“…you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith…”

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Revelation 2:13

This week we are looking at the third of the seven churches in Revelation, the church of Pergamum. Pergamum was located about 45 miles west of Smyrna, and it boasted of one the finest libraries of antiquity and was the place where parchment was first used. It had once been the capital of the Roman province of Asia. According to Christian tradition, John the Apostle ordained Antipas as bishop of Pergamum during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero. Traditional accounts go on to say Antipas was martyred during the reign of Nero (54-68) by burning in a brazen bull-shaped altar for casting out demons worshiped by the local population.

As God is dictating this letter to John He begins in verse 12 by defining Himself as:

The One who has the sharp two edged sword says this: “.

Hebrews 4:12 declares to us:

For the Word of God is living, and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and the Word of God is God. John1:1 declares:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

These scriptures bring me, and I hope you as well, great comfort. There is only one Righteous Judge that we will all be judged by, because only He knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. If we apply His Word in our lives He can reveal what the motives and intentions of our hearts are now, before the day of judgement. If we earnestly desire to know the truth about ourselves, He is the great all knowing Counselor. He will counsel you through His Word if you will allow Him to. I know this is true. He has been my Counselor in my darkest seasons of life. He is all knowing. He is God. No one else has credentials that compare with God’s Word and His Spirit residing inside of us to give us revelation and to guide us through this life on earth.

God informs this church He knows where they dwell. Again, He is intimately acquainted with each one of us. We cannot flee from His Presence. He knows; He sees us.

He commends them for holding fast to His name, and they have not denied the faith even in the midst of severe testing and persecution. He makes them aware, He is aware of Antipa’s martyrdom. He refers to him as His witness, His faithful one who was killed where Satan was dwelling. I think we can all agree Antipas finished well! Yes, he was murdered, but he died with purpose much greater than life on this earth just as our Savior did. If we are His sheep we must know Him intimately, and He must know us intimately. We must hear His voice, and follow Him. (John 10:27) Heed the Word of God. We must allow the truth to define what it means to be a follower of Christ.

Let’s look at verse 14:

“But I have a few things against you because you have some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

The New American Standard footnotes for this verse defines the teachings of Balaam as one who hires himself to do religious work for personal gain. Unfortunately, the spirit of Balaam is alive and well in much of the church today. Balaam was a false prophet who Satan used as a stumbling block for the children of Israel. We know according to scripture how God feels about these individuals. In the Hebrew Bible the original metaphor is the prohibition of putting a stumbling block before the blind. Jesus said in Luke 17:1-2:

He said to His disciples, ” It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to hIm through whom they come. It would be better for him if a millstone was tied around his neck, and he was thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

Our next verses in Revelation reads:

“So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitians. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”

God does not tolerate false doctrine and immorality within His church. When the church loses its purity, and there is no repentance, it brings swift judgement upon itself. Judgement comes from Jesus Christ, the head of the church. He promises to make war against them with the sword of His mouth. In Matthew 24:35 Jesus declares:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away.”

If only we could truly grasp the truth of this statement we would be more diligent in seeking His Words versus other people’s. We need to fill our hearts with the Word of God. It is our sword in battle. We must follow Him. It is our weapon for spiritual warfare. If we fill our hearts with His Word we will be speaking to others His Words and not our own.

The church will be better prepared for the Bridegroom with repentance and saturating our hearts and minds with the Word of God. Read Genesis. All creation was spoken in existence. Read Psalm 33 in its entirety. Psalm 33:6 states:

“By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made and by the breath of His mouth all their host.”

The message to the church of Pergamum concludes with these verses:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.”

Pray for God to fine tune our ears to hear. It requires listening intently fully aware of His Presence in prayer and Bible reading. He longs to speak to all His children. He then speaks to the overcomers and promises us we will receive the hidden manna, which reveals the sufficiency of Christ for all the needs of His own, as He provided the manna during the wilderness wanderings of the Hebrews. Whatever our need is, Christ is the answer.

The white stone may refer to the custom of voting for the acquittal of an accused person by using a white stone, indicating that the believer can rest assured of His bequital before God. Christ blood is all sufficient for all of us accused and found guilty. There is the promise of a new name on the stone, which no one will know but the one who receives it. Let us hold fast to the promises of God in His Word. Let us fill ourselves with His promises and continuously encourage one another as we see the day fastly approaching!
In His love.

Teresa Roberts

Masterpiece Fitness



For those of us who need a reminder this time of year spring is coming!

And so is our Bridegroom for His Bride, the true Church!