Revelation 2:12-17 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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. 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. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 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.
We continue to study the Revelation of Jesus Christ, so named by the Apostle in verse 1 of the Book:
Revelation 1:1 (KJV) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
As we continue to study through the Book of Revelation we now come to the Church of Pergamos. The name Pergamos means “a fortress, a place of refuge”. Pergamos was a besieged Church, the Church under attack by the world itself. When Jesus spoke to Ephesus He said:
Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith HE that HOLDETH the seven stars in his right hand, who WALKETH in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
He says “I am the One Who HOLDS You and WALKS with You”. Jesus said in effect “I love YOU and am with YOU. Will you love ME?”
Then Jesus addresses Smyrna, the Suffering Church:
Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the FIRST AND THE LAST, WHICH WAS DEAD, AND IS ALIVE;
Jesus tells the suffering Church “Though I am your God I suffered too. But I also defeated suffering, and I am with you.” What an encouraging message to His people … oh how I love Jesus!
And NOW Jesus comes to the Church called “Fortress”, a Church built on the Rock that is Christ. What does Jesus say to this Church? He says:
Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith HE WHICH HATH THE SHARP SWORD WITH TWO EDGES;
Out Of Christ’s Mouth Is The Two Edged Sword
Jesus has a SHARP sword with TWO edges. We saw this picture first in Chapter 1:
Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and OUT OF HIS MOUTH WENT A SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
The weapon that Jesus holds is not in His HAND but from His MOUTH. His WORD smites the nations. When Jesus returns to rule this earth we are told later in this Book of Books:
Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Jesus will rule with the WORD of HIS MOUTH. Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. His WORD is true. His WORD cuts to the soul. His WORD changes the heart of man. We are told in …
Hebrews 4:12 For the WORD OF GOD IS QUICK, AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED 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.
It is Jesus Word that conquers the soul of man. His Word penetrates deep, going into the heart, changing the life. Christ conquers, not by physical killing – not now. His Way is Gracious, loving. His Word convicts. Throughout human history deluded men have dressed up in suits of armor and went out in ships with crosses painted on their sails to defeat the alleged enemy with the sword. Deluded people professing Christ have crusaded and cut their way through worlds, killing whole civilizations in the name of Christ. Yet this is not what Jesus was ever about. When Jesus told His disciples to go into the world it was not to cut and rend, to force people into the Kingdom of God. No! His way was:
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV) … All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  TEACHING them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
No metal human sword was ever put in the hand of the Church or the Christian. We were to wield His WORD. His WORD is a two-edged sword that cuts to the soul, CONVICTING of sin and CONVINCING of the need of salvation.
Jesus has the sword with two edges. If we have Him and love Him we have the sword He has. His message – the message by which the world is conquered – is
Matthew 4:17 …. REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 1:15 …. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, and believe the gospel.
REPENT because your way is wrong.
Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
We are all sinners. None are superior. All are in God’s eyes unworthy.
Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We deserve death, but Jesus offers life if we but receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Romans 5:8 … God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God loves us, so Jesus took the penalty of our sin on Himself. We didn’t deserve it but He did it.
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Confess Him as Savior and Lord. Believe He rose from the grave and lives to lead you in love. You will be saved! That two edged Sword of the Word doesn’t shed blood, but it kills nonetheless. Those who hear and respond to the Gospel have their old self killed, and a new and loving self rises up in their place.
Pergamos Was A Great Fortress Of Christ’s Word
Revelation 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.
Even though under attack from the world Pergamos worked for the Lord. He said:
“I know thy works”
They worked though working was hard.
A person who professes Christ but does not serve Him may not be a Christian at all.
A person who professes Christ but does not serve Him may not be a Christian at all.
A person who professes Christ but does not serve Him may not be a Christian at all.
What did James the stepbrother of Christ say?
James 2:17-22 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
We “confess with our mouth the LORD Jesus Christ and are saved”. Our faith is in Christ, and so we serve Him and Him alone. I heard Dr. Adrian Rogers once talk about getting on a plane to go to a speaking engagement. Before the doors of the plane closed he heard the stewardess call his name over the intercom. “Dr. Rogers, will you please come forward”. Uncertain as to why he was being called, he got up and headed to the stewardess. When he got there she said, “Dr. Rogers, we’ve all made a mistake. You got on the wrong plane, and we just caught it. You need to get off and get on the right plane.” Adrian went on to say “I had absolute faith that I was on the right plane, but though I had faith – no matter how hard I believed that plane wouldn’t get me where I wanted to go. Faith alone will not get you to Heaven. Faith alone IN CHRIST alone WILL!”
The saved love to work for Jesus. Let me say that again: The SAVED love to work for JESUS! This was a working Church. Not only this, this was a CHURCH under ATTACK. We read:
Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat (or THRONE) 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.
Satan’s “SEAT” is actually the word THRONOS, which means “Throne”. The city where Pergamos – God’s Fortress Church was – was actually in a place where idolatry and sin were rampant. They were Stationed in Sodom and Gomorrah and Bivouacking in Babylon. They were in a place where Satan RULED … yet they continued to work for the Lord.
Jesus said to them “thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith”. They stood together as a Church under the Name of Christ. The Church was yielded to His authority, His Word, and following Him. This is what made the Church a fortress, a Pergamos. They understood that Jesus was Lord and “hast not denied MY Faith”.
Jesus Christ purchased our faith with His own Blood. He owns our faith. He owns the Church. The Church belongs to Him. He is the Overcomer, and His Church overcomes.
This Church stood strong “even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you”. I didn’t know who Antipas was until I studied this passage. Antipas was at one time the a faithful Pastor at Pergamos, a man ordained by the Apostle John. Some believe he was burned to death on a brazen bull shaped altar. I don’t know how he died, but Jesus did. Antipas died a martyr’s death, and stood, and so did the Church.
Pergamos was a wonderful Church …
But Pergamos Was Infiltrated By Money Loving Preachers
Revelation 2:14-15 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. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
When we read texts with strange names in it we are tempted to gloss them over. What is “Balaam” and “Balak” (here spelled with a “c”, but it should be a “k”) and the “Nicolaitans”? There are some important truths here we need to see.
“Balaam” and “Balak” Refer To A Sin That Happened In Numbers 22-24. This sin is mentioned not just here in the New Testament, but also in
Jude 10-11 … But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and RAN GREEDILY AFTER THE ERROR OF BALAAM FOR REWARD …
2 Peter 2:14-15 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following THE WAY OF BALAAM …. who LOVED THE WAGES OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS;
The “error and way of Balaam” has to do with monetary gain.
Balaam was a prophet who sold his prophecies, twisting the Word of God in order to get rich.
One day Balak the King of the Moabites contacted Balaam and asked him to pronounce a curse on Israel. He thought that if Balaam cursed Israel then God would turn His hand against Israel and destroy that nation. What is interesting about this is that the Moabites are actually cousins of Israel, being born of the Old Testament Lot whe he and his daughters escaped the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Moab existed because God’s Word is faithful, and because Lot heard God’s Word and left Sodom before it was destroyed! Though man may mess up, when we obey God’s Word there is life! Good life! Abundant life! Eternal life!
Balak should have loved the Word of God … he was king of Moab because of it. Yet instead he hired Balaam to pronounce a curse on Israel. God does not want to curse His people. His Word does not exist to curse His people. Some of those television evangelists you swear by – wearing $1000 dollar suits – selling their wares and twisting God’s Word – they are like Balaam. When Balak approached Balaam the prophet should have said: “I will not twist God’s Word.
God cannot forget His Israel nor His Church. He will not curse His people Whom He gave His life for. Balaam sold his services to curse Israel … but God would not let him do so. God will not bless anything that twists His Word. By compromising with the unbelieving Balak, Balaam “taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel”.
The Church nor the Preacher is never to compromise the Word of God in order to profit. God’s people read, and hear, and guard God’s Word. For us His Word and His Way is what we follow. The Nicolaitans were also those who thought that “the Word of Man trumped the Word of God”. We will not be this way, but will follow His Way, declaring to our Lord and Savior …
Psalms 119:103-105 …. How sweet are thy Words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
What Keeps The Church A “Fortress” Is Fidelity To Christ’s Word, To The Holy Scripture. Jesus tells the Church of Pergamos:
Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
I want you to note what Jesus says very carefully. He says “I will come to THEE wuickly, and fight against THEM with the sword of My mouth”. He’s not going to fight His Church, but Jesus will purge His Church of those who have infiltrated it who do not follow His Way. It is HIS Way or the HIGHWAY. Jesus has decreed over and over again:
John 14:6 I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.
Many years ago in ancient China Mongolian Hoards often came across the border to ravage villages, steal property, rape women and enslave children. Finally the Emperor had enough. He ordered a wall built across China. The Great Wall of China was built 30 feet high, 18 feet thick, and over 1500 miles long. The Wall was too high to climb, too thick to break down, and too long to go around. But during the first hundred years of the Wall’s existence China was invaded three times. It wasn’t the Wall’s fault. No one climbed the Wall, nor broke it down, nor went around it. You know they got in? The enemy bribed a gate keeper and marched in through an open door.
Jesus ends with these words:
Revelation 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.
One of the great believers of our age now with the Lord is Billy Graham. He reached a point in his ministry where so many were telling him to turn against the Word of God, to declare it just another human book. Billy said:
“I surrendered my will to the living God revealed in the Scripture. I knelt before the opened Bible and said, ‘Lord, many things in this Book I do not understand, but Thou hast said the just shall live by faith. All I have, I have received by faith. Here and now by faith, I accept the Bible as Thy Word. I take it all. I take it without reservations. Where there are things I cannot understand, I will reserve judgment until I receive more light. If this pleases Thee, give me authority as I proclaim Thy Word, and through that authority convict me of sin and turn sinners to the Savior.”
God’s Word rules His Church. Not popular opinion, but God’s Word. Not man’s written bylaws. God’s Word. Those who obey and follow God’s Word have “hidden Manna” – the food of God that the world cannot know. Those who obey and follow God’s Word have “a white stone with a new name written on it”. There is new life in Jesus – a clean slate – a great destination.