Revelation 2:12-17….message to the church at Pergamum. There is so much here that the American Christian and American church needs to pay attention to in this message.
Pergamum was a very prominent city in the Mideast at this time. They were prosperous, powerful (in prestige alliance with Rome), and a city of magnificent temples to many pagan gods. One of these was a temple to the highest and most powerful god, Zeus. A second temple was to a pagan serpent/snake god of healing. There was also another temple there for the Roman Caesars wo considered themselves gods. We read in verse 13 that Antipas was martyred here. History says he refused to bow to and confess the Caesar as his god, so they sacrificed him on the bull alter to Zeus.
To the world and most citizens of Pergamum, this was a splendid place to live…with prosperity, education, and a fantastic library of over 200,000 documents, as well as a spectacular theatre for entertainment and civic events that could seat 10,000. What a beautiful, influential, powerful, civilized, magnificent place to live! BUT, God says it is the place where Satan lives and where he has his throne! Did the citizens of Pergamum know that?
Yeshua Jesus commends the Christians there for staying true to His name and not renouncing Him. In verse 12, Yeshua Jesus says the words of this message are from Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. Hebrews 4:12 says His Word is the sharp double-edged sword that penetrates and divides soul from spirit, that judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. And He has some truth to tell in order to correct them.
There are some in their midst who are not in truth, but rather hypocrites working with the enemy…their hearts are not right. First, He warns about the false prophets like Balaam. Balak wanted to defeat God’s people, but God was bl4ssing and protecting them. Balak wanted their false prophet, Balaam, to curse them. Balaam advised Balak to entice them to sin by sexual immorality with pagan women and idolatrous feasting to idols. If the Israelites left God and chose sin, they would no longer be under God’s protection. Numbers 22-25. God’s people were enticed away from God by fleshly temptations of lust and pleasure.
Yeshua Jesus second warning was about hypocrite false religious leaders. The Nicolaitans were a religious cult whose purpose was to rule over and control people by religious law. (This reminds me of the Holy Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages.)
Yeshua Jesus ways He is going to fight against them with the sword of His mouth. He says they need to repent now lest they get struck by His sword too!
Does this speak to America? Are we powerful, educated, prosperous, magnificent, wealthy, equipped medically and pharmaceutically, influential, with many kinds of places of worship? Does it speak to American Christians? Can Yeshua Jesus commend us for staying true to His name and His ways, never renouncing them even when unpopular? Are we enticed away from close relationship with Him buy the enticing of our flesh to accepting and tolerating sin? Do we just follow religious leaders believing what they say to believe and doing what they say to do? Do we eve4n recognize false doctrine or false prophets? Yeshua Jesus is coming to fight with the sword of His mouth. Repent, or you too will be cut!
If you hear what the Spirit says, repent and stay faithful. He will give you hidden manna. Yeshua Jesus is the hidden manna, the Bread of Life, the Word made flesh, and our relationship with His is hidden in His heart! He will also give you a white stone with a new name written on it, and only the one who receives it knows that name. Yeshua Jesus is the stone, the rock, the cornerstone. He is the Rock we build our house on…Matthew 7:24-29. He is the Rock we enter into the cleft of for protection. Only the one who receives Him, this white stone, will know Him! Plus, when we receive Him, we are given a new name, His name to rule over us.
Another interesting fact is that a white stone was often used in Pergamum like a ticket to be able to attend an event. Sometimes people who won races were awarded these white stones to attend special events. Paul teaches us about running our race in Jesus until the end in victory. Yeshua Jesus is our ticket to admittance in His final victory and into His eter5nal kingdom! Hallelujah!