The Philadelphian Promise

A Promise to Overcomers

Do you remember reading about the unstable foundation for this city due to the quakes in this region? In contrast to the city, these believers would be stable, unable to be moved, fixed in place – this is the picture painted by the phrase “a pillar in the temple of my God…” (Revelation 3.12).

This expression is similar to how Peter describes the house of God – living stones. We are God’s temple, and when all else has been destroyed by earthquakes, wrath, fire, etc – the overcomers will still be permanently standing.

The words that John records next in verse twelve are part of a double negative – a way that a Greek speaker would stress emphasis. Christ states that these pillars shall “go no more out,” with the emphasis being that separation from Christ is an impossibility. Overcomers are in the presence of Christ permanently. Talk about stability!

Finally, verse twelve adds one more dimension to this assurance: a three-fold repetition revolving names. First, Christ will write upon us the name of His God. This is followed by the name of God’s city. Finally, we receive the new name of Christ. What is the significance of all these names? How would the early church understand these references that are being made?

As we begin to decode this thrice-fold inscription, several points are rather obvious. First, the believer is recognized as belonging to God. Secondly, this overcomer has citizenship in the heavenly city. Finally, this victor is one who is related in a special way to Christ.

This concept of “belonging” is a truth embedded in both testaments. As you read through the Old Testament, specifically in Exodus, you can watch the style, the content begins to change. It starts out strongly narrative, describing the actions of God’s people, the Egyptians, and God Himself. Toward the end of the book, it is more descriptive in nature, telling us about the tabernacle and its priest. In chapter 28, the High Priest wears an engraving on his forehead that states, “Holiness to the Lord.”

Even in the book of Revelation, this concept of belonging to God continues. In Revelation 7, the 144,000 witnesses have the seal of God in the foreheads. Later, in chapter 14, this seal is described as “having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” The importance of this giving of a name becomes significant to these Philadelphian believers – and by extension, all believers. This receiving of God’s name, and citizenship into His city, is an unmistakable promise of assurance to these believers. They will enjoy God’s presence forever and will never be cast out of that presence. That principle is true for us today as well!

Here’s a quick review, as well as a preview, of both where we’ve been and also where we are going:

  1. Our victory is connected to our position in Christ.
  2. We have observed promises that deal with overcoming / victory that Christ made.
  3. We have two more promises to observe – the one made to Laodicea and then a general summary to all believers.
  4. Once we conclude the promises, we have four principles to allow us to align our position with our practice!

Stay tuned!

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