Message to the church at Pergamos
The message to the church at Pergamos is found in Revelation 2:12-17. To them, Jesus presents himself as "He who has the sharp two-edged sword" (2:12). He says this to a church which tolerates those who hold on to false doctrines and are causing others to stumble.
At the outset Jesus says: "I know." He always knows what each church and individual Christians are thinking, saying, feeling, and doing. He lets the Christians at Pergamos know (2:13) that He is aware of -
- Their Works;
- Where they dwell, where Satan's throne is…where Satan dwells";
- They hold fast to Jesus' name;
- They did not deny Jesus when Antipas, one from among them, was martyred.
Jesus knows that the church at Pergamos is under tremendous pressure and stress because it is situated in an ungodly place "where Satan's throne is" and "where Satan dwells" (2:13). They remain faithful to Jesus even after a fellow-Christian named Antipas is killed. However, in spite of their faithfulness in the face of tremendous intimidation and persecution, Jesus finds this to say to them: "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. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate" (2:14, 15). This suggests that there are those in the church who are holding on to false doctrine and thereby acting as stumbling blocks to their brethren by causing them to "eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality" (2:14). There are even those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which Christ hates.
Jesus calls upon the church to repent of their sin with the grim warning that if it don't do His bidding, He would come quickly and "fight against them with the sword of My mouth" (2:16) [cf. Heb 4:12 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."]
Jesus concludes His message to the church at Pergamos with a promise : "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." He promises to give them of Himself to eat [Jesus is "the hidden manna" see John 6:31-33. "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." (John 6:33)]. Among the Greeks a white stone was a symbol of acquittal, as a black stone was of guilt. The white stone implies justification, innocence and victory [PNT].
Lesson: The church has to hold on to the true doctrine of Christ at all cost. We have to be careful and note those in the church who act as stumbling blocks by holding on to false doctrines which cause members to sin. The true and pure word of God should be the only doctrine of the church.