Jesus gives a report to the seven churches. For some of the churches the report was good, for others it was bad.
The seven churches are:
- The church in Ephesus
- The church in Smyrna
- The church in Pergamos
- The church in Thyatira
- The church in Sardis
- The church in Philadelphia
- The church in Laodicea
The report covered the following areas:
- God’s observations of their work
- Their weaknesses
- The areas where there were problems
- Their strengths
- The actions they needed to take to bring corrective action
- The consequences if they failed to take corrective action
- The rewards they would receive if they endured to the end
These things saith he that has the sharp sword with two edges.
To the church at Pergamos Jesus said:
- I know your works and where you dwell, even where Satan’s seat is
- Thou holdest fast my name and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
Pergamos was a city that had been wholly given over to idolatry. Pergamos was the residence, of a dynasty of Greek princes, founded after the time of Alexander the Great, and usually called the Attalic dynasty, from its founder, Attalus. The city was noted for its vast, library, containing 200,000 volumes. Here were splendid temples of Zeus or Jupiter, Athene, Apollo and Aesculapius. (Smith)
Jesus said: But I have a few things against thee
- Because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
- So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
The Nicolaitanes – There were some who taught that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and that simple fornication was no sin; they, by an impure worship, drew men into impure practices, as Balaam did the Israelites.
Balaam was a non-Israelite prophet, and he was wicked – Numbers 25:1-9
The doctrine of Balaam can be found in Numbers Chapter 22-24
Balaam couldn’t curse Israel because God wouldn’t let him. Every time he would speak to curse Israel God would make him speak blessings over them. So, he taught Balak to bring a stumbling block to Israel by teaching the people to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication. He told Balak to entice the Moabite women to sleep with the Israelite men and they began to worship Baal. -- Numbers 31:15-17, Micah 6:5. His hope was that God would become angry with the Israelites and turn against them. This would bring about their downfall and he would then be able to get the victory over them.
We read in Numbers 25:6 how one of the men Zimri, a prince of a chief house in the tribe of Simeon, brought a Midianite woman into the tent where his brethren dwelled. He did this in the sight of Moses and the children of Israel when they were crying at the door of the tabernacle because of the plague. They were crying and repenting of the sins they had committed. This man was so bold and wholly given over to idolatry that he did not care that what he was doing was wicked in the sight of God. This was very serious; he was bringing shame to the nation. This man dishonored God and gloried in his sin. It was an affront to God. He was in actuality saying Baal is more of a God than the God of Israel.
In the church at Pergamos, some of the people were engaged in the same idolatry worship as the early Israelites were. Some of the people in this church were eating things offered to idols, they were engaged in fornication and heathen religious rituals and festivals. In many cases young boys, women and girls were given to the temples and were used as prostitutes in their pagan religious ceremonies.
How does this relate to us today:
Today many churches are engaged in the same practices even though they are not sacrificing and eating food that has been offered to idols. What they are doing is teaching false doctrine which causes the people to sin. People are being taught that God does not require holiness, they are being taught that they will never be able to reach perfection. They are not being taught about the power of the Holy Spirit and how we can be set free from bondage. Many people are worshipping God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. They are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. These leaders are wolves in sheep’s clothing and are leading many people astray.
Even the Catholic church through its doctrine is engaged in practices that God hates. Jesus said to call no man on earth Father, yet they do. The Pope has been elevated to such a high and lofty stature that people worship him instead of Jesus.
Jesus then gave them instructions:
Repent or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches:
- To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna
- And will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 2:17, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”