Meditation Mondays: Revelation 3:7-13 God's Church is the New Jerusalem
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ (NKJV)
This is letter number six and it is written to the church of Philadelphia whom God commends for their faithfulness in the midst of persecution. Christ here identifies Himself as the one who is holy and true and is speaking to this church. Jesus is the Good Steward of the key of David who opens and no one shuts and shuts and no one opens. Think of the language of the open/shut door this way:
King Jesus is sovereign. He is sovereign over liberties and opportunities. He is sovereign over the hardening and softening of hearts. He is sovereign over our very salvation. And He has set before the church of Philadelphia an open door and no one, not Satan himself, has the authority to shut this open door because Christ is the one to open it and the only one powerful enough to close it.
This church was mighty even though from a worldly perspective they had very little. And Jesus commends them for their perseverance even in the midst of their weaknesses. They did not deny Christ. They did not deny His Word. This is a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of this wildly persecuted church. Though they were weak, they were strong.
The progress of a faithful church is never by might or brute strength. The strength of a church is fueled by the sovereign power of the Holy Spirit.
Regarding those of the 'synagogue of Satan,' mentioned above. These are those who have an intellectual knowledge of Jesus but do not know Him experientially. In other words, these are non-Christians. Bluntly put, those who aren't in Christ are in the school of Satan.
Toward the end of this section, the Lord makes a promise to those in this church that persevere. He promises that they as 'living stones' (1 Pt 2:5) will be the New Jerusalem. God's church will be God's temple. God's church will bear God's name.
This was a pivotal time in church history. And for where we are in our study, we are beginning to see the book of Revelation building to a certain climatic event. I believe this event to be the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 for reasons we will get into as we continue our study.
But pay attention to the words of Jesus here. The old temple- the old place of worship is to be destroyed in AD 70 and God's church- spiritual Israel will be the new temple. They will be the pillars of the temple. They will bear the name of God. They will be the new Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem is done away with along with the destruction of the old temple. The new Jerusalem is a spiritual Jerusalem- made up of God's people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. That was the promise made to the church of Philidelphia all those years ago.
If you are in Christ, you are a part of that new Jerusalem. God in Christ has connected us to our brothers and sisters all throughout church history and those yet to be born. And one day, when Christ returns and makes all things new, we will join together with all the other pillars of the new Jerusalem and worship for all eternity without any hindrance of sorrow, sickness, sin, or persecution. The New Jerusalem isn't a place. It is a people.