Bible Subjects

Revelation 3:7-13. To the Church in Philadelphia

To the Church in Philadelphia

“The words uttered where not alone for John on the Isle of Patmos, they were not for the churches alone, but through these churches was to come the inspired message for the people, to have its powerful impression in every age to the close of this earth´s history.”[1]

“The application of the various messages to the seven churches to seven consecutive periods of church history naturally suggests the utility of a series of transition dates to facilitate the coordination of the several messages with their respective historical periods.”[2]

The historical period for the Philadelphia church is from 1798 to 1844. This covers the period of the great awakening and the beginning of the Advent movement preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. Names involved for this period are William Miller from North America, Dr. Joseph Wolf the missionary to the world, Robert Winter from England, a Jesuit priest Lacunza from South America, Bengel a Lutheran minister from Germany, and Gaussen preached about the Second Advent in Switzerland.

Rev 3:7. And to the angel of the Philadelphian church write, “These things says, the holy One, the true One, the One having the key of David, the One opening and no one shall shut it, if not the one opening and no one shall open”. (TR-Textus Receptus: The one opening, no one shall shut, and no one shuts, no one shall open).

What does the key of David mean?

Isaiah 22:22. 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. (This verse applies to Eliakim. 2 Kings 18:18. And when they had called to the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and Joash the son of Asaph, the recorder came out to them.

Judges 3:23. (Ehud an Israelite killed Eglon king of Moab with a long dagger, in the kings chamber). Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them. Verse 25. (Eglon´s servants). So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore, they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.


In both cases keys would refer to the keys of the household or king’s residence.

What is the symbolic meaning of door in this text?

Rev 3:20. Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with me. (This refers to the door of the heart).

Rev 4:1. After these things I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this. (This is referring to the door to the throne in heaven, most likely situated to the sanctuary in context with Revelation chapter four).

James 5:9. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge is standing at the door! (Door of judgment).

Colossians 4:3. Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mysteries of Christ, for which I am also in chains for. (Door for the proclamation of the gospel).

Acts 14:27. Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done for them, and that he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (Door of faith, belief and teachings from the Bible to the Gentiles).

John 10:9. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (Christ is the shepherd and we are the sheep. The door is the opening to the sheep pen representing the kingdom of God and eternal life. John 10:27)

Luke 13:25. When the master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open up for us,” and he will answer and say to you, “I do not know you, where you are from.” (This is door refers to the kingdom of God. Luke 13:29).


Door represents the following: Door of communication between God and man´s heart. Door to the throne of the heavenly sanctuary. Door for proclaiming the word of God. Door of faith, belief and teaching from the Bible to the Gentiles. Christ is the door of eternal life. Door to the kingdom of God.

Explanation of the text Rev 3:7.

Christ has the keys to the heavenly household. He opens the door of proclaiming the word of God to the world which no one can shut. This period of Church History would represent the time between 1798-1844. There was a great interest in proclaiming and understanding the word of God in prophecy especially in the book of Daniel. Rev 10:8-112. There was also a deepening interest into the teachings of the heavenly sanctuary. Rev 11:1.2. Bible societies were set up in most countries of the world. Rev 11:3-14.

Rev 3:8. I know your works. Behold I have given before you a door having been opened, which no one is able to shut; because you have a little strength and kept my word and you did not deny my name.

In the awakening between 1798-1844, only a few accepted the prophecies of Daniel, and God used these men and women in proclaiming these wonderful truths. E.g. Joseph Wolf, Robert Winter, Lacunza, William Miller etc.

Rev 3:9. Behold, I am giving those of the Synagogue of Satan, the ones saying they are Jews to be and they are not, but are lying – behold, I will make them so that they shall come and they shall do obeisance before your feet and they shall know I loved you.

What does the Synagogue of Satan mean?

First, we need to find out what synagogues were used for.

Matt 4:23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

Mark 1:39. And he was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

Luke 4:16.17. So he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up. And as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he opened the book, he found the place where it was written:

Acts 18:4. He (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

If a synagogue was for the teaching of God´s word from the Bible, then a synagogue of Satan was used for the opposite teachings. Which kind of teachings?

Matt 4:3. Satan´s temptations. He demands worship.

Matt 4:6. Satan misinterprets the scriptures.

Matt 4:8.9. Satan gives material wealth to anyone who worships him.

1 Thess 2:18. Satan hinders Paul in witnessing to the Thessalonians believers.

2 Thess 2:9. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs and lying wonders.

Rev 12:9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the world.

Rev 12:17. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

What does the term mean, “Jews to themselves?”

Romans 2:28.29. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; a circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

This text is referring to a Christian Jew whose life has been transferred by the love of Jesus Christ our Savior.

The Jewish nation shall be not saved as a whole nation as promised to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:1-8. Why? Because in the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matt 21:33-41, Christ taught that when the wicked vinedressers representing the Jewish leaders, will stone the landowner´s son representing Christ; he the landowner will destroy these wicked men? The landowner represents God. He will destroy these wicked men representing the Jewish leaders of the Jewish nation as a whole, because they rejected his Son. In matt 21:41 it says he will lease his vineyard out to other vinedressers who will render him the fruits in their seasons. The other vinedressers represent all persons individually, whether they are Jews or Gentiles, who give their lives to Christ.

So these Christians in Philadelphia who say they are Christians but are not. Why? Because they are a synagogue of Satan.


A synagogue of Satan is related to the following: Satan demands worship; he misinterprets scripture; he gives material wealth; he hinders people in witnessing; he is the lawless one who does not obey God´s law. With signs and lying wonders Satan deceives the whole world and makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. These are the signs we see in many Protestant and Roman Catholic churches during this period between 1798-1844. The majority who go to church, say they are Christians but are not in God´s eyes because they do not practice the teachings of the Bible, but more of tradition.

Many who rejected these truths from Bible prophecy, rented later of their error and accepted them after time went by.

Rev 3:10. Because you kept my word of endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of trial, the one about to come upon the inhabited whole earth, to test the ones dwelling on the earth.

The hour of trial, the one about to come upon the inhabited whole earth. This sentence seems to indicate that the time of trouble spoken of in Daniel 12:1. Would take place during the period of the Philadelphia church 1798.1844. Then the Second Coming of Christ would appear.

Let us look at the words time of trouble or tribulation.

Daniel 12:1.2. At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. (This text occurs just before the resurrection, so the Second Coming of Christ “Michael” occurs before the resurrection.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Matt 24:21. For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Matt 24:29.30. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the mood will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.


The New Testament tells of two great tribulations to come upon the earth after Christ´s ascension to heaven. The first great tribulation was during the Dark Middle Ages of papal rule when millions of Roman Catholic members became Protestant and where burnt at the stake by order of the papacy. The second great tribulation will take place just before the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of the saints.

Rev 3:11. I am coming swiftly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.

When the Second Coming of Christ occurs it will happen swiftly and not over a long period of time.

It appears from the text that Christ would have come during the period of the Philadelphia church that is around 1798-1844. But he did not. Why?

The following are statement from Ellen G. White stating that Christ would have come during this period and before but did not and giving the causes of his not coming.

“Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world before this would have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.”[3] (The time setting was just before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Page 633. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, declared that the gospel was preached to every creature which is under heaven. Colos 1:23).

“If our people had the love of God in the heart, if every church member were imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, there would be no lack of funds for home and missions; our resources would be multiplied, a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened; and we should be invited to enter. Had the purpose of God been carried out in giving the message of mercy to the world, Christ would have come, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.”[4] (The article was written in the Review & Herald, Dec. 24, 1903).

“God´s unwillingness to have his people perish, has been the reason of so long delay. – – – Had the purpose of God been carried out by his people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.”[5] (This article was written in 1900).

“If every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.”[6] (This article was written in 1909).

“Had Adventists after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith and followed on unitedly in the opening providences of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive his people to their reward.”[7]

“It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord´s professed people that have kept us in this world.”[8]

(Other references TC 6:450. R&H Oct 6, 1896, par 7. R&H Aug 1, 1907, par 10. 16 MR 38,2. Nov 14, 1894 Letter).


Christ would have come during the period of the Philadelphian church 1798-1844. But he did not because the Adventist believers did not finish the work of proclaiming the gospel and the three angels’ messages to the world.

Rev 3:11. I am coming swiftly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.

When the Second Coming of Christ occurs it will happen swiftly and not over a long period of time.

What is this crown we shall have? Στέφανος in the Greek meaning crown.

Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my beloved and longed for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord. (Crown related to standing fast in the Lord).

1 Thessalonians 2:19. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (Crown related to rejoicing at the Second Coming of Christ).

2 Timothy 4:8. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved his appearing. (Crown of righteousness).

James 1:12. Blessed is the man who endures temptation for when he has been approved, he will receive a crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him. Crown of life).

1 Peter 5:4. When the shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (Crown of glory).

Rev 4:4. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. (Crowns of gold are symbolic of faith. 1 Peter 1:7).

Rev 4:10. The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worships him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, – – -. (Crowns of gold.

Rev 6:2. And I looked and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Crown is related to conquering in war time).

Rev 12:1. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (The woman represents the church and the stars represent the twelve angels to the twelve spiritual tribes of Israel scattered abroad. The crown is related to the church going out to war and conquering Satan with Christ at the head).

Rev 14:14. Then I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. (This is Christ coming to reap the harvest of people with a sickle at the Second Coming. The crown represents Christ´s authority and power to do such a work).


The crown στέφανος in the Greek is related to the following: a crown of rejoicing, of life, glory, and gold which represents faith. Crown is related to conquering in war against Satan and sin. The crown of 12 stars represent 12 angels leading the 12 spiritual tribes of Christians in the world. Christ is coming to harvest the people in the world with a sickle Fx. Saving believers and destroying unbelievers.

Rev 3:12. The one overcoming I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and shall not go out any longer. And 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 from heaven from my God, and my new name.

What does a “pillar in the temple” mean symbolically?

Gen 31:52. This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. (This is Laban talking to Jacob).

Gen 35:14. So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.

Ex 24:4. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. (Twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel).

Deut 12:3. (Israel shall destroy the nations which they shall possess). And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire.

2 Sam 18:18. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King´s Valley. Then he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom´s Monument.

Is 19:19. In that day, there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border.

Galatians 2:9. When James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship. (Pillars of the church).

1 Tim 3:15. I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of the God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


Pillar is a symbol of witness, a place where God speaks to a person. It represents the twelve tribes of Israel and is a sacred pillar. It represents remembrance and is a monument to the Lord. It also represents a church leader and the ground of truth.

Rev 3:13. The one having an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.



[1] Ellen G. White, Ellen G. White Diary 1888, 779.3 (Washington D.C.: December 27, 1890).

[2] Francis D. Nichol, Edit., The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 (Washington D.C.: Review & Herald Pub., Assoc., 1957), 752.

[3] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Pub., Assoc., 1940), 633. 634.

[4] Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship (Washington D.C.: Review & Herald Pub., Assoc., 1940), 37.

[5] Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington D.C.: Review & Herald Pub., Assoc., 1946), 694.

[6] Ibid., 694.

[7] Ibid., 695.

[8] Ibid., 696.

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