The Church at Philadelphia: Part 4 of 4 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
Are you, dear believer, “HOLD(ING) ON TO WHAT YOU HAVE”? We preachers need more than ever to preach faithfulness to God in this hour. If ever there was a day when God’s people need to be faithful and stand up to be counted for Jesus, it is today. There are many saved people who will be ashamed at the coming of the Lord. Salvation is God’s gift. Rewards are earned through faithful stewardship—“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Yes, a believer can lose his reward; but Jesus is our salvation. When by faith we place our hand in His precious nail-scarred hand, He is able to keep us through His mighty power. We are warned to “HOLD ON TO WHAT YOU HAVE, SO THAT NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR CROWN”—but certainly a crown is not our salvation.
There are five “CROWNS” mentioned in the New Testament which can be earned by a believer through faithful stewardship:
1. The incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25).
2. The crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
3. The crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8).
4. The crown of life (James 1:12).
5. The crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).
If you will study each of these Scriptures you will find clearly stated the requirements for coming into possession of one (or all five) of these crowns.
12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God44 and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
The church at Philadelphia is a picture of The True Church, just before the Rapture. We are now living in the very hour of the coming of the Son of God for The Church. Every minute detail of prophecy having to do with the coming of the Lord has been fulfilled, or is being fulfilled today before our very eyes! So many things have happened in the past fifty years, one almost becomes dizzy when comparing current events with prophecy. Things prophesied centuries ago have been fulfilled in our day. One of these glorious days, the Rapture will take place—and it will all be over “in the twinkling of an eye”—“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).
We are to behave like overcomers (all believers ARE overcomers), like those who are on the victory side. We are to behave like sons and daughters of a King and be more than conquerors in view of the divine initiative and in view of the divine invitation. Overcomers will become “A PILLAR IN THE TEMPLE OF MY GOD.” This is, of course, symbolic of the permanent place in heaven for believers, referred to here as the “TEMPLE OF GOD.” The entire New Jerusalem will be the ultimate temple (21:22). In contrast to earthly Temples and earthly pillars which fall, believers will continue forever in the temple.
There will be no liberal Temples in the Pearly White City—“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22). There will be no liberal
Temples here on earth during the judgments and during the Millennium. (Read Revelation 11:1, 2 and Acts 15:12-18). The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb shall be the temple in the Pearly White City. Overcomers will be the “PILLARS”3
(the members) of that great temple of God. True believers are pushed around by the worldly element in the local assemblies. True believers and true Bible preachers are many times put out of the local church. But thanks be unto God, true believers and true preachers will not be put out of that holy temple in the New Jerusalem. “NEVER AGAIN WILL THEY LEAVE IT.” The New Jerusalem is the future dwelling of the people of God—“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (21:2). They will be citizens in God’s future kingdom. Everything will be new, pure, and secure.
There is no danger of missing the identity of these true-blue, consecrated overcomers. Jesus tells us that He will identify them by writing on them (1) the name of the city of God4
(New Jerusalem) which stands for the gift of citizenship in the city of God to the faithful Christian; and (2) “MY NEW NAME.” This “NEW NAME” of Christ has not been revealed, but those who are victorious and persevere will have this “NEW NAME” inscribed upon them, as the name of Jehovah (“Holiness to the Lord”) was inscribed on the golden plate attached to the turban of the high priest—“Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord” (Exodus 28:36-38). So the saints in their heavenly royal priesthood shall bear His name openly, to show they are consecrated to Him. The caricature of this is seen in the brand on the forehead of the beast’s followers (13:6-17). This “NEW NAME” is not a “NEW NAME” for us; rather, He is saying that He has a “NEW NAME” for Himself that He will give to us. This “NEW NAME” exemplifies the personal relationship we will have with Him.
While I dictate these words into my computer there is not one solitary prophesy remaining to be fulfilled before the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture could take place any second. I pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Are you ready for the Rapture, dear friend? If you are reading these lines and you are not born again, do not put it off another moment. Bow your head and confess your sins, ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart—and He will save you this very moment.
13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
This closing is the same as for the letters to the other churches; all should “HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS” and understand what is being said.
(1 Corinthians 8:5-6, NIV) “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”2
In biblical times, one’s name spoke of his character. Christ’s writing His name on us speaks of imprinting His character on us and identifying us as belonging to Him. 3
The word “PILLARS” symbolizes permanence and stability. This permanence is stressed in the next phrase, “NEVER AGAIN WILL THEY LEAVE IT.” Believers will enjoy an unshakable, eternal, secure place in the presence of God. 4
This was the city which Abraham looked for.