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Read Introduction to Revelation

 

I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”

 

I know your works

Jesus is knowledgeable about everything the church does; He is omniscient. No one fools Him. He takes note of our successes and failures and appraises the church for what it truly is.

and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.

Satan’s throne here is not located in hell but in Pergamum. Satan’s throne may link Rome with its Satanic influence in persecuting Christians. Emperor worship was the central religion of Pergamum. The Roman governor alone possessed the right of capital punishment. The sword of Jesus may stand in contrast to the sword of Rome. Satan’s “throne” was probably the Roman court. Satan ruled in this city.

And you hold fast to My name

Jesus commends the Pergamum church for its perseverance in persecution. Jesus’ name represents His person. This church did not deny its relationship to Him. It was glad to identify with Him.

and did not deny My faith

The Pergamum church was true to its faith, the body of doctrine. It was orthodox. There is a direct corollary between our faith and our faithfulness. Our faith inspires faithfulness. When we shipwreck our faith, we shipwreck faithfulness.

even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr

Authorities at Pergamum martyred Antipas for his faith. He probably would not sacrifice to the gods of the emperors. He refused to renounce Christ and embrace the gods of Rome. He got his name in the Bible for martyrdom.

There is a legend that Tertullian said that they placed Antipas in a brazen bull and slowly roasted him to death.

who was killed among you

The readers of Revelation were present when they martyred Antipas. He was “among you” when it happened. They saw it with their own eyes. The purpose was to intimidate them.

where Satan dwells

Pergamum was the location of a complex of pagan cults, including Zeus, Athena, Dionysus, and Asclepius. Antipas, however, flew in the face of all this; he took a stand against false religion.

The word “dwells” indicates Satan had a permanent residence in Pergamum.

This verse began with the church living where Satan was. The verse ends with Satan living where Christians were.

Principle:

Conviction makes a difference.

Application:

Many of us feel it would be easier to live for Christ in another city where people are more sympathetic to Christianity. “It will be easier to witness there.” We want a convenient Christianity.

The Christian life is not an escape but a conquest. Christians with great conviction willingly stand alone. They will face down any foe. Some will go to the point of death for their Lord.

Our witness can be costly. This may mean that we live as a speckled bird in our society, so we don’t buy into the values of our society. Another analogy is this: the ship is supposed to be at sea, but the sea is not supposed to be in the ship. The church has little power because no one can tell the difference from the world. There is no conviction that makes the church distinct from the world.

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