“The Letter to the Church at Pergamum: Be Separate!
Background of Pergamum
Present city - Bergama
Pergamos/Pergamum - both used.
Pergamos - great religious center. Intellectual center.
60-70 miles north of Smyrna, 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea.
Alter of Zeus here.
God of healing - Aesculapius (scalpel) was worshipped here with the idol - serpent on a pole.
Caduceus - official emblem of the city. Symbol of our present medical services.
Persecution of Christians caused growth of the church.
Pergamos - mixed marriage
Background of Babylon
The Heritage of Nimrod
Babylon founded by Nimrod - the first world dictator.
Wife - Semiramus;
Son - Tammuz - associated with the Sun god.
Yule log, Christmas tree, mistletoe, all trace their origins to Babylon. Names of days, names of months, calendar, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in minute all from Babylon.
The Seat of Satan
Persians conquer Babylon, the center of Babylonian influence shifts to Pergamos
Persians conquered by Greeks and Greeks conquered by the Romans.
Center of pagan influence then shifts to Rome.
Constantine and the beginning of compromise
312 ad - Constantine gains control of Roman Empire and declares Christianity the state religion.
Under Roman rule and persecution, Christianity has grown.
Pagan and Christian cultures clash as Christianity is now acceptable.
What Satan could not do by persecution he does by mixing Christianity with paganism.
The first Pontifus Maximus is put in place and we have now the concepts of celibate priests, crucifix, purgatory, worship of Mary. All trace their roots to Babylon.
The one with the sharp, double-edged sword Vs 12
The sword is the word of God. Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17
From Revelation 1:16, 19:15 Out of His mouth comes the sharp sword
The only way to combat deception is with the absolute clear understanding of the word of God.
I know you live where Satan lives Vs 13
The emphasis is not on the works of the church but on where they dwell.
Satan’s spiritual throne is here.
Reference to the fact that the Babylonian paganism is central there.
1. You remain true to my name.
2. You did not renounce your faith in the time of trials.
I have a few things against you. Vs 14-15
1. Balaam - “not of the people”. Numbers 22-25, 31
Principle of Balaam - through fornication the people will fall.
Fornication used two ways - 1. physical sexual adultery 2. Idolatry, spiritual fornication.
The way of Balaam is religious compromise - 2 Peter 2:12-16, Jude 11
2. The Nicolaitans
Ephesus – hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
Pergamos – hold to the teachings of the Nicolaitans.
Nico - rule, control
laity - the people
Separation of laity and clergy.
Repent and be separate! Vs 16
Repent - change your mind and your behavior will change. Turn about 180 degrees.
All churches are told to Repent except for Smyrna and Philadelphia.
Repent or else!
1. He will come soon to you.
2. He will fight against them with the sword of His mouth.
The weapon of God’s warfare is His word.
Manna and a new name on a white stone Vs 17
1. Hidden manna - the manna hidden in the ark to remind Israel of God’s provision in the wilderness. Jesus is the manna, the bread of life. John 6
He will be no longer hidden. We’ll see Him face to face. 1 John 3:2, 1 Cor. 13:12
2. White stone with a new name on it -
a) Stones used in judgment. A white stone was acquittal, and black stone guilty as charged.
b) A stone different than the 12 in the breastplate of the priest. This stone is new.
c) Roman practice: when a certain person was a victor in a contest or challenge he was given a white stone with his name on it as a ticket to gain entrance to a special feast or party afterward. A VIP ticket.
d) The stone has a name on it only known by the bearer and God. When