Revelation 2:12-29 — To the Churches in Pergamum and Thyatira
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To the Church in Pergamum
Seems the church in Pergamum is in a difficult place, the center of emperor worship in Asia (NIV Study Bible). “I know where you live–where Satan has his throne, Yet you remain true to my name” (Revelation 2:13). The NIV Study Bible notes tell us Antipas (Revelation 2:13) was the first martyr of Asia, that he was slowly roasted to death in a bronze kettle during the reign of Domitian (81-96). This puts a whole new perspective on the term, “sin city.”
Balaam was sought by Balak (king of Moab, see Numbers 22) to confront the Israelites. Balaam was a pagan diviner, paid for his service (Numbers 22:7), yet used by God for greater purposes. God tells Balaam one thing, but Balaam tries to do another and the story of Balaam’s Donkey is recorded for our understanding (Numbers 22:21-34). Balaam, though used by God to deliver prophesies for Israel, advised the Moabite women to seduce the Israelites (Numbers 31:15-16, 25:1-2). This history would have been well known to the people of the day, no doubt a story told and retold. Pergamum was doing well, but within the church there are those who are being misled. “There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam” (Revelation 2:14). This duplicity makes me think about our own churches where most come for an hour, show themselves, then back into their dark world. Lord please expose your light on these dark places. Show us and we will surely repent, for how can we refuse when the truth is clearly evident?
Whoever has ears: “I will give some of the hidden manna…a white stone” (2:17). The promises continue to pile on!
To the Church in Thyatira
Once again, sexual immorality is discussed, the enticing lure of transient carnal pleasure. Seems our society has learned these teachings well, that is, sex sells. From television shows to pornography available to anyone with a computer (which seems like everyone in our country), the enticement is a dark place that we are constantly and consistently told to stay away from. This cancer is working its way into every aspect of our society and undermining our laws and schools. Interesting that it’s not a new problem at all. Lord, help us to combat these forces of evil, the lures into sin, “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” (2:24) and help us to “hold on to what [we] have until [you] come” (2:25).
Whoever has ears: victory is at hand (2:26-27) as well as “the morning star” (2:28).