Article Based on a Bible Study given 12 October 2002

Philadelphia - Part 2

by Jon Bowles


Turn to Revelation chapter 3. We shouldn’t be surprised at some of these things happening, because Satan does hate the people of God, and particularly the people that seem to be identified in Revelation 12. Those people will have to flee for their lives, and flee to a place of safety that God will have prepared for them. It seems to indicate that those people are the ones that are mentioned here, as Philadelphia. Now whether in fact it is one church or a series of churches, or whether it is groups of people within every single church, that we are looking at today, I think it is probably the latter Certainly at the moment it is probably the latter.

Last week I talked a little bit about this particular section and I pointed out that where it says; "Behold, I come quickly: hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11). God does tend to explain scriptures within the scriptures that you find it in. Here a little, there a little - yes, you have got to go certainly to other scriptures and put them together. But this particular passage where it says "hold that fast which you have" you can read through the passage on Philadelphia and you will find that certain things have been mentioned that they have. I mentioned six points that I was hoping to go through, of aspects that are mentioned within this section.

1) Whatever they have comes from somewhere - that was the first one and I dealt quite extensively on that last time. It is very clear that it comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one that reveals Himself, and reveals truth, reveals the Living Word of God to His church. It is interesting in reading Revelation 3:7 where it says;

"...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." (Revelation 3:7)

Now with all the other churches, you will find it refers back to some aspect within Revelation chapter 1. In the case of Philadelphia, it is unusual that it doesn’t. It doesn’t seem to refer back. The key of David isn’t mentioned, and you've got to go back to Isaiah.

Isaiah is being written at a time when Israel was going into captivity, physical Israel. The nation of Israel in the North was going into captivity and they were under siege. They were under incredible persecution, they were under siege by Rabshakah. We can see this example; where Shebna and Eliakim, from which this particular passage in Revelation 3:7 is taken. We can see that they were able to combat these armies of the Assyrians. They combated them not with any might that they had at all, there was no might that the Jews had whatsoever. It was completely divine intervention.

It is indicative of us, and we really should be looking to God for divine intervention as we move into the future. We need to put our minds onto certain other spiritual things, and leave the physical side of these things to God.

When we are looking at one hundred eighty thousand of the principal leaders of that army that were wiped out. And Shalmaneser went back with his tail between his legs. Rabshakah presumably had been killed. In that one night, one hundred eighty thousand leaders, principal men, all the generals, all the officers, all the major players within the army were wiped out and completely removed. So, it is indicative that what these people have, must come from somewhere, and we must look to that source continually.

2) They have a little strength, as it mentions over in Revelation 3:8.

3) They have kept my word

4) They have not denied my name

These are all points that we can actually look at. We will have a look at them today. We also find that these people;

5) They have been loved by God. "...I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." (Revelation 3:9)

So, we can look at what it is that God loves about people. Which again, will give us some indication of what we need to be holding on to. That we need to 'hold fast what we have, that no man take our crown'.

6) Finally this last point, verse 10; "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

To review briefly the point about a little strength, because that little strength is linked to where it's mentioned in Revelation 3:8;

"...I have set before thee an open door, that no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8)

They link the three together, so if we review that little bit. In Zechariah 4:6 it says;

"...Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit..." (Zechariah 4:6)

That again in Zechariah is talking about the building of the temple, it is talking about Zerubbabel. It is indicative that there is a time when the temple is going to be built just before Christ returns. The emphasis on the preparation of a spiritual Temple, as Mr Armstrong continually brought out, that will be there. And we cannot do it by our own might and strength.

I know there are an awful lot of 'works' going on at the moment by different churches of God. But I don’t see any, quite frankly, that are really doing the kind of work that needs to be done. I can’t see it anywhere. There is nowhere on this earth that I can look down and say, "Right, there’s the work of God." It is just not there. There are people doing 'works', but I don’t see what we saw under Mr Herbert Armstrong, I don’t see a repeat of that at all.

Whatever is going to be needed is going to be quite remarkable. It is going to be something that God Himself is going to have to do. That is why where it says, "...thou hast a little strength..." (Revelation 3:8), it is only a very little strength. It shows it is not our strength that performs the work.

There is a lack of oil, lack of the Holy Spirit, being mentioned in Matthew 25 specifically, that I brought out last week. It talks very clearly in Romans 8 about how it is those that are led by the Spirit that are the sons of God. So, it is the Spirit of God, and the leadership of that Spirit that comes from God and from Christ, that will allow us to do whatever we need to do. It says that there is an open door and no man can shut, and He shuts and no man opens. Should an open door open to the church, then the only way that anybody can go through such an open door is through the very Spirit of God. We cannot do it on our own strength. Trying to force doors open is not the answer. However, we should be aware that we are quite willing and ready to go through a door, should it open, but it is very much down to God. We have got to follow that leadership of the Spirit of God, and not try and force our will, and force our own way on things.

They Have Kept My Word (PLAY FROM 08:55)

Turn over to Ezra chapter 9. Here were a people that had come back to Jerusalem, and they were supposed to be building the temple, and there were some specific problems here. It again is a parallel with what we find ourself in today. The temple does need to be built, but it's a spiritual Temple to which Christ is will return. That is prophesied in Malachi. It does tie up with the end time. This in Ezra is the physical type, and here it says in chapter 9:1;

"Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites." (Ezra 9:1)

Now they have not separated themselves. So many times we also within the church, if we are not careful we can mix ourselves - and particularly the ideas that we have can come from sources which are from this world, and which are not coming out of the Word of God. Because remember what it says in Revelation 3:8. Not only that "...thou hast a little strength,[but] and hast kept my word...." (Revelation 3:8). So you go back to the Word of God. Ezra 9:2;

"For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down [astonished]. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat [astonished] until the evening sacrifice." (Ezra 9:2-4)

So here we see Ezra on the return from Babylon having this attitude of mind, and in particular it was the people that were trembling at the words of God, that had this attitude of mind. They wouldn’t mix themselves with the nations. Now, I know it is only a physical point. I don’t want to make anything further than that, but it is interesting that it was a time when they were rebuilding the Temple. And it was the Temple to which Christ would come physically, so it is worth bearing that in mind.

Turn to Isaiah 66. In this same point that we are going into now, where Christ does say within Revelation, 'you have kept my word'. One thing that Mr Armstrong did say, was that if there was one thing that he has done, he took God at His Word. That is one thing that Mr Armstrong did, he hung onto the Word of God, and took God at His Word, believed what God said, and believed God. Most people believe in God, but they don’t believe God.

In Isaiah 66, as I brought out at the Last Great Day message, this particular passage, talks about the new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah 65:17, and explained how in fact he is actually standing in the new heavens and the new earth and is looking backwards in time;

"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice...[then it says, Isaiah 65:20] There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed." (Isaiah 65:17-18,20)

So you have new heavens and new earth, then you look back one stage and you come into the Great White Throne Judgment and this is why we feel that it is one hundred years long. You look back a little bit further and you come into the millennium. Isaiah 65:21;

"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit...They shall not labour in vain..." (Isaiah 65:21-23)

And it says in Isaiah 65:25; "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the [Eternal]." (Isaiah 65:25)

So you look from the new heavens, through the Great White Throne Judgment into the millennium and looking back again, you then come to Isaiah 66. Now here we are looking at the people who will go through into the millennium, and God’s people, prior to the millennium. You are looking backwards from that new heavens. You are going one stage back, all the way through and the prophecy is looking in that direction. Isaiah 66 has a great deal to speak to us specifically at this time where we find ourselves. It speaks directly to the people of God, the people of Philadelphia as they are dealing with the world at large, and particularly it seems, with brethren. Isaiah 66:1;

"Thus saith the [Eternal], The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? [this Temple, to which Christ will return? So there is the question, and it starts to answer;] For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the [Eternal]: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:1-2)

Now it says, "...I have set before thee an open door...for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word [also goes on to say], and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8) This in time sequence, because it is looking back from the new heavens and back in time, it is very clearly a 'now' prophecy. It is a prophecy that we need to take great note of, and we need to assess in this area when we are looking at Philadelphia.

Now these people that have been mentioned in Philadelphia, and these people being mentioned in Isaiah 66 are very likely to be one and the same people, because it is talking about building a house, and the time sequence is just before Christ’s return. Isaiah 66:3;

"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations [they are doing what they want to do]. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer [you can go back into Revelation 3 and you can find Laodicea, and you will find that Christ is at the door, and He is knocking and nobody is answering]; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." (Isaiah 66:3-4)

Now there are things that we have been given that we have been told to hold fast. Those things have come from a certain source. Now that source is Jesus Christ and the revelation that He has given to His church. We have dealt with that a little bit. But, 'keeping My Word', is very much part of that, when it says, "...and trembleth at my word" (Isaiah 66:2). That is part of the very process. It is not just a case of listening and saying, "Oh yes, that’s very interesting." It’s a case of keeping it, of trembling at it. Isaiah 66:5;

"Hear the word of the [Eternal], ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the [Eternal] be glorified [they felt that they were following God]: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed." (Isaiah 66:5)

This is speaking directly at the church. It is speaking to the people of God. People that are trembling at His Word just prior to Christ’s return. It is just prior to the millennial rule. Isaiah 66:6;

"A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the [Eternal] that rendereth recompence to his enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth [it talks about the end time coming very suddenly, like a wall ready to break, and yet]; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:6-8)

Now we are looking at a time when there is going to be enormous trouble on this earth. But of the temple it says; "...the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me?..." (Isaiah 66:1) Where is this temple to which Christ will return? The message to Philadelphia says; "...I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial]..." (Revelation 3:10) The two scriptures can be read together, the two marry up. " soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8) In other words, when the suffering has just begun - the trials and the tribulation is about ready to start, there will be a lot of persecution on the church. We will go through persecution, and a number of us will perhaps die. But it will be nothing compared to the persecution that will come on the earth as a whole, and on the church that will be left within the world.

He says, " soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8) In other words, Zion - the true church - where the temple is indeed being built and put together, it will be as if she just begins to travail and all of a sudden the child is there. Isaiah 66:9;

"Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the [Eternal]: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her [it talks about those who didn’t have a love of the truth over in Thessalonians]: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her [at the moment, you look at the church and it is absolutely shattered, and there is a mourning there]: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the [Eternal], Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 66:9-12)

Now that is what our destiny is. He is talking to the people at this time when a house has to be built. A people that are of a contrite spirit, that have little strength. That put their strength and their trust in God, that keep the Word of God, that 'tremble at My Word', that have been cast out by brethren, and it talks about them being comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:14;

"And when ye see this [when this actually occurs, when our eyes literally see these things], your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the [Eternal] shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. For, behold, the [Eternal] will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind [now you read Habakkuk and you will see the chariots and the way in which Christ returns], to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the [Eternal] plead with all flesh: and the slain of the [Eternal] shall be many [ see Psalm 110]. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the [Eternal]. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal [Tubal probably is Russia and Javan might be Greece, Lud is probably East Africa, Tarshish may well be Spain, and Pul may well be Central Africa], and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the [Eternal] out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the [Eternal], as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the [Eternal]." (Isaiah 66:14-20)

It talks in Isaiah about how that will occur, and the rebels will be purged from Israel before that occurs. Isaiah 66:21;

"And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the [Eternal]. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the [Eternal], so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the [Eternal]. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." (Isaiah 66:21-24)

So there will be a burying, this cleaning up of the land. There presumably will be monuments in this valley of the slain, which is actually mentioned in Ezekiel. He is saying, "Look, get your mind on this time and focused on this time, when we will, in fact, see this thing." It says; "...when ye see this, and your heart will rejoice..." (Isaiah 66:14) It is worth going through the trials and the problems that we go through, because we will eventually see this. It can be tied directly - because it is talking about trembling at my word, and is in time sequence, looking back from the new heavens and new earth - and chapter 66 places it at the same time sequence as Philadelphia.

It talks about the "...brethren who hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake..." (Isaiah 66:5) You know, it fits like a glove as to what we have been witnessing. We can take great comfort, and it says very much so! It says, when you see this your heart will rejoice. Hang onto these things, don’t worry. It says, " soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8) The travail that we will have to go through, yes it will be severe, but it is nothing. We will not all die. It says that God will preserve and protect.

So if we go over to Malachi, in this same section on keeping the very Word of God. Again, we are looking at the identical time frame. We are looking at the building of the Temple. We are looking at the Temple to which Christ will return. Here in Malachi 2, notice, he starts to castigate the priests, the very ministry, the servants of the Temple. The ones that should be serving in the Temple to which Christ will return. Malachi 2:1;

"And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you." (Malachi 2:1)

He speaks specifically to the ministry. It says in verse 6;

"The law of truth was in his mouth [talking about Levi], and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the [Eternal] of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the [Eternal] of hosts." (Malachi 2:6-8)

He is speaking to the ministers of this spiritual Temple, and the ministers of the spiritual Temple are guilty. We are, we were guilty. I have personally had to repent of some of the things I even said at that time. Of putting up with some of the things that came out, of being blind, and of being fast asleep in many ways. I, and some of the other faithful ministers, as well, have had to repent of that. We were told very, very clearly at the end of Romans. It says quite clearly, if anybody walks contrary to the way that you have learned, that you mark such an individual and you avoid them (Romans 16:17). I didn’t, and I should have. There is a time to mark those and avoid them, and Mr Armstrong very clearly pointed out, that either we leave the church, leave them in the organization, or we get rid of them. Now we never even anticipated that we would actually have to leave the organization. But that was very, very clear that was what we needed to do.

In Malachi 3:1 it says; "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the [Eternal] of hosts. But who may abide [who may be sustained?] the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?..." ( Malachi 3:1-2)

So again we are looking at, 'you have little strength, you have kept my word, you have not denied my name'. These things are all in the same context. It says, who is going to abide, who is going to be able to stand? This entire section runs all the way down until you finally get into Malachi 4:4, where it says;

"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." (Malachi 4:4)

This is in the context of the Elijah that is to come. This is to do with keeping the very Word of God. Mr Armstrong did take God at His Word. He gave us a fear of the Word of God and a respect for the Word of God. That was lost to a large degree in the past. Yet these people, these people of Philadelphia, this era, are going to keep that Word. They are going to hold onto that Word.

They Have Not Denied My Name (PLAY FROM 29:44)

We will go on to the next part of Revelation 3, which talks about not denying my name. Notice in Malachi 3:16;

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written..." (Malachi 3:16)

You can imagine - or wonder - if God has some kind of plug into the internet, that He can see these messages going backwards and forwards. He undoubtably can. If the government can see them, which it can, it is guaranteed that God can see them and the messages of encouragement that go back and forth. It does say the [Eternal] listened and heard it. Malachi 3;16;

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name [that meditated on His name]. And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:16-18)

There is a rescue, there is a Place of Safety, which is certainly indicated and this is one of the verses I'll use in the sermon I'll give on the Place of Safety. These people, notice it says, "...them that feared the [Eternal]..." (Malachi 3:16) and the reason why they feared Him is that they thought upon His name. Now, do we meditate on the name of God? It talks about not denying my name. What exactly is He talking about? First of all, you have got to understand a little bit more about the name of God anyway. You have got to understand what God is. God is the [Eternal]. Malachi 3:16;

"...them that feared the [Eternal, the YHWH], and that thought upon His name. [The name being referred to is obviously YHWH, and it is talking about the Eternal of hosts]. They shall be mine says [YHWH Sabaoth, the Eternal] of hosts." (Malachi 3:16-17)

Now YHWH Sabaoth means the Eternal of armies. It is the one, that if you read Habakkuk/ you find that rays go out of His side and He destroys the armies. He only has to give the word. It talks about the very flesh being consumed off the bodies of the armies that go up against Him. Literally, they disintegrate. Why? Because it is His Word, His Breath, His Direction that actually holds their bodies in existence. So if you start to mediate on this name, you start really thinking about this name, you start to understand that there is nothing that can stand against Him. There is nothing that can stand against the people that serve Him. So where it says, have not denied my name, the indication is, and also tying it back here to Malachi 3, they do meditate about this. They are able to therefore remain steadfast in faith in God because they understand what that name is. The power and authority that is there.

I can look here and see outside and into the hills, and it is a magnificent, beautiful countryside. So often we are surrounded by material things, man made things, that it is an amazing creation that has been made for us in which we are to dwell. It has been made by this Being, and it is His Word that holds it all there. If He says there is going to be a Temple built, there is going to be a Temple built, to which Christ will return. If He says there is going to be somebody coming in the power of Elijah, there is going to be somebody coming in the power of Elijah that will restore all things. If He says there is going to be a falling away, there will be a falling away from the things that are restored. What God says, is, and we need to meditate on that name, because that name is the only thing that we are going to have in the future. That is what is going to give us the hope through the times ahead, and allow us to be in a group of people that it talks about; before "...Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:8)

In Jude, I want you to notice it talks about not denying my name, and I want you to notice what it says in the beginning of Jude 1:1;

"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:1-3)

So, it was a case that we need to earnestly recapture the true values. Recapture the word "...the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3) The faith that was once delivered to us, came through the apostle sent to us. That was the faith that was delivered to us. Just the same as whoever the apostle was that the truth came through to these people. Jude 1:4;

"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:4)

Now it says, not 'denying my name'. Of the people who, in fact, have turned away from what was formerly delivered to them, it says; "...turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:4) Here we are seeing a group of people that deny the name of Christ. Remember, it was Christ that was speaking. Now Christ was the God of the Old Testament, but also gave the words in Malachi, who says you need to meditate on the name. Those that were meditating on the name of God certainly were in that group of people.

If you turn back to Ezekiel 36:20 it talks about the Jews and the Israelites;

"And when they entered unto the [nations], whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the [Eternal], and are gone forth out of his land. But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the [nations], whither they went." (Ezekiel 36:20-21)

Some of these news items I’ve read are profaning the very name of God, because it is Israel that is doing these things. Ezekiel 36:22;

"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord [Eternal]; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the [nations], whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the [nations], which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the [nations] shall know that I am the [Eternal], saith the Lord [Eternal], when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the [nations], and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Ezekiel 36:22-27)

So that is the way again that God is going to sanctify His name with physical Israel, with the house of Israel. And the way He will do it, is to put the very Spirit of God in them. He will bring them out of the nations, put the Spirit of God in them and although they have profaned the name of God, and are continually doing so, as we see with all the news articles that we’ve had, eventually, that will be put right. Where it says about Philadelphia, we have also got to be the same. It is; "...Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit..." (Zechariah 4:6) That is all part and parcel of not denying the very name of God. We meditate on the name. We meditate on what He will do for us if we keep His word, and so on.

They Have Been Loved By God (PLAY FROM 39:57)

Now, if you turn back to Revelation 3: "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews [that is Jews spiritually], and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." (Revelation 3:9)

So this one of the things that is going to happen and I would say certainly to Mr Herbert Armstrong - this clearly refers to him - and I think by extension, it refers to the people of God who are part of Philadelphia. It starts to the angel, the messenger, and ends to the people, it seems to merge from one into the other.

Now, people who have actually been loved by God - notice over in John 14:21;

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (John 14:21-24)

So we see very clearly from here that if He is going to have people come and bow before these individuals, and say "you will know that I have loved you", that the same thing applies. As I said, if there was one thing Mr Armstrong did, he took God at His Word. This says if we keep the Word of God, and hold onto that Word, the Word that has been delivered to us - and it is not just the Word of God, it is not just these words that are read by us, interpreted by us, any which way we want to - but it is the very Spirit of God that led the church. It is the Way in which the church has been led. It involves that as well, it involves both.

They Have Kept the Word of My Patience (PLAY FROM 42:37)

Now if we go onto the word of my patience. Let’s go back to Revelation 3, because that really is the next major point.

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. [That comes immediately before this section that says....] Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)

Certainly, this verse that leads into verse 11, and should be looked upon as very important. Where it says; "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience..." (Revelation 3:10) The word patience in Greek is 'hupomone'. 'Hupo' which means of, or by, or from, or under. 'Mone' means abiding, or remaining, or dwelling. It means to stay under, to hang in there, that’s basically what it means. Because you have kept the word of my 'hanging in there', that is really the colloquialism that you could apply to that. In Revelation there are a number of places where that particular word is used. In fact there are seven of them, which is interesting. If you want to make a note of them: Revelation 1:9, 2:2, 2:3, 2:19, 3:10, 13:10, 14:12.

Let’s have a look at the first use of the word in the New Testament and that’s over in Luke, chapter 8. This is the parable of the sower, and it is interesting that this really does describe a great deal as to what we need to be concentrating on regarding patience and hanging in there.

"And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection [to maturity]. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart [now that is where it all starts, that is what is absolutely vital]... an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:14-15)

This is the first use of that word. The second use is in Luke 21. This is also an interesting passage. Leading into that it from Luke 21:16;

"And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish [now we are going to go through some times that are going to be difficult]. In your patience [just by hanging in there] possess ye your souls [your being, your lives]. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (Luke 21:16-20)

There is the abomination that makes desolate, that’s the time we flee. So this word of patience is actually being used here. So when we go back to Revelation we can see in Revelation 3:10;

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience [to hang in there], I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

Now if you go back to Revelation 1:9, it links here the patience. Remember it says; "...the word of my patience..." (Revelation 3:10) It does not say our patience This is Christ’s patience. However, if we understand it correctly, we should understand it is Christ through the very Spirit of God that lives in us. So it needs to be Christ’s patience that is in us. That is the patience that we should be exhibiting.

And in verse 9; "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in [trial], and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 1:9)

Now it is linking in the Word of God, which we have also read; "...thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8) It is also linking in; "... the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 1:9) as well in this section. If we go over to Revelation 13:9;

"If any man have an ear, let him hear. [Now here is a piece of information, that the ones who are living at the time when these things are going to happen, need to listen to what is actually about to be said in the next verse]. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." (Revelation 13:9-10)

Now we are going to go through a time of trial leading up to the tribulation. We are going to need to have a certain degree of patience, of hanging in there And it is not our hanging in there, it is going to be Christ's hanging in there. It is Christ’s patience. It is Christ living His life through us by our contact with God. What it’s looking at in this particular section is; okay we will see these things happen as we go forward, we will witness certain things, but we also need to keep that in mind, that when people are going to be killing with the sword, they are themselves going to be killed. If they are going to lead people into captivity, they themselves will go into captivity.

So, if we find ourself in prison, we need to keep that in mind. "If any man have an ear, let him hear" (Revelation13:9). This is very much the patience and the faith of the saints. It the confidence that we will have. The way that we will get through the time in the future, is by hanging onto words such as these. To seeing the big picture, to understanding where we fit, and where this particular event that we happen to be going through fits into the overall scheme of things.

Now we have been given a Word. We have been given understanding. It has come from Jesus Christ. It did not come from Herbert Armstrong, and it is understanding about where we fit. What this time is in which we find ourself. When we are hanging onto something, that is part and parcel of it. We are holding onto this word of my patience, very much so.

Look in Revelation 14:12; "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)

So notice two things: first of all that they keep both the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The faith of Jesus and the testimony of Jesus go hand in glove. They are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. It is the faith OF Christ, not the faith IN Christ If you go over to Galatians 2:16;

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ [Some translations mistranslate this. What it really says is 'by Jesus Christ faith'. It is the type of faith that is of Jesus Christ, it is not the faith in], even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ..." (Galatians 2:16)

There is a difference between the two. You believe IN Christ, but you are justified by the faith OF Christ. You are made righteous by Christ living His life in us. The faith that comes from that. It is a fruit of the Spirit. So we have faith in Christ, in the sacrifice of Christ and we have to hang onto that. But the thing that justifies us, makes us righteous before God is not just the sacrifice, it is the fact that we are able to walk thereafter in a certain way. It is the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law. "...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16) It is not the works of the law, but it is the faith of Christ. Christ living His life in us.

Galatians 2:20; "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God [that is what justifies us], who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

It is this life in us through the very Spirit of God that allows us to keep the law. Certainly when we are looking at keeping the commandments of God and the faith F Jesus, that was mentioned over in Revelation 14:12, we keep the law by this means. Really we are going into a subject that is far, far bigger.

Turn back to Revelation. We just read about "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity..." (Revelation 13:10) We also read in how it " the patience of the saints: ...they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12) Notice, they are keeping both.

There is a prophecy at the end of chapter twelve that talks about the fleeing, Revelation 12:14;

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [now this is the true church], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:14-17)

Now I don’t want to make too big a deal of it, but there is a difference between the two words. One is translated 'keep', and the other is translated 'have'. Because the indication is, where it talks about "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12) - they have that faith. And we notice here is the patience and faith of the saints, that "he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword..." (Revelation 13:10) It seems to indicate that the people of God who will be preserved, will have the faith because they are in close contact with God. They have that faith, and they have that testimony of Jesus Christ.

You have got to put several scriptures together. Turn over to Revelation 19. Remember, it is talking here about the testimony of Jesus Christ at the end of Revelation 12, and if you notice in Revelation 19:10;

"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus [here the testimony of Jesus is actually defined, it says]: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10)

It is the spirit of prophecy. So if we can hold onto that nugget, we now know what the testimony of Jesus is: it is the spirit of prophecy. We go back to Revelation 12:17. It is almost like an equation - a simultaneous equation. We can then cross one out and put something else there. Revelation 12:17 says;

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the [spirit of prophecy] testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:17)

Now the interesting thing is, that these people are not actually protected. Yet when you go over to Revelation 3:10 you see; "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial]..." (Revelation 3:10)

And you notice in Revelation 14:12; "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)

You do wonder whether, in fact, it is these people that it's talking about - the ones that keep the commandments, but they merely have the testimony of Christ. They merely have the spirit of prophecy, they don’t really believe it. They don’t really hold onto it. I don’t want to make too big a deal of that, but I do want to point that out to you, that all these things are tied.

If we go back to Revelation 1, I will just point this out and draw to a close.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him [notice where it came from, it is a revelation of Jesus Christ given to Him by God, and the word 'revelation' means revealing], to shew unto his servants [so this book was there to show to His servants] things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ [now we know what the testimony of Jesus Christ is, it’s the spirit of prophecy], and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he [notice in verse 3, it is addressing itself to us on whom the end of the age has come] that readeth [so you not only have to read what it says.], and they that hear the words of this prophecy [so you read it, you also hear it], and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." (Revelation 1:1-3)

Now when we were looking at Revelation 3:10, where it says; "...thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which will come upon the world to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10) You then look at it and compare it with Laodicea. It is almost as if Laodicea have the same things. They have the spirit of prophecy there, but they just are just not listening to it. When I say prophecy - the word 'prophecy' in the Greek doesn’t just mean foretelling the future, it means speaking from a spiritual perspective. Now that includes foretelling the future as well. It is almost as if it is saying; those that are holding onto the revelation they have been given, that they have received, the word of my patience, and it is talking about keeping the commandments of God, having the faith of Christ.

It links across with the testimony of Jesus Christ. It ties up with Revelation 1:3, where you not only read these words, but you hear them, you take them to heart, and you keep them as well, you hang onto them. It is all part and parcel of what we find here in Revelation 3:10. There are a group of people who have been given revelation by God, and they are holding onto that revelation that they have been given, and it covers all areas. As it says, Revelation 3:10; "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial]..." (Revelation 3:10)

You have got to put that together with Malachi 3:16 where you are thinking on the name of God. Because it is that name that is going to preserve us in the future. You put it together with the fact that they have very little strength. There is no strength in these people. The strength has got to come from God Himself. That they know where their strength is, that they have a focus that is correct. That they are faithful to that Word that they have been given and have 'kept my word, they don’t deny my name'. Jude puts into place that you contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. It is the faith that has been delivered to them that they are holding onto, and they recognize where it came from. That is the indication when we read through these verses about Philadelphia, about the group of people that are being mentioned in this particular passage.

None of us can become complacent at all, because we can all have our own ideas about things. We can all go our own way. It requires a contact with God in order to have the very Spirit of God. If we’ve got that Spirit and are in contact with God, "...they shall be mine saith the [Eternal]...when I make up my jewels..." (Malachi 3:17) They will be thinking on His name and talking often with one another. Philadelphia means brotherly love, there will be a love there that comes from God.

Final scripture in closing. Turn over to Romans 5, talking about patience. Mr Armstrong continually used this scripture - continually - and a lot of people forget it. Read from Romans 4:20 refering to Abraham;

"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:20-25)

Notice what it says there. He was raised for our justification. The justification is Christ in us, that is what we are looking at. Romans 5:1;

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God [we look at that faith, the faith OF Christ] through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God [we are looking forward to the future, we have got our minds focused on the future]. And not only so, but we glory in tribulation [trials - we put the trials in the right perspective. That is what it is talking about Philadelphia, it talks about they're putting the trials in the right perspective. They have got themselves in the right relationship with God.] also: knowing that [trials] worketh patience;" (Romans 5:1-3)

The word of my patience. Because you kept the word of my patience, I will keep you from the trials that are going to come. Because you have handled the trials properly. The trials that you have gone through you have handled properly. You have gone ahead and been close to God, you've realized that you have very little strength. Romans 5:4;

"And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." (Romans 5:4-5)

As Mr Armstrong continually used to say, “Human love does not fulfil the commandments of God. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts.” It is that relationship that we must have. It is the relationship with God. So when we are looking at this section on Philadelphia, we are looking, very much at this relationship they must have with God, in order to be able to accomplish the things that it talks about. It is that relationship that is absolutely vital.

I think we will end there. I hope that gives some indication. My plan for next week is that I'll talk about overcoming Satan, and it is interesting that this group of people are going to have to overcome Satan. We are looking at them fleeing from Satan, and the woman being protected by God. So overcoming Satan is very much part of Philadelphia, and what Philadelphia is all about.