12 “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, which thing I hate.[a] 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
Pergamos was the chief city of Mysia in Asia Minor. It was a city known for its wickedness. It is the third of the seven messages that Jesus gives to the seven churches. Again it is a church that existed during the time of the Apostle John but also speaks to a spiritual condition that has existed within the body of Christ throughout the church age. It is important when the Lord gives rebukes during these seven messages that we pay attention and heed the warning of the Lord. The purpose of scripture is to teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness as found in 2 Timothy 3:16.
The one who has the sharp two edged sword is Jesus Christ Himself. When He returns in Revelation 19, a sharp two edged sword proceeds from His mouth to destroy the anti-Christ and his forces. The sharp two edged sword is simply a description of the word of God that is found in Hebrews chapter 4.
The Lord begins His message to the church of Pergamos by high lighting that which they have done well. They have held fast to the faith even when one of their own Antipas was martyred. When the Lord states He knows where Satan’s throne dwells it speaks to the utter wickedness of this city where this church was found. When Jesus is about to bring rebuke and correction He does so in love. Every time He addresses one of these churches, He is speaking to His bride. But correction must come when things are out of order. Correction is important for things to be rightly done in the body of Christ.
The message of correction the Lord brings is that within the church in Peramos there were those who held to the doctrines of Balaam who were taking part in food sacrificed to idols and in sexual immorality. In Acts 15:20 after the Jerusalem council has taken place the early apostles said that Gentile believers should abstain from food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. Both of these were stumbling blocks to gentile believers as they were a prominent part of pagan culture. Those coming out of a pagan Gentile culture would have been well award of these practices and to continue in them would have brought destruction into the life of a believer.
Balaam in the Old Testament is introduced in Numbers chapter 22. He was a prophet and was paid by Balak who was king of Moab to curse the Israelites. But every time he tried to open his mouth, he was only able to bless Israel. But Balaam instead came up with a diabolical plan to entice the Israelites to have sexual relations with foreign women and it ended up placing them in bondage and brought the judgment of the Lord upon them.
In this church what was taking place is that false teachers existed who were teaching doctrines that were not in accordance with God and His word. They most likely were distorting the grace of God and encouraging people that it was okay to indulge in sin since they were covered by God’s grace. We see this same problem at work in the church today as some have distorted the truth of God’s grace for financial gain and building large ministries. What you end up with is people claiming to follow Christ but still living in bondage to sin.
The doctrines of the Nicolaitans were simply false doctrines that were trying to infiltrate and corrupt the local fellowship in Pergamos. There will always exist those who desire to be instruments of Satan to try to weave their way in and corrupt the bride of Christ. This is why sound doctrine is so important because when we diligent study God’s word and know His word, we will not be taken captive by the deceptive doctrines of demons that have influenced many.
The corrective word of the Lord is to repent quickly. When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit about something we are involved in or doing that we know we should not, it is important for us to repent quickly and turn from those things. Time and again the Lord says in scripture that He comes quickly. No man knows the day or hour and that is why we should live each day in holy expectation of His return.
The Lord again says he who has ears to hear. Spiritual understanding is so vital and only happens as we develop deep intimacy with Jesus Christ. When the priority of our lives becomes spending time with the Lord in His presence we will develop ears that are very sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Great rewards wait for those who endure until the end. Enduring till the end is so important in our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we make a decision to follow Christ that is the beginning of a journey that takes place through a life time. To endure till the end requires that we daily abide in Him and take part of His word. The diligent study of God’s word will transform our minds and our lives.
Hidden Manna points to Heavenly Manna that awaits those who endure until the end. A white stone speaks of a memorial and the color white speaks of something without spot or blemish. Those who endure till the end will be greatly rewarded and honored in God’s kingdom. May we live each day with the knowledge and understanding that this world is not our home. Our home is heaven and one day we shall rule and reign with Him for all eternity.