He that hath an ear - The usual caution and counsel carefully to attend to the things spoken to the members of that Church, in which every reader is more or less interested.
Epistle to the Church at Philadelphia
He that hath an ear - See the notes on Revelation 2:7.
The Epistle to the Church in Philadelphia
This epistle Revelation 3:7-13 comprises the following subjects:
(1)The usual address to the angel of the church, Revelation 3:7.
(2)the reference to some attribute or characteristic of the speaker, Revelation 3:7. He here addresses the church as one who is holy and true; as he who has the key of David, and who can shut and no one can open, and open and no one can shut. The representation is that of one who occupies a royal palace, and who can admit or exclude anyone whom he pleases. The reference to such a palace is continued through the epistle.
(3)the usual declaration that he knows their works, and that he has found that they had strength, though but a little, and had kept his word, Revelation 3:8.
(4)adeclaration that he would constrain some who professed that they were Jews, but who were of the synagogue of Satan, to come and humble themselves before them, Revelation 3:9.
(5)the particular promise to that church. He would keep them in the hour of temptation that was coming to try all that dwelt upon the earth, Revelation 3:10.
(6)the command addressed to them as to the other churches. He solemnly enjoins it on them to see that no one should take their crown, or deprive them of the reward which he would give to his faithful followers, Revelation 3:11.
(7)ageneral promise, in view of the circumstances in Philadelphia, to all who should overcome, Revelation 3:12. They would be made a pillar in the temple of God, and go no more out. They would have written on themselves the name of his God, and the name of the holy city - showing that they were inhabitants of the heavenly world.
(8)the usual call on all to attend to what was said to the churches, Revelation 3:13.
Philadelphia stood about 25 miles south-cast from Sardis, in the plain of Hermus, and about midway between the river of that name and the termination of Mount Tmolus. It was the second city in Lydia, and was built by King Attalus Philadelphus, from whom it received its name. In the year 133 b.c. the place passed, with the country in the vicinity, under the dominion of the Romans. The site is reported by Strabo to be liable to earthquakes, but it continued to be a place of importance down to the Byzantine age; and, of all the towns in Asia Minor, it withstood the Turks the longest. It was taken by Bajazat, 1392 a.d. “It still exists as a Turkish town, under the name of Allah Shehr, ‹City of God,‘ that is, the ‹High Town.‘ It covers a considerable extent of ground, running up the slopes of four hills, or rather of one hill with four flat summits. The country, as viewed from these hills, is extremely magnificent - gardens and vineyards lying at the back and sides of the town, and before it one of the most beautiful and extensive plains of Asia. The missionaries Fisk and Parsons were informed by the Greek bishop that the town contained 3,000 houses, of which he assigned 250 to the Greeks, and the rest to the Turks (the mid-19th century). On the same authority it is stated that there are five churches in the town, besides twenty others which were too old or too small for use. Six minarets, indicating as many mosques, are seen in the town, and one of these mosques is believed by the native Christians to have been the church in which assembled the primitive Christians addressed in the Apocalypse. There are few ruins; but in one part are four pillars, which are supposed to have been columns of a church.
One solitary pillar has been often noticed, as reminding beholders of the remarkable words in the Apocalypse - ‹Him that overcometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God‘” (Kitto‘s Encyclopedia. See also the Missionary Herald for 1821, p. 253; 1839, pp. 210-212). The town is the seat of a Greek archbishop, with about twenty inferior clergy. The streets are narrow, and are described as remarkably filthy. The engraving in this volume will give a representation of the town as it now appears.
It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love (The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887). 7BC 957.1
4, 5 (see EGW on ch. 3:14-18; 1 Kings 11:4). Spiritually Fallen, but Unaware of It—In view of the many virtues enumerated, how striking is the charge brought against the church at Ephesus: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” This church had been highly favored. It was planted by the apostle Paul. In the same city was the temple of Diana, which, in point of grandeur, was one of the marvels of the world. The Ephesian church met with great opposition, and some of the early Christians suffered persecution; and yet some of these very ones turned from the truths that had united them with Christ's followers, and adopted, in their stead, the specious errors devised by Satan. 7BC 957.2
This change is represented as a spiritual fall. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works”—as outlined in the preceding verses. The believers did not sense their spiritual fall. They knew not that a change had taken place in their hearts, and that they would have to repent because of the noncontinuance of their first works. But God in His mercy called for repentance, for a return to their first love and to the works that are always the result of true, Christlike love (Manuscript 11, 1906). 7BC 957.3
Loss of Love a Moral Fall—The losing of the first love is specified as a moral fall. The loss of this love is represented as something that will affect the entire religious life. Of those who have lost this love, God says that unless they repent, He will come to them, and remove their candlestick out of its place (Manuscript 1, 1906). 7BC 957.4
(Romans 3:31.) Doctrine of the Nicolaitans—The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned (The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, February 25, 1897). 7BC 957.6
7 (ch. 22:2). The Leaves of the Tree of Life—[Revelation 2:7 quoted.] Must we wait until we are translated before we eat of the leaves of the tree of life? He who receives into his heart the words of Christ knows what it means to eat the leaves of the tree of life. [John 6:33-63 quoted.] 7BC 957.7
When the believer, in the fellowship of the Spirit, can lay his hand upon truth itself, and appropriate it, he eats the bread that comes down from heaven. He enters into the life of Christ, and appreciates the great sacrifice made in behalf of the sinful race. 7BC 957.8
The knowledge that comes from God is the bread of life. It is the leaves of the tree of life which are for the healing of the nations. The current of spiritual life thrills the soul as the words of Christ are believed and practiced. Thus it is that we are made one with Christ. The experience that was weak and feeble becomes strong. It is eternal life to us if we hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. 7BC 957.9
All truth is to be received as the life of Jesus. Truth cleanses us from all impurity, and prepares the soul for Christ's presence. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory (Manuscript 103, 1902). 7BC 957.10
7, 11, 17, 29 (ch. 3:6, 13, 22). Ears Closed to Folly and Nonsense—“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” If you “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” and meditate upon the instruction given to them, your ears will be closed to the folly and nonsense which surround you. You will neither hear and repeat these things, nor will you ever hanker after them. When Christ satisfies the soul hunger, these trivialities are to you distasteful and disgusting. You have no desire to feast upon them, but choose instead the bread of heaven (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 957.11Read in context »
The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God's people. Nothing else is to be allowed to engross our attention. 8T 302.1
Precious time is rapidly passing, and there is danger that many will be robbed of the time which should be given to the proclamation of the messages that God has sent to a fallen world. Satan is pleased to see the diversion of minds that should be engaged in a study of the truths which have to do with eternal realities. 8T 302.2
The testimony of Christ, a testimony of the most solemn character, is to be borne to the world. All through the book of Revelation there are the most precious, elevating promises, and there are also warnings of the most fearfully solemn import. Will not those who profess to have a knowledge of the truth read the testimony given to John by Christ? Here is no guesswork, no scientific deception. Here are the truths that concern our present and future welfare. What is the chaff to the wheat? 8T 302.3Read in context »