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The 7 Churches Mystery – Letter No. 6

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THE PHILADELPHIA LETTER

Time melts like molten gold on the Aegean Sea where we first met a few days ago with John of Patmos with plans to visit seven churches of Asia Minor, and to explore seven letters which John was invited in a vision to deliver to them. These Turkish churches appeared to John in his dream like ‘seven candlesticks’.(See Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3).  The vision of the churches as ‘candlesticks’ may remind us of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:14-16, where he spoke of people being ‘lights’ in the world.  We launched our mission with much excitement, starting out at Ephesus along the sea, then moving north to Smyrna and Pergamon, and then heading southeast and inland to Thyatira and Sardis. However, along the way, our pilgrimage has somehow left us with mixed feelings.

At first, we were encouraged by the large and active church at Ephesus, but we soon felt sad that in spite of their many good efforts, this  church had lost its love for God. Next, we met the suffering Smyrna Church, a church facing serious hardship and poverty. Our hearts broke to hear about their situation, but we were soon comforted by their stalwart faith and courage,  endurance and love. Next we stopped at three impressive churches, Pergamon, Thyatira and Sardis, who seemed to have it all together…at first…But we got a rude awakening. We found out about compromises of faith, including sex sin and immorality and were appalled to realize how blind these churches were to their spiritual condition. And now, our expedition moves on…to the ancient city of Philadelphia, ‘The City of Brotherly Love’, so named by Eumenes II, a king of Pergamon, in honour of his brother and successor, Attalus II. As we read this letter to Philadelphia we breathe a sigh of relief to hear the love and commendation of the Lord for this group of believers:

I KNOW YOU WELL. YOU AREN’T STRONG. BUT YOU HAVE TRIED TO OBEY ME AND HAVE NOT DENIED MY NAME…THEREFORE, I WILL OPEN A DOOR FOR YOU WHICH NO ONE CAN SHUT…

While it seems from our review of this letter that the Philadelphia Christians knew and experienced persecution (including from some who claimed to be ‘believers’ but were not), we also realize ‘it’s okay’. Amazingly and incredibly we can see that NOTHING seems to be able to shake this church’s  faith.  Jesus commends the Philadelphia Church for holding on to what is good, (even though they are not ‘strong’, and it seems incredible that they are able to hold on!) And Jesus also promises to protect and rescue this church from a time of ‘Great Tribulation’ “…which will come upon the whole world to test everyone alive.” These strangely prophetic words seem to imply that a terrible time of unprecedented global turmoil or a ‘time of the end’ will one day arrive. This is the second reference about an ‘end time’ in John’s vision, for the angel had spoken earlier, “Write down everything you see and hear…for the time is near when these things will all come true…” (Revelation 1:3).

Personal Deduction & Study

Read through this letter in Revelation 3: 7-14. Although this church isn’t strong, what has led Jesus to commend this group of believers so highly? What do you think is ‘the secret’ to this church’s faith that has helped them to ‘hold on’ to faith in spite of lacking personal strength? What ‘door’ do you think God will open for this church which no one can shut?

Clue Collection:

Collect #6 of 7 clues here, and discover more of  your heavenly riches and inheritance. (Hint: This part of your inheritance may remind you of John 14:2: In my Father’s house are many mansions…)

(Next up…our final letter – No. 7 The Laodicea Letter)

Review previous Churches:  Letter No. 1   Letter No. 2  Letters No. 3&4   Letter No. 5 

© 2011 S. Michaels

Author: LightWriters

Life. Faith. Wellness.

6 thoughts on “The 7 Churches Mystery – Letter No. 6

  1. Thanks. May God bless you and make your words a blessing to many.

  2. Hi S. Michaels

    What clever & very delightful rendering of the Philadelphia church, written in the first person, & like you were there! I need to read your other letters!

    Thank you also for visiting my blog!

    Drgold ~ http://drgoldsite.wordpress.com

    • Thank you so much. Revelation is an amazing ‘letter’ from God, and this approach seemed like a great way to engage readers. Appreciate and value your feedback!

  3. Philadelphia had what Ephesus did not…fellowship with the First Love. They were weak/poor in the natural or worldly sense because they were emptied of themselves and were servants/givers like Christ.

  4. Aweseome answers! Plus, you will find a translation of this passage reading, “I will make him a ‘pillar’ in the house (temple) of my God…” So God’s people are actually becoming or being prepared to become part of His heavenly home…and yes, the ‘door’ is Heaven, and in some present day situations this Scripture may also apply when God supernaturally opens doors for His people through the power of prayer.

  5. Clue #6 – “I will write on him the name of my God 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 him my new name.”

    Jesus commended them because they had kept His word and had not denied His name.

    The secret is “They had kept His command to endure patiently.”

    The door to Heaven.

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