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.
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation in a backdrop of persecution undergone by the seven churches of western Asia, in which the church in Philadelphia was one of them. This is an exemplary church for us as she had endured the persecution faithfully attested by this letter written by an angel on the behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ. Uniquely, it contains no words of reproach or warning, but rather it consists entirely of encouragement and promise.
It spurs us on even in times of sufferings and persecution as our Lord assures us with His own character upfront – holy and true, that is, perfect, faithful, trustworthy, just, and good attributes [v7a]. He also assures us with His Sovereignty for only He holds the key of salvation [v7b]. He opens and no one shuts. He shuts and no one opens. Our salvation is in Him alone.
Immediately, Christ affirms our Philadelphian brethren that He knows their efforts in keeping His word despite their weaknesses and fragilities [v8]. But more importantly, He promises them and us with His grace which will protect us from the hour of temptation [v10]. Probably the greatest comfort for the suffering ones is indeed the hope to be eternally present with the Holy and True One [vv.11-12].
With these many precious assurances from Christ, let us then run with patience by His grace as He is both the Author and Finisher of our faith [Hebrews 12:1-2].
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
“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.”
Combined B-P Conference (2019) Devotional by Pr Lee Hann Yang