Revelation 3:7-13 Part 1

7) And write the message to the Church in Philadelphia.  The Holy, The True, the One having the ‘David key’, “the One opening and no one shall shut, and the One shutting and no one opens”, says these things:

8) I know your works – lo, I have presented an opened door before you, which no one is enabled to shut – that you have a little strength, and you did keep My Word, and you did not deny My Name.

9) Lo, I give from out of the synagogue of Satan those declaring themselves to be Jews and are not but deceiving themselves, lo I will appoint them in order that they shall come, and they shall worship before your feet, And they shall know that I did love you.

10) Because you did keep the word of My patience, I, I also will keep you from the hour of the fiery trial, the hour about to come to pass upon the entire household to put to the proof those dwelling on the earth.

11) I come quickly!  Hold fast what you have, in order that no one might take your crown.

12) I will make the one overcoming a pillar in the temple of My God; and he shall then by no means go out.  And I will write on him the Name of My God and the Name of the City of My God, the New Jerusalem, the One that descends out of the heavens from My God, and My Own new name.

13) The one having an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.


Alasehir is the present-day town of about forty thousand.  It was named Philadelphia in 189BC, due to a Lydian king’s love for his brother.  The word philadelphia means “love for brother”.

There are some pictures of the present city of Alasehir, but nothing remains of the old Lydian city or of the Roman city.  But we do know that there was a Christian Church begun there, in the Roman city, more than likely soon after Pentecost, 30AD.  And, as with the other six Churches, the Roman city was nearly 200 years old at the time the Church was started.

As also with the other six, the apostles of Jesus Christ were prominent in the instruction of this Church, as were the elders and evangelists and pastors who were accompanying the apostles, and those appointed by the apostles, and those who were “sent out” by the Jerusalem council.

The city was well-connected to the other six cities by a well-traveled trade route, and it had direct access to the Aegean Sea through Ephesus and Smyrna.  So its importance to trade was well established. But it had, for its entire existence, a very serious problem.  It sat right on top of a major fault-line.  So many earthquakes occurred right under the city, that archeological discovery has, at least so far, proven impossible.

Before Jesus was crucified there was a very serious quake which demolished the city; and it was rebuilt by emperor Tiberius, who renamed it Neocaesarea – or “New Caesar”.  In Emperor Vespasian’s time, he renamed it again, after his wife Flavia.  And well after the second century, it was named again – this time “Little Athens” due to its dedication to Greek gods and goddesses.  But the names didn’t stick.  Until this past century it was known as Philadelphia.  The Turks renamed it Alasehir in the 1900s. 

I don’t know what this has to do with the Church at Philadelphia, but it was interesting to me as a realtor to learn that travertine tiles and slabs are shipped all over the world from Alahesir, Turkey.  Apparently there are famous underground, heavily-calcified hot springs under the city and under the entire area upon which the ancient city once existed.  And that, plus the many earthquakes that have occurred there, have produced these huge layers of porous, calcium stone called travertine, which is becoming widely accepted as a beautiful building material. 

But, that’s enough of that.  Let’s see what we can learn about the Church from the message to it from The King of Kings and The Lord of Lords.

As in the other Churches, especially the one at Smyrna, the Church in Philadelphia had been severely persecuted by judaists, as we see that they are the focus of Jesus’ condemnation in verse nine. 

But Jesus begins His message to it by saying, “The Holy, The True…..”

And in order for us to gain an understanding of the full context of His words here, I must read for you one of the most wonderful passages of Scripture from the prophetic Word.  It is Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of “The Holy One” of Israel.  And Jesus obviously refers the Church in Philadelphia to this magnificent passage in Isaiah chapter forty.  Please listen carefully as I read:

    1) "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.
    2) "Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
         And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
         That her iniquity has been removed,
         That she has received of the LORD'S hand
         Double for all her sins."
    3) A voice is calling,
         "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;
         Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
    4) "Let every valley be lifted up,
         And every mountain and hill be made low;
         And let the rough ground become a plain,
         And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
    5) Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
         And all flesh will see it together;
         For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
    6) A voice says, "Call out."
         Then he answered, "What shall I call out?"
         All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
    7) The grass withers, the flower fades,
         When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
         Surely the people are grass.
    8) The grass withers, the flower fades,
         But the word of our God stands forever.
    9) Get yourself up on a high mountain,
         O Zion, bearer of good news,
         Lift up your voice mightily,
         O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
         Lift it up, do not fear.
         Say to the cities of Judah,
         "Here is your God!"
    10) Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might,
         With His arm ruling for Him
         Behold, His reward is with Him
         And His recompense before Him.
    11) Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
         In His arm He will gather the lambs
         And carry them in His bosom;
         He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
    12) Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
         And marked off the heavens by the span,
         And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,
         And weighed the mountains in a balance
         And the hills in a pair of scales?
    13) Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
         Or as His counselor has informed Him?
    14) With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
         And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
         And informed Him of the way of understanding?
    15) Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
         And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
         Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
    16) Even Lebanon is not enough to burn,
         Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
    17) All the nations are as nothing before Him,
         They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
    18) To whom then will you liken God?
         Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
    19) As for the idol, a craftsman casts it,
         A goldsmith plates it with gold,
         And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
    20) He who is too impoverished for such an offering
         Selects a tree that does not rot;
         He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman
         To prepare an idol that will not totter.
    21) Do you not know? Have you not heard?
         Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
         Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    22) It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
         And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
         Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
         And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
    23) He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
         Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
    24) Scarcely have they been planted,
         Scarcely have they been sown,
         Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
         But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
         And the storm carries them away like stubble.
    25) "To whom then will you liken Me
         That I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
    26) Lift up your eyes on high
         And see who has created these stars,
         The One who leads forth their host by number,
         He calls them all by name;
         Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
         Not one of them is missing.
    27) Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
         "My way is hidden from the LORD,
         And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?
    28) Do you not know? Have you not heard?
         The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
         Does not become weary or tired.
         His understanding is inscrutable.
    29) He gives strength to the weary,
         And to him who lacks might He increases power.
    30) Though youths grow weary and tired,
         And vigorous young men stumble badly,
    31) Yet those who wait for the LORD
         Will gain new strength;
         They will mount up with wings like eagles,
         They will run and not get tired,
         They will walk and not become weary.


I wish we could do a thorough exegesis of this passage right now!  But, suffice it to say that our Lord Jesus Christ directly reminds the Church at Philadelphia that He IS that “Holy One of Israel”, the very same One Who the prophet Isaiah quotes.  Israel will receive double recompense for its sins; but His Own people will be comforted and shepherded.

And He is NOT one made of stone and gold and silver and wood; but He is the TRUE One.  Not one speck of dust in His creation; not one star in the sky; not one drop of water is missing from His creation!  And all His creatures on the face of the earth are only such as He blows them away as stubble with the breath of His mouth!  “Comfort, O comfort ye, My people….” The Church at Philadelphia is to be comforted by Jesus’ explicit reference to Himself from Isaiah 40.

And I hope that this lends credence to my frail petition for you to read the prophecy of Isaiah.

“The Holy, the True, the One having the ’David key.’ the One opening and no one shall shut, and the One shutting and no one opens”….  This is a direct reference to Isaiah chapter twenty-two in which God accuses the royal steward of falsehood and of betraying his Master’s trust.  And God declares: “I will depose you from your office, and I will pull you down from your station.”  And God would replace the false steward with a faithful one.

Here’s what God said, as recorded by Isaiah in chapter twenty-two:


20) "Then it will come about in that day,

That I will summon My Servant

21) And I will clothe him with your tunic

And tie your sash securely about him.

I will entrust him with your authority,

And he will become a father to the inhabitants of

Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

22) "Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder,

When he opens no one will shut, When he shuts no one will open.

23) "I will drive him like a peg in a firm place,

And he will become a throne of glory to his father's house.


“I have that ‘David key’!  says Jesus (as stated by the Father, written down for you by Isaiah), Jesus has deposed the judaists from office; He has pulled them down from their station.  He has shut the door of the covenant to them, and none shall open it.  And He has opened that covenant door to many, many others, and no one can shut it, for He has the ‘key’!

This again is great comfort to this Church which has suffered under the methodical, intense persecution at the hands of judaists who still think that they are under God’s covenantal shield, no matter what!  They have rebelled against God from the beginning; they never believed what God revealed and promised, but worshipped an imitation religion; they persecuted and killed the prophets who He sent to call for their repentance; they have left the people of Israel destitute and sick for the purpose of their own ego-centric power and gain; they’re under the rule of a Gentile, foreign nation; And after a fake trial they delivered up the Son of God – Son of Man to be mocked, scourged and crucified by that foreign government!  And now they’re pursuing Jesus’ apostles and newborns in every Church in the nations.  And Jesus has said (Matt.24) that all the blood of the righteous would be held to their account!  And still… the judaists were confident that they were God’s covenant people, and He would not ever forsake them.  The whole world would once again, some day, be ruled from the eternal city of Jerusalem!

But Jesus says to His newborns in Philadelphia: “lo, I have presented an opened door before you, which no one is enabled to shut”.  And I have shut the covenantal door to the judaists, and nobody can open it, The Lord of the Covenant, the One having the David key, has opened the door and promised His covenant to all flesh, all tongues, all nations; and He has cast out those who pretend to hold the key.  So the faithful in Philadelphia have little to fear from these judaists.  He is coming quickly to execute the covenant sanctions against Israel and fill His new holy temple.

“I know your works”, Jesus says, “that you have a little strength.  You did keep My Word; and you did not deny My Name.”  This Church had some tenacity – toughness; it had some substance to it.  You might say it had some “guts” about it.  It had kept His Word; and it didn’t deny His Name, even in that pagan world order; even with caesar as the civil magistrate and self-proclaimed link between heaven and earth; and even with judaists trying to subvert it from outside and inside, it had kept His Word.

And now I want you to know what that means… to “keep” His Word.  I’m going to take you through the Scriptures, very quickly.  And I trust that Holy Spirit will teach us all what it means – directly from His Own Words. Listen:


Deuteronomy 4:2: Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 29:9: Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.

Psalm 119:17: Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

Psalm 119:101: I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

Proverbs 7:1: My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.

Luke 11:28 (quoting Jesus): But he said, ‘Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it’.

John 14:23 (quoting Jesus): Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him’.

1 John 2:5: But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (Note: We know that we are in union with our Lord when we keep His Word.)

And, finally, from our own text of Revelation, chapter one:

“Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John, who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw.”


Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.

And, further, Jesus also said, “you did not deny my Name”.  Once again, listen to Holy Spirit as He speaks through Scripture:


Joshua 24:27: And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

Proverbs 30:9: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

Matthew 10:33: But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

2 Timothy 2:12: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Titus 1:16: They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2 Peter 2:1: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.


This feisty little Church stood strong and stalwart in the midst of dire circumstances.  They kept His Word; and they didn’t deny Him in word or deed.  What a great testimony to us.