Pergamos - The Church of Compromise

Rev 2:12-17

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.

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."' (NKJ)

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write

The city was of long antiquity, although very obscure. It had nothing that would naturally make it great. After Alexander died and his kingdom divided among his four generals, one of them placed 9,000 talents there for safety because the fortress was secure. The leader in the city rebelled and kept the money with which he greatly fortified the city. The city was not on any trade routes and this caused it to not grow as did Ephesus or Smyrna. This fact would someday lead to its demise. It became a center for Greek culture. It was the city of art and philosophy. It boasted the greatest library of its day with 200,000 volumes. The library was a point of jealousy with the Egyptians and papyrus was forbidden to be sent there from Egypt. It was then that an alternative was found, parchment. Different theaters were built at different times seating from 18,000 to 50,000 people. In its zenith (282-133BC) when it was capital of that region its population was about 160,000. Today, Bergama, as it is now named, has about 20,000 and produces tobacco, cotton, olives and wine. The city was involved deeply in the worship of the Greek gods such as Zeus, which some say is what is spoken of as the Satan's throne. Tatford says, "A more likely identification is the Aesculapium just outside the city." "The Aesculapium at Pergamun was an immense area through which ran a sacred spring and it comprised a number of buildings, including a temple, library, theater, porticoed gallery, amphitheater, hippodrome and baths. Patients received treatment in various ways, but in the majority of cases sleep was induced and the priests used their own methods of causing the patients to dream, and then proceeded to decide the drug or method to be employed by interpreting the dreams. . . . If inscriptions and historical records can be believed, a large number of cures were effected at the Pergamenian Aesculpium. A dumb man is said to have been given back his speech, a blind girl to have recovered her sight, sick people to have been restored to health." (1)

"It cannot be ignored, however, that Pergamun was not only the seat of imperial and judicial authority in the province of Asia, but was also the center of the official religion. . . . When Augustus inaugurated emperor worship in order to give the empire a bond of common sentiment, the first temple of the cult was erected at Pergamun in 27 B.C. Under Vespasian and his successors, it became a test of one's Christianity whether he would or would not offer incense to the statue of the emperor. . . . In other words, the cult was a challenge to Christ: it was a choice between Caesar and Christ. Whatever is in opposition to Christ, it is argued, must be of the devil, and Satan's throne is a symbolic expression for the emperor worship which had found its first official center at Pergamum. " (2)

The Pergamum period may well be looked upon as beginning with Constantine's "embracing Christianity"* in 313 A.D., when the Church settled down in the world. The enemy's plan now was to favor the faith he had fought and defile what he could not destroy. The Christian "religion" became that of the Empire that had slain the Lord! (3)

These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

Jesus is here represented as He is earlier in 1:16 and later in 19:15-21. Some think that this represents the Word of God but I rather think that this represents judgment, v-16. It represents the seriousness of the problems at the church in Pergamos. This church is a compromising church, one which allows evil. Not like Ephesus where they could not bear them that are evil but here it is not only tolerated but also indulged in by the church.

It is interesting that Pergamum was a city to which Rome had given the rare power of capital punishment, which was symbolized by the sword. (4)

The sword mentioned is a long spearlike sword, apparently referring to the double-edged character of the Word of God. Reference is made to this spearlike sword seven times in the Bible (Luke 2:35; Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21). (5)

The Word of God is at once the instrument of salvation and the instrument of death. This twofold character is especially pertinent to the church at Pergamos, which needed to be reminded of the distinct position of those who are true Christians as opposed to those who reject the gospel. (6)

I know your works, and where you dwell

Once again we see that Christ is not ignorant of the true condition of His churches. Each church is met with different challenges. He knew were they dwelt. He knew their temptations and trials. He knew the struggles and the difficulties they faced, as He also does us today.

where Satan's throne is

As in our introduction there is some difference of opinion as the exact meaning of this "Satan's Throne." I do not think that it was simply the paganism of the different gods that they worshiped. For in this they were no different than the other cities in the area. I think that this has reference to something special. Some lay out a very convincing argument that what is meant here is the old Babylonish religion. That which was started by Nimrod and his mother. It continued and was duplicated in almost every culture of that day.

Pergamum used much of its plentiful wealth to build temples devoted to idol worship. Statues, altars, and sacred groves filled the city (Walvoord). A 1,000-foot-high hill, the earliest site of the city, was covered with such temples and altars. The primary local deities to whom temples had been erected were Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, and Asklepios. Zeus, the savior-god, and Athena, the victory-bearing goddess, were testimonials to the Greek spirit and influence. The other two, reflecting more of an Anatolian spirit, were more dominant in the religious life of the city. Dionysos, the god of the royal family, had a mystical name "Bull." Asklepios, like Dionysos more of an animal- god, was associated with serpents. The shrine of Asklepios, who was noted as a "god of healing," attracted people from all over the world. Feeding a living serpent in the temple was the manner of practicing this worship. The sick spent the night in the darkness of the temple where nonpoisonous snakes were allowed to roam. If a person was touched by one of these snakes (i.e., by the god himself), he was cured of his illness.

Despite the city's fascination with idol worship, it was the first in Asia to have a temple devoted to the worship of the Roman emperor. This temple was erected in 29 B.C. in honor of Augustus along with the goddess Roma. From this point on, Pergamum continued as a leader in this form of cult-worship (Beckwith). A second temple for emperor worship was added during the reign of Trajan, earning for the city the title neokoros, "temple-sweeper (or warden)." It preceded both Ephesus and Smyrna with this distinctive, which marked the city's greatest privilege of rendering even the most menial service to the god who had taken up residence there. Compared to all the surrounding cities, Caesar-worship was the most intense here. In other cities a Christian might be in danger on only one day a year when a pinch of incense had to be burned in worship of the emperor. In Pergamum, however, Christians were in danger every day of the year for the same reason. (7)

Now Satan's throne is not in hell. This whole idea of Satan's headquarters being in hell is preposterous. Satan is "the prince of this world" (John 12:31: 14:30: 16:11). So said Christ Himself on at least three occasions. Paul and John taught likewise that Satan held leadership over this world system (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 4:3-4; 5:19). His rule extends to both the celestial and the terrestrial spheres. (8)

I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is. The Devil is not yet "in hell," nor even shut up in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3); but he is the prince of this world, the god of this age. He walks up and down in the earth (Job 1:7), where he yet has his capital and also his throne, whence he directs the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. (Compare Ephesians 6:12.) When Israel was owned of God, when the Jerusalem temple stood, Satan's great opposing city was Babylon, on the Euphrates. See notes on Revelation 17 and 18. "Pergamos (properly called Pergamum), was a sort of a union of a pagan cathedral city, a university town, and a royal residence," says Blakesley. The title, "chief temple-keepers of Asia" was held by its inhabitants, showing "the supreme importance of Pergamos to heathendom." When the Babylonian cult of the Magians was driven out of Babylon, they found a haven at Pergamum, and Pergamum's king, Attalus III (B.C. 133), willed his kingdom and title into the hands of the Romans (Justin p. 364, Strabo). The title of the Magian high priest was, "Chief Bridge Builder," meaning the one who spans the gap between mortals and Satan and his hosts. In Latin, this title was written, Pontifex Maximus. (9)

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

There were also some at Pergamos that had been and would be martyred for Christ sake. False religion is never tolerant of the true. Falsehood can well tolerate falsehood but not truth.

Christ notes that in spite of their evil environment the Pergamos Christians have held fast to His name and have not denied the faith. The reference to "my name" seems to embody a personal loyalty and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with all that this represented; in addition to this they have not denied the body of Christian truth which accompanies faith in Christ, to which He refers in the expression "my faith." Divine judgment takes into consideration the forces of evil arrayed against the Christian. (10)

Christ's name stands for Himself. It represents the fullness of His divine Person, His deity, His sinlessness, and His saving work for sinners. Holding fast His name is not the equivalent of carrying a card or wearing a medal to show that one belongs to some "holy name society." Rather, it is holding to the firm conviction that He is the Lord Jesus Christ--"Lord" [Master] "Jesus" [Mediator], "Christ" [Messiah]. His name suggests His honor, His glorious nature, His holy character, and His redeeming power. (11)

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

Balaam was that prophet that was a prophet for hire. When he first was confronted to curse Israel, he said that God had told him not to do so. But when confronted with more money, he went, thinking that God might change His mind. On each occasion when he offered sacrifice and would have pronounced a curse against Israel, God intervened and caused Balaam to bless Israel instead of cursing them. At last Baalam found a way to bring God's curse on Israel. He had Balak to go and send the young Midianite women to seduce the men of Israel to commit fornication and worship their gods. This worked well and brought death to many thousands of Israelites as the result of God's judgment on them. (12)

In this Message Pergamos is spoken of as "Satan's Seat." When Attalus III, the Priest-King of the Chaldean Hierarchy, fled before the conquering Persians to Pergamos, and settled there, Satan shifted his capital from Babylon to Pergamos. At first he persecuted the followers of Christ, and Antipas was one of the martyrs. But soon he changed his tactics and began to exalt the Church, and through Constantine united the Church and State. and offered all kinds of inducements for worldly people to come into the Church. Constantine's motive was more political than religious He wished to weld his Christian and Pagan subjects into one people and so consolidate his Empire. The result of this union was that two so false and pernicious doctrines crept into the Church. The first was the "Doctrine of Balaam," and the second the "Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes." The latter we have already considered under the Message to the Church at Ephesus. And the foothold it had secured in the Church was seen in the First Great Council of the Church held Nicaea, in A. D. 325. The Council was composed of about 1500 delegates, the laymen outnumbering the Bishops 5 to 1. It was a stormy council, full of intrigue and political methods, and from the supremacy of the "Clergy" over the Laity it was evident that the "Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes" had secured a strong and permanent foothold.

The "Doctrine of Balaam" is disclosed in the story of Balaam found in the Book of Numbers, chapters 22 to 25 inclusive. When the Children of Israel on their way to Canaan had reached the land of Moab, Balak the king of Moab sent for Balaam the Son of Beor, who lived at Pethor on the river Euphrates, to come and curse them. When the Lord would not permit Balaam to curse Israel, he suggested to Balak that he invite them to the licentious feasts of "Baal-Peor," and thus cause Israel to fall into a snare that would so anger the Lord that he would Himself destroy them. This Balak did and the result was that when the men of Israel went to those sensual feasts and saw the "daughters of Moab" they committed whoredoms with them. which so kindled God's anger that He sent a plague that destroyed 42,000 of them. Now the word "Pergamos"' means "Marriage," and when the Church entered into a union with the State it was guilty of "Spiritual Fornication" or "Balaamism."

The "Balaam Method" that Constantine employed was to give to the Bishops of the Church a number of imposing buildings called Basilicas for conversion into churches, for whose decoration he was lavish in the gift of money. He also supplied superb vestments for the clergy, and soon the Bishop found himself clad in costly vestments, seated on a lofty throne in the apse of the Basilica, with a marble altar, adorned with gold and gems, on a lower level in front of him. A sensuous form of worship was introduced, the character of the preaching was changed, and the great "Pagan Festivals" were adopted, with but little alteration, to please the Pagan members of the church, and attract Pagans to the church. (13)

In the precincts of every temple, harlot priestesses offer themselves for prostitution as part of their service to the god or goddess worshiped. Prior to marriage, many well- born girls also dedicated themselves to a similar service for a period--and were honored rather than criticized for so doing. Christians who had previously indulged in promiscuity of this kind as a feature of their worship might well find difficulty in adjusting their attitude to the Christian teaching of chastity. Even at social banquets they would be confronted with a general sexual laxity and be tempted to regard it as relatively unimportant. As Barclay points out, "In the ancient world sexual morals were loose; relationships outside marriage were entirely accepted and produced no stigma whatsoever.

Over against the faithfulness of the martyrs of Smyrna and Pergamum, stands the beginning of actual tolerated evil. "Thou canst not bear evil men" was written of Ephesus, but of no other church. You know the history of Balaam, the mysterious prophet of Numbers 22, 23, 24, who, prevented from cursing God's nation Israel, counseled the king of Moab to entice Israel into Moab's heathen idolatry, with its obscenities and abominations (Numbers 25), bringing death by plague on twenty-four thousand Israelites! Satan, failing to overthrow the church by persecution in Smyrna days, snares the Pergamum church into idolatry and fornication. (14)

It is astounding how early was the invasion of idolatry into the Church, and the defense of it, even by some so-called "church fathers" (15)

The modern tendency to blur distinctions of moral and theological character and to manifest unconcern in those areas had its counterpart in the early church of Pergamos. The word of Christ to this church on this point constitutes a stern warning to modern Christians to examine their morality and faith and to demand freedom to follow the Word of God with the guidance of the Holy Spirit where this conflicts with the standards of men.

The parallel in the history of the church to the temptation and failure foreshadowed at Pergamos is all too evident to students of church history. With the so-called conversion of Constantine the Emperor, the time of persecution which the church had previously endured was replaced by a period in which the church was favored by the government. The edicts of persecution which had characterized the previous administration were repealed and Christians were allowed to worship according to the dictates of their conscience. Near the end of the fourth century, Theodosius actually proscribed paganism.

Under these circumstances it soon became popular to be a Christian, and the conscience of the church was quickly blurred. It became increasingly difficult to maintain a clear distinction between the church and the world and to preserve the purity of biblical doctrine. Though some benefit was secured by the successful defense of biblical truth by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 as opposed to the defection from the faith by Anus and his followers, the history of the three centuries which followed is a record of increasing corruption of the church, departure from biblical doctrine, and an attempt to combine Christian theology with pagan philosophy.

As a result the church soon lost its hope of the early return of Christ, and biblical simplicity was replaced by a complicated church organization which substituted human creeds and worship of Mary, the mother of our Lord, for true biblical doctrine. The church committed the same sin of which Israel was guilty in the Old Testament, namely, the worship of idols and union with the heathen world. The solemn warning of Christ given to the church at Ephesus was forgotten. (16)

Constantine was never truly converted. He was still a heathen, and was the instrument in the hands of the devil to bring about an unholy alliance with the world. His professed conversion was a great tragedy. In the British Museum there is a coin that was put out in the days of Constantine, on one side of which are the Christian emblems, and on the other the emblems of the old heathen gods. Constantine took the name of "Pontifex Maximus," which means "The high priest of the heathen."

He issued an edict, ordering that all persecution of Christians should cease and that the heathen temples should be converted into Christian churches. For his own selfish ends he favored Christianity, which by this time had millions of adherents. When Constantine came to the throne, with the eye of a politician, he saw that it was to his advantage to favor rather than fight these multitudes. But alas, from that time on, the poor deluded leaders of the church ceased to look for the coming of the Lord. They concluded that Constantine's kingdom must be the "kingdom of God" that was to be upon earth, and the union of church and state became an accomplished fact. So we see the church at Pergamos dwelling "even where Satan's throne is".

Bishops became rulers; the princes of state became the princes of the church; and there was an unholy union between the professing church and the pagans. (17)

is.

The assembly is not charged with being one with the Balaamites, but apparently had tolerated them in its midst, and that in itself was wrong. (18)

The late Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote: "The very word 'Pergamos' has in it the same root from which we get our English words for bigamy and polygamy. It is the word for marriage. The particle which forms the first syllable frequently calls attention to something that is objectionable. 'Pergamos' signifies a mixed marriage in the most objectionable sense of the word, for it is the marriage of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ with the world." G. Campbell Morgan said: "The doctrine of Balaam broadly stated was undoubtedly that, seeing that they were the covenant people of God, they might with safety indulge themselves in social intercourse with their neighbors."

When and how did the church and the world fall in love? Certainly the mixed marriage ought never to have come to pass. The Lord said to His own, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:18-19). In His great high priestly prayer He said, "I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14-16). "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (1 John 3:13). It follows logically that the world could not bring itself to love the church until the church had first become worldly. The church that is popular with the world today is not the spiritually strong, separated church; rather is it the church that mixes with the world and which welcomes the unconverted worldling into its fold. (19)

Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Some have tied this doctrine of the Nicolaitans with a certain man and indicates that this meant a life of riotous living. I think that it is better to understand the word by the etymology of the word. Nice, to conquer, laity, the people. I think that it refers to that first error to find permanent place in the church. That of overlordship. The teaching that the church was like the world and needed masters and lords over the church.

We would in this way find "Nicolaitan" derived from nikao, to conquer; and laos, people; and the meaning, rulers of the laity, indicating that dire clerisy which very early sprang up. A priestly caste was formed, corresponding to the priests and Levites in Judaism.

Inasmuch, also, as the Lord selected these seven churches to represent all the assemblies of the church dispensation, He would scarcely choose an assembly in which two "teachings" of practically the same moral corruption, existed. (20)

Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth

Once again He calls for repentance. The consequence of not repenting is that He will destroy those who are causing the problems.

There is no alternative to continued impurity and compromise with the truth except that of divine judgment. The apostasy which is seen in its early stage in the church at Pergamos has its culmination in the future apostate church in Revelation 17 which is ultimately brought into divine judgment by Christ the Head of the church. (21)

Error will not be suppressed by compromising with it. The false religious ideologies of Christendom can be overthrown only by the sword of the Spirit, the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. (22)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The same phrase is used of all the churches and indicates that we need to have open ears attentive to the message of Christ.

To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.

This no doubt refers to the manna hidden in the ark of the covenant. This is what sustained the life of Israel in the wilderness. But Jesus said that He was that true bread and that is what we really need to sustain our lives.

There was an especial reason for the Lord's setting before the mind of these Pergamean believers that secret and blessed relationship into which the heavenly saints are brought by the Spirit while on earth, and, more wondrously, at Christ's coming; because of the hidden things taught and gloried in by the Babylonian system of idolatry, and the "mysteries" taught its initiates, there at Pergamum, "where Satan's throne was." (23)

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

There is much discussion as to the meaning of this phrase. Some suppose that what is indicated here refers to the trials of court where the jurors would indicate guilty by a black stone and innocence with a white stone. The name written is either the name of the person or the name of Jesus Christ, as was the manner of some of the false worship where the worshiper carried a stone in which was the name of the God that he worshiped.

 

Pergamos - The Church of Compromise

Rev 2:12-17

 

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.

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."' (NKJ)

Pergamos was not a city of commerce as were Ephesus and Smyrna. It became important for it location a defense ability. It had a illustrious past and in its hay day boasted a population of about 160,000. The city was built atop a large hill rising about 1,000 feet above the valley plain. The rest of the cities history can be read in the notes in the vestibule.

Religiously the city was known for its great temples. It was here that the temple of Zeus was located that was tremendous in size. It was first here in 27 a.d. that Augustus authorized the building of the first Emperor temple. Later they added two other temples to the Emperor. Several other Greek gods were worshiped here with all their accompanying immorality. But we are told that along with these there was a mystery cult here that was represented by a serpent. They tell us that this cult was the same as that ancient Babylonian religion that was started in the days of Nimrod.

Which ever one of these ore even a combination of these, that Jesus is referring to, we know that this was the throne of Satan. Whereas in the other seven cities there were always temples to all these false gods. Yet here at Pergamos it was the very throne of Satan.

The city today is about 20,000 and still has a Christian witness.

'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

To this church Jesus represents himself as the one with the two edged sword. In the mind of the people of this day the sword represented authority. It also represented judgment even of life and death. We do not like to think of Jesus in this manner but God is not mocked, whatever we sow, that is what we will reap.

  1. He commends them.
    1. "I know your works
      1. Although the church was surround with immorality and paganism yet they maintained their work for the Lord.
      2. Often we look around us and think that it is a loosing battle and we throw in the towel.
      3. But our God is greater than any obstacle the world or Satan can throw at us.
    2. And where you dwell, where Satan's throne is.
      1. We cannot say for sure exactly which of the pagan temples He is referring.
        1. He could be referring to the culmination of them all.
        2. Or with the temples all on top of this gigantic hill, from the valley it might have just looked like a great throne.
        3. But later on we learn that it is also called the place where Satan dwells.
      2. What is important to see is that Satan is alive and well on planet earth.
        1. Satan is no mythical creature.
        2. He is just as real as you and I are.
      3. We need to see that this church could exist even where Satan's throne was even where he dwelt.
        1. Not only do they exist they are making warfare against the kingdom of Satan.
        2. Here He commends them for their works even in the face of Satan and his kingdom forces.
      4. But things have not changed.
        1. Satan is still the god of this age.
        2. He still commands the lives of billions of people.
        3. He is still the father of lies.
        4. He still takes people captive by his wiles and deceit.
    3. And you hold fast to My name
      1. Jesus said that if we would deny Him before men, He would deny us before the Father.
      2. What ever else we face in this world, let it never be said that we denied His name.
      3. Now some confess Him with their mouth but their heart are far from Him.
        1. So it is possible to have an empty confession.
        2. But these her at Pergamos did not for they continued to hold fast to His name.
    4. 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.
      1. Not only had they continued to hold fast His name but they had not denied His faith.
      2. I think it is significant that He says My faith.
      3. It is not enough to believe in Jesus, but we must believe the truth about Jesus.
        1. If Satan cannot get us to deny the name of Jesus then he will try to lead us astray as to the truth about Jesus.
        2. The whole purpose of Jesus ministry was not to get a following but to let people know who He really was.
      4. They had held to the faith even when it meant persecution and death.
        1. What a marvelous commendation by our Lord.
        2. Being faithful does not have the same tone as being faithful unto death, as He said to the church at Smyrna.
  2. He reprimands them.
    1. "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.
      1. In order for us to understand this we must understand what it is that God has called us to.
        1. God has called His people to purity of life and faith.
        2. That is that God has standards by which He will someday judge everyone.
        3. These standards have some moral qualities.
        4. Our society is no more immoral or amoral than that of where Satan dwelt.
        5. But God expects His people to live above the moral sludge that fills our streets.
        6. But that was where the church at Pergamos was getting in trouble.
      2. There were some who were following in the footsteps of Balaam.
      3. They were influencing people to compromise in the area of worship and morals.
      4. We have a movement in the church across America to lower the standard of the Bible and to accept the standards of the world or of the government.
    2. "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
      1. This can best be understood by the etymology of the word.
      2. It means to conquer the people.
      3. The idea is that of overlordship in the church.
      4. Jesus said that we were to call no one our master in the church for we are all sinners saved by grace.
      5. But in the Christian church there soon came the distinction between the laity and the clergy.
      6. I think that is something that the Lord hates.
  3. The admonition.
    1. 'Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
      1. God calls on the church to repent.
      2. God always wants His people to repent.
        1. If we find ourselves in a compromising situation God calls on us to repent.
        2. And repent we should for if we do not, God must chastize us to bring us back.
    2. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
  4. The Promise
    1. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.
    2. 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."'

1. The Patmos Letters; Fredk Tatford; Kregel Publications, 1969, pages 67 - 69

2. I.B.I.D. page 69

3. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, pages 47, 48

4. The Expositors Bible Commentary; Revelation; Alan F. Johnson; Zondervan 1981; page 440

5. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord; Mood Press 1966 page 66

6. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord; Mood Press 1966 page 66

7. Revelation 1-7 an Exegetical Commentary; Robert L. Thomas; Moody 1992; pages 179, 180

8. The Book of the Revelation; Lehman Strauss; Loizeaux Brothers 1967 page 48

9. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, page 48

10. The Revlelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord; Mood Press 1966 page 67

11. The Book of the Revelation; Lehman Strauss; Loizeaux Brothers 1967 page 50

12. The Patmos Letters; Fredk Tatford; Kregel Publications, 1969, page 77

13. The Book of Revelation; Clarence Larkin; Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate; 1919 pages 22, 23

14. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, page 49

15. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, page 50

16. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord; Mood Press 1966 page 69

17. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; Louis T. Talbot; 1937; pages 46, 47, 49

18. The Book of the Revelation; Lehman Strauss; Loizeaux Brothers 1967 page 52

19. The Book of the Revelation; Lehman Strauss; Loizeaux Brothers 1967 page 54

20. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, page 51

21. The Revelation of Jesus Christ; John F. Walvoord; Mood Press 1966 page 70

22. The Book of the Revelation; Lehman Strauss; Loizeaux Brothers 1967 page 56

23. Revelation; William R. Newell; Kregel Publications; 1994, page 52  

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com