LESSONS FROM HIS LETTERS (Part 3 - Pergamum)
"To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:12-17)
Wow! Talk about a challenging place to live. Jesus mentions twice to the believers in the city of Pergamum that this is not the best choice of cities to live in - "I know where you live - where Satan has his throne." and "...Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city -- where Satan lives." (Revelation 2:13)
However, even in this kind of environment, Jesus gives praise to the believers for remaining faithful to His Name - "Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me,". The issue He has with this church is that they have allowed false teachings, Balaam's and the Nicoliatan's, to pollute their minds and doctrine. To me, the problem comes as no surprise given the proximity to the enemy's lair.
The challenge therefore was "Repent." Change your thinking and ways to Christ-like thinking and behavior. However, there was something extra Jesus added. If the believers did not heed Christ's instructions, He would personally visit and take care of this matter with a piercing word from His mouth - "Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." Christ introduced Himself as one with this capability in the beginning of this letter - "These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword."
The rewards for keeping in alignment with the Word of God and acting accordingly, especially in this city, "where Satan has his throne", are "some of the hidden manna" is granted to believers for consumption and "a white stone with a new name written on it" is bestowed. Because these believers are personally invested within a hostile environment, God also displays He is a very personal God with His encouragement, challenge and rewards to these believers. Even in the enemy's camp or during an evil era of history God takes care of His own.