Who is addressing the church? He who has the sharp two-edged sword: (v. 12)
Their Deeds/works: Jesus first affirms the good standing of the believers in Pergamum, living in a challenging time and place – full of pagan influences – saying,“… you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” (v.13) – even though you are located “where Satan’s throne is”. Antipas was to be a physician who was accused of being disloyal of Caesar because he was secretly propagating the gospel.
Their Offenses/imperfections: “you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” (v. 14).
- In Pergamum at that time, people worshipped Dionysus, Zeus, and several other pagan gods.
- The worship of Emperor Caesar, being given the accolade of a (soter) savior was prevalent in Asia at this time. Idolatry was rampart and sexual immorality was the sweet of the day.
- Eating food offered to idol (religious compromise); “… Nicolaitans were not so called from any man, but from the Greek word Nicolah, meaning “let us eat,” as they often encouraged each other to eat things offered to idols.” The way of the Nicolaitans is to forsaking the right way, engaging in teaching wrong doctrines and abusing the grace of God (see 2 Peter 2:15, 19; Jude 1:4). Note, the Ephesus church did not accept the influences of the Nicolaitans, but this church in Pergamum embraced it.
- See Numbers 25:1-3 & 31:15-16; Here we see Balaam advising Balak to lure the Israelites into committing sexual sins with the Moabites, thus sinning against God.Sexual immorality (moral compromise)
**Brethren, any Balaam enticing you to change wives and husbands or encouraging you to sleep around will get you into trouble with God. If you are living with or having sexual relationship with someone to whom you are not married, it is a sin before God.
God’s Judgement: or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (v. 16) – See Galatians 5:19-21. This is showing that God’s patience has a limit for the unrepentant.
The Way Out: “Repent,”; ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. …” (17). Also, ensure that you deep yourself in the word of God, that you may know falsehood from the truth.
Promises for the repentant: “To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” (v. 17)
Self-Examination: How are you doing? How are you handling ungodly influences? Are you compromising?
May the Holy Spirit continue to assist us to be on guard and overcome sinful influences in Jesus name.