God Wins: The Message of the Book of Revelation: The Church in Pergamum: Insidious Insider Sin

By Ray Jewell

“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. – Revelation 2:12-17

The church at Pergamum is a mixed bag when it comes to commendation and condemnation. They had some things right. They stood up against the forces of Satan, where Satan lives and has his throne. Some think this is a reference to the temple of the Greek god of healing, Asklepius, symbolized by a snake, a figure often used in the Bible to reefer to Satan. Some suggest Pergamum is referred to in this way because Antipas was possibly the first Christian martyr in Asia. There may be something to both of these explanations. The point is, the church there stood up against the outside influences.

Yet an insidious cancer had infiltrated the church. This is found in two false teachings, the teaching of Balaam, a reference to the false prophet that was hired to curse the Israelites when they wandered in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. These proponents were eating meat sacrificed to idols (which was akin to worshipping false gods) and they were involved in sexual immorality. This church also had some who held to the false teachings of the Nicolaitans (overcomers of the people). Both of these practices were going on inside the church and the Christ was ready to come with His double-edged sword to clean up the mess.

Do we see this kind of thing going on in the church of today? You betcha. The idols of today are not made of stone, wood, silver, or gold. But the idols still exist. Sexual immorality happens at an alarming rate too. Someday, when Jesus returns, His double-edged sword will separate the sheep from the goats. The time to get ready for that day is today. Repent is the cry. The Bible says that judgment begins with the house of God.

Lord, search me, show me, the sin that so entangles me. In my efforts to avoid outside, obvious false teachings, don’t let me fall in line with inside, infiltrating practices that are even worse than the obvious teachings to avoid. Lord, forgive me, for I am a sinner.

Until next time,

TO THE GLORY OF GOD!

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