To the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
John writes to the church in Pergamum, which he calls a city where Satan has his throne. This most likely is in reference to the first Christian martyr in Asia, Antipas. Not much is known about him other than he was put to death in the city, where those influenced by Satan put him to death. Remember in John 10:10, John likens Satan to the thief, who came to steal destroy.
But it was the event of his martyrdom that is recognized in their favor, as it also induced them to stand in faith against their persecutors. But there is one thing that Jesus has against them. They are tolerating false teachers. The Nicolaitans, as we mentioned before, followed the teachings of Nicolas. These were similar to the teaching of Balaam, who led the Israelites into idol worship and sexual immorality. Apparently this teaching has crept into the church, and Jesus is not pleased.
He tells them to repent or he will come to them with the power of the Sword. The same Sword which is the Word of God. The Word of God cuts to the core exposing our need for Christ and the edge is the Gospel, which heals our wound.
This reminds us that there is a fine line between accepting sinners in the church, and holding saints to accountability, especially those who teach. If Satan were to find a place to attack in the church it will be through subtle but false teaching, often from within. The basis of this false teaching usually revolves using the grace of God to sin, especially in the area of sexual immorality. This is why it is important that each member in the church grow in the understanding of the Word. As we listen and apply God's Word, we remain sharp.
If we know God's Word, we will easily be able to see error being introduced. As we face an increasing pressure to compromise biblical truth, we must remember that Jesus will feed us with hidden manna. As we rely on God's Word, we will stay well fed, and ready to counter any error the evil one throws at us.