“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:…”
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write
Pergamum, 45 miles north of Smyrna, was an ancient and prominent city of western Asia Minor (Mysia area). Bergama, Turkey today covers part of the ancient site below the acropolis of the ancient city. Pergamum was a beautiful city built on terraces.
In 3 BC, Pergamum became the center of an independent kingdom for many centuries. Attalus III bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans, which became the province of Asia in 133 BC. Augustus constituted the province a senatorial province.
King Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.) instituted a library of 200,000 volumes given as a gift from Anthony to Cleopatra, second only to the library in Alexandra (founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus). A famous sculpture school is located there. Its economic base was agriculture, silver, livestock breeding, wool, and parchment.
The Romans built a shrine to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, in the lower city. It was a spa where both natural and supernatural healing occurred. They built the first temple of the imperial cult in Pergamum in 29 BC in honor of Augustus and Rome. Pergamum was the center for the cults of Zeus Soter, Asclepius Soter, and Athena Nicephorus, which all had temples there.
Pergamum had already persecuted Christians (Revelation 1:11; 2:12).
These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword
Jesus depicts Himself with a different title for each church. Each title is relevant to that church. The title for the Lord Jesus to Pergamum is one of a judge. Jesus judged his people when they engage in evil. His truth will slay this evil.
The Greek word for “sword” here was a Thracian sword of large size (Re 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21) and may be figurative of the Lord’s judicial utterances. Christ carries ultimate authority with His sword over Rome and her sword.
Jesus is a warrior ready to judge.
Jesus judges His church because He possesses ultimate authority. He will not allow His church to go sideways without disciplining it.