All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
“Philadelphia” – (Gr. filadelfeeah – 5359)
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon:
Philadelphia = “brotherly love”
a city of Lydia in Asia Minor, situated near the eastern base of of Mount Tmolus, founded and named by the Pergamene king, Attalus II Philadelphus. After the death of Attalus III Philometor, 133 BC, it together with his entire kingdom came by his will under the jurisdiction of the Romans.
City of Philadelphia:
Alaşehir (Turkish pronunciation: [aˈɫaʃehiɾ]), in Antiquity and the Middle Ages known asPhiladelphia (Greek: Φιλαδέλφεια, i.e., “city of brotherly love”) is a town and district ofManisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. It is situated in the valley of the Kuzuçay (Cogamus in antiquity), at the foot of the Bozdağ Mountain (Mount Tmolus in antiquity). The town is connected to İzmir by a 105 km (65 mi) railway. The longtime mayor is Gökhan Karaçoban.
Vincent’s Word Studies:
Seventy-five miles southeast of Sardis. The second city in Lydia. The adjacent region was celebrated as a wine-growing district, and its coins bore the head of Bacchus and the figure of a Bacchante. The population included Jews, Jewish Christians, and converts from heathenism. It suffered from frequent earthquakes. Of all the seven churches it had the longest duration of prosperity as a Christian city. It still exists as a Turkish town under the name of Allah Shehr, City of God. The situation is picturesque, the town being built on four or five hills, and well supplied with trees, and the climate is healthful. One of the mosques is believed by the native Christians to have been the gathering-place of the church addressed in Revelation. “One solitary pillar of high antiquity has been often noticed as reminding beholders of the words in Revelation 3:12: ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.’”
The very name Philadelphia arouses our interest, as one of the great modern cities of the United States bears the same title. “Here is the seventh and last occurrence of this word in the New Testament, the other passages where it is found being: Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22; and 2 Peter 1:7 (twice).
Philadelphia is supposed to have been founded between 189 B.C. and 138 B.C., either by Eumenes, king of Pergamum, or his younger brother Attalus; but, “one thing is certain: its name commemorates the loyalty of Attalus to his brother.” The word means “lover of his brother,” a fact evident in these events: (1) a false rumor of Eumenes’ assassination led to Attalus’ acceptance of the crown, which he relinquished when his brother returned to Greece, and (2) Attalus resisted Roman encouragement to overthrow Eumenes and become king.
The great earthquake which devastated twelve cities in the very district where these seven churches lay (17 A.D.) was particularly destructive in Philadelphia, due to its being nearest the fault line. For an extended period afterwards, there continued to be many more earthquakes, especially at Philadelphia, which was called the “city of many earthquakes.” Some of the citizens refused any longer to live within the city proper.
Philadelphia was also the city that tried to change its name. After Tiberius’ help in rebuilding after the earthquake, they tried to name their city “Neocaesarea,” meaning “New Caesar,” but the name never became established. They tried again in the reign of Vespasian to name the place “Flavia” after the name of his dynasty; but this too failed to catch on; thus the city twice tried to name themselves after their “god,” but failed! It is difficult indeed not to see a consciousness of this in Revelation 3:12. “Still another name of the city was Decapolis, because it was considered one of the ten cities of the plain. And in addition to all these names, it sometimes bore the title of Little Athens.” There were many temples and centers of learning in the city. The grape industry in the area resulted in the practice of rites connected with the pagan god Bacchus (Dionysus). The present name of the place is Ala Sheher, “the Red City,” so named, not from the bloodshed there, but for the volcanic earth of its location.
Up until the current century, Philadelphia was nominally Christian, with about one fourth of its population professing Christianity, leading to the comment of Gibbon that, “Among the churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect, a column in a scene of ruins, a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same.” Still, Philadelphia suffered the terrible subjection under the Turks who followed Tamerlane, who had subjected the city in 1403, and is said to have “built about it a wall of the corpses of his victims.” “Of whatever remnant of Christianity may be left in Philadelphia today, there are no statistics.” Following the edict of the League of Nations in 1922, practically all the Christians were deported.
Has a little power
Kept His word
Did not deny His name
He loves them
Hold fast what you have
False Jews will worship before their feet
He will keep them from the hour of trial upon the earth
Whoever overcomes will be made a pillar in the temple of God
The name of God and Christ’s new name will be written upon them.
The name “New Jerusalem” will be written upon them
Revelation 3:7-13 (Philadelphia)
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth:
“to the angel”
(See commentary Rev 1:20 and Rev 2:1 – Ephesus)
“he that is holy”
Jesus is the “holy One of Israel” of the Old Testament (Ps 71:72; Is 1:4; Jer 50:29), and is thus, God. He is sinless and pure and full of light, in whom is no darkness, completely separate from sin and evil. While He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, He does not cause the sin and evil in the world — neither directly nor indirectly. He cannot do so without violating who He is in all His glorious and holy attributes.
He requires holiness of us because that is who He is Himself (1 Pe 1:16). As His children, we cannot be the cause of sin in any way, shape, or form – neither directly nor indirectly. To do so would make us guilty of sin. Likewise with God, whom we are to be a reflection of.
Accordingly, the book of Revelation reveals the heart and character of God. What we see in this book is His hatred for sin and evil and every false way. What we see in this book is His judgment against those who are characterized by these things. It’s contrary to God’s character and to sound thinking, that He on the one hand condemns sin and evil, while bringing it to pass on the other. Sound doctrine and sound thinking requires God to fulfill His plan and purpose in the sphere of man’s free will. Doing so reveals a mighty God beyond our comprehension — far greater than the way exhaustive determinism characterizes Him.
“he that is true”
He is the true God as the Second Person of the Trinity. There is no falseness or false way in Him. Jesus embodies all truth, for He is truth (John 14:6). What He speaks is the absolute truth, and thus, everything He says in this book is the truth and will surely come to pass.
“he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth”
Quoted from Isaiah 22:22:
20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: 21 and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a throne of glory to his father’s house. 24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, every small vessel, from the cups even to all the flagons. (Isaiah 22:20-23)
It’s not necessary to give a full commentary on this chapter in Isaiah. For our purposes it’s enough to know that “Eliakim” (who replaced Shebna) is most certainly a type of Christ here, from which He Himself quotes. Notice the description of this man:
“I will will clothe him with thy robe”
“I will commit thy government into his hand”
“he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the house of Judah”
“the key of the house of David I will lay upon his shoulder”
“he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open”
“he shall be for a throne of glory to his father’s house”
“they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house,
Isaiah is a book full of prophecies about Christ. This particular passage most surely alludes to Him. There shouldn’t be any doubt that this pictures Christ ruling over His people, the Church, in the New Covenant. The fact that Jesus quotes this passage in the context of the seven churches is clear evidence of that. In the Isaiah passage, it’s in the context of Judah and Jerusalem (Israel), but Jesus brings it forward and applies it to Himself and to His Church.
This further confirms the doctrine that Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in Christ and His Church. I went into great detail about this in the preliminary series leading up to this commentary (“Israel and the Church”).
“he that hath the key of David”
In the Isaiah passage, the LORD gave this key to Eliakim. He who has the key, controls the opening and closing of doors. Thus it represents power and authority. In the case of Eliakim, he must have been given a position of authority that was second only to the king. Like Joseph under Pharaoh, Eliakim governed the full affairs of the kingdom. Likewise, Jesus has the Key of David, who has full authority over His Kingdom, under His Father.
The very mention of David, points to Kingship. Here Jesus alludes to His kingship as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19;16). He does so in the context of the Church. Again, this further confirms the doctrine that the true Kingdom of Christ is, in fact, the Church. This too, I covered in great detail in the preparatory series leading up to this commentary (“Thy Kingdom Now”).
“he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth”
This refers to the power and authority of Christ as Ruler of the universe, and as King over His Kingdom and His people. As King over His Kingdom, and Savior of His people, He is the One who opens the door of His Kingdom to sinners. He is the One who shuts the door on sinners. He’s the One through whom people must come if they are to gain entrance into His Church and Kingdom. That, of course, is through faith in Him. Therefore, the means of salvation is the key that Jesus holds.
Jesus may be alluding to verse 9, about the false Jews. Apparently, the Jesus-rejecting Jews were giving the true Jews – spiritual Jews in Christ (both believing Jews and Gentiles), a difficult time. Perhaps they were preventing believing Jews from entering the synagogue. However, I find it difficult to believe they would have even wanted to do that, unless it was for the purpose of sharing the message of the Messiah with them.
At any rate, apparently these unbelieving Jews were speaking against Jesus and the faith of believing Jews. Perhaps the Kingdom of Christ (Messiah) was a topic of discussion between them and causing the unbelieving Jews to scoff at what the believing Jews revealed about it. Perhaps the unbelieving Jews made the claim that the believing Jews had no right to the Kingdom. Here Jesus makes it known that He is the One who has the key to the Kingdom, and it is the unbelieving Jews who are locked out, and that it’s the believing Jews (and believing Gentiles) who have been let in.
8 I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name.
“I know thy works”
Jesus has only positive things to say about this church, so the works that He sees are pleasing to Him.
“(behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut)”
In the context of verse seven, Jesus is referring to the open door to His Church and Kingdom, that no one can shut the door of salvation on them. Again, in context, I believe Jesus is alluding to the unbelieving Jews who were apparently speaking against the Christians faith in Jesus and making claims that they would not be given an open door to the Kingdom of the Messiah. That’s a door they did not enter themselves, and that is a door that they could not close on the Christians in Philadelphia.
“thou hast a little power”
When one first reads this, it sounds like Jesus is saying something negative about this church, that they were lacking in spiritual vigor and faith. However, given the statements before and after this statement, and everything else Jesus says about this church, the evidence shows that that is not the case at all. I believe Jesus was referring to them being little in number, or little in status, or both. For example, Paul said, “For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble…..” (1 Cor 1:26). This may have been true of this church. Being small in number, and perhaps status, they were up against a lot in regard to those who opposed them. However, they remained steadfast in faithfully following their Lord and King.
“didst keep my word”
No matter what they were up against, no matter what they were dealing with, they were faithful to the word of Christ. They clung to His words and to the words of the Christian faith. They remained strong doctrinally. They didn’t allow false teaching to get into their church, and they walked in obedience to the commandments of His Word.
I’ve always thought that “Philadelphia Bible Church” would be a great name for a church, even if it’s not in the city of Philadelphia. It’s an honorable name to have, and an honorable name to live up to.
“didst not deny my name”
As with the word of Christ, they remained faithful to the name of Christ. They were not ashamed to be identified with Him. No matter how great the pressure may have been, they continued to profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior and King. It reminds one of Antipas, the faithful witness for Christ (Rev 2:13). What an honor to be mentioned by name, and that 2000 years later, this man is still being recognized by Jesus as being faithful to the end. May that be true of all of us who profess His name. We will be rewarded for our faithfulness. When that time comes, we will know full well that it was all worth it.
9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
In regard to these false Jews, see commentary on Rev 2:9.
“I will make them to come and worship before thy feet”
This obviously does not mean to worship in the same manner in which we worship God. That type of worship is reserved for Him alone. “Before thy feet,” speaks of a total humbling of themselves before these faithful Christians, whom they once condemned and mocked in their sinful pride. It speaks of giving them the honor and respect that is due them as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they rejected as their Messiah. It’s an acknowledgment that they were wrong about them, and that they themselves were the ones who were wrong. It’s giving honor where honor is due, and confessing sin and unbelief where it is due.
The question is, when will this take place? I believe that it will take place at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15), where they will stand before Christ, not as their Messiah, but as their Judge. They will then give an account of their lives. How they treated these faithful believers and how they rejected Jesus, will be revisited. I believe they will then acknowledge them as the true people of God. They will then know that Jesus “loved” these Philadelphia Christians, and that they will enjoy His love for all eternity — while they themselves are “cast into the lake of fire.” What is said about the unbelieving Jews then, still applies to the unbelieving Jews of today.
10 Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
“word of my patience”
I believe this refers to Christ’s own “patience” (steadfastness or perseverance). He endured the suffering of the cross for the “word” (message) that He proclaimed. Likewise, these Philadelphia Christians were commended by Jesus for their patient endurance in their own situation. They were standing firm in their faith as they proclaimed the message of Christ as His followers (vs. 8).
“I also will keep thee from the hour of trial”
This promise is for all believers who endure in their faith.
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon:
“keep/kept” (Gr. tereo – 5083)
To attend to carefully, to take care of, to guard.
When Jesus says that they (we) will be “kept” from the hour of trial, He does not mean that He will take them out of it. He means that He will attend to them carefully, He will take care of them, He will guard them. In other words, in the midst of trial and tribulation, He will be there for those who follow Him, giving the grace and strength needed to endure whatever persecution or suffering or trials that come their (our) way.
“to try them”
Christians and non-Christians will be “tried” (tested), and even now are being tried. Sinners are being tried and tested in regard to the truth and light that God reveals, and their response to the light and truth that is in Christ is being duly noted — while Christians are being tried and tested regarding their faith, to reveal the true nature of it. Again, Jesus provides the grace and strength that we need to remain faithful in the midst of trials.
Since these Philadelphia believers remained faithful to Jesus and His “word,” He said that He would keep them from the “hour of trial” that would come upon the “whole world.” Premillennialists believe that the hour of trial refers to the “great tribulation,” which they insist is the last seven years prior to the return of Christ and the “millennial kingdom.” However, even though the early Church suffered severe persecution, in harmony with everything we’ve learned about the Church and the Kingdom, I believe the “hour of trial” refers to the entire Church age, up to the time Jesus returns. More specifically, as it related to these believers at that time, it referred to the beginning of it, which continues until Jesus comes back. The hour of trial is in regard to Christ and His message to a world filled with tribulation (Jn 16:33). While the hour of trial refers to the entire Church period, it’s also specific to those experiencing it. In other words, it’s an hour of trial for everyone who comes into the world. Their whole life is an hour of trial, which tests the hearts and lives of people in regard to Christ and His message to the world. It answers the questions:
“What will the people of the world do in regard to the Lord Jesus Christ and the message of His cross (1 Cor 1:18)? How will they respond to the difficulties of life? Will they seek refuge in God through His Son? Or will they blame God for their difficulties? What will God’s people do in the midst of persecution and suffering?”
To limit this to a mere seven years, is to ignore the obvious. Who can deny that the world is, and always has been, a place of “tribulation,” just as Jesus Himself said (John 16:33). This is especially true in countries that are very poor, and in countries where the persecution of Christians is severe. With the rise of ISIS in our day and getting stronger, many are experiencing unimaginable tribulation.
While I believe this verse refers to the whole Church period, I do agree with Premillennialists that the world will get worse and worse, as the book of Revelation reveals.
Regarding the “great tribulation,” of Premillennialism, here is Coffman Commentaries on Rev 7:14:
14 And I say unto him, My lord, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they that come of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
These are they that came out of the great tribulation … This verse is the principal proof-text for sponsors of the Great Tribulation theory; but the words “they that came are translated from the present middle participle, meaning they continue to come.” Bruce translated this, “These are the comers. This positively identifies the “coming” of these white-robed saints w dispensation. “The whole history of the church is a time of tribulation. “The Great Ordeal (tribulation) is a prolonged process, which from John’s temporal standpoint was partly past and partly future.” Right here is the key to Revelation 1:19. Many of the scenes in Revelation mingle visions of things past, present, and future simultaneously. Any neat little scheme of making one section of Revelation past, another present, and yet another future, collapses in a careful understanding of the text. We agree with Beckwith that, “There is nothing here which points to any one particular distress.”
Therefore, to be “kept from the hour of trial,” can’t possibly mean that Christians will be kept from experiencing tribulations in the world, no matter what time period we’re talking about. In light of what Christians have gone through throughout history, and what Christians are going through around the world today, it would be senseless to insist that this means that Christians would be spared from a so-called seven year tribulation period (or 3.5 years) via rapture — as Dispensational Premillennialism teaches. When one considers all that Christians have gone through throughout the centuries, it makes the idea of a “rapture” of deliverance from seven years tribulation sound all the more ridiculous — besides the fact that the Bible simply doesn’t teach it. What it does teach is, that the rapture and resurrection occur at the same time, which is at the time of Christ’s return. I address this subject at great length in the series leading up to this commentary, in “Thy Kingdom Now” (1 Corinthians 15).
I will also keep thee from the hour of trial … This figures prominently in the theories of millennialists, who take the passage as emphasizing that Christians shall be delivered from not through the great trial, “implying the rapture of the church before the time referred to as “the great tribulation.” “The thrust of the verse is against this interpretation. It was precisely because the church was faithful in time of trial that Christ in turn will be faithful to them.” This view of the passage harmonizes with the great high-priestly prayer of Jesus who did not pray that the Father would take his disciples “out of the world” (John 17:15), but that they would be faithful in the world. Furthermore, the promise of Luke 21:17 is explanatory of what is meant here. What Christ promised is safety through trials, not exemption from trials. “There is no promise in Revelation that God’s people shall escape suffering and death, but there is the promise that no harm can come to their souls.”
11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.
“I come quickly”
As already discussed, I believe verse 10 refers to the full duration of the Church period up to return of Christ. What Jesus says next strongly confirms that. It’s not a coincidence that His mention of the “hour of trial” that is to “come upon the whole world,” is followed by His statement, “I come quickly” — for that is precisely what He will do at the end of the world’s history, at the end of the “hour of trial.” Keep in mind that He is addressing them, that they will be kept from the “hour of trial,” their own hour of trial as part of the whole. Then for Jesus to say that He will “come quickly,” indicates that it will be at the end of that time of trial, which is the whole Church period. In my opinion, this goes a long way in removing any reasonable doubt that this book is about the whole duration of the Church age.
In what sense does Jesus “come quickly?” When Jesus returns it will be like a flash of lightning, as He said in Matthew 24:27. Lightning comes quickly, and it’s visible for a long ways off. That’s the way it will be when Jesus comes back. It will be fast and it will be seen by all (Rev 1:7).
“hold fast that which thou hast”
Jesus already commended them for remaining faithful to His word and to their faith in Him. So He is now instructing them to hang on to it, to endure throughout the rest of their lives. If they did, their “crown” would not be taken away:
“that no one take thy crown”
I believe Jesus is referring to the same crown that He mentions in Rev 2:10, which is the “crown of life,” which of course, refers to our salvation (Please see commentary on Rev 2:8-11). When we cross over into eternity, after living a life of faith, then we’re given the crown of life that no one can take away from us. Our salvation is both a present possession and an eternal possession — one that depends on an enduring faith. At the end of a life of faithfulness – which is the outward evidence of true faith – then we will be given the crown of life that no one can take away from us. It’s ours for all eternity.
12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.
“He that overcometh”
Refers to remaining firm in the faith, not allowing anything to lead them (us) away from the truth that is in Christ. That involves staying true to the sound doctrine of the Christian faith. Those who do, will be made a:
“pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more”
A “pillar” is a permanent and immovable support. It holds up the building. In the New Testament, the temple of God is the Church (2 Cor 6:16), the corporate body of Christ — which includes Heaven (Rev 11:19; 14:17). Also, Individually, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) as part of the whole. Thus I believe Jesus is saying that those who overcome will be made a permanent fixture in His Kingdom, “and shall go out from there no more.” Meaning, it’s a done deal for those who pass from this life into the presence of the Lord. No longer will there be a possibility of slipping away in our faith or being led astray by false teachers.
It’s also important to note that in the Eternal Kingdom, the “Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple” (Rev 21:22). This speaks of the oneness that we as the people of God (the Church) have with the Father and Son and Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19). He dwells in us and among us, therefore He and we are the holy and eternal temple. Thus in Rev 21:22, John is describing the relationship that God has with His people, both now and throughout eternity. The physical OT temple gives way to the spiritual temple in Christ, and it continues in the Eternal Kingdom. It’s a continuous temple and a continuous kingdom.
“and I will write upon him the name of my God”
We will be forever identified with Almighty God. We will always be marked as the glorified children of God.
“and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God”
We will forever be identified as the New Jerusalem, the city of God, which is the Church, which is in the Eternal Kingdom:
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:1-2)
9 And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were laden with the seven last plagues; and he spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God: her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal: 12 having a wall great and high; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (Rev 21:9-12)
The Apostle Paul, too, refers to the “Jerusalem that is above” in Galatians 4:26, talking about this same New Jerusalem.
Also the writer of Hebrews:
22 but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (He 12:22-23)
When you compare all these passages together, there’s absolutely no doubt that the New Jerusalem is the glorious Church of Christ, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev 19:6-9; 21:2,9). Those who overcome, that is, those who endure in their faith throughout their life, will forever have this identification.
Note that the name Jesus writes upon us individually, is a corporate name, not an individual name, In other words, the name we’re given is “the city of my God, the new Jerusalem.” Also written upon us is the name of Christ, who is the Head of the Church (Eph 5:23). This supports Corporate Election, that election is not of individuals, but is the election of the corporate people of God, of whom Jesus is Head. In other words, as individuals our election is in Christ and in the corporate body of Christ, the Church. It’s only as we are in Christ and in His Church that we have our election. Election does not determine that we will spend eternity in God’s presence, but is, rather, an identification that we have individually as part of the Elect body of Christ, the Church.
“and mine own new name”
As I’ve suggested, a name identifies a person — who they are or what they are. Jesus is the Son of God, the Second person of the Trinity, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Creator and Ruler of the universe. So then, what new name could He possibly have? The way it’s worded, it sounds like Jesus has this new name now. If you take another look at the titles of Christ that I just listed, you will notice that there is one obviously missing, which is: Saviour. I don’t believe that is a title or name that Jesus has always had. He has always been Lord, but not always Saviour. It was Christ the Lord who died for our sins, who then became our Savior. True, God is not bound by time. And in that sense, Jesus has always been Savior. But it was not actualized until He actually came to earth and carried out His Father’s plan of salvation for the world. In other words, in the sense that Jesus has always been Savior, He still had to come to earth and pay the price for our salvation to make it so. Therefore, I believe it was the fulfillment of what His Father chose Him to do that I believe is in view in this verse. His “new name” of Savior was given to Him upon the fulfillment of His sacrifice. However, while I think “Savior” makes good biblical sense, no one can be absolutely certain what this new name actually is.
If “Savior,” is the “new name” Jesus was referring to, I believe He’s saying that throughout eternity we will be identified with Him as our Savior, who saved us from the penalty of sin and opened the door of the Heaven to us.
“which cometh down out of heaven from my God”
This is a reference to what John writes in Revelation 21:1-2:
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:1-2)
(Please see commentary on this passage)
This is a view of those in Heaven coming into their new dwelling place, the Eternal Kingdom of the “new heaven and new earth,” where they (we) will be forever with the Lord. Heaven continues, but it continues in the New Earth — the Eternal Kingdom of God.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
(See commentary on Rev 2:7 – Ephesus)