3-1. The Details of the Church in Pergamum


7stars To the Church in Pergamum =============================================================

2:12 In his letter to the messenger of the Church in Pergamum, Jesus, who has the sword of balanced and sharp words that do not turn to either left or right but rather pull everyone together (Pr 4:27), says
2:13 that the Church in Pergamum is where Satan’s seat, Satan’s throne, is.

As Jesus lets us know of the signs of the end of the world and tells us that when we see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place, whoever reads it must understand it (Mt 24:15), the throne of Satan, who must fall into abomination (Rev 17:8), is here and governs with pretense over God’s people.

Even when the faithful witnesses of Jesus are ousted from the church by Satan’s slandering, as they are forcibly driven out because they were the opposition to Satan who was in control, a number of people still did not betray the Lord. However, the tempters that belong to Satan falsely cover their appearances with God’s words so even the purest people of God are seized by them.

Here, “Antipas” represents those who disagree, and the faithful witnesses of Jesus in the Church in Pergamum where Satan’s seat is, standing against false testimonies and secular materialism desired by the followers of Satan.

2:14 In order to learn about the lesson of Balaam who appears as the subject of reproach in Verse 14, let us examine further about Balaam and Balac.

Balaam was a prophet of Mesopotamia, a region that had the means of communication with God, but had so much covetousness for his riches that he eventually became one of the most significant people who corrupted the word of God. He makes his first appearance in Numbers Chapter 22.

 He was invited by and promised a lot of riches from Balac, the king of Moab, who was fighting against the people of Israel led by Moses. Balaam was commissioned to curse the Israelites who had pitched their camps in the plains of Moab across from Jericho. However, based on God’s command to him, he instead delivered the words of God that blessed the people of Israel, and acted as a prophet of God.

 But Balaam was a Mesopotamian (Ac 7:2-4), and even though he was a special prophet who communicated with God, he indulged in the unjust wages for his fortunetelling given from Balac, the elders of Moab and of Midian, and reached for even more riches. Though, with his mouth, he delivered the words and prophecies of God, he set up a trap for the Israelites with a surreptitious plot, making them consume the sacrifices unto idols and commit adultery.

In other words, Balaam incited Moab women to commit adultery with the Israelites and made the people of Israel worship and bow to the god of Moab and eat the sacrifices unto idols together. This is the act of the people of God, eating the sacrifices unto idols, and Balaam plotted this to induce God’s anger at his people and his subsequent punishment handed down to them. As a result, 24,000 of these Israelites who fell into this trap, die from the plague. (Nu 25:1-9/Nu 31:16/2 Pe 2:15/Jude 1:11)

 Balaam initially rejected the invitation from Balac but became blinded and tempted by a great amount of riches sent from him.

Also, he refused to follow the request of Balac to curse the Israelites at first but obeyed the command of God to bless them instead, but ultimately forgot his original resolution, pursued the idols of covetousness (Col 3:5) and left God.

 In today’s world, there are church leaders who definitely refer to the Bible and preach to fully obey the words of God but whose actions and directions are driven by covetousness of riches and authority (Mt 23:16-18). These can be said to be the Nicolaitans who hold the doctrine of Balaam (Jude 1:11-13).

2:15 As explained previously with the Church in Ephesus, the Nicolaitans are not related to Nicolas who is one of the seven evangelists (Ac 6:1-6), but is rather a combination of Nico, which means conquering, and Laos, which means people, resulting in a term based on the word “Nicolaus”, which means the conquerer of people. They are those whose original resolutions have been marred by covetousness for riches but still pursue the quality of authority. They represent “spiritual brokers who dominate and rule over the people of God”.

Revelation 2:14-15 clearly defines those who follow the doctrine of Balaam as the Nicolaitans.

 Therefore, the Nicolaitans symbolize the corrupted spiritual brokers who have Satan of mammonism and materialism seated in their hearts, which ought to be the place where the Trinity God dwells and the kingdom and the holy temple of God must be.

 When we examine closely these “people who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” who consider themselves as spiritual brokers, it can be found that they are not devoted to the process of the Holy Spirit who changes a believer into a true disciple of Jesus and a priest of God. Instead, they represent those who falsely prophesy, misusing God’s words such as “all are saved” or “all are at peace”, and the ignorant, wage-earning ministers who are driven by the internal covetousness for their own benefits (2 Pe 2:12-22).

Even though the promises made in the new covenant are ones that come true only when we take true belief in Jesus Christ and about resurrection for eternal life, they unquestioningly take out the words from the Bible that are only beneficial to their purpose, spread uniformly devious information, gather the followers who have been tempted by it, forget the calling as volunteers of God (Isa 61:6/Eph 4:11-16), and pursue personal profits and a similar level of authority as the kings (1 Sa 8:10-18/1 Sa 12:16-25). They are the authority seekers using religion and corrupters of the word stealing the tithes and offerings. (Zec 5:2-4/Ac 20:29-31)

Also, they create factions by using sycophant churchgoers as their shields, justify extravagance, pleasure and spiritual arrogance, belittle the weak such as orphans and widows, and establish their own altars more secretively and surreptitiously than the standard of the worldly authority including misuse of offerings and unlawful passing down of power and positions to their descendants.

 Today, there are those who uphold “simonism”(Ac 8:9-23) by trying to buy positions and fame that represent the power of God through a large amount of intentional offerings and funds for election campaigns. They, coupled with the trend of encouraging such a concept, have left the religion of God.

 Also, those who neglect such a contradiction in the organizational structure worship the money in their hearts but, on the outside, instigate believers with a specious justification and attempt to rule over them with a foul purpose as middlemen of God and corrupters of his word, obeying the doctrine of Balaam and having two different hearts (Jas 1:8/Ps 12:2/Ac 5:1-11).

 Therefore, the Nicolaitans in the end times represent those who consider themselves as the middlemen between God and his people, use deviating words to block people’s roles as priests, monopolize innate rights of the disciples and the priests of Jesus to baptize and give blessings, privatize the ecclesiastical authority, make people into their own followers instead of Jesus’ disciples who spread the religion of God, and commit an essential error in shouting emptily to God without really placing him in their hearts (Mt 28:18-20).

They are the ones who conceal the lukewarm love in their hearts, maintain unlawful rights and words established by covetousness, hinder the morals of truth, utter exaggerating and wrongful words that boast themselves in order to achieve self-glory.

 Also, these Nicolaitans prevent the believers, who think that they have escaped from those who tempt them, from growing into those who fulfill the calling as the kingdom and the priests of God. They also make them fall into a structural contradiction in which believers are led to merely keep repeating the early stage of faith without reaching a full-grown state. They either do not realize such a situation of ignore it altogether (2 Pe 2:12-22).

One of the most significant contradictions here is hogging all the burdens, responsibilities and duties as a priest rather than sharing them. They tend to ignore and do not acknowledge believers who must grow up as the kingdom and priests of God, thus considering the unlawfulness oblivious to the law of Christ as something natural and normal.

 Those who cause such a situation flatter themselves and produce followers by purusing their own authorities and benefits even after they have experienced the good words and the otherworldly power of God. They are the spiritually corrupt ones who wish to worship God’s name and worldly riches simultaneously, and ultimately, they become those who obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit by committing illegal acts without properly realizing the law of Christ.(Mt 7:20-23/Mt 13:40-43)

In the end times, all believers must realize the spirit of prophecy that allows them to know God, escape from spiritual dependence to make sure they have individual identities, change into the kingdom and the priests of God, help each other and share one another’s burdnes as different parts of the one body of Christ, and understand that this is an extremely crucial time to fulfill the law of Christ (1Co 12:12-27).

<Gal 6:2>

2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

However, rather than taking the initiative and setting an example by carrying out the first love, which is the greatest gift of God, those who commit unlawful acts desire to commercialize the spiritual gift of God, mar the truth, close the gates of heaven, caused many different angers in the past and present, and only calculate their own profits and glory with covetousness and hypocrisy.

 Moreover, just as Gehazi who enraged genuine people of God during the times of Elisha or the Pharisee scribes who received the reproach of “anger” directly from Jesus, these are the people who lead their followers to participate as workers of Satan, pursue the illegal acts together and eventually face the spiritual destruction. Therefore, they require a close vigilance.

2:16 Therefore, Verse 2:16 predicts that those who hold the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans would receive judgment by the sword of the words of Jesus if they do not immediately repent.
2:17 The part in Verse 17 that says, “He that hath and ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”, is repeated 7 times throughout Revelation Chapters 2-3, and is the earnest plea of the Holy Spirit as well as emphasizes the importance of listening.

Also in Verse 17, eating of the hidden manna, which is the spiritual food given to those who overcome Satan (Mk 4:21-25/Jn 6:27-40), is consuming the blood and body of Jesus who is the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14), and fully accomplishing the work of God by taking in his words and performing the will of God.

<Rev 1:11>

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

<Rev 10:9-11>

9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.

10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

<Dt 8:2-3>

2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Jesus says in John Chapter 6, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever” (Jn 6:53-58). Therefore, the true meaning of the Holy Communion is eating of the words of prophecy of Jesus who is the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14).

In the end times, we eat Revelation Chapters 2-3, which is the small book within Revelation. Here, the meaning of “I will raise him up at the last day” promised by Jesus is that those who eat and digest this small book and keep the prophecies of Jesus will live again after they die, participate in the first resurrection and enjoy the eternal life. This is the will of God, which is repeatedly emphasized a number of times (Rev 20:6/Rev 22:7).

 Furthermore, a white stone and a new name written in it, which are shown following the hidden manna in Verse 17, are of great importance symbolizing the forgiveness of sins of those believers who retain the seed of God and have become the branches from new sprouts that are wondered at as shown in the book of Zechariah (Mic 4:4).

 Branches represent those believers who have Jesus as their root, follow the heart (Php 2:5) and the form of Jesus Christ (Gal 4:19), open up the spiritual vision (Rev 5:6), share the burdens of shepherds and priests, and bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal 6:2).

 In other words, they are those who remain in Zion, those who remain in Jerusalem, those who participate in the eternal life in the name of God, Jesus and the new Jerusalem (Rev 3:12), and the brothers and sisters of Zion whose names are written in the book of life as they recognize the calling.

<Jn 15:5>

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

<Zec 3:8-10>

8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.

<Rev 3:12>

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

<Isa 18:7>

7 In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.

Therefore, becoming a branch means that the history of “upon one stone shall be seven eyes” shown in Zechariah 3:9 becomes fulfilled (Zec 4:10).

 Here, the seven eyes, which act as the seven eyes of Jesus as follows, symbolize the seven spirits, which open up the “spiritual vision of believers” that allow them to have the perspective of Jesus and also oversee the entire areas of activity of the seven spiritualities of the Holy Spirit.

 Branches, the promised believers, receive the white stone to which these seven spirits work, are built as a spiritual house, and are born again as the priests of the kingdom of the Lord and Christ who offer up spiritual sacrifices. Also, they do not interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:28-29/Lk 12:10) and achieve the blessings of a complete forgiveness of sins as messengers whose priority is to spread the words of the Holy Spirit (Ro 6:22-23).

Also, the fact that only those who receive a new name written on the stone with the seven eyes know their own names means that, once they become new people who come to have Jesus’ perspective by the work of the seven spirits (Zec 3:9/Eph 4:23-24/Col 3:10), they first recognize themselves their Branch ID No. with online nick name, which are attached to their names after a spiritual transformation and represent the new names of “the members to which the seven spirits of God work”, the branches that bear fruits of Jesus and are wondered at (Ps 147:2-7/Jn 15:5/Isa 60:21-22). And then, all they have to do is putting God as the priority in their life.

At the moment we receive the work of the seven spirits of God who turn our spiritual vision into Jesus’ perspective and act as the eyes of Jesus (Rev 5:6), the stone symbolizing Jesus and the seven eyes written in it, and recognize it as the work of our own who stand at the center of faith based on the essence of faith, we directly experience in our own lives, not through those of others, the blessings of the Holy Spirit by which we become the holy priests who give spiritual sacrifices (Mt 6:10/1 Co 3:16-17/1 Co 9:13).

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