CHAPTER 2 - verses 12-17

VERSE 12: “To the messenger of the congregation of Pergamos write: Thus said He who has a sharp, double-edged sword.”

A ‘double-edged sword’ is a weapon that brings about death. Sometimes death is exactly what we need. There may be things in our lives that are not pleasing to G-d. These need to be brought under His authority and removed from our lives. If we are going to find ourselves coming against the enemy we need to be prepared. We need to have One on our side who has,
available to Him, an instrument for warfare.

VERSE 13: ”I know your works and the place where you dwell, which is there the throne of satan. But you cling to my name and have not denied My truth, even in the days of Antipas, My faithful servant, who was killed at your place. In the place of satan’s seat.”

This congregation is in a spiritual battle, even to the point of martyrdom. They are in a location where the enemy is strong. Idolatry is rife. Fleeing this situation is not an option – these people have to be made ready for the battle. They are called to be faithful witnesses to God’s truth, which is in conflict with the ways and desires of earthly man. Something has to die – either
truth or man’s desires.

VERSE 14: “But a few things I have against you: for there, with you, are men that cling to the doctrine of Balaam; who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the Children of Israel, to eat from the sacrifices of idolatries and to fornicate.”

Balaam was a prophet of God. (Numbers 22-24) He knew truth, but was not wholly committed to it. (see Jude v11, and 2 Peter 2v15) Balaam lusted after the profit of deceit. He didn’t directly curse the Children of Israel, but taught Balak how to put a stumbling block before them so that they would behave in a way to bring a curse upon themselves. Balaam understood the weaknesses of Israel and how to exploit them, for his own benefit and financial gain. Because of this, Israel fell into sin and the discipline of G-d (judgement). Balaam didn’t want to appear as if he were an ungodly person – so he gave a false impression. Unlike David, who opened himself up to the scrutiny of God (Psalm 139v23-24), Balaam thought he could get away with his deceitfulness.

VERSE 15: “For thus, there is found also there, men who cling to the doctrines of the Nikolasim, those I hate”. 

Balaam and the Nikolasim(2v6) were self-centered people. They wanted to do what was right in their own eyes, instead of bringing every thought captive to the will of God. (2 Corinthians 10v5) They saw people as instruments, to be used, to bring glory and honour to themselves rather than glory and honour to God.

This congregation has some positive things attributed to it. Their downfall was that they didn’t confront the negative influence, these self-centered people were having, on the weaker minded people within the congregation.

VERSE 16: “Repent; and if you will not now, I will come against you quickly and I will war against you with the sword of my mouth.”

When our lives are in conflict with the truth of Scripture we set ourselves up for judgement. God is wanting to strengthen this congregation and, sometimes, that involves a purging. When true believers come in conflict with the Word of G-d, and they are convicted of their sin, they are quick to repent. They want their lives to measure up to the truth of God. False “brethren” will not repent, and it is to these that the L-rd will come quickly to war against them.

“For he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations. To the one who overcomes I will feed him with the hidden manna. I will give to him a white stone and upon the stone is engraved a new name, which no one is able to know except the one who receives it.”

There is a connection between overcoming and repentance. Victory can only be experienced as changes are made in our lives. Change is the outcome of justification, which leads to intimacy with God and thereby, in Messiah, becoming a new creation. Complete dependence on God.

There are two primary interpretations of the phrase ‘hidden manna’:

1. God placed a vessel of manna into the Ark of the Covenant. (Hebrews 9v4) The commandments and Aaron’s rod were also placed in the Ark. There is a relationship between these things. It’s only when we are nourished by God, manna being supernatural food, that we are able to observe, walk in and obey the commandments.

2. Manna was given to the children of Israel in the wilderness. They would never have been able to make that journey without what God provided – this manna. They would never be able to overcome satan’s stronghold, and give witness, if they relied on their own strength and abilities to do so. 

In certain communities, after testimony was given, the jury would vote and would give either a black stone or a ‘white stone.’ A white stone showed vindication, justification. ‘upon the stone is engraved a new name’: Zechariah 3v9 is reminiscent of the Work of Messiah.

Engraving shows permanency. A new name is synonymous with a new character. This whole passage is dealing with change. When there is no opposition, it is easy to rely on yourself and do “what is right in your own eyes”. If we run from spiritual battles we will not be prepared for the last days. We need to, as new creations, have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2v16) This is the greatest weapon against the enemy. Victory is found in depending upon Messiah.

The One in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4v4).


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