The Church in Joppa, Lydda, Pella

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Jaffa is the modern name for the ancient Palestine coastal town of Joppa. The land of this old city has been annexed by Tel Aviv. The city is located at the only natural harbor on the Mediterranean between Ptolemais and Egypt and was for centuries Jerusalem's main seaport.

Called Japho in the KJV Old Testament, Joppa is first mentioned as a city given to the Israelite tribe of Dan as an inheritance in the Promised Land (Joshua 19:40 - 46). It is also the place where the prophet Jonah boarded a ship to flee from God after he was told to condemn the ancient city of Nineveh (Jonah 1:1 - 3).

Christians in Joppa summon the apostle Peter when a generous fellow-believer named Dorcas dies. Upon his arrival, through the power of God's spirit, he miraculously raises her from the dead. He is the first disciple of Christ recorded as performing such a supernatural act (Acts 9:36 - 41).

Joppa is also the place where Peter sees a vision from the Eternal that symbolically informs him that gentiles (non-Jews) are an acceptable audience for hearing the gospel (Acts 10).

Joppa, Lydda, Pella New Testament Churches Map


Called Lod in the Old Testament (1Chronicles 8:12), Lydda is mentioned only a few times in Scripture. It is the place where Peter, while visiting believers living in the area, healed a bed-ridden handicapped man named Aeneas (Acts 9:32 - 34). It was after this miraculous event that many more in the city and the surrounding plain of Sharon became Christians (verse 35).

It was in Lydda that Peter was asked, by two Christians who came from Joppa, to visit the city and the home of Dorcas (Acts 9:36 - 38). The result of his visit was the miraculous raising from the dead of this generous lady.


Pella is located east of the Jordan River in a region called the Decapolis ("the ten cities" - see Matthew 4:25, Mark 5:20, 7:31). Although there is no direct reference to this city in the Bible, it is linked to Jesus' statement regarding the fleeing of his church into Judea when Jerusalem is attacked.

Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those within her go out, and let not those in the countries come into her (Luke 21:21, see also Matthew 24:16 and Mark 13:14).

When the Jews began, in 66 A.D., to revolt against Roman rule, thousands of Christians fled Jerusalem to Pella. The early church historian Eusebius (c. 260 to 340) wrote the following about believers taking refuge in the city.

"The whole body of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella."

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