Pergamos means ‘marriage’.
One author says “Pergamos represents the period when the church was worldly and full of compromise”.
Scholarly opinion is that Pergamum is a “compromising church”.
Verse 12 speaks of our Lord Jesus as a judge.
Each title is relevant to the situation prevailing in the church.
In Verse 13 our Lord uses the word ‘Satan’ twice to emphasize the climate of Pergamum.
“Satan has his throne” and “Where Satan lives” speaks of the strong presence of evil there.
Pergamum was the center for cults of Zeus Soter, Asclepius Soter and Athena Nicephorus and Cesar worship.
The Romans built a shrine to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, in the lower city.
The symbol for this God was a snake wrapped around a staff which is still the medical symbol even today.
The Lord mentions one faithful servant Antipas, who was killed for his faith.
So the Lord commends them for their steadfast faith in the midst of persecution.
But Lord has few things against the Church at Pergamum.
In Verse 14 HE speaks of false teaching of Balaam, a prophet ‘for hire’ in the Old Testament book of Numbers chapter 22-25.
He took money from Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the people of Israel but God turned the curses into blessings.
The lure of money compelled Balaam to advise Balak to get the Moabite women to marry Israelite men so that they can influence the men to idolatry and immorality.
It did work but God killed 25000 men of Israelites on one day for this rebellion.
All because of yielding to the wrong teachings or wrong doctrines
The church that tolerates and compromises to such false doctrines and teachings will be less effective and eventually wiped out.
Verse 15 cites Nicolaitans who strong arm people to follow such false teachings.
The Lord was against people who tolerate and compromise with wrong teachings of the world.
Verse 16: Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Pastor Wiersbe says, “The church belongs to God, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus will protect His true church, and He will hold sinners accountable”
Verse 17 once again addressed to not only the Church but also the individual.
To those who overcome such pressures of ‘tolerance and compromise’, the Lord promises two things.
1. The hidden manna
Heavenly food fell from the skies for the people of Israel in their desert journey.
A small portion of manna was placed in the Ark of Covenant along with 2 tablets.
Ark of the Covenant represents the seat of God Almighty.
In John 6 our Lord is the bread that came down from heaven.
So the Lord is promising this spiritual manna when we see HIM face to face in heaven.
2. A white stone with a new name.
White stone has two interpretations:
A). When an athlete competes in a game he is given a white stone as ticket to enter the feast in honor of their participation.
b). In the ancient a judge places a stone in a vessel to declare a person not guilty.
Both interpretations can be applied to a believer at the end of his/her life.
This is the reward one gets for being faithful till the end.
Most of us, believers in the Lord Jesus, live in a fallen world full of corruption and deceit.
We already have seen many wrong doctrines and teachings corrupting the Body of Christ.
The source of such false teachings and doctrines is Satan.
We are also witnessing how the church is tolerating and compromising with such unbiblical values and practices.
Such immoral practices and teachings are weakening the testimony of today’s church worldwide.
The Lord is simply saying don’t tolerate and compromise.
Our Lord promises the heavenly manna and a white stone in the eternity.
The church as well as the individual who overcomes will receive them.
Are we compromising or tolerating what we know is clearly unbiblical?