In Revelation 2:12-17, we read a letter from Christ to the church of Pergamum. This was one of seven churches in Asia Minor, and the city was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was located on a high, rock fortress with a very commanding position. It was also the place where parchment was invented.
Jesus introduces himself as the one who has the sharp, double-edged sword. This sword is used to judge the true from the false, the good from the bad, in the church.
He refers to their city as the throne of Satan, the place where Satan lives. This was due to the many pagan temples, shrines, and altars located there for the worship of many gods. This was also home to emperor worship. Jesus will not share loyalty
with any other man-made gods or idols of this world.
Jesus commended the church of Pergamum for their willingness to hold steady under pressure and for not denying their faith, even in the days when people were being martyred for their faith, as was a man named Antipas.
Jesus then told them he had something against them as a church. They had people within the church who were holding to false doctrines, teachings and practices, going so far as to be involved even in sexual immorality of all kinds. These people obviously had a great following and were being corrupted. He referred to them as Baalamites and Nicolaitans.
The church of Pergamum was tolerating these people in their church when they should not have. Jesus told them they needed to repent quickly or he would come and fight against them with the sword of his mouth, indicating swift and sudden judgment.
He told them to hear what the spirit was saying to them. If they would repent, they would be given hidden manna, eternal provisions from the Lord to satisfy their every need; a white stone of victory and eternal acceptance by the father; and a new name, known only to him who receives it. Names were important in biblical times because they pointed to the character of the person.
We, too, live in days much like those in Pergamum. Satan has his throne set up everywhere we look.
Sadly enough, there are many churches who are compromising the standards of God and his word for his people; who are living and teaching a mixed and diluted faith, far from the faith clearly set out for us in scripture. They are trying to serve two masters at the same time and playing both ends against the middle. Unfortunately, there is even sexual immorality going on within many churches today and they continue to tolerate it, much like they did in the days of the church of Pergamum.
God's church is called out to be separate and different, while engaging the culture in which we live. We are not supposed to blend in to our culture, but through Christ, be wonderfully different through the life-change he brings to us.
If there are areas of compromise in your life or church, repent of it quickly, and receive Christ's wonderful promise for yourself. Don't become the enemy of Christ and face his double-edged sword of judgment. He that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.