Revelation 3:7-13 — Never shut out

All of us know what it is to be shut out. To be left out by others and snubbed.

I remember walking up to a bunch of guys in high school, and one guy turned to me and said, “What are you doing here? Get lost!”

That’s what the church in Philadelphia was facing. Like the church in Smyrna, they were being snubbed by the Jews living there, and couldn’t even enter the synagogue to worship.

But Jesus tells them, “I am the one who holds the key of David.” (7)

In other words, “I am the one that holds the key to the everlasting kingdom God promised to David and his descendants. For I am the one who is the fulfillment of all those promises.

“And I have opened the door to you. No one, not even these Jews can shut you out. In fact, they are not true Jews at all. They are a synagogue of Satan. Now you are the true Jews, along with all those who have put their faith in me. And the day will come when these false Jews will admit this.” (7-9)

Then he tells them,

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (10)

I’ve mentioned before that I think we will have to face the antichrist someday. There are those, however, who look at this verse and think this means we will be taken before he comes. I think there are two problems with this view.

First, there are many other scriptures that seem to say we will have to face him and endure the great tribulation. Second, Jesus was talking to the church that existed in John’s day. And I don’t think anyone believes the Christians in Philadelphia were raptured away before their trials came. What I think Jesus was saying is that in the midst of the trouble that was coming upon the world, he would protect them.

When I think of open and closed doors, I think of Noah, and I think it’s a fitting symbol here. The door to the ark was open for Noah and his family to enter, but after they did, God himself shut it. (Genesis 7:16)

And during the flood, God didn’t “rapture” Noah and his family to heaven, or whisk them away to another land untouched by the flood. Rather, in the midst of the flood, he protected them.

As we look at the rest of Revelation, I think we see that this is exactly what will happen during the time of antichrist and the great tribulation.

The thing to remember in tribulation is what Jesus says next.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (11)

I think one thing that people fear is that in the face of tribulation they will be to weak to stand. That they won’t be able to hold on and that they will lose their crown.

But look at what Jesus told this church.

I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and not denied my name. (8)

This church too saw itself as weak. Jesus himself said, “You are weak.” And yet, in the midst of trial, they stood strong.

I think that what it shows is that our own personal strength or will is not important in whether we stand or not. Rather, what’s important is the grace of God in our lives. And by his grace, we will stand.

And Jesus says,

Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. 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. (12)

In short, you will never be shut out. I have established you as a pillar in my house and I have written my name on you. You are mine and ever will be.

As I read that, I can’t help but think of that old song.

Jesus loves me, this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong.
They are weak but he is strong.

Yes Jesus loves me.
Yes Jesus loves me.
Yes Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.



About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください:
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