Persecuted for preaching the gospel, around A.D. 95, John was exiled to Patmos, an island on the Aegean Sea where he received a revelation from an angel of Christ.
Previously, Christ spoke to John through a vision that included seven candlesticks which represent the seven churches in Asia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
The first church mentioned to John was Ephesus, which Jesus described as having become loveless, and He warned the Ephesians they should repent or face God’s wrath. Then, Christ praised the church at Smyrna and encouraged them on the dawn of suffering to come.
“12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” (Revelation 2:12-13)
Located 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea, and 50 miles north of Smyrna, Pergamos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor. The fact the city was immersed in a pagan culture made it challenging for believers to keep their focus on the Lord.
First, through John, Jesus praises the fellowship at Pergamos, including the devoted martyr Antipas for their dedication to serving and pleasing Him, in spite of ongoing persecution by the enemy in a region soiled by idolatry.
“14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:14)
After praising them, Christ rebukes the fellowship at Pergamos for allowing blasphemous teaching within the church and encouraging the doctrine of Balaam to be spread which led believers to unrepented sin including idolatry and fornication.
“15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” (Revelation 2:15)
Jesus points out those among the church at Pergamos who gave in to the Nicolaitans’ sexually immoral doctrine, hated by God. The Nicolaitans was a heretical sect derived from Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. Though he was one of the seven disciples appointed to look after Jewish widows in Jerusalem who had been neglected in the daily distribution, Nicolas was eventually overcome by immorality and gave in to idolatry.
“16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Revelation 2:16)
Through the apostle John, Jesus warns of judgment upon those who do not repent from their sin, from abiding to doctrines contrary to the word of God.
“17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
Concluding His address to the fellowship at Pergamos, Christ promises the bread of life to those who overcome evil and continue to win the battle over temptation in spite of persecution by the enemy. To these disciples, Jesus also promises a “white stone,” one of acquittal as opposed to a black stone which symbolizes guilt. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant John,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through your revelation delivered by your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre