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Philadelphia
        

In Lydia, on the lower slopes of Tmolus, 28 miles S.E. of Sardis; built by Attalus II, Philadelphus, king of Pergamus, who died. 138 B.C. Nearly destroyed by an earthquake in Tiberius' reign (Tacitus, Annals 2:47). The connection of its church with the Jews causes Christ's address to have Old Testament coloring and imagery (Revelation 3:7-18). It and Smyrna alone of the seven, the most afflicted, receive unmixed praise. To Smyrna the promise is, "the synagogue of Satan" should not prevail against her faithful ones; to Philadelphia, she should even win over some of "the synagogue of Satan," (the Jews who might have been the church of God, but by opposition had become "the synagogue of Satan") to "fall on their faces and confess God is in her of a truth" (1 Corinthians 14:25).
        Her name expresses "brotherly love," in conflict with legal bondage. Her converts fall low before those whom once they persecuted (Psalm 84:10; Acts 16:29-33). The promise, "him that overcometh I will make a pillar," i.e. immovably firm, stands in contrast to Philadelphia often shaken by earthquakes. Curiously, a portion of a stone church wall topped with arches of brick remains; the building must have been magnificent, and dates from Theodosius. The region being of disintegrated lava was favourable to the vine; and the coins bear the head of Bacchus. 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. Poverty tended to humility; conscious of weakness Philadelphia leant on Christ her strength (2 Corinthians 12:9); so she "kept His word," and when tested did "not deny His name." So "He who hath the key of David, He that openeth and no man shutteth," "set before" Philadelphia an open door which no man can shut. Faithful in keeping the word of Christ's patience (i.e. the persevering endurance which He requires) Philadelphia was kept, i.e. delivered, out of the hour of temptation. "Among the Greek churches of Asia Philadelphia is still erect, a column in a scene of ruins, a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may be sometimes the same." (Gibbon.) The Turks call it Allah Shehr, "city of God"; or rather, "beautiful ('alah) city."


Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'Philadelphia' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Fausset's; 1878.

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