“Vindications” – Revelation 3:7-13

Secondly, Jesus gives his people protection in the Messianic Kingdom. In v. 10, Jesus says, “I will keep you from the hour of trial.” He promises to protect them and preserve them through the coming tribulations. Like Jesus prayed in John 17:15, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” They will be spiritually protected, secure in Jesus, in his light, while the world thrashed around in darkness, with all security thrown to the wind, with their foundations shaken and destroyed (much like the earthquakes that had brought so much turmoil upon Philadelphia). This is not to say that the persecutions and trials of the Christian life would cease, as such things will continue until the Lord’s final coming at the end (2 Tim. 3:12). But in this particular hour of trial, the enemies of Christ would be tried and found wanting, while his church would be found true in him. As Sam Storms puts it, “Jesus is assuring his people that he will provide sufficient sustenance to preserve them in their faith, no matter what they face.”[7] Jesus would be in control in the midst of the trials and tribulations brought upon the world, perfectly carrying out his judgment upon his enemies and his preservation of his people, until the end of that time of trial, as long as it would take (Matt. 24:13).

And while his wrath upon the “earth-dwellers” would be terrible, the hour of trial would come to an end, even for the enemies of Christ, but only for the sake of the elect. As Jesus said in Matt. 24:22: “for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Thus the tribulation was only an “hour” of trial, indicating a relatively short period of time (a few years), in contrast to 1000 years, for example. The end of the world would come at a much later time.

The Lord’s protection and preservation of his people was (and is) unshakeable, and it extended to their eternal destiny. As Jesus promises in Rev. 3:12, “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it.” This is very much as he had said, in Matt. 24:13: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” In this case, Jesus touches on the people of God being incorporated into the eternal Temple of God’s very structure and purpose. It was an eternally secure existence: “Never shall he go out of it.” This, of course, in contrast to the Jews who were not Jews, the apostate Jews, who, in their rejection of Jesus, lost the protection the Lord gives his people. Removed from his protection, they were subject to his wrath, and they would experience it terribly in the coming “hour of trial.” And unless they repented, and turned to Jesus in faith, they would never enter the eternal temple of God, the Messianic Kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

Third, Jesus gives his people identity with the Messianic Kingdom. We’ve discussed before how the one who conquers are the true Christians, and like we looked at last week in Rom. 8, we are “more than conquerors,” who will never to be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. For the true Christians of Philadelphia (and as v. 13 lets us know, the promises of this letter are ultimately for all true Christians), Jesus promises, in v. 12, to “write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” This is about identity. To have the name of God, the name of the city of God (new Jerusalem), and the new name of Jesus written upon them, was to identify Christians with those realities. Christians now and into eternity have the mark of God upon them, as his people (Rev. 7:3-4; 7:9; 22:4). We are identified by the name of the Lord, Yahweh, as the Lord’s people, marked with the very name of Christ. We are the new Jerusalem, the people of the city of God, which will be ultimately revealed in glory at the Lord’s final return (Heb. 12:12; Rev. 22:2). Our identity is in the Lord. And our identity in him is eternal.

And once again, consider the contrast Jesus makes. While the Lord puts his name on the true Christians, he removes his name from the apostate Jews—any Jew who rejects Jesus. The name of the Lord would no longer to be associated with them, and he now associates them with the name of Satan (v. 9). Further, Jerusalem was no longer the city of God. “New Jerusalem” was now the city of God (v. 12). God revoked it all from them, in their denial of Jesus. He took away his name from them, their very identity as God’s people. He took away their holy city. He took away their temple. He made a definitive break with OT Judaism and the Harlot bride.