Summary: Christ’s absolute condemnation of such a union in Israel or in Pergamom is clear testimony to the fact that Christians must, at all costs, remain pure and separated from the world
MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
Pergamum – The Compromising Church
Good News Christian Fellowship
BUCAS, Daraga, Albay
August 13, 2006
In the last two weeks we studied the messages of the Lord to the Church at Ephesus and to the Church at Smyrna. The Lord exhorts these churches, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (2:7).This is a loving call to hear what the Holy Spirit is teaching in these seven messages. Remember this is not just a history of these churches but they have tremendous importance for the church of Christ today because they reveal the qualities that make up the church. They represent all types of churches and Christians.
To the Church of Ephesus, they have forsaken their first love. To the Church of Smyrna, they suffer persecution.
Now, let’s take the message of the Lord to the Church at Pergamum.
The Recipient (2:12a)
A. The Minister - "And unto the angel…”
The letter was addressed to the minister or pastor of the church. No one knows who is the elder or minister of this church.
B. The Church - ” the church of Pergamum.
1. Its Beginning. The Gospel probably reached the city at the time of Paul’s extended stay in Ephesus during his third missionary journey (52-57 AD) and, by the end of the 2nd century AD, Pergamum had become an important Christian center.
2. The Name. Pergamum is a pre-Greek name presumably meaning "height" or "elevation." The earliest city was built atop a cone-shaped acropolis rising over a thousand feet above the surrounding valley (www.ourfatherlutheran.net/pergamum) The city’s citizens could see the Mediterranean Sea some fifteen miles away.
Sir William Ramsey stated: "Beyond all other cities in Asia Minor, it gives the traveler the impression of a royal city, the home of authority; the rocky hill on which it stands is so huge, and dominates the broad plain so proudly and so boldly."
3. The History. The site of the celebrated city of Pergamum, also known as Pergamon and Pergamos, is located 16 miles from the Aegean Sea and about 40 miles northeast of Izmir (ancient Smyrna) in the old region of Mysia (northeast Turkey). It was situated between two small tributaries of the Caicus River (Turkish Bakir Cayi)--the Selinus to the west and the Cetius to the east. Fertile, self-contained and easily defended, it provided the perfect setting for a major city-state. Part of the ancient site is now covered by the modern village of Bergama.
Pergamum dates back to 1000 BC, perhaps earlier, but there is no written evidence until 399 BC when the city emerged as a power during the struggle for territorial control following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. (www.ourfatherlutheran.net)
Pergamum was the imperial and administrative center of Asia. As such, it was the first city in Asia to openly support imperial worship. Pergamum was overrun with pagan temples. Aesklepion, a therapeutic and healing center dedicated to Aesklepios, the Greek god of healing. The city was a center for the worship of Aesklepios, so much so that he was known as "the Pergamene god."
The Attalids of Pergamum built an impressive metropolis boasting beautiful temples, roads, a library rivaling that of Alexander’s in Egypt, and even a school of medicine founded in the fourth century BC , the Asclepeion, which survived over the centuries and continued as a spa into the second century after Christ, attracting all sorts of travelers and patients from the known world( http://www.usd.edu/~clehmann/pir/asiamysi.htm)
Imagine how sophisticated, cultured, and educated the city of Pergamum.
The temples of Athena, Dionysus (better known as Bacchus), and Zeus, can also be found in this city. !8th century excavation has found an altar with the inscription, “Zeus, the savior.”
An inscription over the entrance of the Temple of Aesklepion read, "In the name of the gods, death may not enter here." Within the complex was a round marble altar depicting snakes, the symbol of Aeskelpios. Snakes were sacred to Aesclepius because of their power to renew themselves by the shedding of their skin. (www.ourfatherlutheran.net)
This gives as an idea of the city of Pergamum...the city where the Church of Pergamum was located. Just imagine what it will be like in the midst of the city with so many pagan temples.
The Author (2: 12b) “These are the word of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.” Who is the one speaking here?
Read Revelation 1:16
The one speaking is no other than Jesus Christ himself. And note how He describe Himself: He is the One who has the sharp double-edged sword in his mouth.
What does it mean by sword in His mouth?
1. His Word – (A) The Word of God is sharp. It separates a man from his sin. It will convict men of their sins and cut through mostly hardened heart. (B)The word of God is a sharp double – edged sword. It proclaims the judgment of God into the unbelieving world. On the other side it proclaims the love and grace of God.