The Message to Pergamos
Book of Revelation Chapter 2 Verses 12 through 17
The Church at Pergamos was established but by whom is not certain. We know that the Apostle Paul worked in the area, but he did not mention it by name.
We also know the Apostle Paul would never take the credit for another man’s work neither would he work in the same area to compete with another child of God.
Act 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Act 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Act 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
Act 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
The city of Pergamos was the chief city of Mysia.
It is only 60 miles north of Smyrna and is now named Bergamo and still has two Christian Churches in it today.
It is said that out of around 20,000 people living there, as many as 2000 of them are Christians.
We can understand that the Church in Ephesus also represents the Apostolic Age up to 100 AD.
The Church of Smyrna would represent the end of the Apostolic Age until the Constantine Age.
The Church of Pergamos would represent the Constantine Age up to the Boniface III Age. Boniface the III was the first Pope.
The influence of the papacy had begun with the rule of Constantine!
Beginning in the year 313 AD Christianity was showing strength against paganism and to Constantine, that there was power in religion.
It is said that he had a vision of a fiery red cross and on that cross written “By this shall thou conquer”.
He decided himself, without Holy Ghost conviction that he should become a Christian.
Christianity then became the religion of the Roman Empire.
A hierarchy was then formed, and the Lord Jesus Christ was dethroned as the head of the Church.
These things resulted in what is now known as the Catholic Church.
Now I do not deny that there are Christians in every group of believers, but the Lord Jesus Christ is certainly the true head of the Church and He always will be. He used words like, forever and eternal and these words speak for themselves because our Lord cannot lie!
It these things that were in their beginning, that had influence over the Church at Pergamos.
We will see that church members began to participate in worldly functions.
We will see that church members would allow worldly activities to take place inside the church.
We will see that Baptism became the sign of salvation but without repentance. You cannot be “Born Again” without repentance!
*****Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
We can say a lot of things about that two-edged sword but in reality, it designates the Word of God!
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
We miss a very important point in these letters, if we do not see that the Lord Jesus holds the Pastor of each church responsible for the direction of the Church.
Pergamos was a royal city with a high and lofty attitude. There was a great temple to Caesar, a great altar to Zeus, which was a chair 40 feet high that overlooked the city.
Pergamos was a city full of pagan worship and it was ok to be a Christian, as long as you did not say that Jesus Christ was the only God.
This has not changed at all today. You can say the word god all day long, just as long as you do not mention the Lord Jesus Christ and then you become an enemy!
Pergamos was one of the cultural and religious centers of the known world in that day and had been a capitol city for more than 400 years.
You had to be politically correct to get along in Pergamos!
These are the people this Pastor tried to lead to the Lord and then keep them headed on that pathway to Heaven.
He was to use the written Word of God, which by that time included almost all the New Testament.
It took a strong man of God to preach against the pagan world where this church was located.
How did Jesus see this church?
*****Rev 2:13 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.
We need to get one thing very clear! The Lord Jesus Christ knows everything there is to know about each one of us!
The Lord Jesus Christ knows everything there is no know about our Church!
We are to do everything we can to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to make disciples to go out into our community, our state, our nation, and the uttermost parts of the world.
We are to keep to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in everything we do!
In other words, when the world looks at us, they should have no doubt that we will take our stand with Jesus and we are not about to move away from Him.
It should be known that we will not compromise for any reason and we do not believe in being politically correct!
We should understand that this church in Pergamos was loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ even while they were located in this pagan place.
They lived in a cesspool of worldliness.
This city provided every pleasure people would look for.
In this city, it was your possessions that determined your place in society.
You could find every comfort that humans desire.
What were some of the problems for the Christians here?
Once a year by law they had stand before the Temple of Caesar and declare him as a god, but they refused to do so.
They refused to bow to a false god.
Just what did Jesus teach us about these things?
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
This church was pure in its doctrine and had not denied their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
This church was taking a stand against persecution. One of the church leaders had been martyred named Antipas.
In that day each and every Christian knew that if they claimed the Lord Jesus Christ, it could cost them their life!
We must also remember that if every Christian just presented themselves before the executioner to be a martyr then this is not being a good witness.
Yes, we are to take a stand with the Lord, but we are to go about the business of the Lord while staying away from the politics of the world!
There were still some things going on in this church that were not right!
*****Rev 2:14 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.
What do we know of Balaam? We know he did do his best to curse the people of God.
The Apostle Peter wrote:
2Pe 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
2Pe 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
2Pe 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
2Pe 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2Pe 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
What is the doctrine of Balaam?
When there is corruption and worldliness already inside the church.
Church members who taught against staying pure!
Trying to mix worldliness and religion under the heading of Christianity.
There was a determined effort to bring unrighteousness into this church!
It was Balaam who taught King Balak to send in Moabite women into the locations of the Jews with intent to cause fornication, which is a terrible sin in the eyes of God.
In this church they most likely baptized people who had not repented of their sin.
They had allowed these same people to begin to teach Sunday School and to teach children.
This caused a mixed membership, some keeping the laws of God and others choosing to be politically correct and sided with the world.
Families were being broken up because of fornication.
They were participating in the feast at the Temple of Caesar, and Temple of Zeus and joining in at the altar which many called the seat of Satan.
The Pastor was teaching the truth, but he was allowing church growth, by allowing non-Christians to be involved in the teaching and other activities when he needed to verify their salvation.
According to the Word of God by example, Jesus spent three years teaching the Apostles and even the Apostle Paul was three years with the Lord Jesus and good example for any who first must accept the Lord Christ as their Savior and then learn the Word of God before teaching others.
Now only Jesus can save, and only Jesus knows who is saved, but we can still know them by their works.
1Pe_2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
It is by our works after salvation, that we will know those who are saved.
Joh_3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Joh_3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
To be “Born Again” is to be repenting from that old life and walking in the ways of Jesus.
These that that came into the church at Pergamos were still hanging out at those temples to false gods.
Some others were just trying to take advantage of God’s “Grace” which God forbids.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
There is not anyone sitting here that cannot name a church where this is going on today and has become the foundation of many mainline denominations for a good while now.
What did Jesus say was the remedy? To repent.
There is not much repentance preaching happening in the modern church!
*****Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Repentance begins with a complete change of mind. We must quit rebelling against the Word of God and begin accepting and submitting to all the Word of God as the truth!
One of the greatest examples of repentance in the Scriptures is found in the Book of Mathew.
Mat 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Jesus said to repent is to believe the Gospel”!
Mar_1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
As we have already said that sword in the mouth of the Lord is a two-edged sword.
One side the sword of truth, the other side the sword of judgment.
The Lord first gave us His un-fallible Word of Truth.
When the Word of God does not convince, then comes the sword of the Lord.
The Lord He would fight with His sword of judgment!
What did this mean for Balaam?
Num 22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
Num 22:22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
Num 22:23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
Num 22:24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.
Num 22:25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.
Num 22:26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
Num 22:27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
Num 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
Num 22:29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
Num 22:30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
Num 22:31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
The Lord stopped Balaam.
Then Balaam met his doom!
Num 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
Num 31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
There is no battle with the Lord that you can win!
Then the Lord said for this church to remember that He also hated the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which we know are a people to try to take advantage of the “Grace” of God which God forbids!
We are not to continue in our sinful ways once we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. This is what repentance is all about.
Now listen to the Holy Spirit.
*****Rev 2:17 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 it.
Remember these words are given to the Pastor of the Church and he is to preach this message.
The Holy Spirit says, you need to sit up and stop what you are doing and listen to this message from God.
The Holy Spirit also expects the same thing from each of us!
Each and every child of God is given the opportunity and the right to eat of the true manna, the true bread of Heaven.
The true manna from Heaven is the Word of God given to us by the Holy Spirit!
What did King David tell Mephibosheth?
2Sa 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; “and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually”.
This is what our Savior is teaching to us!
We will eat at the Heavenly table of our Lord throughout eternity and it begins at salvation then repentance.
“White” and “New” are key words in the phrase that remains.
There are white robes, white clouds, white horses, white thrones, and this white stone.
We know that white signifies joy and purity.
Ecc 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Ecc 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
The word “New” is used almost as frequently as the word “white”.
New name, new song, make all things new.
White and black stones were used in the courts of judgment.
White and black stones were used in the games.
At some Greek feast, everyone that came brought a token as a pledge. Symbolically this white stone with a new name could represent our token, showing we are worthy to sit down at the marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
No doubt the one sure thing is when we eat that Heavenly Manna, that eternal spiritual bread of Heaven, and possess that white stone that has the name of Christ Jesus written upon it, we will be able to enter into Heaven, because no one gets into Heaven without being like Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ is the “Door” that we must past through to reach the throne room of God!
Joh_10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Joh_10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
We must not be fooled by foolish men and women. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to get into God’s Heaven!
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
No one will ever overcome worldliness unless they listen to what the Word of God has to say about the Lord Jesus Christ!