Philadelphia is commended for keeping Jesus’ word, and promised that Jesus will keep them from the hour of trial.
Philadelphia was founded as a city by the ancient Greeks in the 2nd century BC. It was originally known as “Phila” which means “lover” or “friend” and “adelphos” which means “brother”. The name “Philadelphia” means “city of brothers” or “city of friends.”
Philadelphia was refounded as a Roman city by the Roman emperor Vespasian in the 1st century AD. At that time it was given the name “Neocaesarea” meaning “New Caesar’s City” in reference to Vespasian.
It remained an important city throughout the Roman period and into the Byzantine era. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in the mid-6th century AD but was later rebuilt and continued to exist into the Ottoman period.
The city’s ruins can still be visited today in the modern-day city of Alasehir, Turkey.It was known for its wine production and was a center of the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.
In the Book of Revelation, the letter to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) is one of encouragement. Jesus commends the church for their faithfulness and perseverance in the face of persecution, and promises to protect them from the coming “hour of trial” and to make them a “pillar in the temple of my God.” He also promises to give them the “authority to rule” over the nations and to make them a “kingdom of priests.”