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Church at Philadelphia, don't let anyone take your Crown of Life

Eric Summers

Revelation 3:11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.

Even after Jesus has given the members of His faithful Philadelphia church praise and no condemnation He gives a clear warning in this verse that His most faithful saints must understand so that they will not fail Him and fall from being His disciples. The word "take" implies that it is possible that someone can actually remove the Crown of Life from a faithful individual.

The Crown of Life is related to having their names remain in the Book of Life:

Revelation 3:5   He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

This Scripture confirms that overcoming Christians will not have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. It also confirms that Christians who are not overcomers will have their names blotted out of the Book of Life.  This scripture establishes that continuing to have good works that glorify God and that overcoming their spiritual deficiencies will insure that their names will remain in the Book of Life and that they will retain their Crowns of Life.  Read Revelation Chapter two and three which lists the spiritual weaknesses that the various churches need to remove from their lives.

Here are some of the sins that a Philadelphia Christian can commit and possibly lose their Crown of Life:

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

If a once faithful believer falls by committing sins and not confessing them to God, he will not be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture; he will be called upon to endure severe testing by Antichrist for the first half of the Tribulation.  Do you see why I have written this warning to you, the most faithful of Christ's believers: the Church at Philadelphia? 

I'm sorry to say but in the last days before Jesus' return there will be some Philadelphia Christians that are currently very faithful to Jesus that will fall and lose their Crowns of Life.  Otherwise, Jesus would not have given the Church at Philadelphia this warning. 

Being a Disciple of Christ

Luke 9:23 And He said unto all, If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

This verse is a succinct definition for becoming a disciple of Jesus.  With God's help a disciple will decide that he will deny the sinful nature that all believers have and then say no to his fallen human nature and obey the commands of Jesus given in the Holy Bible. When these two things happen, Jesus counts him as a disciple of His.  Note that this repentance must be done daily.  If we get on our knees and:

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is just and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Then we will be free of them and then should present ourselves to God for His service, avoid evil and glorify Him for the rest of our lives.  Note that God will forgive any sin that you confess to Him; nothing is excluded.  Our time on this earth should then be used to accomplish any good works that God prepares for us to accomplish:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

These good works could include prayer, praise, contributing to local or foreign mission work, Bible study, obeying the scripture, fellowship with God and other believers, avoiding sin, praying for the nation of Israel, witnessing to others and watching for Jesus' return.

The Destruction of Damascus and the First Fruits Rapture

Hosea 11:8-9 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? [how] shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? [how] shall I set thee as Zeboiim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together.  I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath.

Ephraim was a son of Joseph, the son of Jacob.  On his death bed Jacob blessed Ephraim as if he were one of his own sons 
(Genesis chapter 48) and his descendants were given territory in the promised land of Canaan after Israel escaped from Egypt about 400 years later.  In this verse God shows his love for the tribe of Ephraim and the nation of Israel even though both have been mainly unfaithful to Him in the Old Testament era. 

Isaiah 17:3 And the fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith Jehovah of hosts.

This is a very important verse for understanding the timing for the First Fruits Rapture.  I believe that Ephraim in this verse represents the current nation of Israel in the latter days of the Church Age.  The fortress are those Christians that have supported and prayed for the nation of Israel over the years since it's formation in 1948.  The fortress ceasing from supporting Israel means that the fortress will no longer exist on the earth.  I believe that this alludes to the First Fruits Rapture which will take place just before the beginning of the Tribulation, most likely on the day of Pentecost that somewhat later follows Damascus' destruction.  An explanation of Isaiah 17: the destruction of Damascus and the First Fruits Rapture are detailed in: The Burden of Damascus.

Here are the events that will lead up to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth to take His most faithful believers, the Church at Philadelphia, to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture:
  • Syria initiates a major attack upon Israel
  • Israel destroys Damascus, Syria
  • The sounding of the Midnight Cry: Jesus will shortly return
  • Jesus returns and addresses the four end time churches regarding their faithfulness to Him
  • He praises the the Home or Bible Church: the Philadelphia Church for their faithfulness to Him.  Jesus tells the Protestant (Sardis), Catholic (Thyatira) and large TV or Mega Church (Laodicea) that they have largely been unfaithful to Him.  He tells them that He will leave them behind to be tested for the first half of the Tribulation. 
  • Jesus uses the Church at Philadelphia to teach those Christians left behind the message of repentance and becoming a disciple of His, overcoming persecution, and to be watching for His return
  • The Church at Philadelphia is taken to Heaven via the First Fruits Rapture.  I believe that this will happen on the Day of Pentecost following the destruction of Damascus.  This is the removal of the fortress from Ephraim, i.e., the removal of the supporter of Israel.
  • Shortly after this the Tribulation begins
Repentance should be Today

For the Philadelphia Christian, repentance should continue now because we are not told in scripture how many days will transpire between the destruction of Damascus and the return of Jesus Christ.  It could be  the very next day, or several months: we just don't know.  Because of this uncertainty, repentance should be undertaken by all Christians today.  If Jesus returns before a Christian repents, it will then be too late to escape the Tribulation.   Read the Repentance and How to Crucify Self articles that discuss becoming a disciple of Jesus.  Repentance is not just a one time action that Christians should undertake: note the word "daily" Jesus commands in Luke 9:23.

The repentance suggested above is for any Christian, not just for a Philadelphia Christian.  If you repent today, obey God, do good works that glorify God and watch for Jesus' return, you will become a member of the Church of Philadelphia and
will be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture.