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Bible Studies in the Book of Revelation Study 4

Revelation 2.12-29          Churches I know     Pt 2

The next two churches that are mentioned in this review of the seven churches are Pergamum and Thyatira. They were commended for their faithful witness but also there were some critical comments.

Pergamum or Pergamos

The city was an administrative centre for the Roman Empire in Asia, so was an important centre for the region. It had a Temple built in honour of Rome, but was also a centre for many heathen cults. One interesting fact is that Parchment was first perfected in this city and it also had a huge library.

The basic root of the name Pergamos means ‘married’, so that it is suggested, in a prophetical sense, this church reflects the joining of the church and state, which occurred under Constantine. The previously separated and persecuted churches are now under the protection of the state but subservient to it.

The introduction to this church is in terms of the ‘sharp double-edged sword’ of ch 1. An indication that all was not well and those things that displeased the Lord would be removed. A warning hanging over them! Their context is recognised in v 13, that Satan has his throne in their city, this refers to the Roman Temple and possibly also to the cult worship centres. In spite of this sinful influence, they are commended for being faithful, even in the situation of the martyrdom of Antipas, a faithful man. They did not renounce their faith in the face of this persecution. However, despite their faithfulness, there was a problem, and it relates back to message to Ephesus and the Nicolaitans and their immoral and sinful practices, which were being promoted in the church. [See notes for Pt 1] They also had those who were teaching that ‘all things are allowed’, the Balaamites, [also mentioned in 2Peter and Jude] as God created them, this was the sin that Paul dealt with in his letter to the Corinthians ch 9, where he argued that although the food had no power of itself; the eating of it could lead weaker Christians astray in other areas of idolatry, thus compromising their faith. Immorality was also condemned as sinful, so it is not surprising that this was also condemned. The church was ordered to repent and deal with these matters, or the Lord will come in judgement and remove the sin, ‘them’, the apostates, in a violent forceful way.

In his concluding comment, they were told to listen to what was being said, do not ignore it. There was a promise to those who listened and acted, they would be victorious and would be rewarded, there are two rewards mentioned, both in types from the Tabernacle:

  • The hidden manna, this refers to the manna that was put into the Ark of the Covenant in a golden pot, Ex16.33, and speaks of being fed by Christ in the Sanctuary, as he had made the way open for people to come to the Holiest place, and would sustain them.
  • The second was a white stone with a new secret name, the OT High Priest had a breastplate with stones with the name of the twelve tribes on them, but in the NT all believers are priests, so each has a stone bearing his own name before the Lord. The Lord who knows his own, his sheep, by their name. The apostates in the church had no idea of the value that the Lord places upon the preserved overcomers in His presence.


Another of the Asia cities, found east of Pergamos and north of Sardis. It was famous for ‘dyeing’ [Acts 16.14] it was a commercial centre with an important industry with an impact across the Empire as its dyed cloth was in great demand and expensive!  If you look at Acts 16, you will see its first convert was Lydia, who lived in Philippi, and was there when Paul met with the women, who responded to the gospel message.

The message to this church comes from the ‘burning eyes’ and ‘bronze feet’ of the Lord. These represent the all-seeing Lord, with perfect justice and judgment. So, there was an immediate indication that all was not well in the church.

The Lord knew them and commends them for three areas of their Christian life:

  • Love and faith, their conversion trust and dependence on the Lord.
  • Service and perseverance, their faith had developed into works, so they were living it out even in difficult times.
  • Doing more than at conversion, they were growing as believers, they had become mature Christians.

But there was a severe condemnation, again it was due to the teaching of those already mentioned in the churches at Pergamos and Ephesus. The introduction of the false teaching that panders to the carnal nature. It appears that there was a leading woman, called Jezebel, not her name but a reference to the evil Queen married to Ahab and who lived in Elijah’s day. She led the people away from the Lord to worship idols and carry out immoral and abominable practices. Even here, she was given an opportunity to repent but she did not take it, she carried on wilfully leading the church astray. There will be a judgment on her and her followers:

  • A bed of suffering, an illness that would stop her work
  • A promise that those who follow her practice, mentioned as ‘commit adultery’, that is are joined with her actions, will also suffer, again stopping their actions
  • Her children will die, could be actual children or could be referring to her followers
  • Reminding the church that the Lord will not tolerate any evil within the church and this would be a warning to others.

There is then a word of encouragement to the faithful ones, it goes back to the opening commendation, the Lord will not burden them any further, they should keep on doing the things that are true and beneficial to the church and the spread of the gospel. They have stood against the evil teaching and practices of this group within the church.

They are promised rewards if they listen to these words:

  • Victorious in God’s will to the end, a reference to the final state as seen in the later chapters.
  • They will have authority as rulers in His Kingdom but not only authority but power to destroy the evil, the iron rod smashing pottery! The church does not yet have that authority, but it has the gospel message and the subsequent works to perform.
  • Using His authority from the Father, He will give the overcomer, the morning star.  There are a small number of references to this in the Bible, Daniel 12 the name is attributed to Christ, and so this is a promise of being with Christ. The morning star in the heavens is Venus, the promise of a new day, so in Christ we have the same promise. The victorious overcomer is promised the light that is not a lamp, the light that comes from dwelling in God’s presence.



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