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The Structure and Theme of the Apocalypse (Revelation 1 and 2)

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Revelation 3

The letter to Sardis
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful and establish the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Therefore remember how you have received, and did once hear and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you shall not watch, I will come as a thief, and you shall not know what time I will come upon you. 4 But you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their clothes, and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. 5 He that overcomes shall thus be dressed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life; and I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels. 6 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The letter to Philadelphia
   7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens and none shall shut, and that shuts and none opens. 8 I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which none can shut), you have a little power and did keep my word and did not deny my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and they are not, but do lie- behold, I will make these come to you and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you did keep the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the time of trial which is to come upon the whole world, to test them that dwell upon the earth. 11 I come suddenly. Hold fast to what you have, that no one takes your crown. 12 He that overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall leave there no more, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God; and my own new name. 13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The letter to Laodicea
   14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. 15 I know your works, how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. 16 As you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may become rich; and to clothe yourselves with white garments, that the shame of your nakedness be not revealed; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve so you may see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 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 eat with him and he with me. 21 He that overcomes, I will allow him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. 22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


3:4 The faithful in the church in Sardis are recognized by Jesus as such; He doesn’t rebuke them for not having separated from the others who were obviously weak.

3:5 Our names are written in the book when we are baptized, but we can turn away and thus have our names blotted out. When Moses asked for his name to be blotted out of the book so that Israel could enter the Kingdom, he was therefore offering to lose his place in eternity (Ex. 32:32). Whilst God doesn’t operate on the basis of substitution, this incident shows the selfless extent of spiritual love for others to which it is possible for a man to rise.

3:12 Jesus even after His resurrection and glorification still speaks of God as “my God”. Yet He parallels “my new name” with the Name of God. Jesus was given the Name of God after His resurrection- hence He calls it a “new name”, which He had only recently been given at the time He gave the Revelation. As God’s Son He operates in the Name of God, but this doesn’t mean He is God Himself in person.

3:15 Jesus like any lover hates indifference and passivity on our part; an appearance of commitment to Him which is only external (3:1).