing coming on this earth. And it is coming soon. The Greek word translated “hour” is ὥρα (hora, pronounced HOE-ra) which actually means not just “hour” but “day” or “time”. The word translated “testing” is πειρασμός (peirasmos, pronounced (peer-as-MOSS) and it means “testing”, “trial”, and “temptation.” There is a day coming soon when God will “try” the earth, just as He tried Belshazzar and found him deficient. (Daniel 5:25-27) And just as the great King Belshazzar in great fear and trembling lost all of his strength, his face pale with panic, his knees knocking together in terror (Daniel 5:6), so too will men in that day of testing to come be thrown into utter panic by the Lord God. They will flee in terror, hiding in caves and holes, calling on the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. (Isaiah 2:19; Hosea 10:8; Revelation 6:16) But the promise which is to us is that “I, Jesus, also will keep you from the hour of testing!” Hallelujah! What a promise!

Yet there is a condition. What is that condition? That you have kept the word of My perserverance. Literally in the Greek it is ὅτι ἐτήρησας τὸν λόγον τῆς ὑπομονῆς μου … “Because you have kept (preserved) the word of the perseverance (endurance, patience) of me….” This is an interesting phrase and means simply that they have remained faithful, regardless of what may have come into their lives. The winds of change may have howled, the waves of persecution may have crashed, the dark clouds of doubt may have covered the sun for a time, but they stood fast. They endured. They remained faithful to His Word. They patiently waited for the deliverance and the promise of the Lord. They persevered. And thus they proved they were truly His, truly born again. The ground of the hearts was not hard, the root in them was deep and neither thorns nor weeds, nor broiling sun caused them to wither.

In Tony Garlands great commentary on Revelation he writes, "Perseverance is especially needed in the midst of adversity. Jesus said that it would be by patience that believers 'possess your souls' (Luke 21:16-19).” Persevere is ὑπομονῆς [hypomonés], which may include the idea of expectation related to the promise to be kept from the hour.

Renald E. Showers, in his book Maranatha, Our Lord Come (published by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995) notes that "Arndt and Gingrich (William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, two translators of a famous Greek-German lexicon into English) hold that the word hupomone sometimes meant ‘(patient) expectation.’ They indicated that is its meaning in the expression ‘patience of Jesus Christ’ in Revelation 1:9 and that perhaps that is its meaning in Revelation 3:10. . . . One thing in favor of this view is Christ’s exclamation in Revelation 3:11, ‘Behold I come quickly, hold that fast which thou hast.’"

The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “’The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation (the deliverance, the promise) of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:24-26) Hoping in God and waiting for him are the same thing. They are both expressions of faith. In fact it is interesting that in Hebrew the word for “hope” in this passage is yachal which means to hope in the sense of patiently waiting. And the word “wait” in this passage is qavah which means to wait expectantly, hoping for something. You see? Waiting and hoping are both the same thing. And it is the promise of God, written once for all in His Word, for which we wait and upon which we faithfully stand, despite all that may seek to wrestle us off it.

v.11 “I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

And to ensure the message is received, He reinforces it in verse 11 by saying that we must hold fast to what we already have. Now there are three notable things in this verse.

1. He is coming quickly. The Greek word is ταχύ (takh-OO) and means “swiftly”, “quickly”. Indeed he will come unexpectedly (Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40). And it will be faster than we can blink an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:52) Therefore we must be ready at all times. The moment he comes will be so swift there will be no opportunity to get ready then.

2. We already have something and we are to hold fast to it. That something, from the context, is clearly our faith in Him, our patience, our endurance. Don’t give up, is the message here. Keep your first love. Be dedicated to Him who is your goal. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Yes, finish the race. As Paul said, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) Note again the word “endurance”.

3. We already have a crown. We are running, the finish line is in sight, and the crown goes to those who complete their race. It is already ours, else why would Christ say, “so that no one will take your crown?” It is already set aside for you. (2 Timothy 4:8) All you need to do is endure, keep running, until your race is over.

v.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.”

But there are more promises. For our God is a God of promise— evil to those who do evil and reject Him; good to those who choose good and obey Him. He says in verse 11 that the one who overcomes will be placed as pillar in the temple of God. Now let’s examine that. The phrase “He who overcomes” in Greek is ὁ νικῶν (ho nikon, pronounced hoe nik-OWN) and literally reads as “the victorious one”, “the conquering one”. So the one who emerges victorious is the one to whom this promise applies.

But how do we conquer? How do we become victors? What makes us overcomers? Is it by doing works? Is it by striving to be Holy? No. Desiring those things is good and seeking always to obey God is a mark of our sonship; but those are not what make us overcomers. God tells us plainly. He told us through His beloved disciple and apostle John, “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5) What could be simpler? Truly God is both the author and the finisher of our faith, as we read a few paragraphs ago in Hebrews 12:2. No wonder Paul exulted, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57 Yes, the victory is in Christ. He won it and as we are in Him we enjoy it’s position, its power, its profit. Truly we are MORE than conquerors through Christ who loved us. (Romans 8:37) And in this instance I love the ISV translation “In all these things we are triumphantly victorious…!” Triumphantly victorious, indeed!

Now it says those who believe in Christ and who remain faithful to Him to the end will be made “a pillar in the temple of My God”. Pillars serve two purposes in temples. The first is for support. It must be strong enough to hold up the load placed upon it. Jesus says that those who overcome indeed He considers strong enough to bear up the load in the House of God. But the second purpose of a pillar is for ornamentation. A pillar is made beautiful by the way it is shaped by the builders hand. Our Builder has shaped us beautifully and will place us as objects of admiration, testimonies in fact to His grace!

But this promise is not just for our future existence in Heaven. It is also for here on this earth. As the seventeenth century expositor and preacher John Gill said, “Those who are overcomers by the grace and strength of Christ are made pillars by him here (on this earth), in allusion to the two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, in Solomon's temple; that is, they become very ornamental in the church, they are made honorable members of it; they come in at the right door into it, and fill up their places, and all relative duties in it, and walk becoming their profession; and, like pillars, are a support to it, to the interest of the church, the truths of the Gospel, and to weak and poor saints; and, as pillars, they are upright in heart and conversation, and are steady, firm, and constant.”

Further, not only will he be a pillar, but the overcomer will have written on him both the name of God and the name of the New Jerusalem. Having the name of a king written upon you was an ancient term referring to being sealed. The one who had a regent’s name on them was sealed by that regent and protected. We are so sealed. In 2 Corinthians 1:22 we are told he “sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” Or, as the NIV explains, He “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come”. And in Ephesians we are further told that “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)

Finally, in this verse, there is another promise that the one who becomes a pillar in God’s temple “will not go out from it anymore”. Oh, what a precious promise is this! The overcomer, the one who is in Christ, who stands upon Him, who rests in His victory and thus is shaped by God into a pillar in His temple, will no more go out from it. The NIV says, “Never again will he leave it.” Here is your assurance, dear saint. If you are desiring to serve God as He has commanded it—loving Him with everything in you and loving others as He loves us, and doing this as faithfully as you can—then you are giving evidence that you have His nature within you. Your works do not save you, they merely attest to the fact you are His. And if you are His, then you will never ever leave His temple, His dwelling place again. Indeed, to us He has promised that “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) A promise he reinforced when, in this flesh, He said to His followers, “I will not leave you comfortless (literally “orphans”) but I will come to you,” (John 14:18) and then proceeded to tell them all about the Holy Spirit who would be sent to comfort, to testify of Christ, to teach us and lead us into all truth. And He fulfilled that promise on the Day of Pentecost, a promise that is fulfilled every time a single soul humbles him or her self and bows before Him saying, “Jesus, I know I am poor and wretched and separated from God and that I can never save myself. But I know that you are God, that you came as the Savior of the world to wall who would listen and obey and I now confess my sin, desiring to forsake it and ask you now to come into my heart and be both my Savior and my Lord.”

Yes, His Word is plain. You are sealed unto the Day of Promise! He has said you will not go out from His presence again. And He is forming you into a pillar of strength and beauty in His Kingdom … both here and the one to come. Glory!

V13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

If you have the ability to hear, to perceive, then there is a duty incumbent upon you. It is to hear, to listen, and to obey what the Spirit of God is saying. He is not speaking it to the world. He is speaking it to the Church. To you, if you are born again. We need to choose to hear. We need to focus on the speaker and determine to obey in our hearts.

Again, this entire message is to His faithful church, to the believers who are truly in Christ, who have endured, who are patiently continuing to endure and who are faithfully waiting for the coming of the Promise. It is a message of great hope and encouragement. But it is also a warning not to give up. If there were a single phrase that would sum up this message to the Church of Philadelphia, it would be “Hold fast!”

I pray this message edifies and encourages someone.


Well-Known Member
Adrian, this is such a timely exhortation-message, preparing the way of the Lord, calling us all to devotion/faithfulness and am so thankful for this today! Its a sustaining meal from God's goodness, thank you for being the vessel you are!

In Christ


Jacob Zamora

Active Member
Praise God, that message stirred and moved my heart, brought tears to my eyes, Thank You Father for wanting to have that kind of relationship with us, help us Holy Spirit to want to do the Fathers Will in our lives that no matter what circumstance we have, or may come our way, we can bring it before Your Throne and Surrender it to You, and You are Faithful to Honor Your Promise of getting us Through life's circumstance no matter which way we have to get through it, be it Removing it completely or keeping it at our side, knowing that You Know how much we can endure, and what is best for us, all to bring You Glory Jesus !!! May we have the Spirit of Love and Trust in You and continue the race, not for a prize Lord; because after all, Your Blood was Sufficient, and it is the Ultimate Gift, and because you are so Loving you have rewards for those who endure, Most Gracious Tender Father, but because we want to Abide in Your Loving Gracious Will. If we Truly Truly understood the Depth of Your Love for us, we would be on our faces Praising and Worshiping You without ceasing, yet You Understand our weakness, and have given us Your Word to allow us to move in Your direction by Faith, to show us You never Forsake us or leave us. Holy Spirit Guide us into the Path of Christ Righteousness Yoked Equally with Him so that we may Bring Jesus Glory, and be Pleasing to The Lord a Sweet Smelling Aroma !!! All Glory Praise and Honor are Yours Jesus Thank You Heavenly Father !!! :pray::pray::pray::bow::pray::pray::pray: Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, i once was lost but know i'm found was blind but now i see !!! Glory Glory Hallelujah !!!!


Well-Known Member
Thank you Adrian - There is so much substance to your message. We or at least I need more of this kind of teaching.

Keep them coming :thumbup


Well-Known Member
:thumbupThank you Adrian for that blessed teaching. I agree that it was a timely message for this very day. Lord help us to stay faithful to your Word.:pray:

Ed Silvia


Thanks for this. This is great and so very obvious you put a lot of thought into it.

I had a thought after reading this. It went like this. We all know how Philadelphia is the birthplace of the USA and the the USA isn't mentioned in the later biblical prophecy like it disappeared :scratch: Do you think its possible that the Philadelphian Church as mentioned in Revelation 3:7-13 is centered in the USA?

Luke 17:37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

It was just a thought I had, Tks


Heaven's Stables
I am bumping this thread today, and I recommend it be "stickied".

This is a most inspiring sermon, Pastor Adrian!

Hold tight to your faith saints, He is coming soon to take us to the place He has prepared for us!


Well-Known Member
Thank you for bumping this, Mary. It is the message God has for His Church in these days. And it forms part of the last days sermon He gave me entitled: The Tale of Two Churches.