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Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2016 December 24

Procession of the Youngest King (detail) - (1459-1460)
Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1421 - 1497)
Italian Renaissance Style
Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     Explanation: Revelation 3 is a continuation of the previous chapter. In this chapter, Jesus delivers messages to the last 3 of the seven churches of Asia. He spoke to the other four in the previous chapter. For each church, he introduces himself using as a title a part of his description in Revelation 1:12-16. The title is appropriate to the things he has to say to each particular church. The words given to each church are structured according to a literary formula. Each begins with the words, "I know thy works." Each has a promise "To him that overcometh." Each promise encapsulates a key benefit from biblical history, beginning with the Garden of Eden (the tree of Life) and ending with the New Heavens and the New Earth (sitting with Jesus on his throne). Five contain warnings. Two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) do not. Each ends with, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
     Jesus, who has the seven spirits and the seven stars, speaks to the church in Sardis. He tells them that they are dead, even though they have a reputation for being alive. He warns them that he will come on them like a thief in the night if they do not watch and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die. They must remember what they have been taught, hold it fast, and repent. A few in Sardis are not defiled; and they will walk with Jesus in white because they are worthy. The one who overcomes will be clothed in white; his name will not be blotted out of the book of life; and Jesus will confess his name before his Father and the angels. In terms of Biblical history, these things belong especially to the eternal state. Also, however, there are other allusions. Being clothed in white, is, among other things, a prelude to priests entering the ministry of the Tabernacle/Temple (Exodus 39:27; Leviticus 6:10). And this priesthood is a particular benefit which God gives to his saints (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6). The idea of being blotted out of God's book occurs first in Exodus, and later in several places in the Bible (e.g., Exodus 32:32-33; Psalm 69:28, etc). The converse, having one's sins blotted out also occurs in several places in Scripture (e.g., Psalm 51:1; Isaiah 44:22, etc). Thus, the prospects for the obedient in Sardis are substantial, even though prospects are dire for the disobedient (1-6).
     Jesus, who is holy and true and has the key of David, speaks to the church in Philadelphia. As with Smyrna in the previous chapter, Jesus has no warnings to offer to Philadelphia. He has set an open door before them which no man can shut because they have kept his word and have not denied his name, even though they have only a little strength. Jesus will rebuke those of the synagogue of Satan and make them worship at their feet and know that Jesus has loved them. Jesus will keep them from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the earth. He is coming quickly, so they must hold fast to what they have lest someone take their crown. The one who overcomes will be a pillar in the Temple of God. Upon him, Jesus will write the name of God, the name of New Jerusalem, and his own new name. These blessings bring the biblical allusions to Solomon's era, since it was he who built the original Temple in Jerusalem. These blessings are advanced into the final state. The name theme occurs here again, as it did in Pergamos and Sardis. The fact that various names are written upon the person himself shows a permanent connection with God, New Jerusalem, and Jesus. (7-13).
     Jesus, who is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, and the beginning of the creation of God, speaks to the church in Laodicea. Spiritually, they were neither cold nor hot, merely lukewarm. They were like the lukewarm water which flowed into the city from nearby hot springs. Physicians sometimes used it to induce vomiting. Jesus said that he was about to vomit the Laodiceans out of his mouth. They thought that they were rich, but they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. But Jesus had gold, white garments, and eyesalve for them. Laodicea was famous for it's own versions of these things. Jesus had better relief. He rebuked and chastened them because he loved them. Therefore they should repent. He stood at the door and knocked, waiting to be invited to have supper with them. He promised to let them sit in his throne, just as he sits with the Father. This promise has reference to the present era in church history, since Jesus began to reign at his ascension; and it refers to the final state when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Notice also, the various parallels with the parable of the Rich Man who Forgot God (Luke 12:16-48). In both cases, riches (supposed or actual) made them forget God with disastrous consequences (14-22).
     [Sermons: Sinclair B Ferguson 1. Sinclair B Ferguson 2. Sinclair B Ferguson 3. Various. ]
     [Illustration: Today's painting represents Jerusalem. Since it is an idealized view of the city, I have chosen it to represent the New Jerusalem mentioned in conjunction with the Church of Philadelphia in today's chapter. ]


          [THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: Revelation 2: Isaiah 22:22; Job 12:14; Isaiah 60:14; Hosea 12:8; Proverbs 3:11-12; Psalm 110:1. ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). VARIOUS ARTISTS: Micha'el Ben David. Sons of Korah. Fernando Ortega. Janet Isaac Morrison. Music of the Bible Revealed - Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. Dr. David Erb. Gregorian Chants. ]


Gospel Harmony - Summary. | The Harmony of the Gospels - Augustine. | Gospel Harmony Chart - Online Bible. |

Greek Harmony of the Gospels - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF). | Gospel Harmony in English - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF).

*** For Additional word studies use one of the Greek Interlinear Bibles below. ***

Mounce Interlinear. Bible Hub Greek Interlinear. Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible.

Book Outline:

Revelation (Consummation of the Covenant: New Heavens and a New Earth in Which Dwells Righteousness)

1. The Approaching End: The Five Sets of Seven - Evil is Defeated (Revelation 1:1 - Revelation 16:21) - 95 A.D. Patmos
2. The End: The Fall of Babylon - Evil is Destroyed (Revelation 17:1 - Revelation 18:24) - 95 A.D. Patmos
3. The New Beginning: The Triumph of Jesus - Holiness Replaces Evil (Revelation 19:1 - Revelation 22:21) - 95 A.D. Patmos

Revelation 3

1. The Approaching End: The Five Sets of Seven - Evil is Defeated (Revelation 1:1 - Revelation 16:21) - 95 A.D. Patmos

     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. 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. 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. 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. 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;
     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. 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. 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. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 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.
     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. 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: 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. 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. 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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