The Seven Churches of Revelation
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Laodicea, located at the junction of several important trade routes, is 77 kilometers (48 miles) from Philadelphia (Alasehir) and 155 kilometers (96 miles) from Ephesus. A round trip visit to all the seven churches of Revelation would be 523 kilometers or 325 miles.
The city, originally named Diospolis ('the city of Jupiter') and then Rhoas, was given the name Laodicea by King Antiochus II. The King, who named the city after his wife, rebuilt it and populated it with Syrians and Jews who migrated from Babylonia.
Laodicea, like Rome, was built upon seven hills. It was one of Asia Minor's most flourishing cities. It prospered primarily due to its trade route location, which made it a hub for large money transactions. Laodicea's sheep were also known for their fine black wool. The city minted coinage, some of which have inscriptions showing evidence of the worship of the pagan deity Zeus and of the emperors.
The city often suffered from earthquakes. It was completely destroyed when an earthquake occurred during the reign of Emperor Nero. The inhabitants were so wealthy that they declined Roman assistance to rebuild the city and instead opted to quickly rebuild it at their own expense.
The city's number of believers in the early New Testament church of God made it a major hub of Christianity. The apostle Paul makes at least 4 references to the city in his epistle to the Colossians. Interestingly, he references the city even though he had never visited it (quotes taken from The Holy Bible - A Faithful Version unless noted).
1. Now I want you to understand what great concern I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; . . . (Col. 2:1)
13. For I bear witness to him (Epaphras, a preacher who was pivotal in the conversion of many people in Colossae) that he has much zeal for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis (4:13).
15 Give our best wishes to the believers in Laodicea and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After you read this letter, make sure that it is read also in the church at Laodicea. At the same time, you are to read the letter that the believers in Laodicea will send you. (4:15, TEV)