I’ve always been fascinated by the letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3. These letters served as direct messages to seven local city churches at around 65 A.D., when Revelation was written. God told John (Yochanon) to send these messages directly to the seven churches (Rev 1:11). Imagine getting a letter delivered to your church only several years after your churches’ inception, which basically states exactly what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and how to “overcome” the church or blessings for individuals “overcoming” the church. I’m sure these letters “shook the tree” of the establishment at that time.
It is also commonly understood that the seven churches also link to seven great churches, or church forces throughout time. For example, the church at Ephesus is typically seen as the early church. God likes their early deeds and tells them to “repent” for they have “lost their first love,” or they have strayed as a church from loving God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. The churches as Thyatira and Sardis are often equated with the Catholic and Protestant churches, respectively. Please GOOGLE if you are interested.
The last two churches listed are Philadelphia and Laodicea. God has nothing but good things to say about Philadelphia and a scathing message for Laodicea. However, one of the greatest blessing is promised to those who overcome Laodicea. “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev 3:21-22).
So what is the Laodicean church and what does it mean to overcome it? I have heard churches state that they are not spiritually dead, or Laodicean, because they fervently believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. However, Jesus (Yeshua) stated in Matthew 7:21 that “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” So, is it true that a firm trust in Jesus prohibits a church from being Laodicean? Perhaps there is a key to our understanding hidden in letter to the church that we are striving to be?
This key is the key of David! The letter to the church of Philadelphia defines the Philadelphian church as- “He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens.” Of course Jesus Christ is the messiah out of the line of David, but does having identification with the savior equate to holding the “key of David?” How can we be sure? Why doesn’t the text state “Key of Jesus?”
In fact, others have alluded to David as well. In fact the apostle Matthew (Mattiyahu) provided the Messiah’s geneology out of the line of David. Paul (Shaul) states in 2 Timothy 2:8 “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, decendent of David, according to my gospel.” But why even mention David? David lived about a thousand years earlier!
Perhaps the truth can be found in the character of David. David is described as a man after God’s own heart. He was constantly consuming his mind with heavenly things and not preoccupied with this world or his current situation. David loved God’s instructions (Torah) foremost in his life. Psalm 119 shows his passionate pursuit of God through both obedience of God’s instructions (Torah) and the Hebrew Aleph Beit. This is an acrostic psalm that goes through each letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order, 8 verses at a time.
The word for David in Hebrew is written as three letters- Dalet-Vav-Dalet. The meaning of the Hebrew letter Dalet is doorpost, humility, or poverty. The meaning of Vav is what joins heaven and earth. So, the meaning of King David’s name can be seen as the one who connects the humble and poor in spirit to our Father in heaven. He did this through his reign on earth as a humble servant. He made plenty of mistakes (case in point Bathsheba), but David honored God and focused on God’s statutes. He was insistent on striving for the heart of God.
So the question is- does your church have the “Key of David?” Does your church seek to uphold God’s instruction manual for life (Torah) and encourage participants to seek and live by this wisdom? If yes, then God will certainly bless you in accordance with His message to the Church of Philadelphia (Rev 3). If God’s instructions are not upheld at your church or place of fellowship, then you should think about how to “overcome” your current church. The goal is to be seen as an acceptable Bride of Christ at the end of days. Overcoming the church will involve repentance (see letters to all the churches). The word for repentance in Hebrew (Teshuvah) indicates a turning away from the sinful ways and a turning toward what is holy and true- God’s ways. Are we prepared to make this turning away and accept God’s whole book – His Savior and His instructions. If so, we will have Shalom (inner peace to the fullest extent).