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The Church at Pergamos

March 2, 2011

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Chapter 2:12-17 Pergamos

The name of this city means “citadel” in Greek. The historian Pliny called it “the most distinguished city in Asia”. It was the center for four of the most pagan cults of the day: Zeus, Athene, Dionysus, and Asklepios. The last designated as savior! Today the city is called Bergama in Turkish.

Jesus’ description of Himself (2:12): “He who has the sharp two-edged sword” Rev. 1:16; The only other place besides the Book of Revelation where this word is used is of Mary in  Luke 2:35; See also Hebrews 4:12, Rev. 19:11,15

Jesus’ knowledge of the Church (2:13): 1) I know your works 2) I know where you live 3) You hold fast to My Name 4) You did not deny My faith.  Jesus knew that the Church was being influenced by the world and Satan. They were compromising their faith. They were right in the middle of Satanic activity.

Jesus’ rebuke (2:14-15): 1) Some held the doctrine of Baalam [Num. 31:16] 2) Some held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6).The doctrine of Balaam was the teaching that the people of God should intermarry with the heathen and compromise in the matter of idolatrous worship. Christians in the church at Pergamos were intermarrying with unbelievers [2 Cor 6:14-17].

The result of holding to this false doctrine (2:14): 1) idolatry 2) sexual immorality. See 2 Peter 2:12-15

Jesus’ remedy (2:16): repent or else. God judges the believer who is married to the world. 1 John 2:15-17

Jesus’ reward to overcomers (2:17): 1) hidden manna 2) white stone with a new name known by recipient only. “and I will give him a white stone” This stone, also called “Tessera,” had many usages in the ancient Near East. 1. it could be used for a ticket to special banquets 2. it could be used to vote for acquittal by a jury 3. it could be used as a symbol of victory for an athlete 4. it could be used to show the freedom of a slave.In this context, #1 seems to be the best, referring to the Messianic Banquet (a common theme in Jewish apocalyptic literature). Info on ‘white stone taken from ‘Utley Commentary on Revelation’.

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