Christ’s Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation
The beloved local church in Philadelphia is praised by the Lord because she has a little power, has kept the Lord’s word, and has not denied His name. Among the seven local churches in Revelation, as Witness Lee observes, Philadelphia pleased the Lord not because she did much for Him, but because she used her little power to keep His word and His name. In Revelation 3:7-13 the Lord Jesus says to the faithful recovered local church in Philadelphia:
And to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write: These things says the Holy One, the true One, the One who has the key of David, the One who opens and no one will shut, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works; behold, I have put before you an opened door which no one can shut, because you have a little power and have kept My word and have not denied My name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, those who call themselves Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will cause them to come and fall prostrate before your feet and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My endurance, I also will keep you out of the hour of trial, which is about to come on the whole inhabited earth, to try them who dwell on the earth. I come quickly; hold fast what you have that no one take your crown. He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Philadelphia means brotherly love. The local church in Philadelphia had such spiritual impact because of the harmonious mutual love among the brothers. Witness Lee writes of the effect of brotherly love in this local church on the world:
The sixth epistle is to Philadelphia, the name of which means brotherly love. In the local churches, we need the Philadelphia, we need the love for one another. We love one another because we love the Lord. We need the brotherly love, for in this love, we have the open door….In a prevailing local church, the door is always wide open, because the brothers love one another. As long as the brothers and sisters love each other, the door can never be shut. The more we love one another, the more the doors will be opened. If we invite friends to come, it is unnecessary to preach to them; we simply let them see the love that we have with oneness and harmony. This alone will convince them. There is no need for us to preach the Gospel to them. They are convinced already.
The way to open the door is to love one another. The open door is set before Philadelphia. If we would have an open door, we must love one another. This will convince the whole world.
(Witness Lee, LS of Revelation, 706-707)
Witness Lee also speaks of the profound significance of the Lord’s promise to write the name of God on the overcoming believers:
That the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and the Lord’s new name are written upon the overcomer indicates that the overcomer is possessed by God, by the New Jerusalem, and by the Lord; that God Himself, His city (the New Jerusalem), and the Lord Himself all belong to him; and that he is one with God, with the New Jerusalem, and with the Lord. The name of God denotes God Himself, the name of the New Jerusalem denotes the city itself, and the name of the Lord denotes the Lord Himself. That the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and the name of the Lord are written upon the overcomer indicates that what God is, the nature of the New Jerusalem, and the person of the Lord have all been wrought into the overcomer. The mentioning of the New Jerusalem as a prize to the overcomer indicates that this promise will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom. The New Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom will be a prize only to the overcoming saints, whereas the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth will be the common portion of all the redeemed for eternity.
(Witness Lee, Footnotes, 1257-1258)