Friday, December 13, 2019

To the Church of Pergamum: Deal with Error (Rev 2:12-17)

clouds above mountains during golden hour

What makes the seven letters to the churches special is that they were dictated by the Lord Jesus Himself. It was a privilege to preach through all seven letters from October 27-December 8, 2019. What I have attempted to do here is not a formal exposition of the text.  I have tried to simply summarize the text, its theology, and its application as an aid to study and meditation. I pray that you, dear reader, find it helpful as you ponder the text.

Revelation 2:12 - “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:”

Summary: Jesus told John to write to the messenger of the church that was in Pergamum and identify Him as the One holding the sharp two-edged sword, the Word of God.

Theology: Jesus is the One who holds the sharp two-edged sword, His Word, that He will use to strike the nations (Rev 19:15).

Application: Let us find our security in Jesus, who wields the sharp two-edged sword, whom no one will overcome.

Revelation 2:13 – “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”

Summary: Jesus tells the church in Pergamum that He knows that they live in the midst of a place ruled by Satan yet had not denied His faith even when Antipas, whom He calls His witness and faithful one, was killed in their midst.

Theology: Jesus knows that His church is surrounded on all sides by Satan’s kingdom, yet He desires them to live as faithful witnesses who confess His faith, even upon pain of death.

Application: Let us not despair even though we are surrounded by Satan’s kingdom on every side. Instead, let us boldly live as faithful witnesses who confess the faith, even in the face of death.

Revelation 2:14 – “But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.”

Summary: Jesus tells the church in Pergamum that He holds a few things against them, namely that there were those (like Balaam toward Balak) who were causing the saints to commit idolatry and immorality.

Theology: Jesus does not desire His saints to be led into idolatry or immorality.

Application: Be on guard, lest any arise among us who promote idolatry and immorality.

Revelation 2:15 – “So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.”

Summary: Jesus tells the church in Pergamum that there were some that were holding the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Theology: Jesus does not approve heresies, such as the Nicolaitan heresy, that causes His people to stumble into sin.

Application: Let us watch our doctrine and our lives closely that we would be pure in mind and deed before the Lord.

Revelation 2:16 – “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”

Summary: Jesus warns the church in Pergamum to repent of their toleration of those who were teaching error lest He were to come upon them and make war with the false teachers with the sharp two-edged sword of His mouth.

Theology: Jesus will strike down false teachers with the sharp two-edged sword of His mouth.

Application: Let us be quick to strike down error so that Jesus will have no reason to wage war with any teachers of the church.

Revelation 2:17 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’”

Summary: Jesus exhorts all those who have spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches in these letters. He promises the overcomers a share of the hidden manna and the gift of a white stone etched with a new name for the believer.

Theology: Jesus desires every believer to heed the words of this letter. Believers will receive some of the manna hidden in the presence of God and entrance into the wedding feast of the Lamb by means of a white stone etched with their new names.

Application: Let us press on, though we live where Satan dwells and rules, that we will receive entrance into the wedding feast of the Lamb.

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