Philadelphia became the greatest trade route in the whole country in Byzantine times, which gave the city its commercial prosperity. It was a center for spreading the greek language and culture throughout the asian provinces. The city was prone to severe earthquakes that caused the people to move out and dwell in tents at times. A key crop in Philadelphia was grapes for wine making.
The city was known for its resistance to Islam and kept it's christianity long after some of the other cities in the area. The city had many pagan temples, including Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry.
In Revelation, Christ is revealed in this church as holy and true. He is also identified as the One who opens and shuts. This church is said to have an 'open door.' The commendations to this church was evangelism, works and missions. Though they were few in number, they kept the Word and did not deny Christ, despite those of the 'synagogue of satan,' who also persecuted them.
There is no correction spoken, but there is a warning that they should believe God's promises and stick with Him. They are told to 'hold fast,' which has a strong connotation meaning to cling to tenaciously, with a warning that if not, someone may take their crown. This implies that if you let a God given opportunity slip by, God can call someone else to do it and they crown will go to them. You will lose your reward!
As believers, we have a permanent identity in Christ. The believer will be given a new name, uniquely his (Rev 2:17). He also says he will 'keep thee from the hour of temptation.' The word 'kept' means to preserve and protect. To take care of, to guard. The word 'from' means out of, or it can mean, in the midst of. God is with us through our trials!
This church, also known as being faithful and having brotherly love, was a church that Christ loved. In this church, Christ is revealed as having the key that opens and shuts the door to salvation. The door is wide open for most of the missions established during this time, as well as times of revival.
As Christians we are called to be overcomers. What does this mean? We must be totally loyal to Christ, sharing our love and the Gospel with all men. This relationship with our saviour should be the focal point of our lives. Our minds set on Christ and His will for our lives. Then will our lives truly have full meaning and satisfaction. To be in the will of God is the most exciting place to be!
The Seven Churches of Revelation
Sweet Smelling Smyrna
Where Did I Leave My Love (Ephesus)
Pergamus: Compromised and Indulged
Sardis: The Living Dead
Falling Away into Laodicea
The Church of Thyatira