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Revelation 3:7-13 | Free Grace Bible Study

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A few years ago, I changed the locks on my house. I swapped out our deadbolts for digital keypads. Now, it’s much easier to get in and even give access to others who need to while we’re away. About a half dozen people probably have the code to our locks and could get into our house whenever they like. 

However, only one person has the authority to change the access code. That’s me. Technically, my wife could, too, but she’d have to ask me how to do it. With a Philips head screwdriver and about two minutes, I can reset the passcode and deny everyone from entering my house that doesn’t have the new digits. I have the authority to let anyone in or keep out of our house. 

Did you know that there will be a type of “master key” in the kingdom of heaven, and it belongs to one individual who has been given the sole authority to make decisions about the door? We’re going to see that idea in our passage today. 

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Lesson Description

In this session of The Free Grace Bible Study, we dive into Revelation 3:7-13, exploring the unique commendation of the Philadelphia church for their faithfulness and perseverance. Through the lens of the key of David and the open door set before them, we'll uncover the significance of Jesus' promises for eternal reward, protection during trials, and a special place in the kingdom for those who overcome. This study offers a compelling look at the importance of holding fast to our faith and the eternal implications of our actions and choices. Join us as we uncover the timeless lessons from Philadelphia's example, inspiring us to live with anticipation of Christ's return and the rewards that await the faithful.

If you would like to lead a group through this Bible study, this page gives you the essential tools to help your friends, family, small group, or church grow in God's word. We encourage you to take what is written and make it your own. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us through the contact form on our website: www.freegrace.in. Whether you are leading a group or going through the material as an individual, we're glad you've joined us, and we hope you enjoy it.

Passage | Revelation 3:7-13

“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”: 

“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. 

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. 

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. 

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 

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.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

Bible Study

3:7 In His address to Philadelphia  He says that He has the key of David. This is a quote from the Old Testament where Isaiah wrote, The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; And he shall shut, and no one shall open (Isaiah 22:22). In that context, and this, the one who holds the key to the King’s house, is the King. It’s a poetic way of saying that Jesus will be in charge of the Kingdom.  

3:8 Jesus talks to them about an open door, which connects to the last verse where He talked about having the key to the house of David. The open door Jesus has set before them may be a reference to their eternal security since He says no one can shut it. However, since he mentions their works prior and their strength after this line, I think it’s more likely that the open door is Jesus’ offer of eternal reward. While no one can shut the door on them, they are being invited to walk through it. The opportunity to be faithful and accrue eternal reward stands before all believers for as long as life lasts. 

This is the only one of the seven Churches that Jesus says nothing negative about. He says three positive things about them. They have a little strength, which reminds me of what Paul said about strength: My strength is made perfect in weakness… I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 The second thing Jesus says about them is that they have kept His word. This must mean that they are not only hearers of the word but doers as well (James 1:22). Thirdly, they have not denied His name in the world. As a reward, Jesus will not deny them before His Father, and the angels (Matthew 10:32). It’s clear that this church is doing quite well. 

3:9 For faithfulness Jesus will reward them, and any who demonstrate the same kind of resolve. He will make those of the synagogue of Satan…  worship before the Philadelphian’s feet. This is a startling thing for Jesus to say. We should not read this as if those Jews would someday be worshiping the Philadelphians, but instead that when Christ returns, and every knee bows to Him, the Philadelphian Christians will be given a much higher and honored place from which to worship than those from the synagogue of Satan. In fact, since those in Satan’s synagogue are very likely unbelievers, they will be among those who bow from under the earth (Philippians 2:10). Their assertion that Christians are blasphemers will be proven wrong on that day when they finally know that Jesus has loved those who have believed in Him.

3:10 Some translators believe that the first part of verse 10 belongs to the previous sentence. If they are right, and I believe they are, it would be rendered, I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you because you have kept My command to persevere. This creates a more natural reading since there is a clear condition that has to be met. 

Placing the punctuation at that point means the next sentence is not offered on the condition of faithfulness, but instead an addition that is available for all believers. Jesus will keep them and us from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

This supports the concept we call, the rapture of the church, which I believe will take place before the tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Matthew 24:40-41). Much of the rest of the book of Revelation is devoted to explaining the world-ending judgments that will be poured out during this tremendously painful period. The fact that Jesus intends to keep, or in other words, rescue believers from this time of testing is a monumental act of compassion on those who are still alive at that time. 

3:11 He is coming quickly so they should live like He’ll be back soon.After discussing the rapture in the last verse, he moves quickly to what will take place shortly after the rapture, which is the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:10). In order to receive the reward hoped for they Hold fast what they have. 

There is something that can be lost if they/we do not hold fast. He doesn’t want anyone to take their crown. This must not literally mean that a crown can be stolen once we receive it in Heaven since there are no thieves in the kingdom to steal our treasure (Matthew 6:20). Instead, it must mean that someone can tempt you to abandon your opportunity to ever receive the crown in the first place. Since we know from previous lessons that crowns are not about salvation but about reward, this crown is something that can either be earned by holding on to Christlike living or be lost by not holding on. This in no way means we can lose our salvation, but the extra privilege of receiving a crown can absolutely be lost if we don’t endure in Godliness. 

3:12 Once again Jesus brings up the concept of the conquering Christian when he says, He who overcomes. Not all believers will overcome the temptations they face, but those who do will be madeinto a pillar in the temple of His God. At the end of Revelation John noticed that there is no longer a temple. Instead, God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (Revelation 21:22). Being made into a pillar in the temple must mean the faithful will have a place of incredible closeness with Christ and God the Father since they are the temple. Being a pillar is likely in the same sense in which Peter and John were called pillars of the early church (Galatians 2:9). Thus, faithful believers will be given a very fulfilling position, worshipful work, unparalleled intimacy, and a role of leadership in Jesus’ Kingdom. 

Priests had to constantly come and go from the temple, but the new order of heavenly priests shall go out no more. This indicates an incredible reward. For believers who are faithful now, they will be given the everlasting privilege of never leaving the most holy presence of God. I believe this probably means that no matter where they go, they carry that unimaginable intimacy with them. Since the end of Revelation says God and the Lamb will be the temple (Revelation 21:22), that must mean that they are never truly away from God’s presence. 

He uses more priestly language when He says He will write on him the name of His God and the name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from His God. In the Old Testament, priests were to wear a golden plate with God’s name on it on their heads (Exodus 28:36-38). This seems to be an updated version of that, since Jesus will write on him His new name. 

3:13 We know that this offer is not just for the Philadelphians, because he called everyone who can hear to listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

Do you want to be part of this amazing priestly order? Do you want to hold on to that crown? Do you want an eternal reward? I know I do! 

I pray we can take this to heart, hold fast to God’s word, prayer, and Christlike fellowship, knowing that one day we will be amazingly rewarded for faithfulness during this life. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What does the "key of David" symbolize in Revelation 3:7, and how does it show Jesus' authority in His kingdom?
  2. In Revelation 3:8, what does the "open door" represent for the believers in Philadelphia, and how does it relate to their actions and faithfulness?
  3. How does the promise of no negative comments towards the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:8) reflect their spiritual state and actions?
  4. Considering Revelation 3:9, what does it mean for the Philadelphian believers to be given a higher place of honor in worship, and how does this challenge our understanding of victory and honor in Christ?
  5. How does Revelation 3:10 support the concept of the rapture, and what does this suggest about God's plan for His followers during end times?
  6. Revelation 3:11 warns believers to hold fast to what they have to avoid losing their crown. What does this imply about the nature of spiritual rewards and perseverance?
  7. Why is overcoming temptations and remaining faithful compared to becoming a "pillar in the temple of God" in Revelation 3:12, and what does this signify about our relationship with God in eternity?
  8. How does the imagery of not having a physical temple in the new creation (Revelation 21:22 mentioned in 3:12) enhance our understanding of God's presence with His people?
  9. The reference to the Old Testament practice of priests wearing a golden plate with God's name (Exodus 28:36-38) in Revelation 3:12 suggests a continuity and fulfillment in Christ. How does this deepen our understanding of our identity in Christ?
  10. With the invitation extended to all who can hear (Revelation 3:13), how does this emphasize the universal call to faithfulness and the rewards that come with it?

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