Summary: 1) Satan’s throne- the roaring lion 2) Satan’s subtlety- the Trojan Horse 3) the Saviour’s Sword- strats with the church
The message to the church at Pergamum. Revn 2:12-17
WBC am 29 June 2003
Satan’s throne- the roaring lion
These are scary words! “I know where you live. Where Satan has his throne”
Ancient Pergamum (modern Bergama) is located in western Turkey 16.5 mi. [26.5 km.] inland (as the crow flies) from the Aegean Sea.
It was founded as a major city in the third century B.C. and served as the capital of the Attalid Empire until 133 B.C. At that time Attalus III bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans and in 129 B.C. this kingdom formed the core of the newly–created Roman province of Asia — with, initially at least, Pergamum as its capital.
This was a huge city with an acropolis (a hilltop socio-religious centre) and a lower city. (160,000+)
. Pergamum was the cultural, religious and intellectual centre of the region with a university that had a library of about 200,000 handwritten volumes.
But what about it being where Satan had his throne? (don’t go on holiday, there!)
Right on top of the hill, the acropolis, a temple was built for Emperor worship. Pergamum was the first to do this, in 29BC… a place for worshipping Caesar Augustus.
The Remains of the temple to the Emperor Trajan (AD 98ff) still remain, there.
Before this- the Temple of the Gk god Zeus (father of the ‘gods’) was established.
And besides this Temples of Athena, Dionysus, Serapis, Demeter and Asclepius have been found
Here’s the remains of the temple of Asclepius- looking up the acropolis and the Emperor and Zeus temples. Asclepius was the ‘god’ of healing (stick and snake) and so this became a ‘healing’ centre
Imagine being a Christian, there (or even a Jew!)- one who believed there was only One God to be worshipped, who you should make no image of
The opposition was fierce. The attack obvious. Satan stalked the streets like a roaring lion. Very little stealth or subtlety.
- stand up for Jesus and you could lose your life
- Just like N Nigeria, Indonesia and large parts of the Muslim world, today
o The body of Christ is still persecuted in this way
Antipas had stood up and out for Jesus. Had not compromised his faith… sprinkled some incense on the altar of Caesar
- and it had cost him his life
- the others had ‘remained true to Jesus’ name’, as well
- … and had not renounced Jesus (v13)
I want to say a few things about Satan, now
I believe very much in a personal and active evil force.
- to me, it is not only Biblically necessary, but theologically necessary
- it is the ONLY way of explaining the evils of this world, that are beyond man
- okay: man doesn’t often need the Evil one’s help. He’s able to do most of it himself in the most horrible way
- but… cutting a long story extremely short… belief in an adversary/enemy is essential
- unless you’re going to land some of the suffering at God’s feet… and ‘charge Him with evil’
- which is something we mustn’t do (Cf Job)
- you could summarise that Satan’s whole strategy is encapsulated in ‘trying to get us to believe that God IS the source of evil’
- ‘did God REALLY say?!’. ‘He must hate you. Be very sadistic. N Nasty’