The Letter From Jesus to The Local Church at Pergamos

We are looking at the 7 letters that Jesus wrote to 7 unique churches.

The first letter was to Ephesus.  They had several good things that Jesus commended but a couple very serious things that they needed to repent of.  They had left their first love and had quit doing the first works.  They had let their love for Jesus grow cold.

The second letter is written to the Church in Smyrna.  Smyrna was a center of persecution.

That local church was suffering tribulation and poor in material things, but Jesus reminds them that they are rich meaning rich in Christ and they have eternal riches to look forward to.  Some of them will be killed for the faith, but Jesus had not one word of correction for them.  Not one.  That is important.  The degree of hardship and tribulation in this world does in no way indication how pleased or displeased Jesus is.

This runs completely contrary to what the health and wealthers teach.

Jesus has reasons; eternal reasons for letting some tribulations enter into the life of one of His precious children.  We need to have faith and trust in His love and in His perfect knowledge and wisdom and the fact that He gives grace, help, and strength to those going thru tribulation.

The 3rd letter is written to the church in Pergamos.

Pergamos was north of both Ephesus and Smyrna.  It has little commerce, but was known for its institutions of learning.  History tells us that the library at Pergamos consisted of 200,000 books.  It was at Pergamos where the art of curing skins for writing was perfected.

However, this place of higher learning was wicked.  Ephesus and Smyrna were wicked cities of idolatry but Pergamos was even worse.  It was known of the place where Satan dwelleth.

Sadly Higher learning often does not help someone to think clearly about several things.  Especially spiritual things.  We see the same thing today.  Some of the most wicked thinking comes out the universities of liberal America.  Socialism, Evolution, Gender confusion, defunding the police, letting murders go without bail, and on the list goes.

Most of the wicked, wrong, messed up policies in our society have their root in the places of Higher learning.  Not all universities are bad.  And there have been times in History where there were some very good universities that taught good things.

But Pergamos was not one of those places and not one of those times.

And in this collage town there was a local church.

Rev 2:12  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 

Here again we see this pattern.  A truth that was presented in the introduction to these letters is again brought up in one of the letters.  This shows a couple of things.  1) Who Jesus is and the many truths about Him that was presented in the introduction are supposed to be in the mind of anyone who reads these letters.

2) The truth that is brought up again in the letter has something to do with the problem in that local church.

In this letter to Pergamos they are reminded that the one writing this letters is He that has the sharp sword with two edges.  Notice The sword not just a sword.

This truth was given in the intro.

Rev_1:16  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Notice the word is out of His mouth and not in His hand.  What comes out of the mouth?  Words.

It is always important to compare scripture with scripture.  The Bible was written to define itself.

Eph_6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The sword of the 3 in 1 God.  The sword of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; their sword is the Word of God.

Heb_4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The two edged sword is the Word of God.

Rev 2:12  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 

We should not just pass quickly over this.  God cannot lie.  Whatever He says He must do.

2Ti 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 

Being faithful is who He is.  Faithfulness is a part of His character.  He must do what He says because He cannot deny Himself.  So if He says this is the way it will be, then that is the way it will be.

If He says you do not do this, and if you do not then this is what will happen.  Then that is what will happen if you do not respond.  It is certain.  There is no changing it.  He must do what He says.  The Word of God is certain, it is true, it will happen.  God’s very nature demands it and He has all power to make what He says come true.

The Word of God is also powerful.  By His word He framed the worlds.

Psa 33:6  By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 

Psa 33:7  He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 

Psa 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 

Psa 33:9  For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. 

He has all power to do anything and everything that He says.  He is reminding them that there is no avoiding what He is about to say.  Nowhere to run from it, nowhere to hide.

And one other point, He says that His sword is sharp.  It cuts right to the heart of the matter.  It is piercing.  Nothing can stop it from telling the truth.  It brings conviction and it cuts thru anything put in its way to stop it.

Now that they have been reminded that this letter is coming from Jesus who gives the Word that must stand, and it is sharp and piercing.

He is going to start by telling them that He knows.

Rev 2:13  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 

Jesus knows that they are in a very bad city.  Even where Satan’s seat is.  Their church is in the heart of an area controlled by the wicked one.  They are greatly outnumbered and opposition is great.

One of them named Antipas has already been killed for the faith.  And notice what Jesus says about him.  Antipas was my faithful martyr.  Jesus is faithful to His promise of salvation to any who come to Him.  Antipas was faithful to Christ in return even unto death.

Jesus calls him, my faithful martyr.

And Jesus says that they holdest fast my name.

Jesus is pleased when His children hold fast His name.  This is not fast as in speed.  This is fast as in secured fast.  One of the definitions of fast is close, as in a fast friend. It means immovable, as in we will bind you fast.  Firmly fixed as in to make fast a rope.  It means to be attached to and immovable.

Jesus is pleased with churches who will hold to His name and will not be ashamed of His name.

And Jesus says about them, and hast not denied my faith.  I believe this is talking about faith in Jesus Himself.  Faith about who Jesus is and for example faith in His salvation.

and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, Those are the good things that Jesus is pleased with them.  Even in severe persecution.  That is good, so Jesus takes notice of it and commends them for it.

But doing good in one or two areas does not erase or wipe out the bad.  Jesus can be pleased with some things you do and not pleased with others.  The good does not erase the bad and the bad does not erase the good.

We will see this principal in action when we stand at the judgment seat for Christians.

Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 

1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 

1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 

The works we do are put into one of two categories, wood hay stubble, which all burn up when put to the fire of judgment.  Or works can be Gold, silver, and precious stones, which pass just fine thru the fire of judgment.

The works that we do which remain get rewarded with eternal rewards.  The wood hay and stubble things are just burned up.  If none of your works are gold, silver, and precious stones. You still are saved, you still go to heaven, but without any rewards.

This is how it works.

The church at Pergamos has some Gold and precious stones with Holding fast His name and in not denying His faith.

But they also had a lot of wood, hay and stubble.  Some of it really bad.

Rev 2:14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 

The issue is that they had let some false teachers into their membership.

And notice more than one.  It says thou hast there them.  Plural.  And these people where teaching the same type of things as Balaam did.

Who was Balaam.  He was the man who rode the donkey that ended up talking when God opened his mouth.  He was the man who tried over and over again to curse God’s chosen people when they were in the wilderness.

God would not let him.  Every time that Balamm tried to curse them, for money and prestige from the king of Moab, every time he would have cursing in his mind but blessing would come out of his mouth.

After Balamm failed at that, he went home defeated.  The Bible says the king of Moab and Balaamm went their separate ways.  But sometime after that Balamm gets an evil idea.

Num 31:16  Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 

What was Balaam’s evil idea?  It had to do with using the wiles of the wicked Moab women.

Num_25:18  For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor,

Balaam failed in cursing Israel.  He failed in bringing them hurt that way.  So Balaam gave counsel to have the Moab women to dress up and be flattering and sensual and flirt and bat their eyes and so on.  All of that and more is what they vex you with their wiles means.

Num 25:1  And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. 

First they apply their wiles to get the Israelite men to have sex.  But they do not stop there.

Num 25:2  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 

Once they have their hooks into them with sex, they then get them to bow to their wicked false gods.

Num 25:3  And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 

God sends a plague of judgment.  People start dying.  It’s bad.  This is one of those places that God is teaching in a very visible way that the wages of sin is death and showing what judgment without mercy would look like.

And while this is going on.

Num 25:6  And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 

There is judgment going on.  People are dying.  Many are repenting and weeping and praying at the door of the tabernacle.  And while this is going on one of the men brought one of these wicked women into his tent to have sex and in the sight of everyone.

Num 25:7  And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 

Num 25:8  And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. 

Num 25:9  And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. 

Because of the intervention of the priest Phinehas, because he dispersed judgment, the plague was stopped.  God accepted what Phinehas did on the behalf of everyone.   God accepted the judgment that was carried out and stopped the plague.

So judgment was executed and accepted by God for payment of the sin and mercy then flowed and the plague stopped.

By the way, we are all born with a plague called sin.  Jesus took the judgment for it upon Himself on the cross.  God the Father accepted it as payment, and therefore mercy flows out to benefit everyone who believes.

God put into His Word pictures of sin, judgment, justice, payment for sin, and mercy so that they would have a foundation to understand the cross.

Balaam did a wicked thing.  He taught the children of Israel to sin in two things.  Fornication and worshiping false gods.

Rev 2:14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 

They had let people into their church who were teaching the same things.

And Jesus’ statement here has a focus on the people in the church who were allowing it.  Not everyone in the church was involved in these two sins.  But they were allowing it to continue.  They were ok with it.  And Jesus was not pleased with it.

Any body of gathering believers is to have the goal of following the Lord in all areas.  Yes, no body of gathered believers is going to be perfect.  Everyone is going to have some kind of issues and have some weaknesses.

But we are to be without blame.  That is the goal.

Eph_1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

And it is to be done before Him in love.

Christians are not perfect.  But we should be trying to grow all the time.  Trying to get better, and growing closer to our Lord.  Jesus said be ye Holy for I am Holy.

We are to make a stand against worshiping of false gods and in fornication.  They were not doing that.  Both were allowed in the local church.  Jesus is not happy with things like that.

Rev 2:15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 

We have no idea what the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is.  The doctrine of Balaam we know what that is, but we do not know what the Nicolaitans were teaching.

We do know a couple of things.  1) it is false teaching that goes against the Word of God.  2) we know that their false teaching was something that Jesus hates.

Truth matters to Jesus.  His Bible matters to Him.  He wants all teaching in all of His churches to line up with His precious word.

Whatever the false teaching of the Nicolaitans was it was in more than one church in Asia and Jesus hated their teachings.  And because Jesus also directed these letters to all churches and preserved them for us, He wants us to learn from this.

Churches are supposed to care about the precious truths of His Bible and we are not to stray from it.  We are not to tolerate false teachers in our midst.  Nowhere in this is Jesus saying go out and pick a fight with everyone who does not line up with His book.

No, he is saying keep yourselves right.  Keep your local gathering of believers pure from these things.  He is saying keep yourselves clean from this stuff.

He finishes with a call to repent.

Rev 2:16  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 

It is not, you have done this so it is over.  Period.  Nothing you can do.  No.  He gives the call to repent.  Just fix it.  Just get this corrected.  Get it right.  How.  There are 2 ways.  1) Those who are wrong can change.  They can choose to fix their wrong thinking and wrong actions.  God does forgive.  God can change a life for any who are willing.

He has grace, and power and mercy in infinite abundance.

Or 2) kick those who are teaching these things and doing these things out.

Don’t hurt them, don’t do wicked things to them.  Just simply say we are not doing things like that here.  We are going to love the Lord here and follow Jesus.

We are going to please the Lord here, and try our best to please Him.  And since you refuse to get right about these horrendous things it is best if we part ways.

Now Jesus changes the focus from this local church to all churches.

Rev 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 

He encourages all the churches that there are eternal rewards.  All the struggles will be worth it all in the end.

See more posts on The 7 Letters From Jesus