Summary: Number 3 in series: Pergamum "The Letters to the Seven Churches"
# 3 in Series: The Letters to the Seven Churches
From the pulpit of Bayview Baptist Church, May 20, 2001
“Is Bayview Baptist Similar to Pergamum Baptist?”
The King James Bible calls this church Pergamos, but the NIV calls it Pergamum.
According to the Greek text, Pergamos is the correct spelling.
The city gets its name from the type of paper known as parchment that was used in writing(pergamena).
Today, this city, only 15 miles from the sea, is called Bergama.
At one time there was a vast library of at least 200,000 volumes at Pergamos.
This library was at the time the 2nd largest in the world.
Marc Antony gave this library to his girlfriend Cleopatra and had it moved to Alexandria Egypt.
One of the most famous places in the world is in this royal city, the Acropolis, which was crowned by a huge altar dedicated to Zeus, and by a temple of Athena!
It is said of Pergamos that Satan’s seat was there!
It was a city that emphasized religion but did not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
This church is the perfect example of the picture of the religious sinner Nicodemus found in John 3:1-21.
“…where Satan has his throne…” (verse 13), reveals that religion was big business in Pergamos, and that Satan’s headquarters were there.
Most people today believe that Satan resides in hell, but according to the Word of God, Satan has never been sent to hell yet, and will not be in hell until we reach the end of time found in Revelation Chapter 20.
At the present time, Satan is on the loose, and is the prince of our world, controlling kingdoms, and going up and down the earth as a roaring lion, hunting for people he can devour (I Peter 5:8).
Satan does have a place he calls his headquarters, and Christ said his headquarters was in Pergamos at that time.
Since that time Satan has probably moved his headquarters to other places around our world.
The reason Christ said Satan’s headquarters were in Pergamos was that there were many heathen temples of worship there.
These temples are all in ruins today, so Satan must have moved.
At one time the temple of Athena, the temple of Caesar Augustus, the temple of Dionysus, the temple of Asklepois, the temple of Hadrian, and an altar to Zeus were in Pergamos.
Caesar Augustus liked to go there because there was a hospital there for about 700 years, and since Caesar Augustus was an alcoholic, he went there every year to dry out.
In verses 14,15 Christ condemns two things which were in the church.
1. The doctrines of Balaam
2. The doctrines of the Nicolaitans.
The doctrines of Balaam taught that God would curse Israel because they were sinners due to their intermarriage with Moabite women and their practice of eating the meat after it had been sacrificed on the altar to idols, or taking that meat sacrificed to idols and selling it in the market, or feast conducted in the pagan temples in honor of the various gods where the people ate the meat sacrificed to idols (Numbers 22:24; Chapter 24; 25:1-3; 31:16).
Balaam was a soothsayer sent to curse Israel, but ended up blessing Israel instead.
The Israelites took Balaam’s life with the sword because he practiced divination
The doctrines of the Nicolaitans was probably a Gnostic cult developed by Nicolaus which advocated matters in Christian conduct.
The only cure Christ presents before this church is that they repent.
In other words, Christ said they needed to have a change of mind.
Christ gives the church no other option.
God’s Word says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
If people repent, it is symbolic here in Revelation that they will receive a white stone which is the ticket into the messianic feast where we will eat the manna once again, which will be food for God’s people in heaven.
The manna is symbolic because the manna is Christ Himself who is our Bread of Life, and in heaven we will feast on this Bread of Life, which will be the only food we need.
If they did not repent then Christ said He would fight against them with the sword of His mouth, which is the Word of God.
Jesus has a sword, a weapon of judgment and death and this weapon is the Word of God.
The Pergamos Baptist Church was a worldly church and a very tolerant church.
Is Bayview Baptist Church a worldly church?
Is Bayview Baptist a tolerant church?
We must remember that we can’t sing the song “My Jesus I Love Thee” until we first sing “all the follies of sin I resign!”