TURKEY Between Two Worlds
A city of ancient Lydia in Asia Minor on the Cogamus River, 105 miles from Smyrna. It stood upon a terrace 650 ft. above the sea. Behind it are the volcanic cliffs to which the Turks have given the name of Devitt, or "inkwells"; on the other side of the city the land is exceedingly fertile, and there was produced a wine of whose excellence the celebrated Rom poet Virgil wrote.
Philadelphia is not so ancient as many of the other cities of Asia Minor, for it was founded after 189 BC on one of the highways which led to the interior. Its name was given to it in honor of Attalus II, because of his loyalty to his elder brother, Eumenes II, king of Lydia. Still another name of the city was Decapolis, because it was considered as one of the ten cities of the plain. A third name which it bore during the 1st cent. AD was Neo-kaisaria; it appears upon the coins struck during that period. During the reign of Vespasian, it was called Flavia. Its modern name, Ala-shehir, is considered by some to be a corruption of the Turkish words Allah-shehir, "the city of God," but more likely it is a name given it from the reddish color of the soil.
In addition to all of these names it sometimes bore the title of "Little Athens" because of the magnificence of the temples and other public buildings which adorned it
Philadelphia quickly became an important and wealthy trade center, for as the coast cities declined, it grew in power, and retained its importance even until late Byzantine times
One of the Seven Churches of the Book of Rev (Rev 3:7 ff) was there, and it was the seat of a bishop
As in most
Asia Minor cities, many Jews lived there, and they possessed a synagogue. During
the reign of Tiberius the city was destroyed by an earthquake, yet it was
quickly rebuilt. Frederick Barbarossa entered it while on his crusade in 1190.
Twice, in 1306 and 1324, it was besieged by the Seljuk Turks, but it retained
its independence until after 1390, when it was captured by the combined forces
of the Turks and Byzantines. In 1403 Tamerlane captured it, and, it is said,
built about it a wall of the corpses of his victims.
In the 16th Chapter of Acts, it tells of Apostle Paul in the town of Troas in Western Turkey. He thought of teaching the gospel in Asia in Bithania but was forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Then Paul saw a vision of a man in Macedonia (Greece) standing pleading Paul to come to help them. A door of faith was opened for Paul to preach the gospel in Europe. Paul left Troas and sailed 100 miles northwest and landed in small port of Neapolis, nowadays known as the city of Kavala in Greece. Neapolis was a good starting point for people who wish travel the Egnatian way, a great Roman Military highway stretching from 490 miles across Macedonia region linking the Adriatic and Aegean Sea. Paul left the seaport of Neapolis and head 12 miles inland where he reach the city of Philippi. It was in Philippi where Paul preached the gospel for the first time in Europe. His first convert was Lydia and her household and a man in jail and his family.
GOD IS THE LORD WHO DOES MIRACLES
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