What were the characteristics of the church of Philadelphia?

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Philadelphia is one of the seven churches of Revelation (Rev. 3:7). Philadelphia means “brotherly love.” This city was built before 138 B.C. and was named for Attalus II Philadelphus of Pergamum in honor of his loyalty to his elder brother, Eumenes II, who had ruled before him.

After a devastating earthquake in a.d. 17, Philadelphia was rebuilt by the Roman emperor Tiberius and was situated some 30 mi. (c. 48 km.) east-southeast of Sardis.

The church at ancient Philadelphia was apparently neither large nor had great influence, but it was pure, holy and faithful to God’s Word. The Philadelphia period of church history, with its devoted attention to the scriptures, especially the prophecies of Daniel and of the Revelation, and to personal victory over sin, represented a faithful and pure church of God.

When the historical application is made, the message to Philadelphia applies to the different movements of Protestantism during the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th. This church’s main goal was to formulate a living and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ represented by the fruits of the Spirit in the life of its members.

The great evangelical and advent movements in Europe and the United States rekindled the spirit of brotherly love and stressed practical godliness in contrast with the empty forms of religion. Revived faith in the saving grace of Christ and in the nearness of His return resulted in a deeper spirit of Christian practical godliness and loving fellowship between the brothers than the church had experienced since the early days of the Reformation.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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