The Church at Pergamum
The following text is from the Commentary from the Bible Alliance on Revelation 2 in The Full Life Study Bible by Donald C Stamps, New International Version, 9/1/92, Life Publishers/Zondervan. Liberty was taken to copy, paraphrase, and reformat the information to make points and present the information in an understandable manner.
Like Ephesus and Smyrna in beauty and wealth, Pergamum was also a great religious center. It was a perfect pantheon [a temple dedicated to all deities] of pagan deities.
Yet above all else the city prided itself upon its leadership in the worship of the Roman emperors; and it is probably for this reason the declaration is made that in Pergamum "Satan's throne is."
Here a church was established but in such surroundings it was not easy to be loyal to Christ. All the forces of evil would continually oppose.
The church was in need of encouragement. They had been true to His name and did not renounce their faith in Him.
Jesus comes with the sharp double-edged sword ready to avenge all disobedience, and also able to fight against his enemies and to destroy them; however, some of them held to the teaching of Balaam.
"Balaam was a false prophet who sold his services to a heathen king and advised him to tempt Israel to compromise their faith by idolatry and immorality.
The teaching of Balaam therefore refers to corrupt teachers and preachers who were leading people into fatal compromise with immorality, worldliness and false ideologies, all for the sake of personal advancement or monetary gain.. "
The following is from From Ron Auch, The Seven Spirits of God, New Leaf Press, July 1993. Liberty was taken to copy, paraphrase, and reformat the information to make points and present the information in an understandable manner.
BALAAM FEARED GOD BUT WORSHIPED GOLD!
Revelation 2:12-17 (NIV)
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
To those who are victorious over all pagan seductions, to those who refuse to yield to the threats of the imperial cult, great blessings are promised, the exact nature of which it is difficult to ascertain: ..
The reward seems to consist of:
- being in fuller communion with Christ.
- having a more perfect knowledge of God.
The one who resists the temptation of evil will enjoy a secret and deeper fellowship with the Bread of life.
Furthermore, to him will be given a new revelation of God, "a white stone" on which there will be "a new name written."
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.
The teaching of Balaam goes back to a single incident when he taught King Balak how to entice Israel to sin.
Joshua 24:9 (NIV)
When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you.
Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”
So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land.
The following is from Matthew George Easton, Easton's Bible Dictionary (https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ebd/b/balaam.htm) Liberty was taken to copy, paraphrase, and reformat the information to make points and present the information in an understandable manner.:
Balaam - Lord of the people; foreigner or glutton, as interpreted by others, the son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the Midianites (Num. 31:8; comp. 16). He resided at Pethor (Deut. 23:4), in Mesopotamia (Num. 23:7). It is evident that though dwelling among idolaters he had some knowledge of the true God; and was held in such reputation that it was supposed that he whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed. When the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab, on the east of Jordan, by Jericho, Balak sent for Balaam "from Aram, out of the mountains of the east," to curse them; but by the remarkable interposition of God he was utterly unable to fulfil Balak's wish, however desirous he was to do so. The apostle Peter refers (2 Pet. 2:15, 16) to this as an historical event. In Micah 6:5 reference also is made to the relations between Balaam and Balak. Though Balaam could not curse Israel, yet he suggested a mode by which the divine displeasure might be caused to descend upon them (Num. 25). In a battle between Israel and the Midianites (q.v.) Balaam was slain while fighting on the side of Balak (Num. 31:8).
The "doctrine of Balaam" is spoken of in Rev. 2:14, in allusion to the fact that it was through the teaching of Balaam that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led into sin. (See NICOLAITANES.)
The following is from the Commentary from the Bible Alliance on Revelation 2 in The Full Life Study Bible by Donald C Stamps, New International Version, 9/1/92, Life Publishers/Zondervan. Liberty was taken to copy, paraphrase, and reformat the information to make points and present the information in an understandable manner.
Balaam was not an Israelite but an internationally known priest-diviner. Balak thought that this man could put curses on others (v. 6) by influencing the will of the gods and spirits through his secret knowledge of sorcery, incantations and mysterious manipulations (vv. 2-7)
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time,
5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:
“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”
1. Balaam may at one time have been a true follower of God (v 18) who later departed from the faith and became a diviner.
2. Like all false prophets, he had no genuine concern for God's honor or the holiness of God's people. Unable to curse the people, Balaam led them into sin and immorality.
3. For this he was killed (31:8; Numbers 25:2).
Note for Numbers 25:2 - After Balaam had failed in his attempt to separate the Israelites from the Lord, he counseled the Moabites to try turning the Israelites away from God by enticing them into immorality and the sensual worship of false gods.. As punishment Balaam was killed.
Joshua 13:22 (NIV)
In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination.
The following is from The Seven Spirits of God, New Leaf Press, July 1993, Ron Auch. Liberty was taken to copy, paraphrase, and reformat as needed to present points in an understandable manner.
SWORD OF JUDGMENT
Balaam knew that Israel's strength came from her obedience to God..disobedience would draw them out from under submission to God..
Numbers 25:1-3 (NIV)
Moab Seduces Israel
1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.
Even in the midst of God's judgment, an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman to his family right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel.
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar saw what was going on, and he drove a spear through the Israelite man and the Moabite woman. Then the plague ended.
Among the children of Israel, the sword of judgment was used to divide good from evil, and it ended the plague against Israel.
Jesus also warned the church in Pergamum of another sword, "Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." (Revelation 2:16).
When God allows the of sword of judgment to pass through a church, it is for the purpose of separating good from evil. Churches need judgment whenever there is an element of disobedience within them. The best way to describe this is to look at the sword as being magnetic. As it passes through, it attracts those of like mind - in this case, the disobedient. However, as they cling to the sword, it eventually removes them from the midst of God's people. ...This is a judgment God has allowed to come through the church for the purpose of cleansing it.
If we could see judgment as a God-send and refuse to fight it (which might mean you take some nasty blows), a fresh new spirit would sweep through the church in the end.
Whenever the Church clearly separated good from evil, she remains strong.
The plague that battered them was caused by allowing godliness to mingle with ungodliness.
It can no longer discern between what is godly and what is ungodly - subsequently we are crumbling from the inside. We have not a knowledge of the Holy.
According to His message to the Pergamum believers, Jesus has something against those who have enticed the church to sin by subtly bringing worldliness into the church. By worldliness, I mean that insidious evil which is rooted in self. It is the same corruption which infected some of God's angels before the creation of man. Worldliness is Satan's mutiny lived out on planet earth, even among God's people. Its roots are deeply entrenched in pride.
Those who hold to the teachings of Balaam of worldliness tend to be those who are brought into the Church through worldly means. What can be done to remedy the worldliness in the Church? Revelation 2:16 gives us the only possible cure: Repent! Repent quickly!
We have the Holy Spirit to convict us in regards to sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The Church in America is plagued with its own insistent desire to be recognized by this world's system of rewards: money, power, prestige, etc. If we refuse to lay down this desire, then Jesus has something against us: a lack of obedience and subsequently no meekness.
This is a very grave matter because those who will rule and reign with Christ are the meek.
BLESSED ARE THE MEEK FOR THEY WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!
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