Posted by: watchmancurtis | December 1, 2009

Revelation Study Week 5

Today’s study looked at two churches with a similar problem.  The churches in Pergamum and Thyatira both struggled with compromise and tolerance of evil.  This message could and does apply to many churches and individuals today as we struggle to be in the world but not of it.  We definitely need to begin asking the Lord where we have compromised in our lives and in the Body of Christ as a whole.  Repentance, Holiness, and the fear of the Lord should be our banner in the coming days.

Pergamum means “Mixed Marriage”.  It is a fitting name considering the church seemed to mix with the culture and other teachings.

Verse 12:  We will see that the church in Pergamum was a compromised church.  It is interesting to me that the description of Christ here is with a two-edged sword.  We know from Ephesians that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit and Hebrews uses a two-edged sword reference as well.   The answer to compromise and tolerance is of course God’s Word.

Verses 13-14:  In the midst of the activity of Satan (Satan’s throne) this church holds fast to the name of Jesus.  There are, however, some within the church who hold to the teaching of Balaam.  Balaam means, “Swallower or Destroyer of people.”  Balaam was hired by King Balak to curse Israel, but God would not allow him to.  Since he could not curse Israel, he found another way to bring trouble to God’s people by leading them into compromise with Baal and with immorality of a false religion.  Balaam, who’s story can be found in Numbers 22-25, was a prophet who followed all the gods of the land.  This is a strong message for us to avoid compromise and a mixed marriage of culture and false religions.  Today it seems that a lack of discernment plagues the church.  I pray that the Lord will open our eyes to see truth and that we will test the spirits in things which we are involved.

Verse 15:  There are some within this church who also hold to the teachings of the Nicolaitans (Conquerors of people).  Not much is known about this group.  There are some who believe that Nicolas, the deacon of Antioch, began teaching people that the flesh was contemptible.  He would deny his body physical things thinking that he would grow stronger spiritually.  This teaching took two different roads.  One taught that you had to accept Christ and deny your flesh to be saved.  The other took the extreme view that if the flesh was contemptible then anything that we did in the flesh did not matter because they were strong in spirit.  This of course led to immorality and many other problems.  The second perspective on the Nicolaitans took the name “Conquerors of people” to mean that there were people in the church who used the clergy to conquer and imprison the common person.  They see the Catholic Church as progressing down this path.  Both paths have led to many problems.

Verse 16:  This is a call to repentance that needs to be heard even today.  We need to do away with the compromise with the world and with other religions and turn back to the One True God.  The phrase “I am coming quickly” occurs 5 times in Revelation.  Revelation 2:16, 3:11, 22:7, 22:12, 22:20.  Revelation 19 portrays Jesus returning with a two-edged sword in His mouth.

Verse 17:  The overcomer will be given hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it which no one knows but the one who receives it.  A very awesome gift indeed.  Ancient courts used white and black stones to determine the verdict of a person on trial.

Thyatira means “Continual Sacrifice.” 

Verse 19:  Once again Jesus lets the church know that He is aware of their deeds.  He sees their love, faith, and service and that they are doing more now than they used to.

Verse 20:  This church tolerates the teachings of Jezebel.  The woman here personifies the Jezebel in 1 Kings 16:31 who was evil and influenced Ahab, King of Israel, to worship Canaanite gods.  It seems that while many in the church do not follow their teachings, the very fact that they tolerate some within the church to hold these teachings is a serious matter to God.  I know that God hates division in the church, but sometimes we need watchmen in the church to stand up and say, “this is wrong!”  It isn’t a pleasant thing to do, but if something has crept into the church that should not be there it is our duty to deal with it.  Tolerance is not an option.  Now there certainly is a way to go about it and we are to go to that person in love, and with the proper authority of the church involved,but something must be done.

Verses 21-22:  These acts are not out of ignorance, but out of rebellion.  She refuses to repent even though she has been warned by God.  God shows how strongly he views false teaching within the church based on His strong rebuke here.

Verse 23-24:  One thing to remember here is that God is the only one who can search minds, hearts, and motives.  There is a fine line between defending the faith and being the church policeman looking for anyone who slips up.  There is a big difference between someone who teaches or believes something out of ignorance and someone who is deliberately trying to stir up trouble or lead astray like Jezebel was.

Verse 25:  This seems to be a clear reference to the second coming of Christ.

Verses 26-29:  “He who keeps my deeds until the end”  defines who the overcomer is.  The Overcomer will be given authority over the nations.  This in my opinion is the millenium, the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth.  The morning star is also given to those who overcome.

Our discussion today centered around compromise and tolerance.  We looked at how we compromise today both individually and as churches.  We first looked at compromise on an individual basis.  Entertainment is one of the big areas.  In 1949 Gone With The Wind was the first movie to have any profanity in it.  It was just one word that didn’t even seem that bad to many, yet it opened the door for the filth that we see today.  As Christians, many of us have become  desynthesized to things on tv, movies, books, etc.  Perhaps we need to take another look at our lifestyle and see if we look like the world around us.  Other things that were mentioned were modesty and dress, friends, spouses, and the message of what we communicate to others.  Someone said today that it seemed like these two churches (Pergamum and Thyatira) were trying to do just enough to be “not as bad as them.”  They were just a little bit better than the culture around them, but tolerated many of the teachings and practices going on around them.

Finally, we looked at compromise in the church.  The infiltration of the New Age into the church was the biggest area we looked at.  This is particularly troubling to me and it frightens me that so many are either not aware, don’t care, or are accepting of this deception.  Here are just a few of the things I see of the New Age moving into the church:

  • Christian Trance Dancing (similar to a rave that reeks of the drug culture as they try to reach a higher consciousness and the ecstasy of God.
  • Visualization techniques
  • Teachings on alignments and trying to reach the frequency of God.  I’ve heard teachings on how we can communicate with animals if we know their frequency.  I’ve also heard teachings on hearing God through the frequency of the planets.
  • Animal manifestations in church.  If I see this happen at our church I’m going to cast a demon out of the person. 🙂
  • Fascination with angels
  • The use of crystals
  • The pursuit of signs and wonders and experiences as opposed to signs and wonders accompanying or following a believer and being a product of a Christian’s life as opposed to the goal.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but just a few of the disturbing things that are going on in many churches today.

I’ll leave you today with a challenge to ask God where you have compromised in your life.   May Repentance, Holiness and the Word of God wake the church up from its slumber today.  I pray that we will not be tolerant of evil or compromise with our culture or other religions.  There is only one way to God and to heaven and that way is Jesus.  Be blessed.

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Responses

  1. So very good! Thank you for taking the time to write out your study.

  2. Pergamum the State/Church Age
    Rev 2:12-17 12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:
    13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 ‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

    Pergamum (completely married) located in a large valley region and was a city/state or a self governed kingdom famous for idol worship, their main pagan god were Athena and Dionysus. Later, under Roman rule became the capital of Asia Minor with it’s Roman governor having the right of the sword (powers to issue execution orders). They also had a large school of medicine and practiced healing, after which the treated would pass through the building and would give thanks to the pagan gods at the white stone obelisks at the back of the building, much like a production line. Christ is admonishing Christians to exercise church discipline against the false teachers or He (Christ) would destroy them in a manner that the Christians would not like. This is where the era of church/state began with Constantine married church to state and the pagan culture infiltrated the church. Look at the description of Christ, His commendation, His reprove and His reward.

    Rev 2:18-29 18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 19 ‘ I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 ‘ I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24 ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them — I place no other burden on you. 25 ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 ‘ He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end,TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON,AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 ‘ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

    Thyatira (unending sacrifice) a city notably known for the worship of Apollo the son of Zeus. It was famous for guilds or trade unions as we know today, it had specific gods assigned to each guild type much like the catholic church which have saints assigned to particular beliefs. If you did not belong to a guild it would be very difficult to ply your craft and it would be increasingly difficult for Christians to exist in this time period which marked the beginning of the dark ages. Christ used the name Jezebel for its notoriety, Jezebel being the wife of the worst king of Israel, Ahab. She influenced king Ahab to institute pagan idol worship amongst the Jewish people replacing the true worship altogether. The church is one of God’s lampstands and He would not allow His church to be corrupted by pagan worship, the term adultery being used clearly signifies that the church is betrothed/married to someone, that someone being Christ. The church is admonished to call out false teachings. Look at the description of Christ, His commendation, His reprove and His reward.


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