Pergamum

Jesus' description of Himself:

The One who has the sharp two-edged sword (Rev 2:12).

John sees the two edged sword as coming out of Jesus' mouth (Rev 1:16). It is a figure of speech for the Bible, which is the record of God's word, of Jesus' word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God's word defines sin and is the basis of judgment. This figure of speech is seen elsewhere in the Bible:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:17)

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

Background: Located sixty five miles north of Smyrna, Pergamum was the provincial capital of Roman Asia. Second only to the library of Alexandria, the library of Pergamum contained almost two hundred thousand volumes. Among the many pagan religions worshipped there, the worship of Dionysus (god of royal kings) and Asclepius (god of healing) were prominent as well as having three temples for the Imperial Cult.

Praise and Rebuke:

I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Rev 2:13)

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. (Rev 2:14-16)

Observation:

The church of Pergamum was commended for:

1) Despite the powerful idolatrous culture of Pergamum and the murder of faithful Believer Antipas, the church of Pergamum was noted for their loyal faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

The problem exhibited by the church of Pergamum appears to be the existence of false teachers within their congregation, one group that promoted the teaching of Balaam and another who promoted the Nicolaitans. These false teachers subverted the teachings of Jesus' godly morals and holiness.

Balaam, the pagan prophet who counseled the Moabite king Balak, caused Israel to sin (Num 31:16) by enticing them to cohabit and intermarry with pagan women and worship their idol (Num 25:1-2). 24,000 Israelites were judged for their submission to Balaam's temptation (Num 25:7-9).

The Nicolaitans, believed to be a form of early Gnosticism, likely promoted similar sexual immorality within the context of prevailing pagan worship.

Divine wars involve death, and Jesus calls upon the church of Pergamum to repent or face judgment for permitting teachings that contradict His.

Promise to Believers:

To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it (Rev 2:17).

The reference to "hidden manna" is difficult to understand, and it is not entirely clear if the "hidden manna" is a reference to Jesus Himself (John 6:48-58). Likewise the "white stone" is an enigma and the closest reference of a name being written on stone is on a pillar (Rev 3:12).


This is an exerpt from: Message to the Churches.

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