Philadelphia Endures Patiently
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20. Philadelphia Endures Patiently
Revelation 3.9-13

"I will make those who are of Satan's synagogue, who claim to be Jews though they are not but are liars - I will make them come and fall at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world to test those living on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown. I will make the victorious one a pillar in my God's temple. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them God's name and the name of God's city, New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God, and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3.9-13)✞

What is Christ's patience?

Philadelphia RuinsTo this point, Philadelphia endures patiently. The sentence, "You have kept my command," describes one definite act in the past. The implication is that the Philadelphian Church has emerged from some time of trial triumphantly. They may have only a little strength, and their resources may well be small, but if they endure patiently, they will see Christ's triumphal dawn.

What does it mean to keep Jesus' command?

Crucified Jesus"My command to endure patiently" may not refer to Jesus' command to the Philadelphian Church about patience but to the example of Christ's patient endurance. God doesn't expect us all to be and act the same, but he does expect us to "hold on" to what we have to persevere in using our resources for him. Jesus commends the Philadelphians for their effort to obey and hold tightly to whatever strength they may have left. To keep Jesus' command is to endure despite opposition to the end. Revelation chapter 3 spells this out. The risen Christ promises that those who obey Jesus' directions will be "kept safe by him." "You have kept My command to endure patiently," he says, "therefore, I will keep you." Loyalty has its sure reward. The phrase "my command to endure" refers to those who practice the same kind of endurance as Jesus showed in his earthly life and ministry.

What three things does Jesus supply?

Jesus' FaceWhen Jesus Christ calls upon us, he supplies us with three things to keep his commandments. These are his example, his inspiration, and his endurance. We must walk looking to him as our example as in Hebrews 12.1-2, which says, "Therefore, since such a great cloud of witnesses surrounds us, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God's throne." Jesus suffered first and inspired us according to Hebrews 2.18, "Because he suffered when tempted, he can help the tested." With his example, inspiration, and endurance, we can endure to the end.

What does it mean that Christ is coming soon?

Ancient Philadelphia RuinsRevelation tells us that Christ is coming soon. Those in ancient Philadelphia are greatly encouraged and would not allow anyone to take their crown. The ancient Philadelphians will be rewarded for their faithfulness when Christ comes again. This theme of "coming soon" is repeated in Revelation 1.1, where John of Patmos writes, "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place." The word "servants" and "servant" in this verse are a translation of the word "doulos," meaning "slave." John is a prisoner of the Romans on the Isle of Patmos, but he is, more importantly, Jesus Christ's servant. Revelation 22.7 repeats the phrase, "Look, I am coming soon!" In Revelation 22.12 and Revelation 22.20, Jesus re-emphasizes this message. Christ's coming judges the evil ways of Ephesus, Pergamum, and Sardis. Until Christ comes again, God warns the Christian Church in Philadelphia to hold on and be patient in adversity. The risen Christ tells them that he is coming quickly. His words are a warning to the heedless and comfort to the oppressed. James 5.8 comments, "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." Jesus urges his people's patient endurance, and then their distress will be at an end.

Take Your Crown

CrownThe risen Christ asks the Philadelphians to hold on to what they have, that no one may "take your crown." It is not a question of someone stealing it but of God taking it from you and giving it to someone because you are not worthy to wear it.

What are the Jerusalem temple pillars?

Karnak Temple PillarsFaithful followers of Jesus Christ will become strong support members with the name of God inscribed upon them. They will be like the Jerusalem Temple pillars. The promises of the risen Christ will come to those who are faithful. They will be like the Jerusalem Temple pillars situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. Solomon's temple had two copper, brass, and bronze pillars named "Boaz" and "Jachin." It is also interesting to note that "Pillar Tombs" in the ancient Greek city of Lycia in Anatolia or modern-day Turkey are monumental graves featuring a single pillar made of stone. In St Peter's Church in Rome, there is a structure with two marble twisted and elaborately decorated columns believed to have come from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem and placed there by Emperor Constantine 1 (274-337 AD.) Peter, James, and John in Galatians 2.9-10 are called pillars of the Early Church in Jerusalem by Saint Paul. He writes, "James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me." The Patriarch Abraham said that the Jewish Rabbis "were the world's pillars."

Are you a pillar in God's temple?

PillarIn the cities of Asia Minor and Philadelphia, when a renowned Jewish priest died after a lifetime of faithful service, the community honored him by erecting a new pillar in the temple he served and inscribing "his name" and the name of his father upon it. For Christians, this describes the lasting honor that Christ pays to his faithful ones by giving them forever a particular characteristic of Jesus. Jesus already knows our unique personal names. The one who is victorious in New Jerusalem becomes a pillar in the temple of God. God will write the Christian name and the name of God's city on each one of them. When God tells Moses about the blessing which Aaron and the priests are to pronounce over the people, he says in Numbers 6.27, "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them." In Revelation 3.12-13, it is the same idea. It is as if Jesus himself is to write Christian names upon Israel so that all may know that they are Jesus Christ's people. Faithful Jewish people also have a special place, I believe, in New Jerusalem. The faithful one will, in the end, become like "a pillar fixed in God's Temple." We will live a life of untroubled peace when we reach God's eternal presence after the battles of earth. Then will the names of the faithful be inscribed on the pillars in New Jerusalem.

What are Jesus' Revelation names?

Hebrew Name of GodSome authors have counted as many as 36 names for Jesus in the Book of Revelation. We can start from memory with Jesus Christ (1.1), the Alpha and Omega (1.8-13), and maybe remember the Lion of the tribe of Judah (5.5,9). Others like the Bright and Morning Star (22.16) and the White Horse Rider (19.11) may not so readily come to mind. Here is the NIV list of all 37 names I found for Jesus in Revelation.

What are the 37 names for Jesus?

The Revelation name "Jesus" is written upon the pillars in the New Jerusalem Temple. The supports also commemorate renowned temple priests. A printout of the original list of 36 names for Jesus in Revelation exists at the site "2013 A Virtuous," which I would highly commend.

1. Jesus Christ 1.1
2. Faithful Witness 1.5
3. First Born of the Dead 1.5
4. Ruler of the Earth's Kings 1.5
5. The Alpha and The Omega 1.8
6. Who Is, and Was, and Is to Come 1.8
7. The Almighty 1.8
8. The Son of Man 1.13
9. Who Lives and was Dead 1.13, 18
10. Who Holds the Seven Stars 2.1
11. Who Walks Among the Seven Golden Candlesticks 2.1
12. Has the Sharp Double-Edged Sword 2.12
13. God's Son 2.18
14. Searches Hearts and Minds 2.23
15. Holds the Seven Spirits of God 3.1
16. Holds the Seven Stars 3.1
17. Holy and True 3.7
18. Key of David 3.7
19. Opens and None Can Shut 3.7
20. Shuts and None Can Open 3.7
21. The Amen 3.14
22. The Faithful and True Witness 3.14
23. Ruler of God's Creation 3.14
24. Lord 4.11
25. Lion of the tribe of Judah 5.5,9
26. The Root of David 5.5,9
27. A Slain Lamb 5.6,7
28. The Lamb 5.8,9
29. Lord of Lords 17.14
30. King of Kings 17.14
31. Faithful and True 19.11
32. Rider of the White Horse 19.11
33. Word of God 19.13-16
34. Christ 20.4
35. Lord God who Inspires the Prophet 22.6
36. Beginning and the End 22.13
37. Bright and Morning Star 22.16.

When Jesus says, they will have "my new name written upon them," I don't know which one of the 37! All would then see that they belong to Him. They are citizens or pillars of the New Jerusalem, and they have the Revelation name for Jesus marked upon them.

Are you a citizen in God's eternal city?

Emperor TiberiasOn the faithful Christian, "the name of my God's city, New Jerusalem," is to be written. This name stands for the gift of citizenship in God's eternal city, coming down from heaven. The people of Philadelphia, "the city of brotherly love," knew all about taking a new name. In 17 AD, a terrible earthquake devastated their homes. Emperor Tiberius dealt kindly with them, remitted their taxes, and made them a generous gift to rebuild. In response, the city granted honors to Tiberius by naming the town "Tiberias" on the Sea of Galilee's western shore. Tourists still come to Tiberias, the largest city in Galilee today, and lounge in its hot spring baths and take tours across Galilee's Sea.

What is Neo-Caesarea?

Cities named buildings, streets, even the town itself after people who had endowed it in some unique way. The people of Philadelphia called their village "Neo-Caesarea" or the "New City of Caesar." Later it was renamed "Flavia" in honor of the family name of Vespasian and in their gratitude to Emperor Vespasian, who was generous to them. Jesus Christ's name also marks out his faithful ones. But in the time to come, when Christ conquers all, his faithful ones will bear Jesus Christ's name. What a great privilege that will be. It will show that we are his and that we share his triumph.!

"What does Jesus command that Philadelphia endures patiently mean?"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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