Church of Philadelphia: brotherly love opens doors

July 13, 2016

Did you ever notice that the “Key to the Scriptures” section of Science and Health (Genesis, The Apocalypse, and Glossary) begins with its keynote from Revelation 3:7-8?  It is the message to the church of Philadelphia, which is identified with “the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem”  (Rev. 3:12).  Philadelphia means “brotherly love,” and of the seven churches, Philadelphia received the strongest commendation; and it was given no rebuke.  This church was also described as having an open door which no man could shut. What opens the door of a church or heals a community? Isn’t an open door, an open heart, an expression of love?

Edyth Hoyt gave a wonderful explanation of the keys of hell and death and of the key of David. She explained that having the keys of death is having dominion over death, and having the key of David is the dominion of Love. “Is not possessing the dominion of Love really possessing dominion over death?” (Studies in the Apocalypse of John of Patmos, p. 37). Hoyt also commented that “the open door is an indication of complete communion” (Hoyt, p. 37).  Obviously, you’re not afraid when you leave your door open!

I also like The Message’s translation of the timeless key of David:  “David here designates the Messiah ‘my Master’—so how can the Messiah also be his ‘son’?” Mark 12:35-36 David saw that “he coexists with God and the universe” (Science and Health, p. 266).

Here is some more commentary on Revelation from George Denninger’s Revelation: The Prophecy and Fulfillment of Man:

Rev. 3:8 – Sweet Philadelphia, you know the essence of Me. I presented the key to you, and with it you have unlocked my treasure. Indeed, Love is the simplest and most profound of Me and is the true way to all that is (p. 31).


Rev. 3:12 – Those who love their way past their fears will find that as they ascend, inspired fleeting moments increase in frequency until spiritual living is realized permanently.  You will recognize your true identity in this way:

  • Standing in the firmament of heaven, you will discover your identity to be God consciousness.
  • New Jerusalem will be found to be here and everywhere, encompassing the all of your being.
  • Divine Love will explain itself — “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5) (p. 32).

James and John were surnamed “the sons of thunder” by Jesus, and he later rebuked them for wanting to “command fire to come down from heaven and consume” a Samaritan village that wasn’t receptive to Jesus (Luke 9:54). What a transformation in John’s character to later be able to preach and write to “love one another” and “God is love” (I John 4:7,8).

Mrs. Eddy made a reference to the “legend of the shield, which led to a quarrel between two knights because each could see but one face of it. . . .” (SH p. 457). (I suppose in contemporary language, it could have a black side and a blue side.  Or perhaps a Fox side and a CNN side.)  Mirrors were placed beside each knight, so each could see the view from the other side’s mirror. That stopped their quarreling, and I love thinking of us as being those mirrors, those reflections, instead of the one-sided dueling knights.  Here are two different interpretations of that legend from our periodicals from years ago:

Mrs. Eddy was a true patriot, as is manifest by her life and her writings. One of her signal achievements in behalf of the good of all nations was the establishment of The Christian Science Monitor, a paper that is replete with true patriotism. Although published in the United States of America, its sense of patriotism is by no means limited to the boundaries of this nation. In the legend of the two knights who engaged in combat over a shield, one side of which was silver, and the other gold, each knight could see only one side of the shield—hence the strife. A mirror would have saved the situation! Nations are composed of men who, like these knights, seeing but one side of a situation, plunge headlong into battle. The Christian Science Monitor, by furnishing a mirror which truthfully reflects all sides of every important question, is thereby lessening the liability of war. (Julia Salome Kinney, “True Patriotism,”  from the March 6, 1926 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)


To illustrate this dual appearing of the human and the divine, we may refer to the old legend of the shield which was of gold on one side and silver on the other. The different appearance which the shield presented to two friends who chanced to view it from opposite sides, led to a quarrel between them. Not until the knight upon the silver side crossed over and saw the shield from his friend’s position, did he learn the valuable lesson that much depends, in every case, upon the point of view from which one looks. So it was that the world, looking from the view-point of the five physical senses, and ignorant of the purely spiritual nature of man as God’s image and likeness, saw the Christ in fleshly form as a marvelously perfect, pure, tender, loving, and strong human being, walking among men, and they called their view of the redeemer, Jesus.


But God could not look from a mortal, imperfect, material, and unreal standpoint. He could never know aught unlike His own deathless being, and so God’s idea, the Christ, was never subject to the flesh, was never scourged, spit upon, crucified, or buried. These brutalities mortal man heaped upon his own highest human concept, which was an ever-present rebuke to the lower sense. Through the meeting and blending of human need and divine supply, as manifested in Christ Jesus, humanity found a mediator between God and man, learned the true idea of Life as God, and how to overcome the false concept with all its woes. (Elizabeth Earl Jones, “Immaculate Origin and Being,” from the February 1909 issue of The Christian Science Journal)

When I began marking my books for these readings, I didn’t include all of Mark, chapter 3, but when I read the whole chapter, it resolved some of the confusion I’ve had about some of these separate stories.  Jesus calls his 12 disciples, with the last named:

Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.” (Mark 3:19-21)

Other translations describe Jesus as being “mad” (Phillips) or “out of his mind” (NRSV, GW, NIV).  Then the scribes think Jesus has Beelzebub (Satan) and is casting out Satan with Satan, so Jesus gives them the parables about how a divided kingdom or house cannot stand and about how it is necessary to bind the strongman in order to plunder his house.

Did you ever notice that Jesus went “out of his mind” after including Judas Iscariot as a disciple, and did you ever think that the parables which followed had to do with Judas as well as the destructive crowd — that Jesus’ love had to bind the strongman (hate) in order to clean out his house (consciousness)?  Perhaps it is all the Martin Luther King quotes I have heard over the last few days that are causing me to read the parable in this way, but here is one quote that really fits: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Here is another paraphrase of Mark 3:27:

Every time Jesus released the sick and demon-possessed from their bondage, Jesus entered Satan’s house and spoiled his goods. . . Mary Jane Chapin, “Insiders and outsiders Mark 3:7-35,” from the October 1997 issue of The Christian Science Journal).

Then after a lesson in crumbling hate with love, it appears that Jesus is leaving out his mother and brothers who are calling to him. Was Jesus rejecting his human family or expanding it spiritually? Here is one commentary:

In redefining the scope of his family, he announced that his kinsmen were no longer limited to blood relatives. His definition embraced all the people sitting around him. His new and expanded family included all those who did the will of God. His inclusion of sister with brother and mother is, among other things, a delightful recognition that women were always among his followers and disciples. Even though Mark does not mention women until the very end, it is heartening to know that they were there all along.  (Chapin)

“God had been graciously preparing” Jesus with the events  in Mark 3 that there are not many stressful, demanding, prejudiced, fearful, or hateful mortal minds, but only One Mind and One Love (Science and Health, p. 107). Thus he was well equipped to heal incidents further along in his mission, such as the man with an unclean spirit named Legion (Mark 5).