Revelation 2:12-17 records, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;”
Verse 13, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Verse 14, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”
Verse 15, “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”
Verse 16, “ Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
Verse 17, “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Please refer to the first two articles on “Ephesus and Smyrna” to get a good foundation on this seven article series of which this is the third article.
As we have already discussed, Jesus was the author of the Book of Revelation. As Dr. Cottle states in “Revelation 2”, “The Book of Revelation was the revelation of Jesus, given to John while on the isle of Patmos in about A.D.96. John was the amanuensis of Jesus and translated the revelation into the book.”(p6) Pergamos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and the most famous city in Asia. It had a prestigious 200,000 volume library, which was incredible in those days considering each volume was hand written. In fact, the word parchment is derived from the name Pergamos. I wanted you to get some idea of the grandeur of the city of Pergamos, which would be comparable to Paris, London or Washington today.
We see Jesus reiterates His qualifications in verse 12, “saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” A sword with one edge was used in battle by the Romans to take prisoners. The blunt side of the sword could be used as a club to break bones without killing. However, if the decision was to destroy them all, then they used a sword with two edges. Jesus makes it clear that the message which He is about to communicate is serious and that He has the authority to eternally judge the ones who refuse to repent from the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Rome’s symbol was the sword and eagle and Jesus is clearly saying that He has a bigger, sharper sword than Caesar.
It is clear in verse 13 that Jesus is all watching, all knowing (omniscient). Jesus saw how many people in the church in Pergamos had been faithful under persecution and had not denied their faith. Instead of compromise, they had chosen to loose their jobs, their security, or as in the case of Antipas, their very human lives on earth. Jesus called Pergamos “the place where Satan’s seat is.” I believe that Jesus used this designation because in the city of Pergamos there was the worship of Asklepios, which was the god of healing. People came from throughout the world to the temple of Asklepios to be healed by confessing, “Asklepios is Savior.” This is blasphemy for the Christian as is the worship of “Allah” or any other false god or idol. It is interesting to note that the god Asklepios had the form of a snake, as does our symbol for medicine today. Do you or somebody you know put more faith in medicine, doctors and hospitals than in Jesus? The city of Pergamos like Smyrna worshipped Caesar, they probably were the most intense worshippers of Caesar. Dr. Cottle states in “The Risen Lord Speaks to His Church”, “The capital city put itself into the worship of “the soul of Caesar” as nowhere else could. And because of this, Jesus called Pergamos “the place where Satan rules.”(p31)
Remember that Jesus is also speaking to the Church today. Jesus called Antipas who according to tradition was roasted alive in the belly of a brazen bull, “my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” I do not see Jesus telling people to flee the area as many denominations tell their missionaries to do today in countries where persecution is mounting, but I see Jesus exhorting them to remain faithful even unto death. What a different attitude Jesus has than most Church leaders of today. Cottle states, “it is not “Christian” to escape trouble; it is “Christian” to conquer trouble.” The attitude today is to use “wisdom” instead of using “faith.” Instead of rebuking sin publicly, homosexuality and abortion etc., we are advised to ignore it if we want to build a mega church. The Christian “superstars?” today teach pastors to be “consumer friendly” churches who cater to the cares of the people instead of the concerns of Jesus. A war, dear saint, is never won by ignoring the enemy but it is won by attacking the enemy. A child is not raised into a responsible adult by ignoring their temper tantrums, only a brat is developed that way. So it is today, by ignoring the sins and wrong values and beliefs of people in our churches and society, we are raising spoiled, selfish rebels in the church and a “beast nation.” Both the church and nation have become “de-Christianized” because of our philosophy of compromise instead of radical fundamentalism.
My Grandfather Hansen was a missionary in China with the Assemblies of God. When World War II broke out, he was advised to return to America since he had a wife and four children. They told him that if he refused to leave China the family would probably be arrested and put into a concentration camp as prisoners under the Japanese. My Grandfather prayed and informed them that, “Jesus told him to stay in China with the Church.” So my Grandfather did. Yes, they were arrested for two years and my Uncle, a pastor in China, was shot in the head and killed. They were faithful in imprisonment and death. That should be the attitude of all Christians today! That is the attitude Jesus was telling the church in Pergamos as well as the church today to have! We are supposed to be the salt of a nation, even in war. We are not supposed to leave the nation to rot. The nation has turned into a nation of baby killers because the church is not screaming that it is murder. Instead, we leave the heathen to rule the land because they are actively in a war to change the values of what was once a Christian nation into a Beast.
In verses 14 through 16 the tone of the letter from Jesus to the church in Pergamos changes. Jesus is warning the entire church that he is holding all of them responsible for allowing the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans to be taught. I hear all the time the age old “cop out” for people not wanting to get involved. “It is not my place; it is not my responsibility to correct him.” Wrong, the Bible commands us clearly that we are “our brothers keeper.” Not only is God going to hold the pastor responsible for allowing wrong doctrine to be spoken in the churches, but each Christian is also going to be held responsible. The Scriptures make it clear, that he who knows truth and says nothing will be held responsible for the sinners’ blood. (Ezekiel 33:2-19)
In the city of Pergamos, sexual morals were very loose, as is the case in America today. The church in Pergamos had teachers in them that were very lenient toward society’s morals, values and beliefs. In verse 16, Jesus is telling them to repent, or else, He will come himself and fight against those false teachers, as well as those who condone such behavior. In other words, Jesus will bring chastisement and judgment according to the Science of Judgment. In many churches today the youth department is more a place for teenagers to find someone to date than it is for their spiritual and moral development. The Risen Christ was condemning the liberal teachers for leading the people into the things of the world (sin), instead of conforming them into the image of God. Dating involves self-interest whereas Courtship involves pleasing God with integrity and the purest of motives. Dating involves lust verses betrothal dedicated to commitment. Please order these video series made for television titled 1.Dating Vs Courtship, 2. Courtship (Betrothal), Trinity & Marriage, 3.Trinity & Marriage Produces A Perfect Family, 4.The Family & Harry Potter. Please order these for your personal library if you’re a parent or grandparent and order them for your church Christian Education department and Youth Department.
Dear saints, one of the areas that really bothers me is the conformity and lack of education and concern over the pagan holidays that so many Christians are involved with. For example, St Valentines Day.
The following is from an article titled “The Truth about St. Valentines Day”, by Brian Hoeck at www.christiansinglesdating.com. “…Researching the name of this festival in most reference works would lead you to a third-century Catholic martyr named Valentine. However, the Encyclopedia Britannica states in it’s 15th ed., vol. 10, p336: ‘St. Valentine’s Day as a lovers’ festival and the modern tradition of sending valentine cards have no relation to the saints but, rather seem to be connected either with the Roman fertility festival of the Lupercalia (kept on the evening of Feb 14th and the day of the 15th) or with the mating season of birds.’ This information is reiterated by the Encyclopedia Americana (article: “St. Valentine’s Day”): The customs of Valentine’s Day ‘have been handed down from the Roman festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated in the month of February, when the names of young women were put into a box and drawn out by men as chance directed.’ This festival is the origin of “valentines”-cards linking men and women together for sexual purposes. This festival was ‘characterized in the later Roman period by wanton raillery and unkindled freedom...’ (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, Vol. III, p226).”
“Lupercalia was a festival celebrated in honor of the god Pan of Egyptian mythology. Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary records this about the name “Lupercalia” on p.339: ‘the name seems to be borrowed from the Greek name of Pan, Lycaeus, from lukos, a wolf…because Pan, as god of shepherds, protected sheep from the rapacity of wolves.’ To the Romans, he was known as Lupercus (which means “wolf hunter”), the deified hero hunter, and by the Semites, he was known as Baal.”[ibid]
“Who is Pan/Lupercus/Baal? He is none other than the deified Nimrod of Genesis 10 who built the tower of Babel in defiance of God and set up a false system of worship (Babylon Mystery Religion) with his mother/ wife, Semiramis. He was the ‘mighty hunter’ - the name ‘Valentine’ itself means ‘strong man’. As strange as it may seem, Nimrod is the man of honor of ALL of today’s holidays. He has usurped the place of the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He is honored on this day (Valentine’s) as Cupid.”[ibid]
“This festival also honored the goddess of sexual immorality, Venus. Venus was the mother of Cupid, who was believed to bring about love and also to make it cease. The name Cupid means ‘desire’. Nimrod’s mother, Venus (Semiramis) desired, that is, lusted for, her son. That is why she is called the goddess of sexual immorality-she married her own son. They and their twisted sexuality are the object of Valentine’s Day.”[ibid]
“Cupid, the winged baby with a bow and arrows and a heart, is tied directly to Nimrod and the Babylonian Mysteries. Alexander Hislop in “The Two Babylons” pp 188, 189 states this about Cupid and the symbol of the heart: “The ‘Heart’ was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris [Nimrod] when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, [Tammuz] or the infant divinity, borne in the arms of his mother Isis [Semiramis, Nimrod’s wife]…this infant divinity was frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea, in one of his hands.” Hislop goes on about Cupid, “Speaking of a statue of Cupid, he [John Bell] says it is a fair, full, fleshly, round boy, in fine and sportive action, tossing back a heart.” Thus the boy-god came to be regarded as the ‘god of the heart’, in other words, as Cupid, or the god of love. To identify this infant divinity, with his father ‘the mighty hunter’ [Nimrod], he was equipped with “bow and arrows”…He was the woman’s seed (the false fulfillment of Gen 3:15). Venus and her son Cupid, then were none other than the Madonna and the child.”(ibid)
Over the past 18 years I have had the privilege to pastor four churches and I can tell you that I will never again allow a Valentines Party etc., ever to be held in any department of the church. The origin, history and purpose for Valentines Day are lust. Demonic spirits are behind it. As a married man, I do not need to have lust for my wife. I honor and love her every day of the year. I frequently give her presents. I will not lower my standards and disgrace and dishonor my wife and engage in a holiday dedicated for sexually immoral purposes. All forms of lust and sexual perversions are involved in this festival from fornication, to adultery, to homosexuality, to lesbianism, to incest. No, my fellow brethren, this is a disgusting holiday that no Christian husband or father should be involved in or allow their children to be participating in. On this day and night there are more bastards conceived than any other time of the year. More young virgins are spoiled, if not by intercourse, they are molested, fondled, caressed, and lusted after as a prostitute, instead of being honored and respected. And when this holiday is over, besides the sins involved in immorality, now many people add the sin of murder, as they participate in abortion to terminate their fruit of lust during that particular night.
The Risen Christ has warned that he had a problem with people who teach or allow to be taught in their church the doctrines of Balaam or the Nicolaitans.
According to the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, the “Nicolaitans” were “followers of Nicolaus, a heretic. They are supposed to have been a sect of Gnostics who practiced and taught impure and immoral doctrines, such as the community of wives, that committing adultery and fornication was not sinful, and that eating meats offered to idols was lawful. This was similar to the doctrines of Balaam and Jezebel of Thyatira (v6, 14-15, 20).”(p304)
The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary Of The English Language states: “Gnosticism, a trend of religious thought with Far Eastern origins which flourished in the Hellenistic Near East. There were numerous Gnostic sects, both pagan and Christian. The Christian Gnostic denied the literal meaning of the Scriptures and saw only an esoteric meaning based on gnosis, e.g. they did not believe that a real Jesus was really crucified.”(p408)
We see gnosticism all through America today. The people of America have become overpowered with syncretism. The United Nations believes and teaches both gnosticism and syncretism. In The United States of America the nation itself has become many peoples religion, which scholars classify as “civil religion”. According to HT622: History of Christianity In America II by Dr. Stephen Mansfield, “Civil religion is the name for the idea of the nation as a religion itself. It is an exaltation of the ideals, values, institutions and history of the nation into a religion. It is also called “American Shinto”(p24). So we have in The United States, “American civil religion vs. true Christianity.” These people use the ethics of Jesus Christ but they do not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, which proclaims that Jesus is God, the redeemer (savior), of mankind. Many people in America believe that “all roads lead to Rome”, which is a very pagan concept about reaching heaven, and is as pagan as Rome itself with all its gods and Caesars. Many liberals hold the view that Christianity is but one acceptable religion among many.
Let us look for a moment at the rise of liberalism as documented by Dr. Stephen Mansfield.
“Friedrich Schleiermacher (1763-1834), Father of Modern Theology. Religion to him was a feeling of dependence on God. Christianity is not the final religion, only the best one known to man. God is not a personal being but a force or an eternal principle. Jesus was the ideal sinless man, but he was not God.”(p52-53)
“Albrecht Ritschl (1882-1889). Religion is essentially a social creation. The Bible is history, not inspired Scripture. Ritschl was a leader in “higher criticism” of the Bible.”(p53)
“Horace Bushnell (1802-1876), “Father of American Liberalism”. Bushnell carried Scheiermacher’s ideas to America. He taught that the atonement was an act of “Moral Influence.” He taught that theoretical language was not scientific language and thus could not be accepted as exact language. He was a Congregational minister who barely escaped heresy trials and opposed the many revivals of his day.”(p53)
The Social Gospel is Liberalism applied to the social problems in society. I hope one can see how our society in America has strayed from the gospel of Jesus Christ in relationship to one’s soul; their eternal destiny in terms of salvation. Today, most of society has rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Instead they believe that the kingdom of God is here and now and they apply their moral values and beliefs, incorporating the ethics of Jesus for society, but not bowing to him as their God and Lord. It is man once again building their modern tower of Babel (utopia) only to be judged in the Great Tribulation.
In verse 17, Jesus promises the reward, which includes eternal life for faithfulness. In “The Risen Lord Speaks to His Church”, Dr. Cottle states, “hidden manna” relates to the Jewish belief that three things were in the original Temple of Solomon that had been kept in the Holy of Holies - “within the veil.” - (1) The ten commandments; (2) Aaron’s rod that budded; (3) A golden pot of manna which the children of Israel had eaten in the wilderness. At the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the pot of manna disappeared. Only those who entered into the Eternal Temple of God could ever again eat of that special “Bread of Life.” The Risen Christ is our “Hidden Manna”. He is the Bread of Life and all we need for a victorious life! The “White Stone and a New Name” refers to the ancient practice of jury voting by casting stones into an urn. A white stone stood for acquittal and pardon and a black stone for condemnation. The prisoner was saved or condemned by majority vote. Here, Jesus says: “I will pardon and forgive the faithful and he shall be found innocent on the day of judgment.” And furthermore, “He shall receive a new name.” The name, in ancient times, was given to indicate the nature or character of a person. The Risen Christ says, then, that the old sinful self, with its burdens and guilt, shall be done away and you shall be a new creature in Him.”(p35)
Ladies and Gentlemen, can you see the Pergamos Church today all around you? The Risen Christ gives the same messages of commendation as well as warnings of condemnation. It is up to you and I to repent where it is needed and be an overcomer with eternal life forever! Please be faithful and help me get these messages to the rest of America and the Church around the world. Please send your financial gifts today.
Thank-you and God bless you.
© 2003 World Ministries International