The Seven Churches: PERGAMOS

The Seven Churches: PERGAMOS



Revelation 2:12–17

The Sword

The Citadel 

The Compromise 

The Compromisers

The Consequence And Call

The Reward

“Per-Gamos” is a compound word that had been turned into the name of a City and here in Revelation, identifies a Church. 

“Per-Gamos”, the Greek word “Per” on its own means “wholly” or “Fully”, but as a prefix to a word as we see here, it simply means “Through (or “For”)”

Gamos simply means “Marriage”, therefore if you were to take its etymological origin, the Church identified by this name means “Through Marriage”. AND It is that definition that seems to well describe the nature of this Church in history. 

It is a picture of a Church that has joined itself in affinity with the world

It is a Church that has compromised itself. 

It no longer stands on the absolute truth of the WORD of God. TRUTH found in the WORDS of Christ were to have the FULL ALLEGIANCE of its subjects, BUT this Church has compromised ITS stand.

And it has done this all among the back drop of a City that HAS NOT COMPROMISED ITS OWN STAND.

Pergamos, the City, was absolutely faithful, both to the gods that it worshiped and to the Empire that governed it.

But the Church within it, COMPROMISED.

This is a fascinating consideration in the light of Christianity today and its likeness to this type of Church. 

Christians are so willing to compromise themselves, to be “just a little like the world“, in a world that has NO INTEREST in being a “Little like Christ”.

We see the Christian “Tolerant” of certain evil, but we NEVER see those who practice certain evil, “Tolerant” of Christians! No, unlike the compromising Christian, secularists and pagans are “faithful to the gods they worship”, they hold fast to sin, while Compromising Christians are happy to let a little Sin in!

The WORD that identifies their error was then, as it often its today, set aside for their temporal desires;

1 John 2:15–17

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

– So we see that the Church of Pergamos, was an ACTUAL CHURCH OF HISTORY, the third church identified in the letter, the third Church in Geographical location for the delivery of the third letter.

– But it is also the THIRD Church PERIOD OF HISTORY. A representation of a period of COMPROMISE that seems to have existed for some three hundred years, between Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, through to the beginning of 606 AD When Pope Boniface III proclaimed himself as “Universal Bishop”, denying any legitimacy to the Bishop of Constantinople.

This may be where I would see the effectual beginning of the rift between East and West.. (THE FORMAL EAST/WEST SCHISM, Known as “The Great Schism“, did not occur till 1054 AD, some 450 years later)

– So a Church of History, a Church Period of History, and yet ALSO a LOCAL CHURCH TYPE, that has existed throughout church history

There have always been compromising LOCAL Churches throughout the existence of the Church. Churches that would shake hands with the world so they can get a little benefit; a tax break, a compromise to permit it to exist and grow with little trouble.

– BUT this is also due to the FOURTH truth we see with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there have always been compromising Christians in these local Churches IN HISTORY

A TYPE of Christian is identified by the character of the church of Pergamos. 

The “Ananias and Sapphira” (Acts 5:1-11) of the first Church have always frequented the churches of history. The willingness to PUT on a Show that they are wholly dedicated to the Church, yet retain a little of WORLDY PROFIT for themselves.

Compromising Christians frequently give the impression they are strong Christians, while they shake hands often with the devil.

The Sword

Revelation 2:12–17

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

The one that addresses this local Church identifies himself as he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.

There is an interesting link between the PEN and the SWORD that I want to bring out in this point.

Nations ruled by the sword, it was a picture of their strength AND authority.

The value of such an instrument was inestimable in those early years before GUN POWDER created an UNFAIR advantage.

The Romans dispossessed nations with its short two-edged sword.

It was this Short Two Edged Sword that became the symbol of AUTHORITY to the known world, it best effect was naturally in close combat. Those who fought from a distance would find themselves completely compromised in their inability to use their longswords in close quarters.

The Romans dominated the scattered Greeks with such an instrument and came to rule the world, not only politically but religiously.

The one who claims to be the author of this letter is he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 

It is Jesus Christ who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, it is he that will rule the world BOTH POLITICALLY AND RELIGIOUSLY with absolute AUTHORITY

and so he addresses this Church as as the one which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 

This “Sharp two edged sword” therefore identifies to this compromising Church that it is not the EMPEROR who has absolute authority, but the one whom they have compromised against.

BUT WHAT ELSE does this instrument refer to?

In calling for the repentance of the Pergamos Church in verse 16, he is telling them also the consequence;

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

In his letter to the Ephesians Paul identifies the word of God with a sword saying;

Ephesians 6:17

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

The author of Hebrews wrote;

Hebrews 4:12

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.

Which is why reading the word of God enables you to have your “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14)

The Psalmist writes of the words of Gods mouth as “drawn swords” (Ps 55:21)

If we were ever to wonder at the Phrase “The pen is mightier than the Sword“, it seems to be that in the Person of Jesus Christ, we have absolute MIGHT and ABSOLUTE authority.

But, for the sake of a little comfort of life, this Church compromised against CHRIST for a temporary comfort in the world.

1 Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

As a Christian, where is YOUR heart at this day?

Are you like those of Pergamon, have you compromised your faith?

Do you do so to make life more apparently comfortable? 

Where is Your TRUST?

The Citadel of the Gods

Revelation 2:13

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.

Pergamos, also known as Pergamon, was the Chief City in the Asia Minor province at the time of this writing. It had no harbour, being some 25 km from the coast, it was not part of any major trade root, but it was CHIEF both in politics and religion to Rome in the province and it was “even where Satans Seat is” according for verse 13.

While the positive praise is given to the Church, that they have not denied the faith of Christ, and with it the identification of the martyrdom of Antipas as the exemplar, the praise is bracketed by the reference related to the dwelling of Satan.

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.

The entire City of Pergamon was nestled on the highest hill in the region, almost 400m above the plain. 

Both the City AND its ACROPOLIS were perched on high and the City had been thrice awarded the highest Roman honour of the GUARDIANS OF, or CUSTODIANS OF THE TEMPLE, an award referred to originally as the “Neokoros” in Ancient Greece given to individuals, but given to entire Cities by the time the Romans occupied the Empire. 

It was an award for honouring the gods of the empire.

An incredible series of Essays where written and collated in 1998 in a volume called Pergamon-Citadel of the Gods:[1]

Where archeological descriptions are given that relate directly to the influence of the four patron Gods of the City, Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, and Asklepios.

Each had its role and its effect.

Zeus Soter, was celebrated as the Savior, the Name Soter, is reflective of the Greek word for Savior, Soterious. In English, the study of Salvation is called “Soteriology”. So Zeus is the Savior of the people of Pergamon

Athena the Goddess of Victory, celebrated for the victory the City had over its many enemies.

These two, Zeus and Athena, are celebrated for the Religious and Political gain of the people of Pergamos.

Dionysos, and Asklepios were celebrated in the daily life of the nation.

Dionysus was the ancient Greek god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theater, and religious ecstasy. His Roman name was Bacchus or Liber, where the word “liberty” has its origin.[1][2]

He was responsible for some of the greatest perverse celebrations in history. Some of which involved extreme violence upon the participants. Literally sending people mad in revelry.

Asklepios was the Greek god of healing. He was believed to be the son of Apollo and to have learned medicine from Chiron the centaur.

He is usually portrayed with a beardholding a pole with a snake entwined round it, called the rod of Asklepios.[2][3]

You may have seen his rod represented every time you go to a Doctors clinic today, or call an ambulance, who head into a hospital. 

But what was the true Origin of this symbol?

Numbers 21:8–9

 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The origin for the Bearded Man, together with being associated with A Serpent wrapped around a pole, directly involved in the healing of the people is impossible to ignore. 

The myth of the Greeks clearly had its origin in the actual history of Israel.

This was clearly where the Pergamos Christians dwelt, literally even where Satan’s seat is:

 13 … 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.

The only letter of the seven, that identifies an individual who had given his life for the name of Christ. 

In the days when he did so Emperor worship was instituted in the province. There simply was no toleration for any who would not worship at the annual event, receive their certificate of proof and return to live normal lives. 

But there still stood at least one man who would not compromise his faith. Antipas, the “faithful Martyr

The Compromise of Christians

Revelation 2:14-15

 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. 

We will see in this 2-part point that the COMPROMISE OF CHRISTIANS, leads to COMPROMISERS AMONG CHRISTIANS.

Those who are willing to compromise the truth so they “do as thou wilt“, will inevitably cast off teachers OR BRETHREN who correct, who rebuke, who exhort with all long suffering,  and gather to themselves those “Ministers of LIGHT” that Satan sends them

We will find, the one naturally leads to the other; 

Compromising Christians will always see the development of Compromisers of Christians. 

The words chosen in this passage are worthy of noting.

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 DOCTRINE of Balaam…”

Balaam was the compromising prophet of Numbers 23-24 who counselled the King to TEMPT ISRAEL to “COMPROMISE” their faith and potentially be accursed from God for THEIR OWN SIN.

Balaam desired “the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Pet 2:15) and, though he would not curse the Children of Israel directly, but spoke all that God had commanded, yet, he “Compromised” through his subtlety for the lust of his own flesh.  

This now we see being influenced in the Church of Pergamos.

Let’s consider the event so we understand what is being spoken about here.

Turn with me to Numbers 25:1-3

 Numbers 23-24 is the full account of Balak desireing Balaam to curse the people, But Balaam blessed the people three times as God commanded him.

But, something changed.

1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. 2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 3 And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

What occurred to cause the people of God to terribly violate the law of God?

Somehow a stumbling block was placed against the children of Israel and twenty-four thousand people perished by the hand of God for this great trespass.

Not only did they commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab and those of Midian, but they also sacrificed to the gods of the people of the land and even bowed themselves down to the idols of the nation they were in.

Turn forward now to Chapter 31

Israel now warred against the Midianites and against the kings and they caught up with and killed Balaam, and in verse 15-16 we see the detail of the transgression and how it came to pass;

Num 31:15-16

15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 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.

Balaam DID NOT CURSE ISRAEL, but, because he sought the “wages of unrighteousness” from the King, he counselled the King in a way that would cause them to fall of their own accord. 

In other words, Just like the “good words and fair speeches” of Satans Last days ministers of light, Balaam “deceive the hearts of the simple“. 

AND, just like Balaam, this work of Satans ministers is done behind the scenes, in the dark, in secret, their true hearts not even revealed to those whom they deceive

In today’s Churches, people are carried away for the comfort of justifying their own desires, in Pergamos the advantage was life itself.

Sir William Ramsey in his Book, Letters to the Seven Churches writes of Pergamos;

…the Imperial government had ranged itself definitely in opposition to the Church of Christ. …. Their loyalty was now tested by the one criterion recognized alike by public opinion and by government policy, viz., their willingness to perform the ritual of the State religion, and make offering to the Imperial God, the Divine Emperor. Those who refused to comply with this requirement were forthwith condemned to death as traitors and enemies of the State.[1[4]]

With Antipas as the ONLY example of faithfulness in this City, it is clear that compromising Christians on the whole are not difficult to persuade to hold to this life as more valuable than the eternal, and so verse 15 begins its part;

The Compromisers

Revelation 2:15

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

In Short it was believed to be the formalizing of what is known as Antinomianism, that is, living without Law.

This was something that BEGAN TO BE TAUGHT, but ONLY because Christians had already compromised their faith to allow COMPROMISORS OF CHRISTIANS to come in!

Sir William Ramsay makes a great point with regard to the Nicolaitans;

“… it is highly probable that the Nicolaitans either already had, or soon would have, reached the conclusion that they might justifiably comply with the current test of loyalty, and burn a little incense in honor of the Emperor.

The Church was not disloyal; even its most fanatical defenders claimed to be loyal; then why should its members make any difficulty about proving their loyalty by burning a few grains of incense? A little incense was nothing.

An excellent and convincing argument can readily be worked out;

and then the — whole ritual of the State religion would have followed as a matter of course; Christ and Augustus would have been enthroned side by side as they were in the compromise attempted by the Emperor Alexander Severus more than a century later; and everything that was vital in Christianity would be lost.”

In the end it would not have taken much convincing to mentally burn incense to Zeus the Savior, in place of Christ the Saviour, nor Athena the Goddess of Victory in place of the Victory over sin through Christ.

A little mental gymnastics and we could all justify burning “a few grains of incense” to stay alive. We are not “Really worshipping” the gods after all.

 Just like we are not “really worshiping” a trimmed pagan tree we prop and deck out on Nimrods birthday every 25th of December; or coloured eggs we collect at ‘Ishtar’ on the Spring Equinox in blind honour to the goddess of fertility.

We just need to “Christianise it” mentally…God knows our heart, our actions don’t really matter does it?

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans seems one of justification of compromise, and it is a doctrine Jesus hates. 

It is for you beloved to determine to what extent you adhere to such a doctrine.

But understand beloved that if we will not hold fast in these last days, days where Jesus states are filled with deception, IF WE are willing to compromise our faith, we will gather to ourselves COMPROMISERS OF THE FAITH.

We shall gather men, who “…serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hears of the simple” (Rom 16:18). 

2 Peter 2:1–3

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 

3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Notice the “many” that “shall follow”, why do they “Follow”?

Because the TRUTH shall be evil spoken of.

Beloved, if you are mature in your faith and if you are willing to compromise, you will find yourself quickly the target of men who will see you as easy prey.

If, as a Church, many are willing to compromise their faith, the will become a self-perpetuating downward spiral of faith. And there is always pressure to compromise.

I had a gentleman who was visibly upset with me for being unwilling to consider him for membership in this Church because he held to a different doctrine respecting the timing of the rapture.

It seemed like a “small insignificant doctrine” in his mind, but I have long known better. There is never a time when one doctrine is isolated from others. If the plainness of the reading of the scriptures concerning the rapture of the Church is denied, what else are you willing to ignore?

That man is no longer in this Church.

Go forward to Jude 11 as we see how God describes such people that YOU may identify them should they enter in again.

Jude 11–13

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Beloved here we see the link to Balaam, our personal compromising of the Word of God and the double edged sword will find such compromisers enter this Church.

They will feast with you, they will feed themselves without fear, but they are clouds without water and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

These men seek whom they may devour, they will not attempt to gain the heart of those strong in their faith, they ALWAYS seek for and steel the hearts of the Simple.

In conversing with other pastors, we have compared notes and it is always the same. They scour the Church to find those weak in their faith, others who have evidently compromised their own faith in one way or another (and there are so many ways), and they latch onto them with ‘good words and fair speeches”.

Beloved, these are “clouds … without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

They will not spare the flock

Compromise is not limited to the congregation, the pastor can also let down his guard.

Beloved we are identified as a seperate people, holy, set apart unto good works, taken out of that darkness and ought to continue in faith.

Turn to 

1 Peter 2:9–12

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The Consequence And Call

Revelation 2:16

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

Jesus himself will employ the truth of the words of his mouth to single out the truth of the matter, if we will not repent.

We must all return to an uncompromised faith, one that holds the truth of Christ as certain and absolute. One that trusts the word of God as we read it.


If you are hungry for the truth, READ THE WORD OF GOD. Do not be so lazy as to allow an empty mind have access to false teaching. READ THE SCRIPTURES AND STAND FIRM.

The Reward

Revelation 2:17

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.

Have you yet beleived the gospel?

The fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom, if you have not yet beleived that you are dead in your sins and desire to be saved, none of this will benefit you, though you have an ear, you will not hear what the Spirit of God is saying to you.

We are in the last of the Last Days, this is evident as we see the Perilous Times Paul wrote of IN THE CHURCH ITSELF. 

THE COMING OF JESUS is imminent, what will happen to you if you are left behind? The clock of Israel paused when Jesus rose, it will begin again when he returns and God will pour out his wrath on this earth. Will you be left behind?

Death is also imminent, your death! Where will you be?

Revelation 21:8

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The names of those who are damned, are identifiable ONLY by the sins that damned them. 

1 Corinthians 6:9–10

9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who are saved, are given a new name. 

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.

Now, those of you who clam Christ as Lord, in what do you compromise your faith?

Will you become the target of the next wolf who enters this Church? We have already had a few beloved, and they stole the hearts of the simple.

Are you reading your Bible?

Are you believing it?

Are you praying?


[2] [1]

[3] [2]

[4] [1] Sir William Ramsey, Letters To The Seven Churches,.


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