Revelation Chapter 3
1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Here again we see the seven Spirits of God and the seven Stars. Based on verse one there is no way of telling if the use of the seven Spirits and the seven stars has any identifying traits to a particular church or time. Or if this is simply the method of identifying the author as Christ once again. Christ acknowledges that this church has a name. No other mention of a name is so far listed other then Sardis, the church that the letter is addressed to. It also points out that this church has life but at the same time this church is dead. This could indicate many things on the human level of interpretations. It could mean that this church needs to get involved and perform some type of action to accomplish something. Or it could mean that this church is following something other then God, which would mean that this church is separated from God, which is the same as being dead.
2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
The term “strengthen the things which remain”, leaves no indication as to what is to be strengthened. There is no hint or clue in the text of what things are to be strengthen or how to strengthen them. To say what these things are at this point would be pure speculation.
The term “that are ready to die”, adds to the confusion. Are the things that need to be strengthened ready to die? Or are the recipients of the letter about to die? The text is unclear at this point. All we can tell is that these things are ready to die? Which also means that at one point they must have been alive.
Verse three begins to shed some light on the subject. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. To remember not what you have received but “how” you have received it, could suggest a few things. The people that have been teaching the church of Sardis or the writings they have been receiving or both. This could apply to us today in the form of the Bible. Verse three indicated that we do not know the hour of Christ’s coming but we know that He is coming. And we also know that we are to watch. One of the ways we are to watch is to remain true to His word, the Bible, reading it daily to establish that open communication and to know when those warnings are given to us.
4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Here we have yet another symbol seen through out the Bible, the garment. We probably all know what this means. But how many of us know how anyone can explain this meaning? KJV Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
So now we see how the Bible declares that a garment represents salvation and a robe can represent righteousness.
5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Here we have further proof of the symbolism of the garment, or robe or raiment. When we accept Christ we accept the change of raiment He is offering us. It is not with our works that we will stand before God, but as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, clothed in the robe of righteousness that Christ has given us.
6. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
7. 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;
Key of David
What is this key of David? And what is it that this key opens and closes? This text seems to be a repeat of KJV 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. Notice that both refer to a door that can be opened and no one can shut it. What door could this be? KJV Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
It seems as if this door is opened by the key is knowledge. That makes sense. No matter what the situation we face here on earth, knowledge is one thing that can not be taken away. No matter what type of persecution we face, no matter what the problem or dilemma that we are put into, whether we put ourselves into that situation, or we are put there by others, we will still have the knowledge we have accumulated to help us deal with any situation. Knowledge can be a door that once it is opened, can not be shut.
When we carefully read the words of David we can clearly see that David had knowledge of a savior to come. David knew that Christ was coming. The key that David gives us consists of more then 100 prophesies that announced the coming of Christ. They give details of His life, ministry and death. These keys written by David opened a door that no man could shut. If only the Pharisees would have paid attention.
8. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Now the question still remains. What is that door that can be shut that no man can open? KJV John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. KJV Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. KJV 2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,
Now that we understand that the key to open the door is knowledge we have one more clue presented to us. We see in verse 8 that the door that Christ is referring to is the knowledge of His word.
9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
This verse needs little explanation. This portion of the letter addresses the existence of a group within the church that have read the word of God and have abused it. As always there is a promise that is given. God loves us and wants everyone to know that. Even our enemies will one day know that God was always there for us.
10. 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.
We need to first understand what this hour of temptation is. Is this a warning for a church? Is this a warning to only the church that this letter was written to? Is this a warning for the last days, or a warning for all of earth’s history? Now the word temptation is not used in the Bible as often as one would think. No where does the Bible mention any one specific temptation we need to look out for. In my opinion we need to look out more for those people that have said they have uncovered the one great temptation. Because if they did, they sure did not get it from the Bible, but rather from their own imaginations.
Rather then listing a set of temptations we need to look out for, the Bible gives us a few verses on how to deal with those temptations. KJV Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. KJV Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
It seems to me that when we go to the Bible, it tells us more about how we are to deal with temptation then what we are to watch out for. Oh there are lists and guidelines for us to follow, but no where does the Bible list one great deception that we are to look out for.
Think of it. Just like everyone else, Satan has his freedom of choice. Satan can mess up this world in just about every imaginable way. Now why would God give away the one deception that Satan would use? Now don’t you think that Satan would be jumping up and down trying to convince everyone that this was all just a big set up by God to make him look bad? So where do these so called prophets get off by telling us, and trying to sell tapes and DVDs that are supposed to show one great secret? And why have these so called prophets been doing this for so many years? Prediction after prediction that has never come true. Could it be that instead of looking for one big deception, Satan is concentrating on a million details, a million deceptions all individually tailored for each individual. Just like he has done for all these thousands of years. Each one of us can fall for 20 or 30 smaller deceptions that we never see coming, simply because we did not feel a need to constantly watch and pray, or follow the word of God.
11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Here the question is, what exactly is the crown that is refereed to in the Bible? We can put our own interpretations upon any of these words used in the Bible. But when there is a message to be seen within the words that God has left for us, don’t we at least owe God the time it takes to look deep into His word? To take the time to receive the full blessing of the word.
For just a moment we will take on human nature and look at what a crown is. A crown is an ornament worn to show power as when a monarch or king is crowned. Or to show an achievement such as those crowns worn at the Olympics. The Bible may simply be referring to these meanings when the word crown is used. Or when we compare the Spiritual meaning of the word crown, what is it we shall see added to the meaning of the text?
KJV Psalms 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. KJV Proverbs 14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
KJV 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
KJV James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Spiritually the crown can represent glory and honor, just as we had expected. As we go on and compare the other verses used to describe the meaning of a crown we see that the crown also represents knowledge, righteousness and life. The crown that Christ will give to us has value beyond our comprehension, just like the verses found in the Bible, we could just casually skim over them and let the surface meaning sink in for a moment, or we could spend the time to dig and uncover the meanings God is waiting for us to discover, just beneath the surface. How we spend our time is a very important factor in our Spiritual growth. It also shows the way we will face our trials and temptations on this earth.
12. 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.
13. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The closing of the letter to the church of Philadelphia also references a scene of Heaven. Here the reference is to the city Jerusalem. Notice that the city is refereed to as the city of God and is also called the NEW Jerusalem and that this new city comes down out of Heaven. This is a far cry from what some are saying about the rebuilding of this city named Jerusalem in Israel today. Why would God require this city in the Middle East to be rebuilt when it says right here that a new city named Jerusalem will come down from Heaven?
14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Verse 14 is the beginning of the introduction of the letter to the Laodicean church. As usual this letter gives yet another description of Christ, “the beginning of the creation of God“. Now we need to take a look at these two words, hot and cold. What is it that the Bible could be pointing at with the words hot and cold?
KJV Exodus 32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. KJV Deuteronomy 9:19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also. KJV Psalms 6:1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
This does not look good at all. The word hot appears to be associated with feelings such as displeasure and anger. As popular as the word hot can be, it is not often used in the Bible. And when it is used, the majority points to God’s wrath and anger. So is this to say that the Lord wants to see us either cold or angry? We need to first take a look at how the word cold needs to be used before we can make a final assessment on the word hot.
KJV Proverbs 25:13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters. KJV Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. KJV Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. KJV Matthew 24:12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
It appears we now have two meanings to the word cold. Three times it is used to describe cold water, or snow in a refreshing sense. Once and only once the Bible refers to cold in a negative sense in reference to love. It would not be safe to use a single reference in the Bible to establish the Spiritual meaning of a word. Just as the Lord has a habit of repeating things when He wants us to listen, the Spiritual meaning of words will be repeated to establish an unmistakable pattern.
Now that we understand the word cold to mean a refreshing experience we can substitute it into the verses for Revelation 3 and see if we can derive a deeper understanding of the message. Rewritten, Revelation 3:15 may sound like this. “I know your works (or what you are doing), and you are neither hot or cold (angry or refreshing). I would rather have you angry or refreshing.
Just as we would suspect, the words hot and cold refer to actions. Or rather to the lack of action within the church this letter is being written to. Angry? That may be an appropriate word when we look at the time that this letter was composed. It was written while Rome occupied the entire region and controlled every aspect of life with it’s iron fist. Satan did well in using the influence of Rome to attempt to squash the growth of the early Christian church. Maybe this is a clue to the meaning of hot and cold. Maybe God would rather see us angry about the mistreatment of our fellow Christians, than to take a nonchalant stand, not caring about the treatment of our fellow human beings, as long as it does not happen to us.
And maybe God would rather see us take a refreshing role in protesting the way we see our women and children treated. Taking an active role, standing up and acting the way we should act as Christians. Turning the other cheek, giving love for hatred, kind words for insults or giving a gift to an enemy. Was it not Christ that told us to love our enemies. How many times in your life have you looked back at a situation and had the feeling, it would have been better if I had just acted either one way or another? Anything at all would have been better then doing nothing at all.
KJV Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despite fully use you. 29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
We are first shown that the condition of this church is not flattering, but no one inside of the church can see this condition. The church is given three key words that describe the way Christ perceives this church. The three key words are poor, blind and naked. We could just put a surface meaning upon these words. From the surface meaning we could conclude that Jesus looks at these people as poor in spirit, lacking in the most fundamental of values, people that have little spiritual worth, one to be despised and ignored. This is further reinforced with the word blind. For one to be spiritually blind one does not know the truth or how to follow it. One that does not see the ramifications of his actions. The Pharisees were called blind men by Christ. KJV Matthew 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. We know that this ditch is meant as the pit to hell, eternal death. And then there is the prophet Isaiah. KJV Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Not only are the blind due to fall into a pit, they are also lazy and dumb. God does not have a very bright outlook on the poor or blind.
Is this what the text is referring to? Is this only a warning written to a church that just simply says, “straighten up and fly right or suffer the consequences.” Should we end our study here satisfied with what we had deduced from the verse? Or should we look on a bit further and let the Bible explain what this text has been meant to say for all these generations.
We will first take a look at the word poor and see what the Bible has to say on that subject. KJV 1 Samuel 2:7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. KJV Psalms 9:18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. KJV Psalms 34:6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. KJV Psalms 140:12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. KJV Isaiah 29:19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. KJV Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So can you see the results when the scripture is explained by the Bible? To be poor in the sight of God is to be lifted up, protected by God and to hold an open invitation to Heaven. There is quite a difference between the human insight given to the text and the Spiritual interpretation. Next we shall look at the word blind. Does it agree with what we have found thus far?
KJV Exodus 4:11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? KJV Psalms 146:8 The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous: KJV Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
The meaning of the words poor and blind agree spiritually. God has a special interest in both the poor and the blind. There is yet one more word to look into. And that is the word naked. KJV Genesis 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. KJV Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. KJV Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. KJV Genesis 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? In just a few verses we see nakedness go from being natural to a sense of shame. There are reasons for this reaction. It should not take one a long time to realize how sin has changed this world and how we react to one another.
There is one very important difference between the Spiritual words of poor, blind and the word naked. Notice that the poor and blind are made by God. KJV 1 Samuel 2:7 The Lord maketh poor… KJV Exodus 4:11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? But to be naked is quite a different story. We see that the story of the creation shows us that man was created naked. But the shame was a choice that man made to put upon himself. Since that time, the Spiritual meaning of naked has come to be known as a curse from mankind to mankind.
KJV Exodus 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) KJV 2 Chronicles 28:19 For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. KJV Ezekiel 23:29 And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms. KJV Habakkuk 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Time and time again the Bible gives us examples that show that the Spiritual nakedness is caused by men. Spiritual nakedness is also inflicted or forced upon men by other men.
If we were to paraphrase verse 17 it may sound something like this. Because you say, “I am rich and increased in goods and I have need of nothing more” . But you do not even know that you are wretched and miserable, God has a special interest in you. And man despises you.
There are also examples of God clothing the poor, KJV Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. So we need not fear the nakedness in the eyes of men because we will forever have that choice of receiving the raiment of God.
18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Here is council from God. We are told to buy from Him gold, white raiment and eyesalve. What are these things and what bearing do they have on our salvation? We need to look at each word through the eyes of the Spirit. The first word to look at is of course gold.
KJV Psalms 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. KJV Psalms 119:127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. KJV Proverbs 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
It is simple to see that gold is used to represent the word of God and His commandments. We have already looked at raiment and found it to be the righteousness of Christ. The last word hear to observe is eyesalve. Since this word is used only once in the Bible we will take a look at the Greek dictionary to see if it offers any clues.
Strong’s Number: 2854
Text: neuter of a presumed derivative of kollura (a cake; prob akin to the base of 2853); properly, a poultice (as made of or in the form of crackers), i.e. (by analogy) a plaster: — eyesalve.
Because the word is derived form #2853 we will also take a look at that word.
Strong’s Number: 2853
Text: from kolla (“glue”); to glue, i.e. (passively or reflexively) to stick (figuratively): –cleave, join (self), keep company.
Quite a strange word to be using in reference to opening ones eyes. At times it appears as if the Spiritual meaning of some words will still remain hidden for a time. This appears to be one of those. The Lord could not mean to have us purchase a man made eye treatment to see better spiritually. Therefore we can only understand the meaning from the text around the word in question. The gold and white raiment will be our guide to the spiritual meaning of the word eyesalve. We open our eyes through the word of God.
19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
There are a few meanings to the word door. We see that the door can be used to keep something out. We lock a door to protect what we think is valuable. We greet people at the door. And to refer to an open a door is refer to a beginning. The Bible also uses the door in all of those context. There is one more meaning that the Bible puts on a door. That is, the door is Christ, as we have as seen covered in verse 7.
The door itself is Christ and the salvation that Christ alone can offer. The Spiritual meaning of the word door only affirms the text of Revelation 3:20. That Christ will come in and share time with us.
21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
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