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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.

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