12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
“The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
It is interesting that the letter to this church begins as it does. Why does the Lord remind Pergamos that it is He who holds the sharp sword with two edges?
Perhaps they misuse the word of God, and as often happens to those who do, they find themselves judged by the word of God.
When we handle the word of God, we should do so with fear. We are handling something dangerous, and if misused, we could land ourselves in trouble. However, we are thankful that God is dealing with us a sons, so as sons, let us consider.
Pergamos is located “where Satan’s seat is.”
What does this mean? We know that Satan is the Adversary and the Accuser. We know that He is described as a dragon and as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. However, what is Satan’s seat?
For understanding on this point, I go to what is said about the coming the “son of destruction.” Here are some scriptures.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
I think it is safe to say that Satan’s seat usurps God. He acts as God and is worshipped as God within the temple of God.
In the last days, this will take on a much more literal meaning, but what about now?
Who sits in temples, exalting themselves above all others, and claiming to do the work of God? We could say many pastors do. However, please do not take this too far, as I have seen some false prophets do.
Though I take issue with churches built with hands and those who lead them because I do think there is something off about their understanding of the New Covenant and the temple not build with hands, which we are, I still respect that there are good pastors who do good work for the Lord. They and their congregants make impacts for good in this world. Let’s not accuse our brethren.
However, there are many men in temples who make themselves as little gods. Some even go so far as to say they are little gods who just need to unlock their inner goodness and glory. That’s just too far.
No. We are sinners and there is no goodness in us apart from the work of Jesus on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are from the dust and to dust we go. In Jesus we live and we are adopted as sons of God, but we are not in our natural state gods waiting to tap into their power, as some say.
This includes word of faith nonsense, speaking things into existence and creating your future, tapping into the power of the universe to unlock your potential. Anything like that—anything that makes man as God—is of Pergamos and it is of Satan.
We can never forget that these are only men and we are only men. Jesus is Lord. Though He uses man to speak to man, and He ordains leaders, many are not of God but of Satan, the usurper of God.
How can you tell? It helps to be familiar with the word of God because a usurper will always misuse the word of God, just as Pergamos does and just as Satan does.
Satan quoted scripture when he tempted Jesus. It is no wonder if his ministers can do the same. Many of them even tout their bible, making a big show of it and claiming that you will be taught the word of God. Yet, you are not taught the word of God, and if some scripture is used, you can bet it is going to be used out of context to manipulate people for the gain of the pastor or his organization.
One prominent television preacher comes to mind. I think this applies to a lot of the big-time televangelist ministries. However, not exclusively. There has been a trickle-down effect that corrupts many small-town ministries too.
Anytime we misuse the word of God and lead people astray into carnality, we are sitting where Satan’s seat is. So, even if we are small-time and we don’t claim to be little gods, we still need to consider our use of scripture and repent as needed.
Jesus will fight against those who misuse His word and sword with the sword of His mouth. Even Satan himself. It is written that when Jesus returns, He will destroy Satan with the sword of His mouth and the brightness of His coming.
So, let us not sit where Satan sits and let us not trust in those who do.
What is this about Antipas, the Lord’s faithful martyr?
One tradition I read said that Antipas was killed for casting out demons that were worshipped at Pergamos.
In the last days, there are sure to be more faithful martyrs of this sort. When we make a stand against those who dwell “where Satan’s seat is,” and worship things that are demonic, we could be martyred—especially when he who dwells in Satan’s seat is Satan himself.
Pergamos also holds the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.”
I mentioned in my post on Ephesus that I view the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” as a stand-in for carnal Christian teaching and living.
It makes sense here. It makes sense that corrupt preachers who exalt themselves as a god and who misuse the scripture would also encourage carnality. I think we get an idea of the form this “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” takes when we consider the “doctrine of Baalam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, the eat things scarified unto idols, and to commit fornication.”
You can read about this in Numbers 22.
In basic terms, Balac wanted to curse the people of God. The prophet, Baalam only received words of blessing from God. So, in order to incur cursing from God, Baalam instructed Balac to encourage the people to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Does fornication and idolatry matter for Christians?
You bet it does. However, many ministers are willing to sacrifice this truth in order to retain their positions of authority and power. They tell people enticing things that make them feel as if living sinfully is okay. In-fact, it is more than okay, it means you are blessed of God!
(I speak as a fool) He wants you to live your best life now, so go for it! Heap to yourself riches and promotions, and all the lusts of the flesh. Jesus loves you so much, you see. He wants you to be happy, after-all. He does not care about your sexual sins or love of this world. You are forgiven. Go and live your life. “You shall not surely die.” See what I did there?
Liars. Satanic liars.
And they use the word of God to do so. “Hold up your bible! We are going to be in the word of God!” They manipulate people and they do not teach the word of God as a true minister of God, but as Satan who misuses scripture to lead people astray!
Look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4).
Satan tempted Jesus with bread when He was fasting and hungry. He temped Jesus to “throw Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple,” thereby tempting God. He told Jesus that He could give Him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would bow and worship Satan.
Desires of the flesh, shows of miracles and signs that tempt God, love of the world and ungodly ambition, and a desire to be a ruler over this world — these are the things Satan tempted Jesus with — and it is the same for the Satanic minsters of Pergamos.
Let us overcome the ways of Pergamos.
Jesus is the Lord and the King. He is God. Not man. Jesus will teach us His word through the Holy Spirt and He will give us a sincere desire to know the scriptures. He can send good teachers to help who handle his word with fear and not carelessness or self-indulgence. In so doing, we will learn the ways of the Lord of a truth, and His ways are not the ways of this world.
His ways do not condone lust of the flesh, ungodly ambitions, and a love of this world. His ways do not create fat ministries and pop-culture superstar pastors. His ways do not create small-time pastors who follow in the footsteps of the Satanic giants.
Instead, His ways will slay the giants. Just as David slew Goliath—with his own sword. What poetic justice.
However, let us not forget. “But for the grace of God, there go I.”
We should strive to find a balance that recognizes evil and stands against it, but not in a blood-thirsty way, lest we find the chastisement of God pointed in our direction. When the Holy Sprit speaks in us, it is Him speaking and doing the works. However, He speaks within those who keep the commandments of God. So, focus on that first. The rest will come at the right time.
Wait on the Lord. Tarry in Jerusalem. I am certain of this.
Almost done. Thank you for bearing with me through this long article.
Let’s look at the closing statements.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
If we overcome the temptations of Pergamos, Jesus will give us something better than all the worldliness Pergamos has to offer. This includes the hidden manna, which I believe is the true word of God that is hidden from the “wise and prudent” whose “heart is far from God though they honor him with their lips.”
You also get a white stone with a new name that Jesus gives specifically to you. You will not be a son of Satan who usurps God, but a son of God of a truth adopted into the family of Jesus Christ by His sacrifice and work in us. How wonderful!