Pergamos is situated on a a fertile land atop a lofty hill north of Caicus valley, what is
known as modern Bakir which is slightly above 25 km from the Aegean Sea. Pergamos was
known to be culturally rich. Before we had Cinema and Netflix, they had a colossal 10,000
seat Amphitheatre and a library containing a reported 200,000 works. Today the site is occupied by the town of Bergama in the (il) province of İzmir. In the third millennium from 547-334 BC., Persian rule Pergamos until Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor around 334BC. Subsequently Pergamos came under Rome’s jurisdiction between 133-40 BC. While Julius Caesar was in power of Rome, Pergamum enjoyed a second golden age. Upon his death the city was given to Marc Antony (40 BC-14 AD). Remember the library? Its collection of 200,000 books was the second largest in the ancient world! And this Roman General Marc Antony presented it as a wedding gift to Cleopatra. Augustus Caesar defeated Antony and gained power of the city, during which time the first temple of the Imperial cult was constructed.
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [b]which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’-Revelation 2:12-17
In Revelation 2:12b Jesus was referred to the One who has the sharp two-edged sword.
Why the sword? You see, the Roman governor of Pergamos was said to have “the power of the sword”, that is to say he has the power to decide whether a person lives or dies.
However over here, Jesus asserted that He ultimately has the absolute power and authority.
Now, if we read a few verses down in Revelation 2:16, another strange sentence was made
by Jesus and that is, instead of the sword being held in His hand in battle, this sword came
from His mouth
: In Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The two-edged sword here refers to the word of God which I believe is the logos, the
written word of God. As for the sword of His mouth – why His mouth? Our Lord Jesus is asserting His authority as one Who has the final say; especially in regards to our eternal life.
Jesus defeated Satan with the Word of God during temptation, the people in Pergamos needed the same to defeat the devil especially so since Pergamos was the place where Satan’s throne was and ‘where he dwells’ (in Revelation 2:13). Because Pergamos had boasted to have the most temples of idols built at that time. There were temples for almost every known Greek god in Pergamos. Besides these, under the Imperial cult worship, many temples were also built for the emperors. So, whatever needs people might have, they could come to Pergamos to seek a deity which they deemed suitable for it.
If a person wants to seek the highest power, “The Great Altar of Pergamon or
Pergamum Altar” was where he should go. Pergamum Altar was dedicated to Zeus and Athena. Zeus was sort of the ‘king of kings’ who was the god of the sky, lightning and thunder. He was also the king of Mount Olympus where all the gods and goddesses dwelt. Pergamon Altar was believed by some that it was the throne of Satan. According to Greek mythology, the father of Zeus was Cronus, the god of the harvest. Before he had any children, he received a prophesy stating that his descendance would overthrow him. So, in order to stay in power, he swallowed up all his children; all of them except for Zeus. Zeus survived and hid himself on the
island of Crete. After some time, Zeus dosed stuff into Cronus drinks, causing him to
vomit out all his siblings. After that, Zeus overthrew his father Cronus.
- b) Like father like son, Zeus also received a prophesy that one of his two sons born to
him by his first wife Metis, would overpower him. To keep Metis from having
children, he convinced her to turn into a fly and then Zeus ate her up.
- c) Then the gods created Pandora and she was gifted with a thirst for knowledge. Zeus
then gave her a box which when opened, would unleash all evil into the world. He
then made her promise that she would never open the box. As the saying goes
‘curiosity kills the cat’, Pandora couldn’t control her curiosity, she opened the box
and all evil was unleashed into the world. As we can see, this Greek mythological god called Zeus, is a cheater, liar, adulterer, rapist, murderer, tempter, any evil you name it- like Satan!
Next, we have Serapis Temple and this was the temple of the Egyptian gods Isis and/or Serapis. – Today it is known as the “Red Basilica”.
Revelation 2:13 states “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s
throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days
in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan
Who is Antipas you may ask?
According to Christian tradition, Antipas was the first bishop of Pergamum, ordained
by Apostle John. There was a major conflict between the worshippers of Isis/Serapis and the
Christians. The people of Pergamum worshipped throngs of Greek and Roman gods, but Christ
followers believed that there is but one God. One major complaint was that Antipas
had cast out so many demons and had affected the worship of their gods!
The priest of Serapis complained to the Roman governor who then ordered Antipas
to offer up sacrifice and incense to the statue of the Roman emperor, declaring that
“the emperor is lord and god.”. Antipas firmly refused to do so and was sentenced to death on the Altar of Zeus. The Altar was a hollow bronze bull called Apis where Antipas was placed inside the bull. Then a huge fire would light up underneath the bull heating up the bronze bull.
Victims inside it would moan in pain and their cries would echo through the head of
the bull, making as if the bull was coming to life. Antipas, was literally roasted to death. However, in the midst of the fire, bishop Antipas was still praying for the church. Antipas was the first recorded martyr in Christian history, in AD 92.
Besides all these temples dedicated to the major pagan gods of the Greek and Romans,
Pergamum was also a centre for the imperial cult worship.
Pergamos is a place where there were a lot of demonic activities. The lesson here is not to know where Satan and his demons dwell but to know where we dwell in God.
- What is in our heart manifest through our mouth.
- Whatever and whoever that sits on the throne of our life is our God.
- Whoever teaching we are holding on to, marks the condition of our life.
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword(2 mouth sword): -It refers to the logos or rhema word of Jesus. Why would Jesus have a sword in his mouth? Aligning our words of confession with our hearts. A Christian can quote scriptures or even memorize the bible but if he/she does not practice/believe, it will be a waste of time. Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
The first alignment is for our heart to align with God’s heart. Then our words will be acceptable to God and carry His power. Think about our salvation-we need to confess. (Romans 10:9-10)
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.-Proverbs 18:21
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.- Matthew 12:36
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9
his Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you[c] shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success- Joshua 1:8
This verse tells us that we should not let the circumstances determine what we say but we should speak the Word of God into our circumstances. Joshua 1:8 says that we will have good success. If the success draws you to God, it is a good success. Otherwise, it is a bad success.
2) Whatever and whoever that sits on the throne of our life is our God.
13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.-Revelation 2:13
Temple of Zeus is a throne of Satan. Today, we can ask ourselves who sits on the throne of your life. Whatever and whoever we attribute worth to, that is our act of worship. Is Jesus more than enough? Jesus definitely understand our circumstances and everything we do is under God’s control. Do God sit in the throne of your life?
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.- 1 timothy 6:12
Worshipping ourselves – Self idolatry. The need to feel good has been a cultural norm. Some of us need to de-throne ourselves. Hyper-grace =, prosperity gospel…the need to feel good all stems from self-idolatry. When we throne Jesus in our life, we will have life abundantly as He promised.
“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.-Revelation 2:14
Balaam and Balak Numbers 22 to 24 : Balak was the King Moabites. He was afraid of the Israelites. He wanted to bribe Balaam who loves money to curse Israelites but he could not. So Balaam taught Balak to let the Moabites women seduce the Israelites men and caused them to sin against God. Because of this, 24,000 people died. To put a stumbling block means to cause them to sin. The church refused to worship the Emperor and were persecuted. However though they refused to worship the Emperor, it is likely that they may have participated in some temple activities which one of them can be sexual immorality. There God rebuked them saying : “15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [a]which thing I hate” The Nicolaitans were people who followed a heresy and indulged in Greek religious practices.
Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.-1 John 4:4
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?-1 John 5:5
Looking at these two verses, we have already overcome the world, why must we still overcome?
Positionally, we have already overcome. However, how we live-do we really overcome?
- Whose teaching are we holding on to?
Manna is a food that was given by God to the Israelites in the desert. Those who overcome will also have a new name. Think about those bible characters whom are given new names and when it happens, there will be a new life. According to the White stone at Pergamos, it symbolized- were given to the innocence when found no guilt of a crime or given to athletes whom have won.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.-2 Tim 4:7-8
Some of us will receive the white stone. Some maybe facing a tough circumstance or difficulties, God understand. When we allow God’s word to take root in our heart, we will surely overcome.
- Check what you are saying to yourself, are they aligned with the Word of God? Repent and align.
- Is Jesus seated on the throne in our life?