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[Revelation Ch.2: The 7 Churches]

IV. Church of Pergamum

     This ancient city was almost completely given over to idoltatry. It worshipped so many gods that city officials had to compel obedience to the political system. It is twice called the dwelling of Satan in this passage. People worshipped Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus, and Zeus.

     Pergamus is most noted for its great library, one of the greatest in antiquity. There parchment was first used. It once served as the capital of Roman Asia.

     Pergamus means “thoroughly married.” This is the period of Emperor Constantine, who "Christianized" the Roman Empire.  Virtually everyone was declared a Christian. Although persecution finally ceased, the resulting influx of people into the church, regardless of genuine conversion, actually corrupted Christianity.

REV 2:13  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is

     This could be a reference to the worship of Zeus at his altar on the local acropolis, or to the great temple of Asclepius, a pagan god of healing represented in the form of a serpent.

REV 3:13  ..and thou holdest fast my name

     At the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), the deity of Christ was debated. But, after much heated discussions, the church affirmed that Christ was "very God of very God."  And for the next thousand years, this issue was fixed in church doctrine.

REV 2:14  ...hold the doctrine of Balaam

     The money-loving prophet Balaam taught Balac to seduce the Israelites with idolatry and fornication. With the formal acceptance of Christianity as Roman state religion, pagan practices and superstitions became part of Christian worship and doctrinal practice.  Some of these were--

     A.D. 300 Praying for the Dead

     A.D. 375 Worshipping saints and angels

     A.D. 394 The Mass introduced

     A.D. 431 Mariolatry: Worship of Virgin Mary

     A.D. 593 Belief in Purgatory 

REV 2:15  ...hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans

     This is the false doctrine of a strong ecclesiastical hierarchy ruling over the laity. The clergy became a special class who controls church affairs; the laymen blindly obey the former's dictates. 

REV 2:17  ...the hidden manna

     The Old Testament Israelites depended on the daily manna for sustenance. They had to go out and pick up this provision from God. But someday, spiritual overcomers will be sustained by God Himself. God has His own "manna" prepared for them.  

REV 2:17  ...a white stone

     The probable meaning is that of justification and acquittal.

     ("There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"--Romans 8:1).

 

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