Revelation 1-3: The First Facet
Week 3, Wednesday: The Church in Pergamos
The believers in Pergamos were also experiencing persecution. Jesus commended them for holding fast to His name, in a hot-bed of spiritual wickedness, and for standing firm against a certain heretical teaching. But the Lord had this against the church in Pergamos: They tolerated those who taught false doctrine – probably for financial gain – and turned a blind eye to their immoral practices. Persecution or no, this church needed to repent and clean house.
Read Revelation 2
Meditate on Revelation 2.12-17
1. Note how Jesus introduces Himself (v. 12). What does this suggest about the way we should use the Bible (Heb. 4.12)?
2. Note the double emphasis on the very presence of Satan in Pergamos. Should churches be surprised to find their communities being overcome by wickedness? Should they acquiesce in such wickedness? Explain.
3. Balaam was condemned because he sought to profit financially by prophesying against Israel (cf. Num. 22-24; Neh. 13.2). Shouldn’t preachers expect to be paid for ministering the Word (cf. Gal. 6.6)? What is the Lord actually condemning here?
4. We’re not quite sure who the “Nicolaitans” were, or what they taught. But we are sure of this: Jesus “hated” them. Isn’t “hate” a “four-letter word”? Are believers supposed to hate?
5. The promise of “hidden manna” connects to the Balaam/Balak reference in verse 14 and reminds Israel that, even as God provided for them at that time, so He will continue to do so in the midst of their present trial. He promises also to give those who hearken to His words a “white stone which no one knows except him who receives it” (v. 17). What do you make of that?
Antipas was faithful to the point of death (v. 13). Are you prepared to be that faithful to the Lord? If we’re reluctant to talk freely and openly about our faith with others, how can we be certain we won’t deny Him when faced with the prospect of martyrdom?
The Glory of God
Jesus portrays Himself as the Dispenser of manna. How does this help us in reading the account of Israel’s wandering through the wilderness? If Jesus could provide manna for the people of Pergamos, can He provide whatever we need to “hold fast” to Him in the face of persecution?
Glory to Glory
Can we expect to know the glory of God if we tolerate sin and immorality in our congregations? Explain.
Recite your memory verse aloud: Revelation 2.29. What does it mean to “hear” in this case? What does it require of us to “hear” like this?
Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people.
Oh, visit me with Your salvation,
That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.
We have sinned with our fathers,
We have committed iniquity,
We have done wickedly.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies,
But rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea.
Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake,
That He might make His mighty power known.
T. M. Moore
The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.