To see Revelation 3:1-6 without my comments click HERE.
The fifth letter to the churches of Asia-Minor was addressed to the church of Sardis.
A few facts about Sardis...
The entrance to the city of Sardis was located at the crossroads to the other nearby cities. Sardis was built upon a 1,000 ft. peninsular which made it impervious to attack. The cities location, being where several roads intersected, became a trading city that grew wealthy in a short period of time. Their acquiring wealth was accelerated by the fact they found gold in the nearby Phrygia River, this finding gave rise to the famous Greek myth of King Midas. Sardis was also the first to mint coins from gold. The city was named after the Sardius stone in the priests breastplate; Exodus 39:10.
The battle of Sardis was fought when it was conquered by Cyrus in 549 B.C. The city was built very high upon a rocky spur on Mt. Tmolus and was considered impregnable. There was seemingly only one way into the city. The entire city was protected on three sides by the cliffs, and city walls. Cyrus literally could not attack by any of the three sides because of its height. The cliffs below the city did have ways for a few people to get to the bottom of the walls of the city at a time, but with the technology available at the time, having a few people fighting at the city wall at a time would have made no difference.
One of the soldiers that was defending the city during this stand off, looked over the wall at Cyrus's army below, and his helmet fell off his head. Shortly afterward, the soldier pushed open a stone door at the base of the wall and retrieved his helmet. This door was balanced in such a way that is was used as a secret door out of the city. The door was necessary because the men of Sardis needed to have an escape route available in case they were ever to become overwhelmed by enemy forces. Cyrus learning of the location of this secret door, told most of his men to act as a decoy by creating a commotion at the far end of the peninsular during the middle of the night, while at the same time he had his commandos scale the cliffs to the newly discovered door. Cyrus's men entered the city and attacked the men of Sardis from behind while the soldiers of the city were protecting the far end of the peninsular. Separating the enemy from their supply lines and from their path of retreat is a tactic that was used by the Israelite Scythians when they were attacked over 2,000 years ago. The Scythians would retreat on horse then circle around to attack their enemies from the rear. The Russians used this simple tactic against Napolean when he invaded Moscow in 1812, he came to Moscow with 750,000 men and returned with a meager 10,000.
The message to the church of Sardis
When the Messiah addressed the church of Sardis, he identified himself as being the one that had the Seven Spirits and the Seven Stars. The Seven Spirits are described in Isaiah 11:1-2, and the Seven Stars are identified in Rev 1:20 as the Seven Angels of the churches of Asia-Minor. An angel is a messenger as defined in the Bible, and in this case most likely were the seven men from the seven churches that visited Paul when he was in exiled on Patmos.
Rev 3:2 The Church of Sardis had many flaws, and the things that were righteous were dying out. The Messiah told Sardis to be watchful and strengthen these things.
Rev 3:3 The Messiah told Sardis that if they do not repent, he will return as a "thief in the night.” This term of “as a thief in the night” was known to the men of Sardis as the one night when Cyrus destroyed the city as Sardis. This term is also referred to in other places of the Bible that describes the return of the Messiah, which will be with a great noise heard around the world. This loud noise is in contrast to the silent secret rapture theory that will remove all people that call themselves “Christian” before proving that they can be an over comer through personal tribulation, and during the great tribulation. This unbiblical doctrine that was thought up by John Darby in 1830 is currently being taught by modern dispensational, antinomian, Judeo-Christian churches who's only function is to promote political Zionism that destroys cultures, races, and individuals; Matt 7:21.
Rev 3:4-5 When the Messiah returns, the men of Sardis as well as all Israelites that remain faithful in tribulation will wear a robe of white (symbol of purity), and walk with the Messiah. They will not have their names blotted out the book of life. For all of Israel, including the men of Sardis, the Messiah, our Passover lamb, will confess their name before his father only if they do his will be following his laws; Matt 10:32.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!