Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, hold me firm in the swirling world in which I live. Give me a passion for the things you love.

Read REVELATION 2:12–17

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

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Seek the courage required of a ‘faithful witness’ (v 13) and speak truth when evil appears to be all-powerful.

Think Further

The existence of a Christian community at Pergamum suggests the extraordinary spread of the message of the gospel during the first century, as this is the only mention of this church in the New Testament. The crucified Savior was worshipped here, where the deification of Roman emperors was reflected in the very structures and architecture. Pergamum was politically one of the most important cities in the empire and visually one of the most impressive. At its heart was a huge, conical hill, on the summit of which was a complex of magnificent buildings, including the Great Altar which has been described as a core monument of Western civilization. That altar pre-dated the Roman period, but the story told by the statues and carvings that covered its walls declared the victory of imperial power and the punishment and death of all who dared to oppose the ruling authority. It was interpreted by the Roman Caesars as anticipating their universal conquests and subjugation of all the nations.

Pergamum is described in verse 13 as a place where ‘Satan has his throne … where Satan lives’! It is difficult to imagine a statement more subversive of the ideological claims of the empire. The Great Altar celebrated Zeus as the supreme deity and the Emperor Domitian as seated on a divine throne, but John exposes this claim as a satanic delusion since ‘the true God shares his throne with Christ’.1 That being so, we are not surprised to discover that the community that worshipped Jesus in this place had known martyrdom when Antipas ‘was put to death in your city’ (v 13). Note that the accolade given to Antipas – my ‘faithful witness’ – is the same as that by which Jesus himself is described in 1:5.


Are there situations today where the abuse of power justifies the description ‘satanic’? Give thanks for ‘faithful witnesses’ who have sacrificed their lives for the truth.

Closing prayer

Mighty God, every day I need your strength and protection, as I seek to live for you, I equip myself with your protective armor (Eph. 6), as I battle Satan’s strategies to bring me down.

Last Updated on February 16, 2023 by kingstar

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