Ch.2: The 7 Churches]
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
2:17 ...a white stone
The probable meaning is that of justification and acquittal.
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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