The Word This Week

Revelation 2:12...

About 70 miles north of the church of Smyrna was the church of Pergamos. It is the third of the seven churches addressed by Jesus, as dictated to John.

We see a sort of progression here, moving from church to church. At Ephesus the problem had become a lack of devotion despite all their marvelous accomplishments for Christ. At Smyrna we saw how their devotion would lead to suffering and death. They considered themselves to have accomplished very little for Christ.

While Jesus identified Ephesus’ problem and said He would remove their lampstand if they did not repent, He made no such complaint to the church of Smyrna. Jesus proclaimed them to be rich.

The church of Smyrna, enduring the devastating affects of suffering, imprisonment, and death, thought themselves poor because in their own minds they had accomplished little for Christ. Jesus thought otherwise. Their resistance to the cultural pressure was invaluable to Christ’s kingdom on earth.

The church of Pergamos took a different course than the church of Smyrna. They compromised with the cultural pressure to ensure their survival.

Jesus likened this to the doctrine of Balaam, whom we saw in the Book of Numbers. Unable to curse the Israelites in the desert, he advised Balak to allow his Moabite women to intermarry with the Israelites. What could not be accomplished by weakening the Israelites through cursing was accomplished by tempting them with the sin of compromising the Jewish law pertaining to marriage. What could not affect them from the outside weakened and destroyed them from the inside. The next thing you know they were worshiping before and sacrificing to foreign idols. Much death and destruction ensued.

Pergamos was a church going down a dangerous path – and Jesus, while acknowledging they hold fast to ‘the name’ of Jesus – even in the city where Satan’s throne is located, gives them a heads-up they will be destroyed if they continue to allow pagan practices to infiltrate their church.

Historically, this church represents the era from 312AD to 590AD, when The Church became the authorized religious institution of the Roman empire, beginning with Constantine. No longer was the church persecuted – but instead it was infiltrated with pagan doctrine.

Pastor Bill