Seven Churches – Philadelphia: The Faithful Church
The name “Philadelphia” means love of the brethren or brotherly love. Philadelphia was a city of the province of Lydia in Western Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Philadelphia was about 28 miles southeast of Sardis.
Philadelphia was a center of the wine industry. Volcanic activity contributed richness to the soil for growing vines.
Philadelphia has been nearly destroyed several times by earthquakes. The promise, “him that overcometh I will make a pillar,” i.e. immovably firm, stands in contrast to Philadelphia often shaken by earthquakes. A portion of a stone church wall topped with arches of brick remains; the building must have been magnificent, and dates from Theodosius. This church had but “little strength,” i.e. was small in numbers and poor in resources, of small account in men’s eyes. The cost of repairing the often shaken city taxed heavily the citizens (from Fausset’s Bible Dictionary).
Still a city of considerable size, Philadelphia is known today by the Turks as Allah-shehr “the city of God” (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
“These things says … “
- He who is holy (pure, undefiled, set apart)
- He that is true (faithful)
- He that has the Key of David (Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:16 refer to the Tabernacle of David being restored. The Key of David is praise, kingly authority, prophet and priestly authority, governmental authority)
- He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens (cross reference is Isaiah 22:22) – has access to go through doors and authority to lock and unlock doors
“I know thy works … “
- See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it (“A great and effectual door is opened unto me” – 1 Corinthians 16:9)
- For you have a little strength, and have kept My word (small in number, not rich, not strong and powerful, yet faithful to the Word)
- And have not denied My Name (have not denied the faith, have not denied that His Name is Lord)
- 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.
- 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.
- Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
None (Jesus had nothing negative to say to the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna)
“He who overcomes … “
- I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more (a strong support in God’s house, steadfast and unmovable); see Galations 2:9 – James, Peter and John were regarded as pillars.
- “I will write upon him … “
- The name of My God (those who belong to Him bear His Name, Revelation 14:1, Acts 9:15)
- The name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God (Revelation 21:2 and Galations 4:26)
- My new name (bridal relationship with Jesus, Revelation 2:17)