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The Letter to the
church at
Pergamos
Revelation 2:12-17
The name means “high place” or “place of worship.”

Jesus identifies Himself as “He who has the sharp sword with two edges.” This is a
reference to the Word which proceeds out of  His mouth (1:16 with Hebrews 4:12). This
may be a contrast of the Word of God to the massive library at Pergamos.

Jesus knows:

1.        THEIR WORKS
2.        WHERE THEY DWELT
             where Satan’s Seat was
3.        HOLD FAST CHRIST’S NAME
4.        HAVE NOT DENIED THE FAITH
             even to the martyrdom of Antipas

Jesus, who walked in the midst of the churches, knew what they were doing, how they
were acting and what they believed. He knew the extent of their obedience, and the
difficulties that they faced from day to day.

Where they dwelt

The top of the hill was their Acropolis (temples), including the largest altar to Zeus in the
world, which may have been referred to as “the seat of Satan” and the place of Anitpas’
martyrdom.

The Acropolis of Pergamos(n) was one of the largest gatherings of temples in Greek
culture. It was a major center of idolatry.

Pergamos was also the site of the second largest library in the ancient world. When the
library at Alexandria, Egypt was destroyed, Marc Anthony took 200,000 volumes from the
library at Pergamon to give Cleopatra as a wedding gift. Thus, it became a major center for
Greek philosophies, as well.

It became the natural center for Emperor worship during the reigns of both Nero and
Domitian.

The Roman Empire required one to take an oath of allegiance to the Emperor, declaring him
to the be the one “Lord and God.” Evidently, even under penalty of death, Pergamos had
held fast to the name of Jesus as the one “Lord and God” as Thomas had declared (John 20:
28).

Pergamos had not denied the faith. They had been true to those things revealed in their
actions.

The name Antipas means “against the father,” or “against the gods.” Thus, as most names
in Revelation, it may be a reference to a particular character rather than a particular person.
Yet, there was Jesus’ rebuke:

1.        THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM
             eat things offered to idols
             commit fornication
2.        THE DOCTRINE OF THE NICOLAITANS
             which thing Christ hates
3.        REPENT OR ELSE
             Christ will come quickly
             Christ will fight against them
                     with the sword of His mouth

The doctrine of Balaam

Balaam for the consideration of a payoff, was willing to teach the people of Israel to eat
things offered to idols, and to commit fornication to bring about their defeat (Numbers 24,
25, 31). Evidently, for monetary considerations the same thing was happening in Pergamos,
and the church was allowing it.

This would be the parallel of Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian and Transexaul ministries of today,
teaching that one can remarry after a divorce for any reason and offering fellowship to
those who are not in fellowship with God. See Paul’s discussion of eating things offered to
idols in his letters to the Corinthians.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans

As we have stated before the Nicolaitans were antinomians, or those who believed we are
under no law. They parallel the “grace only” people of today, and the “once saved, always
saved.” Antinomians believe what you do has no effect upon your relationship with God.
Again, even though there were good things to say about the church at Pergamos, they
allowed these false teachers in their midst. This, Christ hated.

Repent or Else

There is no question that the situation of Pergamos in allowing these false teachers in their
midst was going to bring the judgment of God upon them if they did not change their ways.
Jesus tells them He will come quickly, and it will not be a pleasant visit. He will fight against
them with the sword of His mouth. Judgment, punishment or damnation, will be their
reward if they do not repent quickly.

Jesus closes the letter in the Apocalyptic style, He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what
the Spirit says to the churches:

To him that overcomes, I will give:

1.        TO EAT THE HIDDEN MANNA
2.        A WHITE STONE
             a new name written
             which no man knows except he who receives it

Every one is to listen to this message. If they will overcome their difficulties, if they will
repent, Jesus will give them:

The hidden manna

After feeding the multitude, the next day Jesus rebuked them for following them for more
food. The remainder of the chapter deals with the fact that Jesus said, “I am the bread of
life… This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and
not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread,
he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life
of the world…This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did
eat manna and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live for ever.”

Jesus is promising Pergamos eternal life if they overcome.

A white stone

A new name would be given on the stone for the end of life: the name of Christian which
presents one in the sight of God acceptable through Jesus Christ.