The Vision of the

Church in Philadelphia

Part 7

 

Revelation 3:7-13

 

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. KJV


 

Revelation 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

The literal translation of Revelation 3:13 in its entirety reads (in bold type): “Whosoever has in possession an ear, let them understand whatever the Spirit is laying forth or relating in words to the called out ones (i.e.-the Christian community).”

 

“Whosoever has in possession an ear,” is a reference to those believers in the Philadelphia church age who have the spiritual hunger and desire to hear from God.  This type of ear not only listens to the message, but responds as well. 

 

Most of those in America who claim to be “Christians” have become spiritually dull in their hearing.  They do not want to hear sound teaching that demands change.  The idea of being a servant interferes with their selfish and comfortable lifestyle.

 

·         Acts 28:25-27 And when they did not agree with one another, they {began} leaving after Paul had spoken one {parting} word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, 'Go to this people and say, "You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive. For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them."'  (NAS)

 

·         2 Timothy 4:2-5 Preach the word; be ready in season {and} out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but {wanting} to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.  But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (NAS)

 

The phrase in Revelation 3:13, “let them understand whatever the Spirit is laying forth or relating in words to the called out ones (i.e. the Christian community)” is a basic command to the elders in the Philadelphia church to have their spiritual ears continually in tuned with what God’s Spirit “is laying forth or relating in words.” 

 

For example, at one time God could be laying forth-miraculous healings.  More important than signs and wonders though, God wants them to be “relating in words,” His will and word as anointed teachers.  Miracles can never change hearts the way God’s inspired word is able.

Philadelphia’s elders are in a position of tremendous responsibility, requiring constant immersion in the Scriptures, prayer, and service to others.  Their lifestyle must be one that is consumed by God.  This kind of preparation keeps their spiritual ears in tuned with what the undefiled Spirit of Jesus “is laying forth or relating in words.” 

 

There will also be a tremendous responsibility to rebuild and restructure the earth during the Millennium.  It will be those who reign and rule with Christ that will be a part of this reconstruction process.  It will begin with burying the dead from the battle of Armageddon, to the rebuilding of cities destroyed by the wrath of God in the seven plagues, and include judging men’s actions upon the earth. 

 

The Millennium is a sorely neglected subject by Christian theologians, and yet it will be a part of the next one thousand years of our existence!!

 

“He that hath an ear.”

 

·         He that hath” = 2192 echo (ekh'-o); including an alternate form scheo (skheh'-o); used in certain tenses only); a primary verb; to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possessions; ability, continuity, relation, or condition)  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

The phrase in Revelation 3:13, “he that hath” means, “he that possesses the ability and is in the spiritual condition (to hear).”

 

·         “Ear” = 3775 ous (ooce); apparently a primary word; the ear (physically or mentally).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Those who are in a position to hear what God’s spirit is saying in this message must do so.

 

“Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”

 

·         Let him hear” = 191 akouo (ak-oo'-o); a primary verb; to hear (in various senses).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         Spirit” = 4151 pneuma (pnyoo'-mah); from 4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle of life”, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit,: 4154 pneo (pneh'-o); a primary word; to breathe hard, i.e. breeze.  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Let him hear, pay heed to, what the breeze of God’s breath is speaking.  The elders in Philadelphia, as well as all the believers, must be tuned into what God is saying through the scriptures, and the application of the message in their indigenous setting of life.

 

·         Saith” = 3004 légo (leg'-o); a primary verb; properly, to "lay" forth, i.e. (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse]).  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

·         Churches” = 1577 ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah); from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):  (Strong’s Dictionary)

 

Philadelphia must hear what God is laying forth figuratively (referring most likely to revelation) and what God is laying forth systematically (that is, by way of clear teaching, through anointed teachers in the body of Christ). 

 

The phrase, “to the churches,” is reference to all of the church ages; the application of principles taught in each church age still applies to Philadelphia.  For example, Ephesus was instructed not to leave their “first love” (Jesus); this message would apply to Philadelphia as well.

 

The phrase, “He that has ears, let him hear” is used quite a bit in the scripture, and a list of these phrases in scripture will give us an idea of exactly what it is our hearts and minds should be listening for.  We begin with the OT quote from the prophet Ezekiel, who warns that those unwilling to “hear” are in rebellion against their Maker:

 

·         Ezekiel 3:27  “But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth, and you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’  He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.  (NAS)

 

Philadelphia will not be a “rebellious house,” like the Laodicean church, or those who are a part of Babylon, the mother of all harlots (the false religions and world church).

 

·         Matthew 11:11-15  “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen {anyone} greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.  For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.  And if you care to accept {it,} he himself is Elijah, who was to come.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (NAS)

 

The Philadelphia church can be compared to the ministry of John the Baptist; they are the ones, who, like John, are messengers preparing the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  They are those who don’t wear fancy clothes, or have big-name ministries, but have become humble servants.  Like John, they are those who have been prepared to declare the truth in the midst of intense persecution.  They love not their own lives, even unto death. 

 

And, even as Elijah, whom God used to tear down the idolatry of the prophets of Baal, and he was later taken alive into heaven, so shall the church in Philadelphia be kept out of the hour of tribulation, which is coming upon the entire earth.

 

However, like John the Baptist was beheaded for speaking the truth, so shall many of those in Philadelphia lose their lives for the sake of God’s truth and word.  Already many of the beloved brethren in the Philadelphia church era are martyrs, particularly in countries like Sudan, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Russia (to name only a few countries!).

 

·         Matthew 13:3-10 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some {seeds} fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.  And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.  And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  (NAS)

 

·         Matthew 13:36-43 Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  And He answered and said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and {as for} the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil {one;} and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.  Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.  (NAS)

 

·         Mark 4:14-23  “The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky {places,} who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no {firm} root in themselves, but are {only} temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.  And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”  And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure, is it, or under a bed?  Is it not {brought} to be put on the lampstand?  For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has {anything} been secret, but that it should come to light.  If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (NAS)

 

In these verses Jesus compares those whose hearts bear fruit to those whose hearts have God’s word choked out, or have no depth of commitment.  The “good soil” is what Jesus asks of Philadelphia; that is, “to have ears to hear.”  They shall “shine forth as the sun.”  They are the ones who have devoted themselves to yielding a crop of souls for God’s kingdom:

 

·         Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.  (NAS)

 

·         Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.  \(NIV)

 

There are a number of other verses which use the phrase “he that has an ear, let him hear,” and one can glean principles from each text which enhance the message to Philadelphia, for they keep God’s precepts:

 

·         Luke 14:34-35  “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 2:7  ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 2:10-11  ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 2:14-17  ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit {acts of} immorality.  Thus you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, to him I will give {some} of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 2:25-29  ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.  And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received {authority} from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 3:3-6  ‘Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep {it,} and repent.  If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.  But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.  He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 3:19-22  ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.  He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’  (NAS)

 

Of course, the antithesis of having “ears to hear” is having “ears” which cannot hear.  This is a sober warning, especially in these last days.  Jesus rebuked the religious Jews in his day, which, although they had ears to hear, their hardness of heart and unbelief had cut off their ability to hear.

 

·         Matthew 13:10-17 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.  For whoever has, to him shall {more} be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.  Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them.’  But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.  For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see {it}  and to hear what you hear, and did not hear {it}.”  (NAS)

 

·         Acts 28:25-27 And when they did not agree with one another, they {began} leaving after Paul had spoken one {parting} word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them.’”  (NAS)

 

·         Hebrews 5:8-14 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.  And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.  Concerning him we have much to say, and {it is} hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes {only} of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.  (NAS)

 

May we always strive to listen, heed, and obey God’s word and voice!!  And to each reader, strive to enter into the church in Philadelphia.

 

 

Selah

 


Links to the Entire "The Vision of the Church in Philadelphia” Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7



 

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