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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 3 - Verse 7

Verse 7. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. See Barnes "Re 1:20".

 

These things saith he that is holy. This refers undoubtedly to the Lord Jesus. The appellation holy, or the holy one, is one that befits him, and is not unfrequently given to him in the New Testament Lu 1:35; Ac 2:27; 3:14.

It is not only an appellation appropriate the Saviour, but well adapted to be employed when he is addressing the churches. Our impression of what is said to us will often depend much on our idea of the character of him who addresses us, and solemnity and thoughtfulness always become us when we are addressed by a holy Redeemer. He that is true. Another characteristic of the Saviour well fitted to be referred to when he addresses men. It is a characteristic often ascribed to him in the New Testament, (Joh 1:9,14,17; 8:40,45; 14:6; 18:37; 1 Jo 5:20) and one which is eminently adapted to impress the mind with solemn thought in view of the fact that he is to pronounce on our character, and to determine our destiny.

He that hath the key of David. This expression is manifestly taken from Isa 22:22, "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder." As used by Isaiah, the phrase is applied to Eliskim; and it is not to be inferred because the language here is applied to the Lord Jesus that originally it had any such reference. "The application of the same terms," says Professor Alexander on Isa 22:22, "to Peter, (Mt 16:19) and to Christ himself, (Re 3:7) does not prove that they here refer to either, or that Eliakim was a type of Christ, but merely that the same words admit of different applications." The language is that which properly denotes authority or control—as when one has the key of a house, and has unlimited access to it; and the meaning here is, that as David is represented as the king of Israel residing in a palace, so he who had the key to that palace had regal authority.

He that openeth, and no man shutteth, etc. He has free and unrestrained access to the house; the power of admitting any one, or of excluding any one. Applied here to the Saviour, as king in Zion, this means that in his kingdom he has the absolute control in regard to the admission or exclusion of any one. He can prescribe the terms; he can invite whom he chooses; he can exclude those whom he judges should not be admitted. A reference to this absolute control was every way proper when he was addressing a church, and is every way proper for us to reflect on when we think of the subject of our personal salvation.

{a} "holy" Ac 3:14 {b} "true" 1 Jo 5:20 {c} "key" Isa 22:22 {d} "shutteth" Job 12:14

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