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 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. 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.
In the first century New Testament church Laodicea's fellowship of believers became a major seat of Christianity. Paul references the city at least four times in his letter to the church in Colossae.
1. Now I want you to understand what great concern I have for you, and for those in Laodicea . . . (Colossians 2:1, Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version (HBFV))
13 I can personally testify to his (Epaphras') hard work for you and for the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
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. (Colossians 4, TEV)