Source: Smyth Helwys Bible Commentary
The Message to Sardis, 3:1-6
Rev 3:1 ‘Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, “Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know about your behaviour: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead.
Rev 3:2 Wake up; put some resolve into what little vigour you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in your behaviour that my God could possibly call perfect;
Rev 3:3 remember how you first heard the message. Hold on to that. Repent! If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, and you will have no idea at what hour I shall come upon you.
Rev 3:4 There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes unstained, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white.
Rev 3:5 Anyone who proves victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot that name out of the book of life, but acknowledge it in the presence of my Father and his angels.
Rev 3:6 Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
Clearly this is a community that has seen better days. It has turned so far away from the Light that it is literally enshrouded in Darkness. As the text says, “it is dead” to the ways of the Unborn One. Yet, they are encouraged to “wake-up”—all is not lost, there is still time to turn back to the Salvific Light of the Holy Dharma. If this opportunity is wasted, then the Dharmata Buddha will arrive unawares and catch them asleep and in danger of recurring another womb birth into further samsaric realms. However, a few have remained faithful—a holy remnant. These are the ones worthy to wear the White Robe of the Shining Ones, a robe that they will receive at the baptism of the great Dharmamegha, the Dharma-Cloud, when countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will lay their hands upon them, bestowing Eternal Unborn Light. The continuing refrain, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, is a reminder that the messages sent to each of the Seven Communities is heard by all of them; they are in a symbiotic relationship with each other, as they share the same Glorious Light of the Unborn.
The Message to Philadelphia, 3:7-13
Rev 3:7 ‘Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia and say, “Here is the message of the holy and true one who has the key of David, so that when he opens, no one will close, and when he closes, no one will open:
Rev 3:8 I know about your activities. Look, I have opened in front of you a door that no one will be able to close — and I know that though you are not very strong, you have kept my commandments and not disowned my name.
Rev 3:9 Look, I am going to make the synagogue of Satan — those who falsely claim to be Jews, but are liars, because they are no such thing — I will make them come and fall at your feet and recognize that I have loved you.
Rev 3:10 Because you have kept my commandment to persevere, I will keep you safe in the time of trial which is coming for the whole world, to put the people of the world to the test.
Rev 3:11 I am coming soon: hold firmly to what you already have, and let no one take your victor’s crown away from you.
Rev 3:12 Anyone who proves victorious I will make into a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, and it will stay there forever; I will inscribe on it the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which is coming down from my God in heaven, and my own new name as well.
Rev 3:13 Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
The name Philadelphia (Philadelphus) means brotherly love.
The designation, Key of David: God confers “the key of the house of David” upon Eliakim, King Hezekiah’s steward, symbolizing the authority to grant admittance and exercise control over the palace. That the exalted Christ possesses the key of David indicates his authority to grant or deny access to God’s kingdom. The mention of the key that Christ possesses should perhaps be connected also with the statement in 1:18 that he has “the keys of Death and of Hades,” for to be granted entrance into God’s kingdom is to be granted life; to be denied entrance is to experience death (cf. Matt 16:19). (Smyth Helwys Bible Commentary). For our purposes, this mystical key is in reference to “the Word”, as found in the Lankavatara sutra. As we shall see as the series progresses, “the Word” is the sole means of escaping from samsaric confinement. As will be fully revealed at the close of this series, it is the instrument of salvific grace.
Like the message to Smyrna, the message to Philadelphia contains no words of criticism or judgment on the community, as they both receive only words of encouragement. Once again, as in the message to Smyrna, the synagogue of Mara has taken up shop, but the community is assured that they will be promised vindication over this vile opponent. This community of brotherly love will also be kept safe when the time of retribution arrives; since they have remained ever-faithful to the Buddhadharma, that self-same dharma will likewise be faithful to them.
I will make into a pillar in the sanctuary of my God:
Yea, not a sanctuary of brick and mortar, but the Great Mahasunya (the great Deathless Void) —the magnificent inner sanctum sanctorum of the Unborn Mind. This is what the New Jerusalem is really all about.
The Message to Laodicea, 3:14-22
Rev 3:14 ‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the trustworthy, the true witness, the Principle of God’s creation:
Rev 3:15 I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other,
Rev 3:16 but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 You say to yourself: I am rich, I have made a fortune and have everything I want, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too.
Rev 3:18 I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you truly rich, and white robes to clothe you and hide your shameful nakedness, and ointment to put on your eyes to enable you to see.
Rev 3:19 I reprove and train those whom I love: so repent in real earnest.
Rev 3:20 Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person’s side.
Rev 3:21 Anyone who proves victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I have myself overcome and have taken my seat with my Father on his throne.
Rev 3:22 Let anyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” ‘
the message of the Amen: In both Judaism and the early church, “amen” was used as a way of signifying what was true and valid. Individuals and communities in worship uttered the “amen” after prayers, doxologies, and blessings as a way of confirming and joining themselves to what had been said. Jesus is the ultimate “Amen,” the epitome of truth and faithfulness. (Smyth Helwys Bible Commentary) Within Unborn Mind Zen, this amen is replaced with Phat—meaning bowing to the spirit of enlightenment, liberation from samsara (the wheel of life), an accomplishment of wisdom, and mindfulness.
the true witness, the Principle of God’s creation: or the Animating Principle behind all of creation.
As in the message to Ephesus, the community has become lukewarm, being neither hot nor cold—yea, this is an abhorrence to the Unborn One. It will not be tolerated—either you will give of yourself in full, or you will be spit out of the mouth of the Unborn. The Greek word emeō really means “to vomit”. Worse still, they are spiritually indifferent—too self-sufficient for their own good; this attitude will catch up with them in the long run.
gold that has been tested in the fire to make you truly rich, and white robes to clothe you and hide your shameful nakedness, and ointment to put on your eyes to enable you to see: Thus making them wholly Immaculate—purer than the Whitest white.
I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door: Well-known metaphor. Do you hear the Unborn Lord knocking at the door of your heart? If you are callous and indifferent you will never hear it. The door to the Unborn will be thus forever shut, and your spirit barred from any Divine Union.
Anyone who proves victorious in remaining faithful will share in the joys of the Dharmakaya, the Holy of Holies, the Throne of Tathagatahood.