The Beloved Church of Philadelphia

Posted on August 27, 2020

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By David Ettinger

A “Warm” Story
There is not much warmth in the Book of Revelation, and to find it one must search. If searching, you’ll find warmth in the account of the church of Philadelphia, one of the 7 churches of Asia Minor addressed in Chapters 2 and 3.

The church of Philadelphia is a beloved church indeed!

The 7 Churches of Revelation
These individual assemblies represent 7 types of churches which have existed during this current Church Age. So, if you want to know what Jesus thinks of your church, read the 7 accounts and see which best describes yours.

The order of scriptural presentation of the churches – why Ephesus is first and Laodicea is last ­– is not based on spiritual relevance, but on geography. If a messenger were to deliver each message to each church, he would begin at Ephesus and travel 35 miles north to Smyrna. He would then proceed further north and east to Pergamum, then swing further to the east and south to visit the other four cities.

The Philadelphia Story
The city of Philadelphia was built in 159 B.C. by the king of Pergamum, Attalus Philadelphus, who gave the city its name.

Philadelphia was considered the cultural gateway to Asia and was also known for its agricultural products. However, and sadly, its location was a perilous one as the city was afflicted with deadly earthquakes which destroyed it several times. Prior to A.D. 95 – when Revelation was written – Philadelphia had been most recently destroyed in A.D. 37, which plays a factor in Jesus’ uplifting message.

The Philadelphia Church
It is obvious by Jesus’ message in Chapter 3 verses 7-13 that He loved this church. For one thing, Jesus speaks only words of praise and encouragement to them. And, along with the church of Smyrna, the church of Philadelphia receives no rebuke from our Lord – the only two churches which can make this claim.

But let’s get back to this being a region of earthquakes. Whenever these powerful forces of nature assaulted a city in ancient times, often the only thing left standing were the pillars. Jesus was well aware of this when He told them:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and 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 My new name (v. 12).

Jesus assured this beleaguered body of believers that though they could lose all their earthly possessions – and even their lives – via a devastating earthquake, their precious souls would be as the pillars that even the most wretched meteorological assault could not topple. Their faith and endurance would secure their place in eternity, which ultimately will be the New Jerusalem (literally Heaven on Earth).

Application
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to persevere in Him, especially in this current chaos. And soon the cataclysmic events of the end of the age will come upon us, but if, as the ancient Philadelphians, we remain faithful to our Lord and King, we too will stand as pillars which cannot be destroyed.

One day you and I will join the Philadelphians in the New Jerusalem, uniting in brotherly love while feasting together at the Lord’s table!