Posts Tagged ‘Church of Philadelphia’

Revelation Chapter 3 – Philadelphia

Messianic Community in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, a city of Lydia in Asia Minor, was located on a hill about 25 miles southeast of Sardis. It was founded by the king of Pergamum, who had a special love for his brother and was nicknamed ‘brother lover,’ hence the ‘city of brotherly love.’ The city was known for its wine production and was situated along one of the roads known as the doorway to central Asia Minor. This city was known for earthquakes which made the city walls unsafe that much of the population lived outside the walls.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Philadelphia, write: ‘Here is the message of HaKadosh, the True One, the one who has the key of David, who, if he opens something, no one else can shut it, and if he closes something, no one else can open it. “I know what you are doing. Look, I have put in front of you an open door, and no one can shut it. I know that you have but little power, yet you have obeyed my message and have not disowned me. Here, I will give you some from the synagogue of the Adversary, those who call themselves Jews but aren’t — on the contrary, they are lying — see, I will cause them to come and prostrate themselves at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you did obey my message about persevering, I will keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test. I am coming soon; hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. I will make him who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 3:7-13). 

Yeshua sends the sixth messenger to the community of Philadelphia where he reveals himself as “the message of the HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit], the True One, the one who has the key of David.” 

Yeshua’s message to Philadelphia is from the Ruach HaKodesh, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth which empowers his people to be overcomers. It is apparent the believers in Philadelphia have the Spirit of Elohim and walk in the Ruach, but are struggling.

The Ruach haKodesh imparts gifts to Elohim’s people so they can minister, comfort, and speak Truth to the Body of Messiah. From the Ruach haKodesh flows spiritual gifts of love, joy, shalom, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is these gifts that set the people of Adoni apart from the world’s humanistic love that never brings shalom.

The True One

Yeshua is the ‘True One’ because he speaks the Truth; no lie ever leaves his mouth. He is also called the True and Faithful witness of the El Elyon (Most High God) (Revelation 19:11). He speaks only what he hears his Father tells him to say, even to these communities of faith (John 12:49). His truthful words convict them of sin and righteousness.

“The true Torah was in his [Yeshua’s) mouth, and no dishonesty was found on his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many away from sin” (Malachi 2:6).

Key of David

“I will place the key of David’s house on his [Yeshua’s] shoulder; no one will shut what he opens; no one will open what he shuts” (Isaiah 22:22).

The key to David’s ‘house’ represents the lineage of King David. Yeshua, as the Son of Man, descended from King David as the “root and offspring of David.” It is Yeshua who will build a ‘house’ for the Name of Adonai. He will sit on its throne and reign forever. Yeshua has been given the key to this eternal Kingdom promised to King David (2 Samuel 7:12-14).

A Door

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9, NASB)

Both Isaiah and Yeshua speak of a ‘door’ that will be opened or shut by the ‘key of David.’ In Hebrew the word ‘door’ is dalet. Dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet with a letter picture that means ‘pathway.’ Yeshua uses the example of a pathway; there is a choice for which ‘path’ one chooses and how that choice determines their destination: eternal life or destruction and eternal loss.

A ‘door’ – opened or closed – can symbolize multiple things in Scripture. An ‘open door’ can be an invitation from Yeshua to ‘enter’ the Kingdom and enjoy fellowship with him. A ‘closed door’ may suggest the invitation is no longer available or rescinded.

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the bridegroom shuts the ‘door’ after he arrives taking the wise virgins into the wedding chamber. The foolish virgins are left outside with no access to the bridegroom. The wise bridesmaids enter the bridal chamber; the foolish ones miss the opportunity (Matthew 25).

In Revelation 3:20, Yeshua stands at the ‘door’ and knocks hoping someone will open the ‘door’ so he may fellowship with those inside. The door is ‘closed’ and those on the other side, who don’t open it, miss an important event. Feasting with Yeshua is an allusion to the Feasts of the LORD, the ‘appointed times’ that are prophetic to Yeshua’s life, death, resurrection, sanctification, return, judgment, and redemption of all things.

Yeshua “stands at the door and knocks” because he desires to fellowship with his people through his Father’s holy convocations, just like he desired to celebrate the Passover with his disciples (Luke 22:15). ‘Holy convocation’ in Hebrew is mikra and means ‘rehearsal.’ In order to be ready for the actual event of a wedding, there is always a ‘rehearsal dinner’ for the bride and groom and their groomsmen and bridesmaids. Yeshua is the Bridegroom and he desires his Bride to prepare herself by rehearsing for Wedding Feast of the Lamb. This is the meaning of Yeshua’s words that he would not “drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:28-29).

New wine is an allusion to the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. The prophetic vision of this ‘appointed time’ is the dwelling presence of Yeshua on earth as King of Kings. It is the time of the Messianic Era when Yeshua rules and reigns with his resurrected saints for one thousand years. During the one-thousand-year Feast of Tabernacles, ‘new wine will be put into new wineskins’ (Luke 5:37-38, Zechariah 9:16-17, Job 32:18-19).

A ‘closed door’ may also symbolize the time for repentance has ended. For those who refused to open the door of salvation, they will find judgment instead of reward, eternal death instead of eternal life (James 5:9).

The community in Philadelphia has an ‘open door’ that no one can shut. As Yochanan’s vision progresses, he is shown an ‘open door’ into the heavenly realm that leads to the throne of Elohim (Revelation 4:1). Philadelphia has been given a blessing different from any of the other communities.

Little Strength in the World

The community in Philadelphia continues its works despite having little strength.  The Greek word for ‘strength’ in Revelation 3:8 is dunamis and means ‘miraculous power, ‘energy’ or ‘ability.’ It appears that this community of believers has little energy for whatever they are facing in the world; they need to persevere by trusting in the ‘miraculous power’ of Elohim to get them through (Zechariah 4:6).

This community of believers ‘obeys the gospel’ For many, the gospel is something to believe, not obey. Yet, these people are commended for ‘obeying the gospel.’

After Yeshua came out of the wilderness, he left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum. At this time he began to proclaim the Kingdom of God. He began to preach the good news of the Kingdom. According to his own words, there is action attached to the gospel:

“From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” (John 4:17).

‘Turning from sins’ is ‘repentance.’ In Hebrew, ‘repentance’ is teshuvah and means ‘return.’ Teshuvah is making a 180-degree turn in your life that returns you back to the ways of Adonai. Repenting from sin and turning back to Elohim is an action.

Sin is defined by Yochanan as breaking the commandments of Adonai, being lawless (1 John 3:4-6). When those in Philadelphia obeyed the good news, they repented from sinful acts and stopped breaking Torah. They obeyed Adonai’s instructions as taught by Yeshua. Their obedience to repentance becomes the evidence of this community’s faithfulness to Yeshua’s message; they have no disowned him. They stand firm for him in the pagan world and remain connected to him and his message of hope.

“Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased; so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord’s presence” (Acts 3:19-20)

Hebrew Word Pictures

Repent – teshuvah – תשובה

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for teshuvah: sign of the covenant destroying the binding of the house revealed.

False Jews

Like Smyrna, Philadelphia has some people in their congregation who call themselves Jews, but are not.  These ‘fake’ Jews are telling the Messianic believers in Philadelphia that Yeshua does not love them. The ‘city of brotherly love’ appears to have a love problem between so-called brothers.   These liars will eventually prostrate themselves at the feet of the ‘true Jews’ admitting that Yeshua does love them (Romans 2:28-29).

There is a dogma known as Two-House that focuses solely on the two houses of Isra’el –– Judah and Ephraim. The followers of Two-House take on an exterior facade of being Jewish while separating themselves from anything and everything Jewish. They claim that because Elohim divorced Judah, the Jewish people have lost any share in the Kingdom and Ephraim now receives the promises. Apart from being deeply anti-semitic and replacement theology, this movement has created a group of ‘false Jews’ who claim that Yeshua doesn’t love the Jewish people.

The new covenant is predicated on the words of the prophet Jeremiah and is promised to the House of Judah and the House of Isra’el (Jeremiah 31:30-32). Yeshua instituted the new covenant at his Passover seder with his Jewish disciples (Luke 22:20). Salvation comes from the Jews, and no one in the Body of Messiah should ever conceive a doctrine that would separate Yeshua’s brothers and sisters from their Jewish redeemer (John 4:22).

Power of Perseverance

Perseverance through the trials that Philadelphia faces will keep them from the time of trial coming on the whole earth.  This time of trial is known as the Great Tribulation or the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble.’ The Greek word for ‘keep’ in Revelation 3:10 is tereso and means ‘to watch, to guard over.’ How Elohim will guard or watch over them during this time of trial remains a divine mystery, but these faithful believers will be kept safe during the Day of Adonai’s vengeance because they have patiently endured. With their little strength, they have remained faithful to Yeshua and obey Torah (Revelation 14:12).

The Greek word for ‘endure’ is hupomone and means ‘remaining behind.’ Though believers may be martyred, the faithful in Philadelphia will ‘remain behind.’ For those who adhere to a pre-tribulation rapture, those ‘left behind,’ are not the lost, but followers of Yeshua. In the Day of Adonai, their faithful endurance will be the only testimony the lawless world has to see redemption in Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Persevere – hatmadah – התמדה

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for hatmadah: reveal the sign of the covenent of the mighty pathway, behold.

Eternal Rewards

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Yeshua tells this community to hold on to what they have and no one will take away their crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Their eternal reward, however, includes more than this crown. They will become a pillar in the Millennial Temple of Adonai.

One of the first references to a pillar is in Genesis 35:14 when Ya’akov (Jacob) sets up a standing stone at Beth-el. While the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, the glory of Adonai led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When Moshe read the words of Adonai and the people responded they would obey everything they heard, he set up 12 pillars for the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.

Pillars are used as imagery to describe the earth’s foundation. When it quakes, Elohim holds the pillars firm for all the people on the earth (Psalm 75:4). Jeremiah was made an ‘iron pillar’ with whom the kings, princes, and priests of Judah would fight against. He would not be overcome, but rescued (Jeremiah 1:18-19). These words are similar to Yeshua’s words to Philadelphia who will ‘remain behind’ and not be overcome

In Hebrew, the word for ‘endure’ is amad and means ‘to take one’s stand in the covenant.’ It suggests an ‘attitude’ of standing.’ To become a pillar in the Millennial Temple suggests the believers of Philadelphia are strong in their covenant relationship with Yeshua and they will continue to stand strong during his one-thousand-year reign.

The believers in Philadelphia have prepared themselves as wise virgins with oil in their lamps. They have matured in faith and have not faltered in their first love. Their clothes are not soiled. They repented and the fruits of righteousness followed. They have stood firm like a pillar when faced with trials. They have not fallen into sexual immorality or eaten foods sacrificed to idols. They have blessed Isra’el and the Jewish people. They have not learned the deep secrets of the Adversary and have nothing to do with Jezebel. They remain behind, enduring patiently the days of tribulation, and are welcomed into the Kingdom by Yeshua who holds the key to the House of David.

This is highest reward given to any of the seven communities. The believers in Philadelphia are not just invited guests to the wedding feast; they become the pure and spotless Bride of Messiah.  They receive the Kingdom family name, the name of their Father –– yod-hey-vav-hey.  They receive a new home in the heavenly New Jerusalem.  They also receive the highest name of all –– the name of their Bridegroom, Yeshua, the King of Kings.

Those [in Philadelphia] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community.”

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, ‘what the Spirit says to the communities.’  One reason that he taught in parables was so people could ‘look but not see, and listen but not understand’ the message of the Kingdom (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh within them gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.

But you [Philadelphia], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 3 – Messianic Congregation of Laodicea

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