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To Philadelphia 3:7-13 (Missionary Church Mid-1700's - 1900's)

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 who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'


"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write"

The city of Philadelphia was founded during the second century BC by either King Eumenes II of Pergamum or his brother, King Attalus II. Eumenes gave his brother the title "Philadelphus" (meaning "brotherly love," or "lover of a brother"). He called him that because there was a time when Attalus could have stolen Eumenes' throne, but he would not do so because of his loyalty to his brother.

The new city was called Philadelphia in honor of Attalus. It was intended from the beginning to be a center of Greek culture and language. As such, it would be an outpost for the spread of Hellenism to Phrygia and Lydia.

Philadelphia was built on a hill some 800 feet above the fertile valley of the Cogamus River, and was situated about 30 miles southeast of Sardis. By the time this letter was written, the city was strategically located as a stop on the "Imperial Post Road." This was one of the famous Roman roads; the wide stone-paved long-distance highways from Rome to the edges of its empire. This segment passed through Troas and the harbor at Smyrna on the way to the East. Like the "Pony Express" of early American history, it was travelled by official messengers, and facilitated commerce.

The origin of the community of Christians in Philadelphia is not described in the Bible, but it was probably evangelized while Paul was in Ephesus for three years (Acts chapters 19 and 20 - See the notes on chapter 2, verse. 1).

The only references to Philadelphia in the Bible are found in the Book of Revelation (1:11 and 3:7). However, Ignatius of Antioch, the Church father and pupil of St. John, recorded information about it and sent an epistle to them (

As we will discover, the Church at Philadelphia was the best of the seven churches. Its very name is a reminder that the essence of Christian community is love for one another. After the Last Supper, on the night before He was crucified, Jesus told His Disciples,

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. - John 13:34-35 (See also: John 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1:5)

Next: Revelation 3:7b-e


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