|New International Version (©2011)|
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
New Living Translation (©2007)
"Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open:
English Standard Version (©2001)
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
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;
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
"Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: "The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says:
International Standard Version (©2012)
"To the messenger of the church in Philadelphia, write: 'The one who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens a door that no one can shut, and who shuts a door that no one can open, 'says this:
NET Bible (©2006)
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write the following: "This is the solemn pronouncement of the Holy One, the True One, who holds the key of David, who opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open:
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
“And to The Messenger of the assembly in Philadelphia write: 'Thus says The Holy One, The True One, he who has the key of David, The One who opens and there is none who shuts, and he shuts and there is none who opens:”
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
"To the messenger of the church in Philadelphia, write: The one who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens [a door] that no one can shut, and who shuts [a door] that no one can open, says:
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
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 no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens;
American King James Version
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens;
American Standard Version
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 none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth:
And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth:
Darby Bible Translation
And to the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: These things saith the holy, the true; he that has the key of David, he who opens and no one shall shut, and shuts and no one shall open:
English Revised Version
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 none shall shut, and that shutteth, and none openeth:
Webster's Bible Translation
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:
Weymouth New Testament
"To the minister of the Church at Philadelphia write as follows: "'This is what the holy One and the true says--He who has the key of David--He who opens and no one shall shut, and shuts and no one shall open.
World English Bible
"To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:
Young's Literal Translation
'And to the messenger of the assembly in Philadelphia write: These things saith he who is holy, he who is true, he who is having the key of David, he who is opening and no one doth shut, and he shutteth and no one doth open!
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:7-13 The same Lord Jesus has the key of government and authority in and over the church. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; he opens a door of utterance to his ministers; he opens a door of entrance, opens the heart. He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish, who sleep away their day of grace; and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be. The church in Philadelphia is commended; yet with a gentle reproof. Although Christ accepts a little strength, yet believers must not rest satisfied in a little, but strive to grow in grace, to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Christ can discover this his favour to his people, so that their enemies shall be forced to acknowledge it. This, by the grace of Christ, will soften their enemies, and make them desire to be admitted into communion with his people. Christ promises preserving grace in the most trying times, as the reward of past faithfulness; To him that hath shall be given. Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace, shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation; and the same Divine grace that has made them fruitful in times of peace, will make them faithful in times of persecution. Christ promises a glorious reward to the victorious believer. He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; a monument of the free and powerful grace of God; a monument that shall never be defaced or removed. On this pillar shall be written the new name of Christ; by this will appear, under whom the believer fought the good fight, and came off victorious.
Verses 7-13. - The epistle to the Church at Philadelphia. The circuit continues in the same direction. Philadelphia lies about thirty miles south-east of Sardis, on the road to Laodicea. It is said to owe its name to Attalus Philadelphus, King of Pergamum, B.C. 159-138. But it is by no means certain that he was the founder. A trustworthy tradition as to its Egyptian origin points to Ptolemy Philadelphus, who had estates in Asia Minor (Theocr., 17:88). Lying at the western edge of a district whose highly volcanic character earned it the name of Phrygia Catacecaumene, Philadelphia was constantly suffering from earthquakes (cf. ver. 12). It was destroyed along with Sardis in the catastrophe of A.D. (Tac., 'Ann.,' 2:47). But the advantages of its position, commanding the way to the pass between the Hermus valley and the Maeander valley, and the richness of its vine produce (Virgil, 'Georg.,' 2:98), seem to have induced the inhabitants to cling to the site. The coins of Philadelphia often have the head either of Bacchus or a Bacchante on one side; and it is a known fact that volcanic soil is specially favourable to vine growing. Yet in Roman times it was not equal to Ephesus or even Laodicea; and for law courts its citizens had to go to Sardis. Nevertheless, it has outlived all these three, and still continues on the same site, and perhaps within the same walls, as of old. At the close of the fourteenth century it was the last Byzantine city to surrender to the Turks, and, when it did succumb, made better terms than any of the others. To this day it retains the privilege of free Christian worship, with the use of bells for service, and processions in public - a thing allowed by the Turks in no other inland city of Asia Minor. It has a bishop and a dozen churches, and it is said that about a third of its fifteen thousand inhabitants are Christian. Its modern Turkish name is Allah Shehr, "the city of God," or, as others write and render it, Ala Shehr, "the striped city." In any case the coincidence with "the name of the city of my God" (ver. 12) is purely accidental. (For an eloquent account of Philadelphia, see Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall,' Revelation 64.) It is doubtful whether there are any local allusions in the epistle; but some have fancied that "thou hast a little power" (ver. 8) and "a pillar in the temple" (ver. 12) are such (see notes in each place). The name of "Little Athens," which Philadelphia sometimes bore, on account of its numerous temples and festivals (Acts 17:16, 22), shows that the little Christian community would have to contend with a specially vigorous form of heathenism. It had also to contend with a colony of hostile Jews, which was no doubt largely augmented after the destruction of Jerusalem, when fugitive Jews came to "worship before the feet" of the Philadelphian Church (ver. 9). Hence the epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians treats of Judaism as one of their chief dangers (c. 6, 8, 9.). There were men among them who questioned the authority of Gospels and Epistles, and admitted only the Old Testament Scriptures (τὰ ἀρχεῖα) as binding. Some had tried to lead even Ignatius himself astray (7.). Altogether his epistle gives a less happy picture of the Philadelphians than that which we have here, where (as in the epistle to the Church at Smyrna) the Philadelphian Church receives unmixed praise. Whether the large proportion of Old Testament language and imagery which is found in this epistle has any connexion with the Jewish colony in Philadelphia is uncertain. Perhaps most of the Christians had been originally Jews. Verse 7. - He that is holy, he that is true. It is doubtful which of these two clauses should precede: authorities are somewhat evenly balanced. Christ, the Speaker, here claims to be "the Holy One" (ἁ ἅγιος), and therefore God (Revelation 6:10; comp. Revelation 4:8; John 17:11). In the Old Testament "the Holy One" is a frequent name of God, especially in Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 5:19, 24; Isaiah 10:7, 20; Isaiah 12:6, etc.; Job 6:10; Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:5; Ezekiel 39:7; Hosea 11:9; Habakkuk 3:3, etc. The word does not occur in Homer or Hesiod, nor in the Greek tragedians, but is very frequent in the LXX. and the New Testament. Its radical meaning is separation. The two epithets "holy" and "true" must not be merged in one as "the truly holy." The "True One" has a very distinct meaning of its own. Note that the adjective used is ἀληθινός, not ἀληθής. 'Αληθής, verax, is "true" as opposed to "lying;" ἀληθινός, verus, is "true" as opposed to "spurious," "unreal," "imperfect." Christ is "the True One" as opposed to the false gods of the heathen; they are spurious gods. Both adjectives, and especially ἀληθινός, are characteristic of St. John. The latter serves to bind together Gospel, Epistle, and Apocalypse. It occurs nine times in the Gospel, four times in the First Epistle, and ten times in the Apocalypse; twenty-three times in all; in the rest of the New Testament only five times. It is the word used of "the true Light" (John 1:9; 1 John 2:8 ); "the true Bread" (John 6:32), and "the true Vine" (John 15:1). Applied to God, we find it in John 7:29; John 17:3; 1 John 5:20. He that hath the key of David. Observe that none of these titles come from the opening vision in Revelation 1, although by no means all the material there found (Revelation 1:13-16) has been already used. The source of the present appellation is obviously Isaiah 22:20-22; but it is worth noting that Isaiah 22:20 has much that is parallel to the unused material in Revelation 1:18; so that the opening vision would seem to direct us, as this passage certainly does, to Eliakim as a type of Christ. As Trench observes, Isaiah foretells the promotion of Eliakim "with an emphasis and fulness" which would surprise us if we did not see in it not merely the description of "a revolution in the royal palace" of Judah, but "the type of something immeasurably greater." Shebna, whose name shows him to have been a foreigner, had misused his dignity and power as steward or controller of the royal house - an office analogous to that held by Joseph under Pharaoh and by our prime minister. For this he was degraded to the inferior office of royal scribe or secretary (Isaiah 36:3; Isaiah 37:2), while Eliakim was made "mayor of the palace" in his room. The παστοφόριον of the LXX. and praepositus templi of the Vulgate would lead us to suppose that Eliakim's office was sacerdotal; but this is certainly a mistake. Luther's Hofmeister is much nearer the mark. A key would not be an appropriate symbol of a priestly office. In possessing "the key of the house of David," Eliakim had control over the house of David. Therefore in this passage Christ claims the control of that of which the house of David was a type. He is Regent in the kingdom of God. He that openeth, and none shall shut, and shutteth, and none openeth. The various readings here are numerous, but not of much moment: "shall shut" is much better attested than "shutteth" in the first half "The keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:19) are not to be confounded with "the key of knowledge" (Luke 11:52). They belong to Christ, but have been committed to his Church, but not unreservedly. "He still retains the highest administration in his own hands" (Trench): and if the Church errs in binding or loosing, he cancels the judgment. The Church may open where Christ will shut, and shut where Christ will open. He alone openeth so that none shall strut, and shutteth so that none can open.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,.... Of the city of Philadelphia; see Gill on Revelation 1:11; According to the Apostolical Constitutions (m), one Demetrius was ordained bishop of this church by the Apostle John; but this is not to be depended on; nor is it known who this angel was: however, certain it is there was a church in this place in the "second" century, in the times of Ignatius, who wrote an epistle to it, and which then had a bishop or pastor over it, whom he mentions (n), though not his name. And in the same century twelve Philadelphians suffered martyrdom at the same time Polycarp did (o); and in the "third" century a church remained in this place; and also in the "fourth", since a bishop of this church was in the council at Nice; and in the "fifth" century, a presbyter of Philadelphia was in the synod at Ephesus under Celestine; and in the "sixth" century, a bishop of this place assisted at the fifth synod at Constantinople; and in the "eighth" century, Stephen, bishop of the church here, was in the Nicene synod (p); and there are now very many that bear the name of Christians of the Greek Church in this place (q). This church is an emblem of, and represents the church in that period of time, in which will be the spiritual reign of Christ. Its name signifies "brotherly love", which in this interval will be very remarkable; saints shall not envy, vex, and distress one another any more; they shall be one in the hand of the Lord, and among themselves. Love, which is now so cold, and so much wanting in our present Sardian church state, will be exceeding warm and fervent, and in its highest pitch in the Philadelphian state. The characters Christ here assumes point at the holiness of life, truth of doctrine, and purity of discipline, for which this church state will be distinguished: in this period of time an open door for the Gospel will be set; it will be preached in its power and purity, and; will be greatly succeeded; the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in, and the Jews will be converted; hypocrites and formal professors will be discerned and detected; great honour and respect will be shown the church by all men; and this state will be an emblem and pledge of the new Jerusalem state, of which mention is made in this epistle, or the thousand years' personal reign of Christ with all his saints:
these things saith he that is holy; which character not only agrees with Christ, as God, who is the Holy One of Israel, and equally glorious in holiness as his Father, but as man; his nature was free from original sin; his life from any actual transgression; his doctrines were pure and holy, and so were all his works, and all his administrations in each of his offices: and, as Mediator, he is the cause and author of holiness to his people; they are sanctified in him, and have their sanctification from him, and are sanctified by him: this character he chooses now to take, because he was sending an epistle to such as were lovers of holiness, and famous for it, both internal and external; so that while he describes himself, he points at persons, the members of churches in this interval:
he that is true; truly God, and truly man: true and faithful in the discharge of his several offices, and in the trust reposed in him, both of the grace and persons of the saints, and in what he undertook to do for them: he is truth itself, the truth of types, promises, and prophecies; and the sum and substance of all the truths of the Gospel; and is therefore to be depended on in every prediction and promise; and this title of Christ may have some view to the truth of doctrine which shall, in this period, prevail, and to the faithfulness and integrity of his people to his cause and interest:
he that hath the key of David; mention is made of David, because he was a type of Christ; and because from him Christ came according to the flesh, and whose throne he was to sit upon, in a spiritual sense; and because, in this period of time, the Jews are to be converted, who will seek the Lord their God, and David their king: and by the key of David is meant the key of the house of David; that is, the church of Christ, of which David's house and family were a type: and this key is either the key of knowledge, or it is expressive of power and authority. Christ has the key of knowledge, he knows all the persons of his people, all their affairs, and what they do in his house, and how they behave there: he has the key of knowledge in the Scriptures, and gives it to his ministers. And it may also design his authority in his house and church, in fixing the ordinances of it, in bestowing gifts on men, and in dispensing the blessings of grace and goodness; this may have some regard to the pure discipline of this church, as well as to its light and knowledge in the doctrines of the Gospel. The Targum on Isaiah 22:22 interprets the key of the house of David, of "the dominion" or "government of the house of David",
He that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth; he opens the Scriptures, which are shut to a natural man, as he did in his own personal ministry, when here on earth, and now by his Spirit; and none can shut them, either men or devils, or hinder the spread of light and knowledge by them: he opens the door of the Gospel, and gives an opportunity to preach it, and liberty of mind and expression to his ministers, and a door of utterance to them, and of entrance for it into the hearts of men, which none can shut, or hinder: he opens the door of the church, which is himself, and lets in his sheep into the sheepfold, into a Gospel church state, and the ordinances of it; and he opens the door of heaven by his blood and righteousness, and gives his people liberty and boldness to enter into the holiest of all, and brings many sons to glory in spite of all the opposition of men and devils: on the other hand, when he pleases, he shuts up the Scriptures, and the eyes of men from seeing what is in them; he shuts up the door of the Gospel, and forbids the preaching of it in this and that place; and the door of heaven will be shut by him at the last day, when all called to the marriage of the Lamb are entered, and there will be no opening. This shows the sovereignty, power, and authority of Christ, and which he will exercise in this church state, see Job 12:14. A like phrase is in the Talmud (r), , "when he shuts again, there is none that opens",
(m) L. 7. c. 46. (n) Ignat. Epist. p. 39. Ed. Voss. (o) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 15. (p) Eccl. Hist. Magdeburg. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. (q) Smith. Notitia, p. 143. (r) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 44. 2. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 70. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Philadelphia—in Lydia, twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis, built by Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos, who died A.D. 138. It was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius [Tacitus, Annals, 2.47]. The connection of this Church with Jews there causes the address to it to have an Old Testament coloring in the images employed. It and Smyrna alone of the seven receive unmixed praise.
he that is holy—as in the Old Testament, "the Holy One of Israel." Thus Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are one. None but God is absolutely holy (Greek, "hagios," separate from evil and perfectly hating it). In contrast to "the synagogue of Satan" (Re 3:9).
true—Greek, "alethinos": "VERY God," as distinguished from the false gods and from all those who say that they are what they are not (Re 3:9): real, genuine. Furthermore, He perfectly realizes all that is involved in the names, God, Light (Joh 1:9; 1Jo 2:8), Bread (Joh 6:32), the Vine (Joh 15:1); as distinguished from all typical, partial, and imperfect realizations of the idea. His nature answers to His name (Joh 17:3; 1Th 1:9). The Greek, "alethes," on the other hand, is "truth-speaking," "truth-loving" (Joh 3:33; Tit 1:2).
he that hath the key of David—the antitype of Eliakim, to whom the "key," the emblem of authority "over the house of David," was transferred from Shebna, who was removed from the office of chamberlain or treasurer, as unworthy of it. Christ, the Heir of the throne of David, shall supplant all the less worthy stewards who have abused their trust in God's spiritual house, and "shall reign over the house of Jacob," literal and spiritual (Lu 1:32, 33), "for ever," "as a Son over His own house" (Heb 3:2-6). It rests with Christ to open or shut the heavenly palace, deciding who is, and who is not, to be admitted: as He also opens, or shuts, the prison, having the keys of hell (the grave) and death (Re 1:18). The power of the keys was given to Peter and the other apostles, only when, and in so far as, Christ made him and them infallible. Whatever degrees of this power may have been committed to ministers, the supreme power belongs to Christ alone. Thus Peter rightly opened the Gospel door to the Gentiles (Ac 10:1-48; 11:17, 18; especially Ac 14:27, end). But he wrongly tried to shut the door in part again (Ga 2:11-18). Eliakim had "the key of the house of David laid upon his shoulder": Christ, as the antitypical David, Himself has the key of the supreme "government upon His shoulder." His attribute here, as in the former addresses, accords with His promise. Though "the synagogue of Satan," false "Jews" (Re 3:9) try to "shut" the "door" which I "set open before thee"; "no man can shut it" (Re 3:8).
shutteth—So Vulgate and Syriac Versions read. But the four oldest manuscripts read, "shall shut"; so Coptic Version and Origen.
and no man openeth—Two oldest manuscripts, B, Aleph, Coptic Version, and Origen read, "shall open." Two oldest manuscripts, A, C, and Vulgate Version support English Version reading.
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