The Assembly of Pergamos

The Assembly of Pergamos

 

Historical Background:

 

Pergamon /ˈpɜrɡəmən/ or /ˈpɜrɡəmɒn/ or Pergamum /ˈpɜrɡəməm/ (Ancient Greek: τὸ Πέργαμον, to Pergamon, or ἡ Πέργαμος, hē Pergamos) was an ancient Greek city in Aeolis, currently located 26 kilometres (16 mi) from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern-day Bakırçay). Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama in Turkey.

Some ancient authors regarded it as a colony of the Arcadians, but the various origin stories all belong to legend. The Greek historians reconstructed a complete history for it due to confusion with the distant Teuthrania.  It became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC.  Pergamon is cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia.

Map of Asia Manor  by 188 BC

(Map of the city of Pergamum and also the Kingdom of Pergamum after the treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C.)

Pergamum_acropolis_model

(Model of the Acropolis of Pergamos / Museum of Berlin)

During 399 B.C. the city of Pergamos was recapture by the Syrian and it was of no importance on the antiquity until 301 B.C. when it became the capital of the new kingdom of Pergamon, founded in 281 B.C by Philetaerus and giving a beginning to the Attalid dynasty.

The Attalids became some of the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world. Under Attalus I (241–197 BC), they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II (197–158 BC), against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. For their support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.

The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity. Many documents survive showing how the Attalids supported the growth of towns by sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi, Delos, and Athens. They defeated the invading Celts. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon after the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus III (138–133 BC) died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war.

Pergamon was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia, before the capital was transferred to Ephesus.

After a slow decline, the city was favored by several imperial initiatives under Hadrian (117 – 138). It was granted the title of metropolis and as a result of this an ambitious building program was carried out: massive temples, a stadium, a theatre, a huge forum and an amphitheater were constructed. In addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius (the god of healing) was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic and healing centers of the Roman world. Galen, after Hippocrates the most famous physician of antiquity, was born at Pergamon and received his early training at the Asclepeion.

Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman Imperial rule and was home to about 200,000 inhabitants.  The Library of Pergamon was renowned, and second only to the Library of Alexandria, although not approaching Alexandria in scholarship.  The city was an early seat of Christianity and was granted a bishopric by the second century.  During the Third Century was badly damaged by an earthquake and ransacked by the “Goths” after.

FYI Important Background on Pergamos

It is also known as “the city of the serpent”, and for its greatness in the religious influence of that time in history.

Asclepius
Asclepius

(Asclepius with his serpent-entwined staff / Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus).

This particular assembly is well known for the influence in medicine and what is known today as Phycology.

The link below will give you access to a brief but incredible video by 700 Club, just click in the link:

http://www1.cbn.com/700club/seat-satan-ancient-pergamum

 

Mercury and Merchant approach vs Asclepius and the naked Graces
Mercury and a merchant disapproving Asclepius and the naked Graces (Meritrine, Hygeia and Panacea)

Mercury (Hermes) & merchant approach disapproving Asclepius (Physician) and the naked Graces (Meditrine, Hygeia and Panacea)

The first temple of this cult was erected in Pergamos in 27 B.C.  Aesculapius was identical to Phaethon (Nimrod = founder of the original Babylonian religion, eventually developing the worship of his widow Semiramis and his posthumous son (the Ashtoreth and Tammuz of Phoenicia, Isis and Horus of Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros of Greece, Venus and Cupid of Rome))

When Cyrus conquered Babylon, they found a new center at Pergamos and that king became “Pontifex Maximus”, highest priest of the pagan system.  When Rome took power over Pergamos the cult was assimilated and very well transferred to Rome by Pergamos.  One of the most clear influence on such cult in Rome is the fact that the Caesar was appointed “highest priest” and ultimately in 378 A.D. of Damasus, the Bishop of Rome with the complete and permanent absorption of “Babylonianism” into the Roman Church (this could possibly be seeing reflected with Thyatira).

During the year 312 A.D. Constantine set out to defeat the forces of Maxentius, empire rival.  His father prospered when he prayed to the God of the Christians, Constantine resorted to the same actions.  It is said the next morning he saw a shining cross in the sky with an inscription above it that read: “in hoc signo vinces” (In this sign thou shall conquer”, marked all the shields of his army with the mark, and after a bloody battle defeated Maxentius and immediately after declared his conversion to Christianity.  Constantine assumed headship of the church, repealed the persecution with the “edicts of Diocletian” advancing Christianity to high office in the state.  Pagan temples were converted to Christians churches; heathen festivals and customs were converted in to Christians ones; pagan priest slipped into office as Christians priests and so on.

Exposition of Revelation 2: 12-17

(Rev 2:12)  And to the angel of the assembly in Pergamos, write: These things says the One having the sharp, two-edged sword:

Once again in Revelation 2: 12 the Lord is dictating to the apostle the letter that the angel (messenger) is going to take to Pergamos.  There is only one angel that will be given the task and responsibility of this letter, not only because it is trusted by the Lord Almighty to accomplish such action, but more so because the angel’s personal relationship with the assembly.

Meaning of the name “Pergamos”;  it is a compound word:

  • Per” = pervert, perturbation, mixed, objectionable
  • gamos” = marriage

When the Lord described Himself as the “…the One having the sharp, two-edged sword…”, He is without a doubt that He is the Highest Authority in Command, Highest Priest and no one else is (Read Book of John 1: 1-4).

(Rev 2:13)  I know your works, and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is. And you hold My name, and did not deny My Faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful witness; who was killed alongside you, where Satan dwells.

In this verse the Lord started to describe the attributes of this assembly:

  1. Know your works (this particular assembly is not lazy)
  2. Knows the place where the assembly dwell, where the throne of Satan is (the Lord is indicating here that even though the assembly is dwelling under the same location as where the throne of Satan is, they (the assembly) is not part of Satan.
    1. We, as the assembly of the Lord, are called to be among the ones that lives in this world but not been part of the world.
      1. Joh_14:17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He abides with you and shall be in you.

There is always a truth about this assembly related to the action of dwelling in the place where Satan’s throne is, and that is the fact that a throne is a chair located in the center of a room to make comfortable the person more respected and which is not use by any other member of the room but the person destine for.  Understanding this, we can come to the conclusion that this assembly, even though did the works and dwelled where it was commanded to, more so hold the Name of the Lord (the assembly was of the family belong to the Lord, so they claim:    (Eph 3:14)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,(Eph 3:15)  of whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named,).  It is evident that even when they hold and called themselves members of the family of the Lord, this assembly did not gave the Lord the recognition He deserved and in His place the throne was occupied by Satan.

It is also very interesting that is mentioned that this particular assembly never denied “His Faith” (it is spelled in capital letters, indicative of the Lord’s Faith and not the assembly’s faith, in accordance with the Strong words this particular term of faith is:

G4102

πίστις

pistis

pis’-tis

From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Total KJV occurrences: 244

In other words, they knew the Word, did the works, dwelled among the place we had been called to dwelled, hold the name of the Lord (members of the Family), and also never denied the Lord’s Faith or His Gospel. They, Pergamos, were so confused on their own well-being and totally out of their track in the real Gospel that they couldn’t distinguished between what was right and what was not.

This assembly allowed the satanic forces to influence them so strongly, to a point in were a faithful witness of the Gospel of the Lord was sacrifice to the idols and they didn’t raise their voices against such actions.  How a believer raise his/her voice? You may ask.  The answer is, by Prayers, Supplications, Fasting, and Studying the Word of Truth.

When any or all of those elements are placed in a subordination level to allow the public non believer to dictate and mandate our course of action, we as believers becomes co-participators of such actions.  The verse end by the Lord emphasizing such actions were taking place in “Satan’s dwelling place”.  This is very important because it tells us how they (Pergamos) allowed themselves to be influenced by the outside forces even when they had all the elements in their favor.

(Rev 2:14)  But I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol sacrifices, and to commit fornication.

(Rev 2:15)  So you also have those holding the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

On verses 14 through 15 the Lord is indicating to the assembly their negative points, let’s put them in a sequence manner:

  1. This assembly allowed …those holding the teachings of Balaam…
    1. To throw a stumbling block against the sons of Israel
      1. Read Numbers 22: 1-41
    2. To eat idol sacrifices
      1. Read Numbers 22: 40
    3. To commit fornication
      1. Read Numbers 22: 41
    4. Pergamos also allowed …those holding the teaching of the Nicolatians…
      1. What is the teachings of the Nicolatians that God Himself hate so much?
        1. Nicolaitans
        2. Nicola’itans (followers of Nicolas). A sect mentioned in Rev_2:6; Rev_2:15, whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical, with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that, it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in Act_15:20; Act_15:29. The teachers of the Church branded them with a name, which expressed their true character. The men who did and taught such things were followers of Balaam. 2Pe_2:15; Jud_1:11. They, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds.
  • In a time of persecution, when the eating or not eating of things sacrificed to idols was, more than ever, a crucial test of faithfulness, they persuaded men, more than ever, that was a thing indifferent. Rev_2:13-14. This was bad enough, but there was a yet worse evil. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church.
  1. And all this was done, it must be remembered, not simply as an indulgence of appetite, but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, 2Pe_2:1. It confirms the view, which has been taken of their character to find that stress is laid, in the first instance on the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans. To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church, that otherwise is weak and faithless. Rev_2:6 To tolerate them is well-nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. Rev_2:14-15.

(Rev 2:16)  Repent! But if not, I will come to you quickly, and I will make war with them by the sword of My mouth.

Here int verse 16 the Lord advised to the assembly of their only possible option to take, that is to “Repent”, otherwise (if the assembly does not repent) The Lord will come quickly.  The phrase “…come to you quickly…” means the following:

G5035

ταχύ

tachu

takh-oo’

Neuter singular of G5036 (as adverb); shortly, that is, without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication of ease) readily: – lightly, quickly.

Total KJV occurrences: 12

Read please the following:

(2Pe 3:9)  The Lord of the promise is not slow, as some deem slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not having purposed any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

(2Pe 3:10)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with rushing sound, and having burned the elements will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be burned up.

(Rev 2:17)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To the one overcoming, I will give him to eat from the hidden manna. And I will give to him a white stone, and on the stone a new name having been written, which no one knows except the one receiving it.

In verse 17 there is a once again a personal implication and application of the assembly for everyone that is part of the assembly of the Lord. We are commanded to make our voices heard and our Prayers brought to the Throne of the Lord on behave of the Gospel of Truth.  We must work diligently to prepare ourselves to the battle, wearing the all armor of God as is described by the apostle Paul (read below):

Eph_6:11  Put on all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil,

Eph_6:13  Because of this, take up all of the armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand.

It does follows the verse by indicating the promise to overcomer, which is in this assembly the following:

  1. Will eat of the hidden manna
  2. Will receive a white stone
    1. Encrypted with a new name
      1. Known only by the one receiving the stone

Thank you for reading and I hop/e in the Lord this will be of great help to your spiritual life.  God Bless You All.

If you like to download e-Sword for your Bible Studies here is the link (it is totally FREE)   www.esword.net/downloads.html

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The Book of Revelation: Introduction to the Seven Assemblies

As a Review and for our benefit we will bring some important details we already cover on Chapter 1 of the Book of Revelation, and these are the following:

  1. This is the only Book on the Bible that promise a Blessing to the “Reader” and also to the “Hearers”, see the following verse;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.
  1. The Book of Revelation is a Prophetic Book, read the below verse;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.
  1. For this blessing to take effect of the prophetic Book of Revelation, we must keep the things having been written, read the verse below please;
    1. Rev 1:3
  1. Blessed is the one reading, and those hearing the Words of this prophecy, and keeping the things having been written; for the time is near.

All these is because one reason and one reason only for the “Follower of the WAY” (The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ), … for the time is near

It is also very important to mention that the Book of Revelation is the only Book that has what is called the “Divine Outline of the Book”. This particular point can be seen in the following verse:

  1. Rev 1:19
  • (19) Write what things you saw, and what things are, and what things are about to occur after these things.
    • …things you saw… This is use in a past sentence indicative of all the Apostle John saw in chapter one of the Book of Revelation.
    • …things are… This is use in a present way, indicative of what the Apostle witness and saw in chapters 2 and 3, which is in relation to the Seven Assemblies in the area of Asia Manor which is known today as “Turkey”
  1. (Seven Assemblies Map)
  • … things are about to occur after these things…   (meta tauta)   This is expressed in a future sentence. This is indicative of the future events once the events on chapter 1 and chapter 2 and 3 (the Seven Assemblies will go through their lives as followers and believers of the Gospel of the Lord) will take place.   This also could be seen in the following verse:
    1. Rev 4:1 LITV

After these things I saw. And behold, a door being opened in Heaven! And I heard the first voice as a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you what needs to happen after these things.

If we are capable to put this in perspective for everyone to see it in a visual way, just imagine a straight time line in where there is the Book of Revelation displayed in chapters by numbers and cause of time base on events of “past”, “present” and “future events”, this time line will look like this:

(Time Line of things and events base on the Divine Outline).

It is very important for us to bring to your attention the fact that in chapter 1 verse 4 it is mentioned the Holy Trinity of GOD, let’s see it:

Rev 1:4 LITV

(4) John to the seven assemblies in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne;

  • It does mentioned God Almighty when is referring to … His throne…
  • The Lord Jesus as …the One who is, who was, and who is coming…
    • o This could be validated by the Gospel of John chapter 1 verses 1 and 2:
      • Joh 1:1-2 LITV
      • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      • He was in the beginning with God.
    • The Holy Spirit when it does mentioned … the seven spirits which are before His throne…
      • o Read the following verse;
        • Isa 11:2 LITV
        • And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; He will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.
          • These are known as the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit (count the underline description on the above verse)

Continuing our journey to the beginning of the Seven Assemblies (Revelation chapters 2-3) is very important to notice the Seven Assemblies during these two chapters in Revelation mentioned, unless you are in deep knowledge of the Asia Manor area and or the Middle Eastern history, you otherwise will not know these assemblies. The question remain of, Why these particular assemblies? Why more important assemblies of their time are not mentioned?   Such assemblies are the assembly of Antioch (Paul’s headquarters assemblies), the assembly of Jerusalem, the assembly of Corinth and so on. The question remains, why?

The Bible (The Word of GOD) is a collection of 66 Books written by more than 40 Authors with different backgrounds, written in 3 different languages, through a time of approximately 1500 years with a divine engineering precision in where everything has a meaning and a time. For the Followers of the Way (Jesus Christ or Lord) means that the Bible is without a doubt the Word of GOD and has a Divine Authority.

Understanding this is why the question of “why these seven assemblies” in particular and not other assembly were chosen but these.   Let’s make reference to our Seven Assemblies Map in a PDF File to refresh our memories on their location.   (Seven Assemblies Map).

  1. These seven assemblies were real geographical locations of temples and assemblies of the time.
  2. As warning or reprimand to all the assemblies, in fact the seven letters applied to all the seven assemblies. Read the following verse:
  • Rev 1:11 LITV
    • (11) saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last; also, What you see, write in a scroll, and send to the seven assemblies of Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.
  1. This also could be taken as a personal advised (homiletic) in order for the believer to keep him/her in the right track of the Word of God and keeping the things having been written because the “time is near”.
  • Rev 2:7 LITV
  • (7) The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. …

There is one important point of view that could very well, and in my personal and humble opinion, is the strongest of all the points mentioned, which is from a prophetic and historical point of view.

If you remember the Book of Acts is the last Book in the Bible that mentioned anything about the development and circumstances in were the assembly of the Lord went through from a historical view for about 30 years. There are some points that had been gathered with the Apostle’s epistles and letters, but many gaps exist. My believe is that these Seven Assemblies, and very specially due because the order in were they are mentioned in the Bible and only the order in were they are mentioned, tells us the rest of the story. These Seven assemblies are:

  1. Ephesus
  2. Smyrna
  3. Pergamos
  4. Thyatira
  5. Sardis
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Laodicea

(Time Line of the Church History base on the Seven Assemblies)