The Letter to the Church at Pergamos
Pergamos, the ancient capital of the province of Asia, means
“Citadel” in Greek. This city was on a rocky hill about 55-60 miles
north of Smyrna. It had a great library of 200,000 volumes, second
only to the one in Alexandria. Parchment was developed here and
named after the city. Many pagan gods were worshipped here,
especially Aesculapis, the god of healing. The god was represented
by the symbol of a snake coiled around a rod or staff.
I. The One with a Sharp Sword
II. Positive Qualities of the Church
Christ knew all about them. They were serving Christ in an evil
“Satan’s throne” Satan is enthroned here by many. There
is a possible allusion to the altar of Zeus or a seat of emperor
They were remaining faithful despite the circumstances, a
dangerous situation. One of their number, Antipas, had even
suffered martyrdom. Tradition says he was burned inside a brass
III. Negative Qualities of the Church
A few things (not many) needed to be fixed. They were tolerant
of false teaching. False teachers needed to be disciplined.
“Doctrine of Balaam” Balaam enticed Israel to sin. (II
This led them into idolatry and fornication. (II
“Teaching of Nicolaitans” These followers of Nicolas
practiced immorality and wickedness. They felt free to do what
Christians in Pergamos needed to separate themselves from this
lifestyle and not be seduced. (II
IV. The Solution
Repent! Those tolerating false teaching needed to stop
immediately! If not, the Lord would come quickly and deal with
One of the church’s greatest temptations is to compromise with
the world. Tolerating sin is not the loving thing to do.
To the conquerors, “over comers,” there is victory in our faith.
They will be given the “hidden manna,” food at God’s banquet, a
table in heaven, rich blessings. [This is in contrast to the
pagan banquets.] I will give a “white stone.” This is a
reference to being justified (acquitted) and victorious. There
is “a new name,” known only to the one receiving it and
appropriate for him/her.
What glory and blessings await those who over come, those who hold
fast to their faith and do not compromise it.