Jesus’ letter to the church of Pergamos

Jesus’ third letter was written to the Church of Pergamos revealed that the believers were living in the very seat or place of satan’s authority.  In spite of this, the Lord praised them for having  withstood great persecution which had resulted in the martyrdom of Antipas, the Lord’s faithful martyr.

However, the Lord reproved His church for falling prey to the cult of Balaam and the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes. Followers of Balaam were taughtto eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

Pergamos would therefore be the modern day equivalent of a nation or place known for Satanism, witchcraft and evil:

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth (Rev 2: 12 – 17).

Background to Pergamos – understanding the seat or headquarters of satan’s authority

History confirms the leading role that Pergamos played in demon worship. Located north of Smyrna, Pergamos was originally a Greek city where medicine and science were worshipped.  It was famous for the temple of Aesculapius, the Greek god or demon of  healing.

The Greeks depicted Aesculapius holding a staff with a serpent (demon) twined around it.  People came from all over the Roman Empire to seek healing in this pagan temple.  Pergamos was also the seat or center of Babylonian sun worship, the center of idolatry and demon controlled religions.

According to martinfreechristian.com:

Pergamos was the location of  a famous medical school which was connected with the temple of Aesculapius.  It was here that the priests and physicians claimed to receive the healing  prescriptions through dreams given by the god. One of these prescriptions  involved having worshipers sleep on the temple floor as serpents crawled over them to infuse them with healing power.

Pergamos became an important geographic region to Rome when the King of Pergia  made the Roman Empire heir to his kingdom in 133 BC.  Pergamos then became a Roman province, chief town  of Asia and the first temple of the Caesar cult. The city was dedicated to the worship of the goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus (and successive emperors) from 29BC.

Christians were therefore persecuted for refusing to worship the Emperor.

Jesus referred to Pergamos as the place of satan’s seat and the place  satan dwelled for those reasons. Moreover, under the Roman  Empire, Pergamos chiefly promoted the Roman state religion.  The Roman Catholic church separated the clergy from laity, lorded it over the people, stifled the prophetic influence and plunged the church into the Dark Ages (latterrain.com)

Other Highlights of the letter:

  1. 1. Jesus’ unique identifier was “he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.”  Why did the Lord use this unique identifier?
    2. Jesus commended the church for refusing to deny His name even when faced with death.
    3. Jesus named His faithful martyr Antipas, “who was slain among you, where satan dwelleth.”   Who was Antipas?
    4. Pay attention to Jesus’ distinctions between those who falsely called themselves apostles and prophets and those who are named by the Lord.   Jesus was  very disdainful of the former and claimed Antipas as “my faithful martyr”. Antipas was a man whose name was unknown to us until the Lord identified him.
    5. Beware of those who love to go around with big names and titles in the name of the Lord – especially when they call themselves prophets and apostles.. Antipas had no such accolades, but Jesus  esteemed him very highly. Which group do you prefer to be in?
    6. Jesus commanded the church to repent, or He would come with the sword of His mouth and fight against the cults in the church.
    7. Jesus promised that those who overcame the delusion of the false doctrines would eat the hidden manna, and that He would give him a white stone with a new, secret name.

The church of Pergamos was faced with the dual challenge of persecution and infiltration by false religions.  The modern church faces the same challenges and we need to use the Word of the Lord – that sharp sword with two edges, to discern and remove false doctrines. Blessings!

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