Summary: Revelation Chapter 2 Vs. 12-17: to the church in Pergamos
Rev. Bruce A. Shields
First Baptist Church Tawas City Michigan USA
Revelation Chapter 2
Vs. 12-17: to the church in Pergamos
Key Verse; Revelation 1:19
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
Revelation Chapter 1: Things you have seen,
Revelation Chapter 2 & 3: The things which are,
Revelation Chapters 4 – 22: The things which shall be hereafter.
Chapter 2 & 3 – The Things that Are.
Chapter 1 – We see the Lord Jesus as the Glorified One.
Chapter 2&3 – We see the Lord Jesus as the Head over the Church.
Chapter 4-22 – We see the Lord Jesus as the Triumphant One.
We will see the Lords striking message to the seven churches of Asia.
They are applicable to the churches of today.
Before the vision of the Father in Heaven in Revelation Chapter 4, we have the vision and words of the Son, Jesus Christ in Chapters 1 – 3.
We must know the Son before we can know the Father. He is the only way to God.
ANGEL – (Pastor)
The Church in Pergamos refers to the state of the church that laid the groundwork for the Catholic system.
This time span was approximately 300AD – 500AD.
Pergamum or Pergamos was the capital city of the province of Asia mentioned in Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia.
Pergamum was the famous site of the temple to Aesculapius; the Greek God of healing supposed to be the founder of medical science.
The city became the seat of Babylonian sun worship, a noble center of idolatry and demon controlled religions with splendid temples to Nature. People from all over the Roman Empire came to seek healing in this pagan temple and the shrine area was inhabited by thousands of harmless snakes. On the hills of Acropolis stood resplendent buildings, statuary, palaces and the great library as well as the temples and an altar of "Zeus the Savior." Medicine and science was worshipped here and the symbol of their worship was the serpent. The snake was carried down into our own day with a staff entwined with serpents called the caduceus, still using the snake as a symbol for the medical arts; Aesculapius is depicted holding the caduceus in his hand.
Constantine made Christianity the state religion and by doing so acted in the same capacity as Attulus III by giving away the kingdom to the Romans. It was the Roman church however that the blame resides. Constantine was a useful ally; he had stopped the persecutions and did what He could to bring peace to the church by holding an ecumenical council to decide some tough issues that needed to be dealt with. It was not his fault. The persecutions had strengthened the church but the Roman church had already compromised by this time by bringing the Nicolatian errors of the separation of clergy and laity. By destroying the unity and humility of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, the pride of lording it over the people stifled the prophetic influence and plunged the church into the dark ages. They compromised further by allowing pagan Roman idolatry to influence their worship.
The church was no longer a separate sanctified people and the Roman influence became a stumbling block. The effect of the rule of Constantine meant that the state supported the church and the emperor became its benefactor. When the Empire crumbled and the throne was vacant, the worldly authority was taken over by the papacy who turned the throne into "Satan’s seat." The bishop of Rome was now Pontifex Maximus with all the pretension and false authority over the church that the old imperial office held.
Successive generations of the Roman church show this admixture of pagan influence and the gospel of Christ existing side by side. In this atmosphere however is the spirit of God that consists of a gospel that will not return void. The church has always had its true worshippers and those that held fast to the name of Jesus because the true church of Jesus Christ consists of those that have partaken of salvation. The church is the bearer of the truth of this salvation but salvation itself comes from Jesus and does not proceed from the church no matter what the church tells us. Salvation is stronger than man’s attempt to divert the source and there will always be those that have not denied the true faith.
The Lord is described to Pergamos as having a two-edged sword.
That sword is the word of God and by cutting both ways, has the power to convict and correct as well as to convert, distinguishing between soul and spirit. It is such that it proceeds out of His mouth laying stress upon the verbal word of prophecy but not limited to the written word and directed to the nations. They are not told to get out of the church but rather to repent of the false doctrine so the sword here is especially for those who will not repent. To flee from the wrath to come, we need to "bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance," as John the Baptist would say. These fruits are the works that Jesus is already praising them for, now it is up to those that have need of repentance to make that turn about, not merely sorrow and contrition but a changed life and renewed mind.