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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;
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.
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.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

3:7 Philadelphia. Philadelphia means “brotherly love,” and was named by King Attalus of Pergamum, its founder, in honor of his brother. Philadelphia still survives as the modern town Alasehir, located about twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis.


3:7 no man openeth. The Lord here claims to have “the key of David,” referring to Isaiah 22:22: “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” In Isaiah’s context, this promise was made to Eliakim, a servant of King Hezekiah. The “key” was the key to the national treasury, and figuratively to control of the government. Eliakim thus was a type of the Messiah, and Christ here asserts in effect that He controls the governmental economy of the whole world and all that happens therein.


3:8 little strength. Literally, “a little strength” simply reads “little strength,” since the article is not present in the Greek. The Lord’s promise of a continuing open door, therefore, is conditioned on the premise that the church (or any Christian ministry, for that matter) have little strength of its own, and thus relies wholly on the strength of the Lord. Worldly marketing methods may seem to yield large numerical results for a time, but will also produce gradual spiritual compromise and eventual disintegration.

In addition to the “little strength” criterion, of course, the church or other ministry must keep (that is “guard”) the absolute integrity of God’s Word, and uphold the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in all its sovereign power.


3:9 are not. See note on Revelation 2:9.


3:9 worship before thy feet. These Jews who were of the synagogue of Satan would not worship the Philadelphia believers themselves (not even angels will accept such worship—note Revelation 22:8-9), but in the presence of these believers, they will bow down to the Lord whom they had rejected on earth (Philippians 2:10).


3:11 come quickly. Even though they have “little strength” (Revelation 3:8), there will indeed be Philadelphia-type churches bearing their testimony on earth when the Lord comes.


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