Pergamum: Where Satan Lives

Pergamum was the administrative center for Rome in Asia Minor in the first century.  It served as the capital of the Roman province for 250 years.  Its geographical location and political position in the region made it a citadel.  This city also boasted of its libraries, medical centers, and its magnificence temples to the gods. 

Emperor worship was prominent.  The people trusted in this governmental god to protect them and to provide for them.  Lifestyles also included the strange mixing of superstitions, therapies, and medicines for healing.  There was an information influx due to the many libraries and schools which led to eclectic philosophies.  This city defined modern and secular culture.  Idolatry and immorality were commonplace.  This is where the satan lived.  This was his center of command.  The local assembly of Christ followers was commended for maintaining an existence in a place such as this.  But the attrition of temptation was taking its toll and their sharp edge of influence was being dulled.

Besides temptation from without, this assembly had glaring theological and behavioral deficiencies.  In response to the surrounding culture, the doctrine of Balaam led to their erosion through tolerance and compromise.  They had also been infected by the teachings of the Nicolaitans, where leaders of the churches exalted themselves over the common people that they were supposed to be serving.  Toward the culture and toward this assembly, Christ was wielding a sharp, double-edged sword.

An example of one who was able to overcome this cultural intimidation and theological deception was Antipas.  His martyred testimony speaks to this day of one who stood strong with a genuine faith.  To the overcomers Christ Himself would give a deep capacity to endure (hidden manna), an assuring sense of forgiveness, freedom, and favor (white stone), and a special identity with an intimate and unique relationship (new name).     


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