Brian Yeager's Outlines
The Seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 2-3)
Part Two (Pergamos)

In our last lesson we discussed the cities of Ephesus and Smyrna covering Revelation 2:1-11.  This week we will look at another unfaithful congregation of the Lord’s people.  We will find out about a few doctrines that were affecting the church in the first century.  We will again see that Christ knows what is going on in the church.  Do to the depth of our study this lesson will only cover one of the five remaining churches we have to look at. 

I. Historical Facts of Pergamos (Pergamum)

A. Location:
1. Northeast of Smyrna.
2. About 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea.
B. This city is known for it’s invention of the writing material “Parchment”.
1. When the educated world wrote everything on papyrus produced in Egypt.  But when Egypt cut off supplies of papyrus, the scholars of Pergamum had to find another medium to write on.  Experiments subsequently led to the discovery that the prepared skins of pigs and deer were excellent substitutes for papyrus and Parchment was born.
2. It held one of the most famous libraries in the world, for one thing, numbering some 200,000 volumes of parchment. Ironically enough, Cleopatra later took Pergamum's library away, by permission of Mark Antony, and added it to the one in Alexandria!
C. Pergamum was the capital city of the province of Asia in the ancient Roman Empire. After the break-up of Alexander the Great's empire, the King of Pergamum, in his will, be-queathed the city to Rome. The people of the city were happy enough to fulfil his wish; they entered the Roman Empire by spontaneous choice, not by compulsion.
D. Pergamum could not rival either Ephesus or Smyrna in its volume of trade, but it laid claim to some distinction.
1. First, was the centre of the worship of Aesculapias. Aesculapias was the god of healing. The temple had its medical wards, its medical schools, and it attracted sufferers from all over the Roman Empire. It was like an ancient Lourdes. The god’s characteristic name was ‘saviour,’ and to the Christian, for whom there was but one Saviour, the title was abhor-rent. More significantly still, the emblem of Aesculapias was the serpent. It is still to be seen on the cap badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps, or on the lapel of a Royal Air Force nursing orderly. The temple of this god was infested with tame snakes. If you wanted healing there, you were allowed to sleep the night in the temple, and the touch of a snake as it glided over you was held to heal; its touch was regarded as the touch of the god himself. But to the Christian, a god whose incarnation took the form of a snake could only be that “old serpent the devil and Satan.”
2. There was the worship of Zeus. His altar stood on a hill 1,000 feet high, which rose behind the town. Eight hundred feet up, a ledge jutted out from the mountain, and on it stood the altar of Zeus, 90 feet square and 20 feet high. All day long this altar smoked with the smoke of endless sacrifices. It dominated the city, like a pillar of cloud by day and a column of fire by night. Could this be the origin of the phrase, "Satan's throne," this thing looking like a great seat mounted above the city?  It certainly was the city of the worshipping of other God’s!  They also worshipped the God’s Apollo, Athene, Aphrodite, Bacchus the god of wine, and of Dionysus whose worship involved obscenities impossible to describe.
3. Yet again, Emperor worship in Pergamum was as intense as in Smyrna.  Is it any wonder that Christ called this place "Satan's throne"? Here the highest capacity in mankind, the capacity to worship, was degraded into corruption. The city reeked with the stench of its heathenism; evil hung in its streets like a clammy fog.

II. Christ praises this church (2:12-13)

A. V.12 “…These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges…”
1. John penned in Revelation 1:16; “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
a. Christ is the word (John 1:1-5).
b. The word is the sword (Ephesians 6:17).
c. The word / sword is sharp: Hebrews 4:12-13 
B. V.13 “I know thy works” – Again, like we showed in our first lesson, Christ dwells among the church and knows what is going on (Revelation 1:13; 2:1; Matthew 18:20).
C. V. 13 “…where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is…”
1. The word “seat” in the KJV is derived from the Greek word “Strong’s #2362 thronos”.
a. Translated in the NKJV and the ASV as “throne”.
b. Defined as: “1a) a chair of state having a footstool 
1b) assigned in the NT to kings, hence, kingly power or royalty - Thayer”.
c. The word shows us that Satan’s influence (evil) controls the city.
2. Jesus warned that His work would be done among the evil of the world:
a. In the “Limited Commission” (Matthew 10:16-25).
b. In prayer (John 17:13-20).
3. Paul warned of this: (Ephesians 5:15-16)
4. Satan is our adversary (I Peter 5:8).
a. God gave us a plan to defeat Satan (Ephesians 6:10-18 and James 4:7).
D. Even in this massive environment of evil they were praised as Christ said: v. 13 “…thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith…”.
1. Domitian, the ruler of this time, required men to confess him as: “my Lord and my God”.
a. Titus Flavius Domitianus Roman emperor (81-96 AD); noted for severity, especially in reign of terror (93-96 AD).
b. Only Christ wore this title: (John 20:24-28).
2. Pergamos followed the commands of Christ on confession:
a. Matthew 10:32-33 
b. Mark 8:38 
c. Romans 10:11 
E. v.13 “…even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
1. Nothing is known of Antipas aside from the fact that he was faithful and speculation surrounding that.  They had witnessed his death and that was surely a trial for them (I Peter 1:7).
2. Again, a statement about this being the dwelling place of Satan.  The evil was so great that this is the language Christ used.
a. Truly the Roman Empire had a lot of saints blood on its hands (Revelation 17:16 and 18:4).
III. But, He has a few things against them
A. v.14 Christ has a few things against this congregation.  They held to the doctrine of Balaam.  Pergamos supported false doctrine.
1. The action Christ references (Numbers 25:1-6).
a. Do not bow to idols (Exodus 20:1-5 & Psalms 135:15-18).
b. Do not eat sacrificed meat: (Acts 15:28-29)
2. II Peter 2:12-16
B. They also had those among them that had the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes in which the Lord hates that doctrine (v. 15).
1. The Lord commended the brethren at Ephesus for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitanes (2:6).
2. We cannot allow perversions among us (Galatians 1:6-12).
a. We learned last week that the doctrine taught by these people was likely Gnosticism. 
b. Like in Corinth, the church at Pergamos needed a little purging (I Corinthians 5).
C. Repent – the word will judge you! (John 12:48).

V. 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.”

A. Hear what is being told to you.
B. Overcome and Christ will give of the “hidden manna” (Matthew 4:4 and John 6:31-35 cf: Exodus 16:12ff).
C. A white stone of acquittal, acceptance, and name recognition. (I John 1:9). 
(Isaiah 1:18) “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Continue to follow our next lessons on the “Seven churches of Asia”.

2002 by Brian Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.