Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the church in Philadelphia, the church in recovery (3:7-13). In Greek, Philadelphia means brotherly love. As a sign, the church in Philadelphia prefigures the proper church life recovered by the brothers who were raised up by the Lord in England in the early part of the nineteenth century. Just as the reformed church, prefigured by the church in Sardis, was a reaction to the apostate Catholic Church, prefigured by the church in Thyatira, so the church of brotherly love is a reaction to the dead reformed church. This reaction will continue as an anti-testimony to both apostate Catholicism and degraded Protestantism until the Lord comes back.
Verse 7 says, “These things says the holy One, the true One.” To the church of brotherly love, the Lord is “the holy One, the true One” by whom and with whom the recovered church can be holy, separated from the world, and true, faithful, to God.
To the recovered church, the Lord is also the One who has “the key of David” (v. 7), the key of the kingdom, with authority to open and to shut. Not many know the meaning of the term the key of David. According to Genesis 1, when God created man, He gave him dominion over all creatures. This indicates that, in God’s intention, man is to be the power representing God on earth. Due to the fall, however, man lost this power and has never fully recovered it. Man has not regained dominion on earth to represent God. In the lives of Adam, Abel, Enosh, Enoch, and Noah we do not see this power. Neither do we see it in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We do not see this power until God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, entered into the good land and built the temple. Apparently, the temple was built by Solomon; actually, it was built by David, for he was behind the building of the temple. Remember what is revealed in Genesis 1:26. God made man in His own image that he might express Him and with His dominion that he might represent Him. The temple is related to God’s image because, being God’s house, it is His expression. The temple was built in the city. The temple signifies God’s expression, and the city signifies God’s dominion. The image and dominion revealed in Genesis 1 are, to some extent at least, fulfilled in the temple and the city. In the temple we have God’s presence for His expression, and in the city we have God’s dominion. God’s king is in the city representing Him as he rules on earth.
This is a necessary background for understanding what the key of David is. The key held by David is the key of God’s entire dominion. God’s dominion includes the whole universe, especially mankind. This dominion has a key which is possessed by the person who fought the battle for the kingdom and who made preparations for the temple. The name of this person is David. David represented God in establishing God’s kingdom on earth. Hence, he has the key of God’s dominion in the universe. David, however, was just a type, not the reality. The real David is Christ, the greater David. He is the One who built God’s temple, the church, and established God’s kingdom. Therefore, in the church today, which is both a house and a kingdom, we have God’s expression and representation. As the greater David, Christ has built up the house of God, the real temple, and He has set up the kingdom of God, the dominion in which He exercises full authority to represent God. Thus, He holds the key of David. The key of David is something representing God to open the whole universe for God. This is the key of David held by Christ. This term signifies that Christ is the center of God’s economy. He is the One who expresses and represents God, the One who holds the key to open everything in God’s dominion.
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