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Letter 3. Pergamum





















Rev 2:12-17 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things said he which has the sharp sword with two edges;I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes 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 knows saving he that receives it.


Nickname:   The Corrupted Church.

Timeframe:  314-590 A.D.

Millennium:  3rd

Patriarch:   Abram.

Color:   Yellow.

Covenant:  Salt.

Reward:   Manna, white stone, new name.

Feast:   First Fruits.


The church became corrupted when Constantine married the church to pagan Rome.


The letter to Pergamum is related to a number of events that happened in the third millennium.  The first speaks of Satan’s throne in Pergamum, and since Abraham was the patriarch of this church, we can note that Satan had previously had his throne in Ur of the Chaldees, where Abram had originally lived. This letter also spoke of the “new name” that overcomers would receive, and of course Abram received the new name Abraham in the 3rd millennium.  Finally, the theme of the 3rd festival of Firstfruits is resurrection, and nation of Israel was resurrected in their home land during the Exodus, which occurred near the end of this millennium.


Per=improper. Gamos=marriage. Pergamos = Improper marriage

Pergamum had a 200000 volume library. Possibly the city was named after parchment or parchment after the city. Marc Anthony gave the library as a gift to Cleopatra of Egypt, who moved it to Alexandria. But that’s disputed by some historians.


What exactly was the city improperly married to?

1) Improperly married to the (Roman) pagan culture that surrounded it.


2) The church was improperly married to Rome, when Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 A.D., became the first Emperor to convert to Christianity. In 313 A.D. he issued the Edict of Milan, which reversed the persecutions of Diocletian and other former Emperors, paving the way for religious tolerance of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity soon found itself as the state religion, and while this newfound tolerance was appealing to the faithful, many of the pagan influences of the Roman Empire then became church doctrine. Once again, it was the way of Balaam.


3) Abraham was improperly married to his wife’s maidservant Hagar after his wife Sarah was found to be barren. God had promised Abraham that his descendents would become a great nation, but rather than waiting for God to fulfill this promise through Sarah, Abraham agreed to produce a family through a surrogate instead. The results of that decision hinder Israel and the world to this day, illustrating the negative consequences of an improper marriage. For this reason, as well as a few others, Abraham is the 3rd signatory on the divine Ketubah.



Revelation 2:12-17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."


History

Pergamum was the capital city of the Attilid Pergamene kingdom, founded by Philetaerus in the 3rd century B.C. after the collapse of the kingdom of Thrace, which had been ruled by Lysimachus. Although originally part of the Seleucid Empire that emerged after the death of Alexander the Great, the Attilids achieved independence under Attalus I in 228 B.C., and then allied with the emerging Roman Empire in 188 B.C. to defeat the Macedonians. This proved to be a good political move, since as the most loyal ally of the Roman Empire, the Attilids were rewarded with all of the former Seleucid provinces in Asia Minor.  


It’s location on top of a 1000 foot promontory made it a very defensible fortress city, a feature that was highly desirable for that time. Located between two rivers, the city had a steady and reliable supply of water, and its relative isolation provided a certain amount of protection from invaders.  


Pergamum was known as the religious center of Asia Minor, having temples and cults dedicated to Augustus Caesar, Zeus, Athena, Dionysus and Asclepius, along with other forms of deity and worship. The Temple of Asclepius was dedicated to the Serpent god, the god of medicine (from which medicine gets its serpent symbol), and Pergamum was reputed to have the greatest physicians of that time. Augustus Caesar would take advantage of their services annually, since his raging alcoholism brought him here on numerous occasions to 'dry out'. Augustus would also come to Pergamum when it was cold in Rome, and generally favored this city because he was worshipped here, having a temple and an Imperial cult of his own to cater to his every need.


Zeus was thought to have been born here. Many commentators have made the link between Zeus and Satan, indicating that perhaps this is why Satan had his throne in this city. And that could very well be the case, particularly when you consider Greek mythology and the possible kernels of truth from which it comes. For instance, in mythology the god Zeus was the father of the god Apollo, and the Bible indicates that Apollo, known as 'Apollyon' in Greek, will be released from the Abyss in the last days to take his position as the tormentor and destroyer of man (Revelation 9:11).


 “These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.”

Paul makes it clear in Hebrews 4:12 that this particular sword is the word of God. And in John 1, we discover that Jesus IS the Word of God. So on both counts, this double-edged sword points us to Jesus. So we shouldn't be surprised at all to find Jesus riding on the white horse of victory in the last days to wield his sword and strike down the nations that were oppressing his saints;

Revelation 19:14-15 "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty."


Compliment

“I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.”

Pergamum was also the center of idol worship in Asia Minor, since the pagan priests of Babylon had migrated to Pergamum after the fall of Babylon several hundred years earlier. These relocated priests instituted a pantheon of gods just as they had done in Babylon, and just as they had done in Ur prior to that. This is where the relationship between Pergamum and Abraham comes into play, because both had to deal with the influence of the same pagan priesthood.

To set the table, Abraham came out of the land of Ur, where his father Terah was Nimrod’s prefect. If you examine the time lines in the Old Testament, you’ll discover that Nimrod was indeed still alive during the life of Abraham, and this arrangement is confirmed in the book of Jasher, mentioned twice in the Old Testament as an authoritative source;  


“And Terah the son of Nahor, prince of Nimrod’s host, was in those days very great in the sight of the king and his subjects, and the king and princes loved him, and they elevated him very high.”

The land of Ur, where Abram had lived, was the center of about every form of paganism. Their main god was the moon god represented by a crescent moon as Islam uses today.


Satan's throne then apparently moved to Babylon, another of Nimrod's cities, where the moon god was also primary among its deities. It was there that the tower of Babel was built in order to defy God. And just as Ur had been Satan's throne, followed by Babylon, Pergamum had become his throne at the time of this letter. Only in this instance, the moon god 'Sin' that symbolized Satan was replaced by Zeus. The common element here is that Ur, Babylon and Pergamum all had the same pagan priesthood, whose teachings were embodied in Balaam and the Nicolaitans

1) Both Nimrod and the  Nicolaitans were sorcerers.

2) Both Nimrod and the  Nicolaitans sacrificed to idols

3) Both Nimrod and the  Nicolaitans advocated sexual sin

4) Both Nimrod and the  Nicolaitans  and Balaam created a pantheon of gods


Though it no longer exists, the evil influence of Pergamum didn’t end with the destruction of their city, since elements of the pagan Temple of Zeus found their way into the temples and buildings of other nations. For instance, the altar from the Temple of Zeus in Pergamum was excavated and dismantled between 1878 and 1886 by a German archaeologist, and moved to Berlin, where it was reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum between 1910 and 1930. Then, when Berlin was captured near the end of WWII, the Russians were so taken with it that the altar was again dismantled and moved to Russia. However it was returned to the the Pergamon Museum in Berlin about ten years later, where it remains in to this day.  


Although a seemingly insignificant monument, this altar became an influential architectural feature in the reign of Adolph Hitler. Architect Albert Speer used the Pergamon Altar as the model for Hitler's Zeppelin Tribune that was used for Nazi rallies, and the similarities were quite notable. It's interesting that such an evil edifice was chosen as the scene for military display in Nazi Germany. But then again, Hitler went the way of Pergamum in his personal life, becoming deeply involved in the occult, and this evil influence was naturally reflected in his governance.


Jesus’ name

“Yet you remain true to my name.”

For any Christian living in a land where faith in Jesus could mean death, remaining true to Christ’s name would prove difficult. Yet, most of those in Pergamum were able hang on to their faith. But this type of arrangement is generally met with intense opposition, such as that encountered by Antipas;


"You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives."

The first Christian Bishop of Pergamum was Antipas, who was martyred there in 92 A.D. because of his refusal to deny the name of Jesus Christ. The name Antipas can be broken down into two components, Anti means ‘instead of’, and Pas means ‘all’.  In other words, the very name of this faithful pastor meant ‘instead of all’, clearly referring to his teaching of the Gospel of Christ instead of all the other pagan doctrines of that city.  


Criticism

“You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam”

Balaam was a seer and a sorcerer whose ways were Babylonian in origin, so his teachings were perfectly in tune with mainstream spirituality in Pergamum. Balaam had counseled Balak to defeat the Israelites by corrupting them through the influence of pagan women, and the strategy worked. This same corrupting influence later led to the decline of many kings of Israel, including Solomon.  


“Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.”

Pergamum’s priesthood had firm control over the common people of that city, completely corrupting them with pagan ways.


Advice

"Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

Many people in the church of Pergamum got involved with the Babylon system surrounding them.




Reward

“To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.”

The hidden manna refers to the ‘Afikomen’ tradition at the Passover Seder meal.


1) The leader of the Seder, generally the father, would open a linen bag with three unleavened bread wafers in it called 'matzah'.

2) He would remove the middle matzah and break it in half.  

3) He would wrap the broken matzah in linen and hide it in the house during the course of the meal. This of course brings with it the imagery of the 'hidden manna', since this wafer (representing manna) would be hidden.

4) After the meal, the children would be turned loose to find this hidden manna (the 'Afikomen').

5) The one that found the Afikomen would receive a reward.

6) The ’middle matzah’ or ’hidden manna’ would then be shared with every member of the family.


Symbolizing the crucifixion of Christ and our salvation. The wafer represents the Lord who was broken, wrapped in linen, and hidden away in a tomb. And those who ‘find’ the Lord are rewarded with eternal life, a reality that will be shared by the entire Jewish family when “all Israel will be saved” in the last days.


Afikomen means 'dessert'  "I came".


“I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”  

In ancient courts the jury casted white (not guilty) and black (guilty) stones.

So in essence, the Lord deems us ‘not guilty’ when he gives us this white stone with our new name on it.


Of course, this also relates to Abraham, since this white stone has a new name on it, and ‘Abram’ received the new name of ‘Abraham’ when God entered into covenant with him. But we will all receive this new name in the last days, and this includes even Jesus himself.

Abram

1) The Church at Pergamum was improperly married to Rome, just as Abraham was ‘improperly married’ with Hagar

2) Pergamum was where Satan had his throne, just as Abraham came from Ur, where Satan had his throne

3) Pergamum priests sacrificed to idols, just as Abraham's father Terah had sacrificed to idols

4) Pergamum was highly immoral, just as Ur was highly immoral

5) Hidden Manna is the bread for the ‘salt covenant’, which Abaham entered into with God

6) A New name will be given to overcomers at Pergamum, just as a new name was given to Abraham