Summary: Peter told Jesus "we've left everything to follow you. What do we get?" Jesus wasn't put off by the question. In fact, the end of each of the messages to the churches proclaims rewards for those who overcome. This is a brief overview of each.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These things writes the one having the sharp, two edged sword:

I know the place where you stay, the throne of Satan,

And you hold onto my name, and do not deny my faith

Even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness (martyr), who was killed before you, the place where Satan stays.

But I have a few things against you, because you have some there holding to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat food given to idols, and to fornicate (porn).

Thus, in the same way, you have also some holding to the teaching of the Nikolaitans.

Repent therefore! For if you don’t, I am coming to you quickly, and will make war with them with the sword of my mouth.

The one having an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the overcomer I will give to him the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which know one knows, but the one receiving it. Revelation 2:12-17

v 12 Pergamos had a 200,000 book (scroll) library, as well as temples to Zeus and Aesculapius. sword the word of God (Eph 6:17; Heb. 4:12).

v 13 Satan’s throne The temple of Zeus was on the top of the hill, it was shaped like a throne, and looked like a huge throne on the hill, from a distance. There were also temples of Babylonian worship (for a description of the progress of the Babylonian system of worship into the Western world see Alexander Hyslop’s The Two Babylons), and Caesar worship. In terms of Church history, this was the time of the “conversion” of Constantine. Before Constantine rose to the place of Caesar, he met with great opposition. Then he saw a vision of a cross in the sky and a voice that said “in this sign, go forth and conquer”. After consulting with a few Christian bishops, he determined that this was God telling him that if he became a Christian and put the cross on his army’s shields, he would be victorious. He was victorious. But he continued to worship in the cult of Babylonianism. He declared himself “Pontifex Maximus”, or great father, the high priest of Babylonian worship, and the Lord Protector of Christianity. This was the end of official persecution on the Western church, but it was also the beginning of the incorporation of Babylonian worship practices into the worship of the Christian church, and the inclusion of the church in the Roman political system. This was the Church in communion with the world system. Read more about Babylon in the commentary on Chapter 17.

v 14 Balaam was the character in the Old Scriptures who was hired by Balak to curse Israel, but every time he opened his mouth to curse Israel, blessings came forth. Finally, he advised Balak that the best way to defeat Israel was to send the young ladies down to the men of Israel, and entice them to sexual immorality. The implication was that they would do this as an act of worship to their god. Balaam gave evil advice for a price. Balak took the advice, and, as a result, God sent a plague on Israel (Num. 22-24, 31:8, 15-16; Jos. 24:9-10, II Pet. 2:156, Jd. 11). Food Sacrificed to idols is discussed throughout the Scriptures. Paul teaches that eating meat from the “shambles” is not a problem (Rom. 14:12-22; I Cor. 10:23-33). But apparently, in Pergamos, they had feasts in which the food being eaten was part of their worship to the Babylonian gods. Some Christians were being enticed into this practice—an abomination to God.

v 15 see 2:6

v 16 see 19:15, 21

v 17 To him who overcomes, that is, is victorious, the Greek word nike, Manna will be given. Manna is ‘bread from heaven’ and is a symbol of the love, care, provision, and word of God. See Ex. 16 (esp. v. 33), Heb. 9:4, and John 6:25-58. There are many possible understandings of a White stone. There were twelve stones on the High Priest’s garment (Ex. 28:15-29), each representing a tribe of Israel. Some were whitish stones. The High priest also held the “Urim and Thumim” (lights and perfections), probably a white and a black stone for discerning God’s will. The white stone meant yes. In John’s day, a victor in a contest would sometimes be given a white stone as a kind of key to the city. Some people would distribute white stones as invitations, admission tickets, to a party (Rev. 3:12). The new name is a beautiful concept. God changed the names of several people in Scripture (Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Peter, etc.). Their names have significance in each case.

The Reward to the Overcomer: Intimacy with God

Yesterday we talked of the sin of Balaam, the merchandising of God. If you’d like to follow up on the meaning of the doctrine of the Nikolaitans, you can follow the

today we’ll focus on the rewards to the Overcomer.

1. Eat from the Tree of Life in the middle of the paradise of God

Yes. The Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden has reappeared in Heaven. God always intended that we would eat from that tree-and, please notice. It is in the middle of God’s home.

2. Shall not be hurt by the Second Death

Please think about what Jesus taught about what Jesus taught about the Day of Judgement. To some He will say “depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you”. Bot to the others He will say “come, blessed of the Father, Inherit the kingdom established for you since before the foundation of the world . . .” Some are sent from fellowship, others are welcomed into eternal fellowship with God

3. Eat of the Hidden Manna & White stone with a new name only known to God & the recipient

The hidden manna, as stated earlier, may refer to the manna that was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant-the place of the veery presence of God-God’s throne. In heaven, in order for God to offer this hidden manna to His people, you almost have to imagine Him standing up from His throne, living a private compartment under the throne & handing to you your portion of Manna, so you can have a feast with our Lord, right there in His presence. This is an extraordinary invitation to intimacy with God.

4. Power over the nations to “rule with a rod of iron” & the Morning Star

Who is it that will rule ‘with a rod of iron’? It’s Jesus (Psalm 2). The Morning Star also, Is Jesus (Revelation 22:18). Jesus is inviting us to join with Him in His responsibilities. It’s like He is holding His rod of authority, and He invites us to hold it with Him in our hand. Jesus is the Morning Star. He is offering Himself as the reward to those who overcome.

5. White clothing, & no blotting of your name from the Book of Life & Jesus will confess your name before the Father & angels

White clothing is the ‘righteousness of the saints’ (Revelation 19:8). What is our righteousness? Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus’ confession is a formal invitation into the family and presence of God. In every way, the reward of those who overcome is they are able to stand in the presence of God

6. Will be a pillar in the temple of God & God’s name written on him & the name of God’s city

-Where is God? He is in the temple. The temple is the place of meeting with the very presence of God. Imagine being a pillar in the presence of God. No one is closer to the LORD. Nothing experiences God’s presence more consistently.

-I love this idea of God’s name being written on the believer. My son used to be in a residential school. All of his clothing had to have a tag with his name sown into it somewhere, from his sox to his shirts. I still wear some of the clothes with his tags in them. You know who the clothes belong to. His name is written there. God’s name will be written on the Overcomer..

-the name of God’s city is also written on the Overcomer. So, you belong to the city as well. No one can claim you somehow don’t deserve citizenship.

7. Sit with Jesus on His throne

Have you ever seen pictures of John Kennedy in the Oval Office of the White House, with his children playing, sometimes sitting in his lap? They had access to the President any time because they were his children. Jesus invites us to a seat next to Him. The idea is profoundly intimate. As we progress through the Revelation we’ll see times when it seems the Father is sitting on the throne. John will turn his eyes elsewhere a moment, and look back & see Jesus sitting on the same throne. Jesus is saying, we’ll also occupy that place. It’s a big throne-lots of room.

All of these rewards to the Overcomer have one thing in common-intimacy with God, in fact, the gift of God Himself. What reward can be compared with this?

Prayer for Today


Strengthen me.

Enable me to be worthy so that I can be an Overcomer.

Father, I do not ask you to remove me from my circumstances. Instead, make me capable to glorify and represent You in my circumstances. Use me for Your glory.

Make me an Overcomer.

I want You as my reward.

In the name of our Lord, Jesus, the love of our lives