Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 3:7

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He that is holy - In whom holiness essentially dwells, and from whom all holiness is derived.

He that is true - He who is the fountain of truth; who cannot lie nor be imposed on; from whom all truth proceeds; and whose veracity in his Revelation is unimpeachable.

He that hath the key of David - See this metaphor explained, Matthew 16:19. Key is the emblem of authority and knowledge; the key of David is the regal right or authority of David. David could shut or open the kingdom of Israel to whom he pleased. He was not bound to leave the kingdom even to his eldest son. He could choose whom he pleased to succeed him. The kingdom of the Gospel, and the kingdom of heaven, are at the disposal of Christ. He can shut against whom he will; he can open to whom he pleases. If he shuts, no man can open; if he opens, no man can shut. His determinations all stand fast, and none can reverse them. This expression is an allusion to Isaiah 22:22, where the prophet promises to Eliakim, under the symbol of the key of the house of David, the government of the whole nation; i.e., all the power of the king, to be executed by him as his deputy; but the words, as here applied to Christ, show that He is absolute.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia - See the notes on Revelation 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 infrequently given to him in the New Testament, Luke 1:35; Acts 2:27; Acts 3:14. It is not only an appellation appropriate to 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 suited to be referred to when he addresses people. It is a characteristic often ascribed to him in the New Testament (John 1:9, John 1:14, John 1:17; John 8:40, John 8:45; John 14:6; John 18:37; 1 John 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 Isaiah 22:22, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder.” See the passage explained in the notes on that place. As used by Isaiah, the phrase is applied to Eliakim; 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 Prof. Alexander on Isaiah 22:22, “to Peter Matthew 16:19, and to Christ himself Revelation 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 what 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, … - He has free and unrestrained access to the house; the power of admitting anyone, or of excluding anyone. Applied here to the Saviour, as king in Zion, this means that in his kingdom he has the absolute control in regard to tire admission or exclusion of anyone. 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.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 366

Verse 7

The word Philadelphia signifies brotherly love, and expresses the position and spirit of those who received the Advent message up to the autumn of 1844. As they came out of the sectarian churches, they left party names and party feelings behind; and every heart beat in union, as they gave the alarm to the churches and to the world, and pointed to the coming of the Son of man as the believer's true hope. Selfishness and covetousness were laid aside, and a spirit of consecration and sacrifice was cherished. The Spirit of God was with every true believer, and his praise upon every tongue. Those who were not in that movement knew nothing of the deep searching of heart, consecration of all to God, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, and pure, fervent love for one another, which true believers then enjoyed. Those who were in that movement are aware that language would fail to describe that holy, happy state.DAR 366.3

The Key of David. — A key is a symbol of power. The Son of God is the rightful heir to David's throne; and he is about to take to himself his great power, and to reign; hence he is represented as having the key of David. The throne of David, or of Christ, on which he is to reign, is included in the capital of his kingdom, the New Jerusalem, now above, but which is to be located on this earth, where he is to reign forever and ever. Revelation 21:1-5; Luke 1:32, 33.DAR 367.1

He that Openeth, and no Man Shutteth, etc. — To understand this language, it is necessary to look at Christ's position and work as connected with his ministry in the sanctuary, or true tabernacle above. Hebrews 8:2. A figure, or pattern, of this heavenly sanctuary once existed here upon earth in the sanctuary built by Moses. Exodus 25:8, 9; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 9:1, 21, 23, 24. The earthly building had two apartments, — the holy place and the most holy place. Exodus 26:33, 34. In the first apartment were the candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. In the second were the ark, which contained the tables of the covenant, or ten commandments, and the cherubim. Hebrews 9:1-5. In like manner the sanctuary in which Christ ministers in heaven has two apartments. Hebrews 9:24. (See also verses 8 and 12 and chapter 10:19, in each of which texts the words rendered holiest and holy place are plural in the original, and should be rendered holy places.) And as all things were made after their pattern, the heavenly sanctuary has also furniture similar to that of the worldly. For the antitype of the golden candlestick and altar of incense, in the first apartment, see Revelation 4:5; 8:3; and for the antitype of the ark of the covenant, with its ten commandments, see Revelation 11:19. In the worldly sanctuary the priests ministered. Exodus 28:41, 43; Hebrews 9:6, 7; 13:11; etc. The ministry of these priests was a shadow of the ministry of Christ in the sanctuary in heaven. Hebrews 8:4, 5. A complete round of service was performed in the earthly tabernacle once every year. Hebrews 9:7. But in the tabernacle above the service is performed once for all. Hebrews 7:27; 9:12. At the close of the yearly typical service, the high priest entered the second apartment, the most holy place of the sanctuary, to make an atonement; and this work is called the cleansing of the sanctuary. Leviticus 16:20, 30, 33; Ezekiel 45:18. When the ministry in the most holy place commenced, that in the holy place ceased; and no service was performed there so long as the priest was engaged in the most holy place. Leviticus 16:17. A similar opening and shutting, or change of ministration, must be accomplished by Christ when the time comes for the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. And the time did come for this service to commence at the close of the 2300 days, in 1844. To this event the opening and shutting mentioned in the text under consideration can appropriately apply, the opening being the opening of his ministration in the most holy place, and the shutting, its cessation in the first apartment, or holy place. (See exposition of the subject of the sanctuary and its cleansing, under Daniel 8:14.)DAR 367.2

Verse 9 probably applies to those who do not keep pace with the advancing light of truth, and who oppose those that do. Such shall yet be made to feel and confess that God loves those, who, not rejecting the past fulfilments of his word, nor stereotyping themselves in a creed, continue to advance in the knowledge of his truth.DAR 368.1

The Word of My Patience. — Says John, in Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Those who now live in patient, faithful obedience to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will be kept in the hour of temptation and peril just before us. (See chapter 13:13-17.)DAR 368.2

Behold, I Come Quickly. — The second coming of Christ is here again brought to view, and with more startling emphasis than in any of the preceding messages. The nearness of that event is here urged upon the attention of believers. The message applies to a period when that great event is impending; and in this we have most indubitable evidence of the prophetic nature of these messages. What is said of the first three churches contains no allusion to the second coming of Christ, from the fact that they do not cover a period during which that event could be Scripturally expected. But we come down to the Thyatiran church, beyond which only three comparatively brief stages of the church appear before the end, and, as though then the time had come when this great hope was just beginning to dawn upon the church, the mind is carried forward to it by a single allusion: “Hold fast till I come.” We come down to the next state of the church, the Sardis, the church which occupies a position still nearer that event, and the great proclamation is brought to view which was to herald it, and the duty of watching enjoined upon the church: “If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief.” We reach the Philadelphian church, still further down in the stream of time, and the nearness of the same great event then leads Him who “is holy and true” to utter the stirring declaration, “Behold, I come quickly.” How evident is it from all this that these churches occupy positions successively nearer the great day of the Lord, as in each succeeding one, and in a continually increasing ratio, this great event is made more and more prominent, and is more definitely and impressively urged upon the attention of the church. Here they see indeed the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25.DAR 369.1

Faithfulness Enjoined. — “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Not that by our faithfulness we are depriving any one else of a crown; but the verb rendered to take has a number of definitions, one of which is “to take away, snatch from, deprive of.” Hold fast that thou hast, that no man deprive thee of the crown of life. Let no one, and no thing, induce you to yield up the truth, or pervert you from the right ways of the Lord; for by so doing they will cause you to lose the reward.DAR 369.2

A Pillar in the Temple. — The overcomer in this address has the promise of being made a pillar in the temple of God, and going no more out. The temple here must denote the church; and the promise of being made a pillar therein is the strongest promise that could be given of a place of honor, permanence, and safety in the church, under the figure of a heavenly building. And when the time comes that this part of the promise is fulfilled, probation with the overcomer is past; he is fully established in the truth, and sealed. “He shall go no more out;” that is, there is no more danger of his falling away; he is the Lord's forever; his salvation is sure.DAR 370.1

But they are to have more than this. From the moment they overcome, and are sealed for heaven, they are labeled, if we may so express it, as belonging to God and Christ, and addressed to their destination, the New Jerusalem. They are to have written upon them the name of God, whose property they are, the name of the New Jerusalem, to which place they are going, not old Jerusalem, where some are vainly looking; and they have upon them the new name of Christ, by whose authority they are to receive everlasting life, and enter into the kingdom. Thus sealed and labeled, the saints of God are safe. No enemy will be able to prevent their reaching their destination, their glorious haven of rest, Jerusalem above.DAR 370.2

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The same Lord Jesus has the key of government and authority in and over the church. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; he opens a door of utterance to his ministers; he opens a door of entrance, opens the heart. He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish, who sleep away their day of grace; and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be. The church in Philadelphia is commended; yet with a gentle reproof. Although Christ accepts a little strength, yet believers must not rest satisfied in a little, but strive to grow in grace, to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Christ can discover this his favour to his people, so that their enemies shall be forced to acknowledge it. This, by the grace of Christ, will soften their enemies, and make them desire to be admitted into communion with his people. Christ promises preserving grace in the most trying times, as the reward of past faithfulness; To him that hath shall be given. Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace, shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation; and the same Divine grace that has made them fruitful in times of peace, will make them faithful in times of persecution. Christ promises a glorious reward to the victorious believer. He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; a monument of the free and powerful grace of God; a monument that shall never be defaced or removed. On this pillar shall be written the new name of Christ; by this will appear, under whom the believer fought the good fight, and came off victorious.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 62-4

“While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the advent people in the world, but could not find them—when a voice said to me, ‘Look again, and look a little higher.’ At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a glorious light which waved over the advent band, and they shouted, Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.” 1SM 62.1

Now follows the passage said to be in the original work, but not found in Experience and Views nor in Early Writings: 1SM 62.2

“It was just as impossible for them [those that gave up their faith in the ‘44 movement] to get on the path again and go to the city, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another.” 1SM 62.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 235

It was through Noah's consistent faith and works combined that condemned the world. He not only preached the present truth appropriate for that time, but he acted every sermon. Had he never lifted his voice in warning, his works, his holy character among the corrupt and ungodly would have been condemning sermons to the unbelieving and dissolute of that age. He bore himself with a Christlike patience and meekness under the provoking insults, taunts, and mockery. His voice was often heard in prayer to God for His power and help that he might do all the commandments of God. This was a condemning power to the unbelieving. TDG 235.2

But the time comes when the last appeal of Noah is made to the guilty race. He bids them yet once again heed the message of warning and find refuge in the ark. He stretches out his hands in supplication with voice full of sympathy. With quivering lip and tearful eye, he tells them his work is done, but the loud, coarse mocking and scoffs and insults more determined are heaped upon Noah. Enthusiast, fanatic, crazy, falls upon his ear. He bids them all farewell, he and his family enter the ark, and God shut the door. That door that shut Noah in, shut out the world. It was a shut door in Noah's time. And the Lord shut him in. Up to that time, God had opened a door whereby the inhabitants of the old world might find refuge if they believed the message sent to them from God. But that door was now shut and no man could open it. Probation was ended. TDG 235.3

The long forbearance of God had ceased, the figures in the books of God's reckoning had been accumulating, the cup of the unjust was full. Mercy then ceased and justice took the sword of vengeance.... TDG 235.4

There was a shut door in Noah's time. There was a shut door to the unbelievers in the destruction of Sodom, but an open door to Lot. There was a shut door to the inhabitants of Tyrus, a shut door to the inhabitants of Jerusalem ...who disbelieved, but an open door to the humble, the believing, those who obeyed God. Thus it will be at the end of time.—Manuscript 17, August 14, 1885, “Shipboard Meditations.” TDG 235.5

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 113

And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6. The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us. It tells us of the power of prayer,—how the human voice may reach the ear of God, and our petitions find acceptance in the courts of heaven. By sin, earth was cut off from heaven, and alienated from its communion; but Jesus has connected it again with the sphere of glory. His love has encircled man, and reached the highest heaven. The light which fell from the open portals upon the head of our Saviour will fall upon us as we pray for help to resist temptation. The voice which spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased. DA 113.1

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Our Redeemer has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father. All may have a home in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare. “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; ... behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Revelation 3:7, 8. DA 113.2

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