Church History. So many of us are completely blind and ignorant when it comes to church history. It has been amazing to do a study of our church history along with a walk-through of the Book of Revelation. It helps one to understand more of what happened during earlier history and also gives one a better understanding of what is happening in today’s world.
This is why I find it interesting that Jesus repeated himself to the churches with the verse: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
We must be able to hear and listen to the Spirit so that we can understand what he is saying to us today. I encourage you to get into history and receive knowledge that will help you better understand His Word.
Today, we travel along the road to Pergamum – the city of idols – the city of sin where people ate the food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. The city where the Nicolaitans brought open sin to the church and said it was acceptable.
There were multiply groups of religious cults within the city. The Roman rulers had a difficult time trying to keep everyone happy. This was a time in history that leaders started paralleling the pagan practices and using them in the churches. The church became more Roman and less Christian. The church became married to the world during these years.
Greek idols were worshipped. The rulers who tried to make everyone happy were robbing the church of power; God’s power. Lies were started during this time regarding Israel; the lies about Israel becoming the Cast-Off from God and were no longer the chosen people of God. Many other lies were presented during this time! This is why I encourage to do a study on Church History.
Another lie that was presented during this time was that about Jesus not being God and that he was only the greatest person that God brought into existence. This is when the Nicene Creed was brought into existence by those who wanted to make a statement about their beliefs and what they stood for. It was brought out because of all the heresies flooding the church and the city. Oh how easily man is deceived.
The Message to the Church in Pergamum
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city. But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (NLT)
I believe these words ring true today and Jesus says to all generations, “Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Jesus is the one with the sharp two-edged sword.
Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (NIV)
Colossians 2:6-8 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Jesus speaks of the teachings of Balaam. You can read in the Book of Numbers – chapters 22-31 to see what Jesus was talking about. Such horrible evil!
The church in Pergamum remained true to God, but they allowed those in the church to practice their pagan idol worship. You just can’t bring in “manure” and not think that it will not affect your surroundings. Jesus says he is coming after them with His Word – and that it is time to repent or he will start swinging His two-edged sword.
If we repent and become overcomers like those within the Church of Pergamum, we will receive manna from heaven and a small white stone. What a scavenger hunt for these little treasurers. We know that manna is spiritual food from heaven, but what about the white stone? So many different thoughts from commentators on this one. I go with the one about the the stone representing “acquittal.” A man being tried in the court system years ago was judged by a jury just like today. During that time each juror was given a white stone and if they laid down the stone it meant that they were acquitting the man of the crime he was charged with. So one day Jesus will give me a white stone – acquitting me of my sins but it is even more special because it will have a name written upon it that only I will know its meaning. Now how cool is that?
Will you become an overcomer?
1 John 5:4-5 – “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (NIV)
Heavenly Father, Thank you for your word today. Thank you for wisdom and understanding. I pray that I have given my readers a desire to know more about church history. Father, may we willing have ears to hear and listen to the what the Spirit has to say to us today about the church. May we willingly go back to the basics – Your Word – and not add in what man has tried for years to place in our hearts that go again what you have spoken. Give us peace within our hunt for Truth. I ask this in Christ Jesus’ name, amen.