11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them 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 them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ~ Revelation 3:11-13
Having considered the first part of the Lord's message to the church at Philadelphia, we return today to the conclusion of that message given through the Apostle John while he was in isolation on the island of Patmos.
Today's text begins with the promise, "I am coming soon." The promise of His soon return is given in relationship to the seventieth seven of Daniel 9:24-27. The church has been expecting His return since these words were penned, but He still has not come. The timing of the promise of His soon return was not made to the believers who were on the earth when John wrote this book. It was to those who will be on the earth when He returns at the end of the church age. So, it is in relationship to those who are alive at the end that He said His coming is a soon coming. As we near the final days on this earth, His promise that He is coming soon is relevant and is a great comfort.
The remainder of v.11 reads, "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." As the times get harder and it is even more difficult to be a Christian in this world, as hostility increases and the world becomes more and more secular and rejects the teachings of God's word, we must be diligent to remain faithful to the One who is the truth. These words are not a reference to the possible loss of salvation. These words of the Lord Jesus reference our opportunities in His millennial and eternal kingdom yet to come.
In v.12 we read, "The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them 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 them my new name."
Let me remind you that our Justification or our acceptability into God's presence, is based only on the hold the Father has on us through the finished work of the Lord Jesus. And, our Sanctification, or our ability to grow in the grace and knowledge of His culture, is largely dependent on the grip we maintain on Him. We will all be given the same crown the Lord Jesus earned for us, but we will all have different stones in those crowns when we get to heaven.
In 2 Corinthians 3:10-15 the Apostle Paul describes the process for determining how well or how poorly believers spent our lives on this earth for God's kingdom. The more profitable our lives, the more rewards we earn, the greater will be the position that we will have in heaven. To him who did much for the kingdom while on this earth will be given much responsibility in God's kingdom to come.
Now, there are two promises given to the ones who hold on to what they have: The first is a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it.
A pillar is a symbol of strength and permanence. The promise is that those who hold on to what they have, they will be someone who upholds things. And, this promise, "Never again will they leave it" is a reference to the fact that these Philadelphians who had to frequently flee the city because of the earthquake tremors that came, will never have to leave His kingdom. When we labor for the Lord Jesus, we will reach a place where we will not have to go out ever again. This is a picture of security, permanence and strength.
The remainder of v.12 reads, "I will write on them 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 them my new name."
A change of names would be meaningful to the Philadelphians because that city changed its name twice in its history. It called itself Neocaesarea when Tiberius helped it; and later on, in honor of Vespasian, one of the Flavian emperors, it changed its name to Flavia. Thus these people understood what it meant to have a different name.
Three names will be written on the overcomer. The first name is, "the name of my God." This is a promise that believers will bear God's likeness. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to make us godly or godlike. Godlikeness is the promise to the believer who overcomes by faith.
The second name is, "The name of the city of my God." The last two chapters of Revelation give a vivid description of this wonderful city coming down out of heaven as a Bride. This is a picture of loving intimacy. That is the second promise given to those who hold on, who remain steady in the midst of a sin sick world. They will know the intimacy of a husband's love for His beautiful bride.
The third name is, "I will also write on them my new name." In Revelation 19:12 we are told that when the Lord Jesus appears He will have that new name written upon him, but it is a name that no man knows. Jesus is His redemptive name and it means "Yahweh saves." But when the work of redemption is finished, when we are all home in glory with Him and God's work of saving and redeeming us is over, the Lord Jesus will be given a new work to do. No one knows what it is; it will be a new role -- but the church is promised a share in His new assignment!
In v.13 we read, "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Following the lead of the Holy Spirit is a must if we are to be effective in our work here on earth for the Lord. If we are not following with His leading, our work will be for naught. We must be diligent, daily, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit by listening to Him with both ears and hearing what He says to the churches.