Church in Pergamum

The City of Pergamum was the capital of Asia minor before Augustus changed the capital to Ephesus. The modern name of the city is Bergama. This is another city where the Roman emperor worship is popular and enforced on the citizen. The Christians in Pergamum were persecuted similar to Smyrna. Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum was burnt alive during the 1st Century (Rev 2:13) for not agreeing to do emperor worship. The church was commended for holding on to their faith even after going through strong persecution.

The seven cities mentioned in the book of Revelation are marked in the below map with their current names.

False Teachings:

Out of the 7 churches mentioned in revelation three of them came under the attack of sexual immoralities. Church in Ephesus was able to resist the teachings of Necolaism and commended by God. Pergamum and Thyatira yielded to the sin and severely warned of punishment. In the case of Pergamum they did not resist the teachings related to immorality (Rev 2:14), which corrupted the discipline of its members.

The common belief is that teachings of Nicolaitans (called Nicolaism) originated from Nicolas, who was one among the seven men selected to take care widows of Hellenistic Jews (Acts 6:5). Nicolas spread the false teaching related to sexual immorality (Rev 2:15) to many churches and some of them started adopting it.

Thus, the attack on the Pergamum came from within through false teachings of Balaam and Nicolaism. The church also went through the test of faith due to emperor worship related persecution as the city wanted to prove its loyalty to the emperor of Rome by worshiping them as God.

The context of Jesus fighting with words of mouth, which is the double-edged is mentioned many times in Revelation (1:16, 2:12, 19:15). During the final battle between heavenly warriors and the beasts, Jesus uses the sword coming out of his mouth (Rev 19:15) as the weapon to strike down his enemies. Jesus gives the call to church of Pergamum to repent and declares a punishment through his word of mouth, if they don't (2:16).

Call for Action

A believer who follows Christ is expected to have sound knowledge in scripture. Only the sound knowledge in scripture will help the follower of Christ to identify false doctrines. All the deviations and anomalies from the scripture need to be identified, isolated and resisted.

 

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