Pergamum was a prominent religious centered city that was north of Smyrna. Within it were multiple religions and cults that worship various gods that were known throughout the known world at that time. Here a small group had come together in all honesty to worship Christ. This letter from Jesus is His message to them.
Revelation 2:12 – And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: “The words of Him who has the sharp two-edged sword.”
CHRIST THE JUDGE: The sharp two-edged sword refers to the Word of God. As stated in Dr. Walvoord’s commentary on the book Revelation: “Its representation as a double-edged sword indicates on the one hand the way God’s Word, by its promise and message of salvation, cuts loose the chains of sin and condemnation that bind the helpless sinner. On the other hand, the same Word is the means of condemnation and refection of those who refuse the message of grace. The Word of God is both the instrument of salvation and the instrument of death.”
Revelation 2:13 – “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
COMMENDATION: Jesus gives them praise for continuing to exist in as He Himself states “where Satan dwells.” He also mentions a man named Antipas who had been martyred. Nothing is known of him save that he died for Christ who called him His “faithful witness.” Those there tried to stay faithful to His name.
Now there are those that believe that the gods in all the ancient Polytheistic cultures were none other than the fallen angels which included their leader Satan. When you actual think upon it there is some credence to this being true. So Jesus making the statement that this is “where Satan’s throne is” could actually pertain to a temple of Zeus which was one of the gods worshiped here since most times Statues of him showed him seated upon a throne.
Revelation 2:14-15 – “But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teachings of the Nicolaitans”
Here is the last time the “Nicolaitans” are mentioned and again no detail is given and so their acts fall into the darkness of history only to ever be seen again upon the day of the Great White Throne Judgment when their membership will stand exposed before God as He passes judgment upon them.
Also mentioned thou is the false prophet Balaam found in Numbers 22-25. In Numbers 31 we find that he had advised King Balak to corrupt Israel by tempting them to intermarry with pagan women and begin worshiping their wife’s gods in acts which included eating sacrificed food and precipitating various sexual immoralities. Some within the church had fallen prey to these practices. The same is true today for those churches that have embraced and welcomed homosexuality into their churches.
This same mentality is the mentality that embraced the church as a whole soon after Constantine allow them to worship God freely and openly. Shortly after attempts to bring into it the use of pagan rituals which entered the church and began to defile the structure of the church. This is also per Dr. Walvoord where the beginning elements of Catholicism began to take hold with the church adding rituals which were never given to the church by Christ.
Revelation 2:16 – “Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.”
Again I turn directly to the words of Dr. Walvoord: “In this abrupt command, Christ issued a sharp word to the church at Pergamum – and their modern counterparts. Even though many in the church at Pergamum had been faithful and one of their number had dies as a martyr, it was still true that the church was being invaded by an evil so serious that Christ warned He would fight against it. There is no alternative to continued impurity and compromise with the truth but divine judgment. The apostasy that is seen in it early stage in the church at Pergamum has its culmination in the still-future apostate church in Revelation 17, which is ultimately brought into divine judgement by Christ, the Head of the church.”
Revelation 2:17 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who received it.”
Again there is the exhorting for those that can hear to hear, for not all will. For those that do hear and overcome the sins listed against the church of Pergamum they are promised not only a special mana that is hidden to the world, but they are to receive a white stone on which a name only known to the Trinity and those that are given this stone.