6. The Message to the church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13)
7 “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. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
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. (NIV)
The church of Philadelphia is one of only two of the seven churches that is in right standing with Jesus. The church of Philadelphia joins Smyrna as a church that Jesus had nothing but good things to say about. Of Smyrna Jesus said, “I know your tribulation and your poverty…” (Revelation 2:9) of Philadelphia Jesus said, “…I know that you have little strength…” (Revelation 3:8) Neither one of these churches was a fancy, charismatic, rich mega church. Three characteristics stand out of these two churches:
- They experience tribulation: The word tribulation is the Greek word thlípsis; meaning, “to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction. In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress.”
- They were poor
- They had little strength
Do you know any church that wants to project these characteristics? By today’s standards, who will consider a church that is filled with tribulation, who is poor and with little power a success? Not by today’s standards. I am sure the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia did not necessarily choose these characteristics; but these was the price they paid for truly following Jesus. These two churches were not “changing the world”. Have you ever heard that the church is called to change the world? Well, this may sound great and honorable, but is not biblical… at all! But, as always, we never lack false teachings. Let’s take a look at The 7 Mountains Mandate, also known as The 7 Mountains Prophesy.
The seven mountain mandate or the seven mountain prophecy is an anti-biblical and damaging movement that has gained a following in some Charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Those who follow the seven mountain mandate believe that, in order for Christ to return to earth, the church must take control of the seven major spheres of influence in society for the glory of Christ. Once the world has been made subject to the kingdom of God, Jesus will return and rule the world.
Here are the seven mountains, according to the seven-mountain mandate:
The theology associated with the seven-mountain mandate is dangerous, and it sheds a terribly negative light on Christians everywhere. The 7-M teaching puts a tremendous burden on believers to perform, make progress in their relative spheres of influence, and set the stage for Jesus’ return to earth—all without a definite end point. Little emphasis is placed on the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; the movement is more about staking claims and taking control. The seven-mountain mandate is a movement led by false prophets, and it should be avoided and exposed whenever Bible-believing Christians encounter it.
The world, that is, the secular world, belongs to Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). The world is irreconcilable. The world is Babylon, the world is evil and has absolutely no hope. First John 2:16-17 tell us “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. he world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (NIV) We know that God loves the people in the world, He loves the lost with a passion according to John 3:16. That is why God sent his Son to die for our sins, that’s why the gospel exist; that is the maximum expression of God’s love; nothing else need to added or taken away. Our job is not to change the world, our job is to preach the gospel and see God snatching folks from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The church of Philadelphia and the church of Smyrna understood this… do we?
To be continued…
 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).