3:9-13 I AM COMING QUICKLY
The theme of the Day of Atonement will be dealt with in more detail in chapter 4, but the point is that during the Philadelphia period Jesus, our great High Priest, began a special phase of preparation and judgment in the heavenly sanctuary, which will culminate in the sealing of His special representatives (Revelation 7). This will be followed by the “time of trouble such as never was” and the Second Coming of Christ (Daniel 12:1).
But the people of the Philadelphia period, who lived during the beginning of the great Day of Atonement, were to be spared from rigors of the Time of Trouble. “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied My name…Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world, to test those that dwell on the earth”(Revelation 3:8,10). The church of the Philadelphia period zealously preached about the “hour of trial” and the soon coming of Christ, and those who gave the messages were often ridiculed, cast out of their churches and ostracized. As we will see in chapters 11 (the murder of the “two witnesses”) and 13 (the “mark of the beast” and “death decree”), this opposition will increase until Jesus comes to rescue His people. But the final judgment that began during the Philadelphia period will vindicate God’s persecuted people—“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9).
“Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which you have, so that no one takes your crown.” Many believers during the Philadelphia era experienced a severe test of their faith when they realized that "I am coming quickly" did not mean what they had thought when they first studied prophecies such as the 2,300 days of Daviel 8, and that Jesus would probably not even appear in their lifetimes. Jesus, knowing in advance the disappointment and ridicule they would face, counseled them to "persevere" and "hold fast" and to take comfort in the fact that they would be kept "from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world." The underlying message here is that the final events, while brief from God's perspective, are grueling and seemingly endless for those on earth who will live through them. Satan, who has “great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12) was already setting in motion his plan to defeat the people of God and “take [their] crowns,” using one of his most subtle tricks—wealth and materialism, the prominent features of the next (Laodicean) period.
The promise for the Philadelphia overcomers is a place in the very temple that they saw by faith through the “open door”—“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him my new name” (Revelation 3:12).