The Lord Jesus spoke these four words -- "Behold, I come quickly!", three times in the Book of Revelation in the KJV Bible. Without a doubt, the context is the rapture -- the removal of His bride before God's judgment falls upon the unsuspecting world. What can we glean from these four words?
First, note the urgency Jesus is expressing. The NIV Bible renders the four words as 'Behold, I am coming soon!' -- a phrase more easily understood by modern readers. The nearness of His coming is painfully evident to those with eyes to see and ears to hear, for "the time is at hand." (Rev 1:3, 22:10) Jesus is likely to come within the next decade or two. For perspective, this is a very short time span since the Ascension two thousand years ago.
Let us therefore heed the admonition in James 5:7, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."
Second, Jesus spoke these four words specifically to a target audience. Since these four words appear only in the Book of Revelation (3:11, 22:7, 22:12) in the whole Bible, isn't it obvious Jesus was addressing the seven churches, warning them of the impending Apocalypse?
Yes and no. Yes, in general the Church as a whole is forewarned by the Lord judging from the content of the seven letters to the churches. No, it appears that Jesus is especially speaking to one church who heeds the warnings -- the church at Philadelphia!
What is the proof?
The four words -- "Behold, I come quickly!", were spoken by Jesus only to the church at Philadelphia (Rev 3:11)!
Are you surprised that only six New Testament scriptures contain both the words 'come' and 'quickly', and that all six are found in the Book of Revelation? Moreover, all are red-letter scriptures -- words that directly proceedeth out of the mouth of Jesus! Surely this is by design and it dovetails nicely with the fact that the Book of Revelation is the book on the Second Coming. These six scriptures are crucial for the end-time generation of believers as they speak of the coming of Jesus at the rapture. It behooves every end-time watcher to study them closely, for much is at stake. (The salvation of believers is not on the radar screen here.)
The first two of these six scriptures are instructive for all Christians although they concern only the churches at Ephesus and Pergamos. When juxtaposed, the two scriptures show an unmistakable common denominator.
Rev 2:5 (Ephesus)
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Rev 2:16 (Pergamos)
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
The words 'come' and 'quickly' appear in both scriptures in an identical phrase -- "or else I will come unto thee quickly". Coupled with the word 'repent', it doesn't appear Jesus was showing His approval of these two churches.
The third of the six scriptures concerns the church at Philadelphia: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Rev 3:11) This church is remarkable in one principal aspect -- Jesus promised to remove her before the Tribulation! The word 'repent' is absent only in the letters to these two churches -- Smyrna and Philadelphia. But only the church at Philadelphia is promised removal, i.e. rapture.
The church at Philadelphia is most representative of the bride of Christ! (This is not saying the other churches are not the bride of Christ.) The evidence is beyond dispute. We know the New Jerusalem is described as the bride, the Lamb's wife in Rev 21:9. But we also know Jesus is not going to marry a city, since He gave His life for the church -- His body! He did not die for a building, no matter how glorious. Without question, the church is the bride of Christ (Rev 19:7-8). Didn't He say He was going to prepare a place for the bride (John 14:2)? That place is the New Jerusalem -- the city for the bride.
The iron-clad evidence that the church at Philadelphia is most representative of the bride is this: The term 'new Jerusalem' only appears twice in Scripture -- once just mentioned in Rev 21, and the other occurrence is mentioned in the reward given to the church at Philadelphia in Rev 3:12 -- a most remarkable verse in Scripture!
This tells us the church at Philadelphia is very closely associated with the city for the bride. In fact, she will be an integral part of the New Jerusalem as pillars in the temple of the City of God and she will go no more out!
The Groom is going to write His name (new!) on the church at Philadelphia, an indication of ownership. The bride belongs to the Groom because He bought her with His blood. Jesus will also sign the Father's Name and the name of the New Jerusalem on the church at Philadelphia! What honor and privilege! The seal of approval rests assuredly on this church.
Jesus was intimate and personal in Rev 3:12. He said 'my God' four times -- the highest frequency this phrase is recorded in a single verse! This is a unique scripture with rare hidden pearls. (More can be said for sure.)
The church at Philadelphia is admonished to hold on to her crown and not let anyone deny her of it (Rev 3:11). Only one other church is promised crown -- the church at Symrna.
Symrna and Philadelphia stand apart from the other five churches. Both were not rebuked. Both were not asked to repent. Both were promised a crown. The differences between the two churches are also telling. The church at Symrna was not promised removal. To earn her crown she must remain faithful unto death. The church at Philadelphia was promised removal and all she needs to do is to hold fast to her crown without having to die a martyr's death!
Do you belong to the Philadelphia group? Do you wish to be included in this group? What must you do to be in this group? Is this a church of super saints light years beyond your reach?
The Lord Jesus must be thinking of this church when He allowed these beautifully inspired words to become scripture -- "Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse." (Song 4:9)
What is her X Factor?
Surprisingly it can be stated in a few words -- "thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Rev 3:8) This church hast kept the word of His patience, and therefore the Lord will keep her from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Rev 3:10)
Are these super saints for real? Do they even exist on Planet Earth?
They have only a little strength, but "hast kept the word". Many New Testament believers have grossly misunderstood law and grace. They feign humility by saying it is impossible to keep God's Word. Granted, we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5), but ultimately it is YOU who will have to DO the doing, with God's help. The church at Philadelphia proves that it is humanly possible to keep God's Word, or else one has to wrest (2 Pet 3:16) the scriptures (Rev 3:8, 3:10) to deny their plain meaning.
What is meant by keeping God's Word? It does not mean sinlessness as suggested by some. Don't be silly! The Apostle John roundly debunks this falsehood in 1 John 1:8.
The rejection of King Saul and God's choice of King David teaches us the meaning of keeping God's Word. Saul was told by Samuel, "But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, .... because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee." (1 Sam 13:14)
Was King David sinless? Hardly. Was he perfect? No. But his heart is perfect! (1 Kings 11:4) He is a man after God's own heart! Ponder this in your heart and you will receive light. Stop excusing your failure in keeping God's Word by saying it is humanly impossible.
1 John 1:6-7 is the acid test on whether you are keeping God's Word: Are you walking in the light? Each time you fail to keep God's Word, apply 1 John 1:9 to return back to fellowship with Him.
Now, fast forward to the last chapter of the Bible. There we find the last three of the six scriptures that contain the words 'come' and 'quickly'. Via these two words, the urgency Jesus is expressing reaches a crescendo in the last chapter of the Book of Revelation! This is further bolstered by the fact that the word 'come' appears a total of seven times in this chapter, unmatched by the other 21 chapters! This ought to tell us clearly what the Book of Revelation is all about -- the coming again of Jesus.
The fourth scripture, Rev 22:7, confirms the foregoing on keeping God's Word -- "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."
Doesn't this scripture describe to a "T" the church at Philadelphia who hast kept the word of His patience?
The church at Philadelphia looks forward to the day of judgment because she has boldness and rests perfect in His love (1 John 4:17). The fifth scripture is eagerly anticipated by her no doubt -- "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Rev 22:12)
Finally, we come to the sixth and last scripture, Rev 22:20, where the famous heart cry of the bride is heard -- "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
It is interesting to note that the Bridegroom spoke the word 'come' three times and the bride four times in Revelation chapter 22. Both are looking forward to their wedding with great anticipation and excitement!
It appears as history rushes headlong towards its climatic end, the bride is increasingly consumed with the vision of the Coming Prince. Towards the end, prior to the rapture, she will have made herself ready as evidenced in her unity with the Holy Spirit by that time, recorded in Rev 22:17 -- the only scripture in the Bible where the Spirit is mentioned together with the bride! In this scripture, both the Spirit and the bride say in unison, Come!
It is amazing that the last four of the six scriptures are primarily addressed to the bride, whom the church at Philadelphia is most representative.
As mentioned earlier, I am not saying the rest of the churches are not the bride of Christ. But the church at Philadelphia is most favored by the Lord and is exemplary as the bride of Christ. It appears Jesus is giving her a heads up, a friendly warning. The message appears to be: Don't let anyone deny you of your crown. Hold fast to that which you have. The blessings are yours to keep if you keep the words of prophecy contained in the Word of God (Rev 1:3).
Do you want the blessings that belong to the church at Philadelphia? If your answer is yes, then keep His words and do as He says. The choice is yours.
We shall end with one more scripture -- the seventh! We started by looking at this phrase, "Behold, I come quickly!", which appears three times in the Book of Revelation. Sensing its relevance and importance to the rapture, we extend our search by looking at six scriptures that contain the words 'come' and 'quickly'.
From these six scriptures, much is learned about the church at Philadelphia and her close identification with the bride of Christ. Suppose we drop the word 'quickly' and search for this shortened phrase, "Behold, I come". A new scripture that the search returns, provides equally compelling evidence that the church at Philadelphia is the primary target audience of Jesus' friendly warnings written in the Book of Revelation.
This new scripture is stamped with the word RAPTURE in bold letters -- "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." (Rev 16:15)
Is this scripture also primarily a rapture warning to the church at Philadelphia? On the surface it more appropriately describes two other churches -- Sardis and Laodicea.
The church at Sardis seems to be in view in Rev 16:15 because Jesus said to her, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." (Rev 3:3) This church is half dead (Rev 3:1) and not watchful (Rev 3:2), unlike the church at Philadelphia. Only a few saints in Sardis did not defile their garments (Rev 3:4) while all the church saints at Philadelphia put on their wedding garments, being the bride that she is.
The church at Laodicea seems to be in view in Rev 16:15 because this verse reminds us of her naked condition described in the letter addressed to her by Jesus. However, the subtle difference between Rev 16:15 and the conditions of the Laodiceans is that the Laodiceans did not even put on any garments at all as evidenced in Rev 3:17 -- "and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." They were wearing the Emperor's new clothes!
Rev 16:15 more appropriately describes the blessed church at Philadelphia as these words indicate, "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments." The church at Philadelphia is vigilant and has put on her wedding garment, unlike the other two churches.
Thus, it appears that the Lord issues a few friendly warnings in the Book of Revelation to the church at Philadelphia whose name means "brotherly love" or "friendly love". These warnings are recorded in the Book of Revelation in this order: On the eve of the Tribulation (Rev 3:11), prior to Armageddon (Rev 16:15), and at the closing chapter (Rev 22:7, 22:12, 22:20).
The stakes are high as this church may also be lulled into sleep and fail to watch like others, thereby forfeiting her reward!
The purpose of the Book of Revelation as stated in John's opening confirms the thesis of this article: The church at Philadelphia appears to benefit the most from the reading of "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him," (Rev 1:1) because she "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart".
This scripture speaks aptly of the church at Philadelphia -- "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." (Rev 1:3)
The church at Philadelphia hangs on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. She is paying attention, reading and hearing the words of prophecy in the Book of Revelation and keeping those things which are written therein.
Do likewise, doves, and be blessed!
Click here for response from Alan Trombetta.