The Book of Revelation Part 8: Philadelphia, the Cult of Dionysus, and the Faithful Pastor

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’                                                                                                                                                   -Revelation 3:7-13
Verse 7: About thirty miles south eastward from Sardis John's messenger would come to Philadelphia, today known as Alasehir in modern Turkey. The city was founded by Eumenes II (197-160 B.C.), king of Pergamum, but became a Roman possession in 133 B.C. and was the administrative center for Sardis. The city was a center for the worship of Dionysus, god of wine, fertility, and religious ecstasy. He is also known as Bacchus and Eleutherios (the Liberator), who frees his followers from self conscious inhibitions through wine and a ritual ecstatic dance. Those achieving the altered state of consciousness his worship induced were thought to be possessed by Dionysus himself, who is the offspring of Zeus and Persephone.

Homer describes Persephone as the queen of the underworld, who had been abducted by Hades, who is also identified with Zeus. Derek Gilbert's book Last Clash of the Titans traces the mythology of Zeus back to the Biblical foe of God, known as Baal-Hammon.

It could be that, connecting the myth of Persephone's abduction and giving birth to Dionysus to the Book of Enoch, Persephone is in reality one of the human women who procreated with a Watcher, producing a Nephilim who is know to us today as Dionysus. This makes sense considering Persephone is also identified with Cybele, the "mother of the gods."

The worship of Dionysus included ecstatic festivals held five times each month, during which drunken men and women took part in sexual orgies that were often quite public.

According to the Apostolic Constitutions, Demetrius was the first bishop of Philadelphia, who likely would have been appointed by John and is probably the "angel" addressed here. As true God, Christ refers to Himself as the True and Holy One. He holds the key of David since He possesses the eternal kingdom promised to David. In this kingdom our Lord reigns supreme. There is none to challenge His authority; He opens and no man closes; He closes and no man opens.

Verses 8-10: The presbyter/bishop of Philadelphia had "little power", which could refer to the natural characteristics of a leader. Yet he has been faithful to his trust: he has kept Christ's commandment of patient perseverance. Christ now promises him protection in time of persecution and temptation. He will even have the grace to make converts from among the local Jewish community who were persecuting them, who are referred to as the synagogue of Satan. Christ promises that those who persecute him will be humbled and know Christ loves him.

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;- 1 Corinthians 1:27

In choosing the weak to overcome the strong our Lord plainly teaches that He is supreme pastor in His church. He doesn't need human power nor human wisdom. For this reason He chose twelve average, relatively uneducated men as Apostles to carry the Gospel to all nations. Through this faithful presbyter our Lord promises special grace and protection to all faithful pastors at the time of the Antichrist.

Verse 11: Grace is always promised on condition of perseverance.

Verse 12: All faithful disciples are apostles and pillars of the Church here on earth. They will also be blessed and honored citizens of the Church Triumphant, the New Jerusalem.