Earlier this week, I posted in part 1 that the message to the Church at Philadelphia in Rev 2 – 3 was different than the other churches. Certainly, it is the only church He did not chastise. It is the only church He promises to keep from the Great Tribulation.
Is that all?
In “The Significance of the Seven Churches of Revelation”, I point out that there are indications that Christ will return in each of the messages. In other words, all of these churches may be in existence when He returns:
Ephesus – "I will come unto thee quickly" (2:5)
Smyrna – "ye shall have tribulation ten days" (v 10; could be a reference to Rev 6:9-11)
Pergamos – "I will come unto thee quickly" (v 16)
Thyatira – "hold fast till I come" not hold fast to death (v 25)
Sardis – "thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (3:3)
Philadelphia – "Behold, I come quickly" (v 11)
Laodicea – "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock" (v 20; cf. Mt 24:33)
Yet, in a very subtle way, perhaps not all will be there when Christ returns. Think about it. Is the Church at Philadelphia kept from the Great Tribulation because they were whisked off to a Place of Safety? Or, is there another reason?
The Church at Ephesus was promised that Christ would come “unto thee”, which must mean that they will see Christ return. Smyrna will “have tribulation”, which may or may not be a reference to the Great Tribulation, and anyone who makes it through the Great Tribulation will see Christ return. Pergamos is told He will “come unto thee”, which also means it will be in existence at His return. Same with Sardis. Laodicea is told that Christ is “at the door”, indicating He is there. Thyatira is told to keep hanging on “till I come”, which means they must be there at His return.
Philadelphia, though, is told Christ will “come quickly”, not “come quickly unto thee”. Why? All of the others indicate a more physical presence, except perhaps Smyrna.
If that is significant, and I’ll admit that I do not know whether or not it actually is, then perhaps it is a key to another verse that can be troubling. After all, “Philadelphia” means “brotherly love”. Christ has something to say about love in the end times.
Count the number of gray heads at services next Sabbath. Makes you think, doesn’t it?