The Philadelphian church is that church composed of born again Spirit filled believers whose sins have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ the Savior of mankind. This is the church that Christ commends and He works through them, His beloved saints, for His glory. This body of believers has been extant throughout the ages, sometimes miniscule in number, refusing to compromise, desiring to glorify their God. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were such men who refused to defile themselves with the portion allotted to them from the king’s delicacies and God was with them. Since these young men determined to honor their God, God honored them by giving them wisdom and good success in the land of their exile. He used them mightily in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, a pagan king who ruled the world during their time.
19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore the served before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were all in his realm. Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. Daniel 1:19-21
God performed mighty miracles on the behalf of these his servants and answered their prayers in awesome ways. There are two examples of God’s deliverance of these his servants that are so amazing and should be a great encouragement to us to trust, obey and honor our God no matter what. These two instances from the book of Daniel show the faithfulness of these servants of the Most High God and His response to rescue and honor them in the sight of pagan kings.
King Nebuchadnezzar erected an enormous golden image in the plain of Dura in Babylon and commanded all to fall down and worship this idol whenever the ritual music was played under penalty of death in the fiery furnace if worship of the idol was refused. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah did refuse to worship the idol and word was brought to the king of their defiance. The king was furious when he learned that these three men would not worship the idol and ordered them to be brought to him to give an account of themselves to him.
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then king Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!” Daniel 3:13-28
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were the Babylonian names given to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Those names were meant to glorify the Babylonian gods and bring about their assimilation into the Babylonian culture. These men who were faithful to their God had other ideas and God protected them and glorified His servants through their rescue from the fire by Jesus Chris. Those who determine to stay true to their God and King, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be honored and preserved by His deliverance. Jesus Christ will bless them before their enemies, and those who oppose them will admit that their God is God and mighty to deliver.
Daniel was protected from destruction when the Babylonian kingdom was brought under the power of the Medes and Persians. King Darius appointed Daniel as one of three governors in the realm to whom his satraps were to give an account. These men, the satraps and other governors, despised Daniel and sought by intrigued to have him destroyed. As a pretense the set the king to decree that no one could pray to anyone but him for thirty days, to use Daniel’s devotion to God as a means of his destruction. Unwittingly, King Darius agreed to the decree, signed it, not thinking how this might affect Daniel, whom he highly esteemed. Because Daniel refused to cower and openly prayed to His God, he was thrown into the lion’s den for his destruction. The king had sought vainly for a means to deliver Daniel from this judgment, but the law of the Medes and Persians did not allow for decrees signed by the king to be overturned.
16 So they king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. 18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in His God. Daniel 6:16-23
Daniel didn’t fear the king’s decree, he feared his God, and was committed to honoring His God no matter what happened, because he believed in and trusted his God for his life. Jesus Christ promises to honor His saints with His grace and strength at all times. Many times He has delivered us from disaster and set our feet upon the Rock and put a song of praise in our mouths, of praise to our God.
As God’s beloved saints who are called by His name He promises to lead, guide and protect us as we live for Him. Jesus Christ promises His believers that He will give them an open door for their works, make those who falsely claim to belong to God to ultimately acknowledge that He loves them, and deliver them from the destruction of the world in the last days. These promises given to those of the church of Philadelphia are for all who are faithful and true to Jesus Christ, living for Him, faithful and true, holding fast to His word and believing in Him to the end.
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He how has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’ Revelation 3:7-13