Revelation Chapter 2 – Pergamum

Messianic Community in Pergamum

Pergamum was a city in ancient Greece, located in a large valley in Asia Minor, 16 miles inland from the Aegean Sea.  This city was the political center for Asia Minor and known for its library, the arts, and its theater, as well as its psychiatric hospital. The city had a healing center built to honor the Greek serpent-god Asklepios that offered everything from mud baths to major operations.

Pergamum had three temples: one to worship the Roman emperor; one to worship Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war; and one to worship Zeus. The Great Altar of Zeus, believed by many to be the ‘Throne of Satan,’ has some of its remains on the Acropolis today; other remains are in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin, Germany. The word ‘throne’ refers to a specific chair for the ‘lord of the house’ showing that Satan was the ruling power in that ‘home.’

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Pergamum, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who has the sharp double-edged sword: “I know where you are living, there where the Adversary’s throne is. Yet you are holding onto my name. You did not deny trusting me even at the time when my faithful witness Antipas was put to death in your town, there where the Adversary lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people who hold to the teaching of Bil‘am, who taught Balak to set a trap for the people of Isra’el, so that they would eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and commit sexual sin. Likewise, you too have people who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore, turn from these sins. Otherwise, I will come to you very soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, on which is written a new name that nobody knows except the one receiving it'” (Revelation 2:12-17). 

The third messenger is sent to Pergamum where Yeshua reveals himself as the “one who has the sharp double-edged sword.”  The double-edged sword is a description of the Word of God that judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  Yeshua says the Adversarywho twists the Word of God has his ‘throne’, his seat of authority, in Pergamum.  This community’s battle is with the Adversary and how he twists the Truth deceiving the believers in Pergamum.

The Serpent out of Eden

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14).

The Hebrew letter tet has a word picture of a ‘snake’ and means ‘twisting.’ Using the Hebrew letters to list the Ten Commandments, the letter tet refers to the commandment, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16).

The Israelites complained to Moshe for bringing them into the desert where they had no food or water; they had tired of eating manna. Elohim sent poisonous snakes to bite the people, and many died. When they confessed to Moshe that they had sinned, Elohim had him make a ‘bronze snake’ and put it on the pole (Numbers 21:8-9).

The Hebrew text in Numbers 21:6 does not use the words ‘poisonous snakes,’ but nachashim seraphim or ‘fiery serpents’ suggesting that the serpents had a lethal burning power.  The thought of looking up at the replica of the very creature that caused death probably seemed ludicrous, but it was Adonai’s way or die.  If a bitten person didn’t look at the snake, their body would be left to decay in the desert sand.  It took a personal act of faith to look up at the ‘fiery serpent’ to receive physical healing from a spiritual disease called ‘rebellion.’

The ‘twisting’ of the snake on the pole to bring healing was initiated by Elohim; however, Pergamum distorted it to worship the Adversary. Even today, the symbol of modern medicine is the rod of the ‘serpent god,’ Asclepius, twisted around a staff. This suggests that medicine and its pharmecopeia, the Greek word for ‘pharmaceutical drugs,’ is not rooted in the God of Isra’el, but in the Adversary.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fiery Serpent – nachashim

נ Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘protect.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ם Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for nachashim: life protect and consumes finished work of chaos.

sheraphim

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘highest authority.’

פ Peh – A Mouth means ‘speak’ or ‘source.’

י Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ם Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

– the consuming head speaks the finished work of chaos

The Hebrew Word Picture for seraphim: consume highest authority source mighty finished work.

The Name Above All Names

The congregation in Pergamum is commended for holding onto Yeshua’s name and standing against multi-god worship (Proverbs 30:4).  Over the centuries, the Adversary has played a major role in changing the Savior’s Hebrew name, Yeshua, into the Greek rendering, Jesus, that has its root in the Greek god, Zeus. Using the name the Father gave for His Son set Pergamum people free from demons and the worship of Zeus. This congregation watched a faithful follower of Yeshua, who cast out many demons, be martyred.  According to Wikipedia,  Antipas was tortured and executed in a bronze bull-shaped altar – the Great Altar of Zeus.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Yeshua – salvation

Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

Vav – A Nail means ‘bindning.’

Ayin – An Eye means ‘see’ or’ understand.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for yeshua: finished work destroys the binding (nails), see and understand.

Balaam and Balak

“When they lie down they crouch like a lion, or like a lioness — who dares to rouse it? Blessed be all who bless you! Cursed be all who curse you!” (Numbers 24:9).

Some believers in Pergamum held to the teachings of Baalam.  Balaam was a prophet who was hired by Balak, the king of Moab, to curse Isra’el.  On his way to meet Balak, Baalam’s donkey saw an ‘angel of Adonai‘ standing in the middle of the road. Three times, the donkey veered off the road until he pushed Balaam’s legs into a rock wall and lay down. The ‘angel of Adonai that frightened the donkey held a ‘double-edged sword’ cutting through Baalam’s hard heart. Though he tried to curse Isra’el several times, he could not curse those whom Adonai had blessed (Numbers 24:9).  Through the Spirit of Elohim, he prophesied blessing over Isra’el multiple times. However, once Balaam realized he could never curse Isra’el, he taught the Balak how to entice them to sin.

When missionaries go into the world and preach a ‘Jesus’ who doesn’t keep the Sabbath, doesn’t celebrate the Biblical holy days, and eats all ‘unclean’ food, they also ‘entice Isra’el to sin.’ Recently, our family received a letter asking us to support a young woman going on a mission trip to Isra’el. She needed to raise thousands of dollars to ‘take the love of Jesus’ to the Jewish people. We knew she had been raised with anti-semitic doctrines so we could not support her. Though her message may appear to be one of love, it will not include repentance and returning to the Torah of Adonai. She will only ‘entice’ the Jewish people into sin and make impotent the good news of Yeshua.

The ‘double-edged sword’ of Yeshua’s mouth will make war with those who curse Isra’el.  Baalam learned he could not curse people who are blessed by Adonai. Balak, too, saw that Adonai’s chosen people could not be cursed.  Those who twist the eternal covenants given to the Jews blame those same Jews for everything from killing ‘Jesus’ millennia ago to whatever happens in the stock market today.   Balak was warned by Baalam and Yeshua warns Pergamum. The nations and churches hostile to Isra’el today should heed those warnings.  Isra’el is still Adonai’s nation; the Jewish people are still His chosen people. The land remains His Land of Promise; His Name continues to reside in Jerusalem.  “Those who curse Isra’el will be cursed; those who bless Isra’el will be blessed” (Numbers 24:9).

Hidden Manna

Believers in Pergamum who overcome the teachings of Baalam and Balak and bless Isra’el, will receive hidden manna.  A jar of manna was kept ‘hidden’ in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony of Adonai’s daily provision for the Israelites.  Manna was not only physical food, but also spiritual nourishment (Psalm 78:24-25).

Yeshua reveals himself as the hidden manna, the bread of life that came down from heaven (John 6:51). Perhaps the manna that was once ‘hidden’ in the Ark will be eaten again and the overcomer in Pergamum will be nourished by the heavenly food.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Manna – man – מן

Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for manna: mighty life.

The White Stone

“One will say, ‘I belong to Adonai.’ Another will be called by the name of Ya‘akov (Jacob). Yet another will write that he belongs to Adonai and adopt the surname Isra’el” (Isaiah 44:5).

The overcomer in Pergamum will receive a white stone with a new name written on it. This new name will complete their adoption into the family of Adonai (Ephesians 1:5-6). The new name will not be denominational, it will not be doctrinal, it will not be institutional; it will be Isra’el.

In ancient times, a white stone was given to the winner of a race.  Believers in the Pergamum congregation are running a race and heading toward the finish line (1 Corinthians 9:24).   They are only hindered by the ideology of Baalam and Balak which needs to be removed so they receive the white stone. The overcomer will have victory over sin and win the race.

A white stone was also used as a banquet invitation for a special guest.  This white stone with a new name may be the invitation the overcomer receives to attend the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Luke 14:15-17, Revelation 19:9).

The White Stone in Pergamum

As evidence to the promises given to Pergamum, there is a white stone in the city on which are inscribed the words of Yeshua. Many of those who were given the initial white-stone invitation made excuses for not attending the Father’s Feast in the Kingdom. How many will throw their white-stone invitation on the ground and continue going about their usual activities? (Luke 14:24).

Those [in Pergamum] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, ‘what the Spirit says to the communities.’  One reason he taught in parables was so that people could ‘look but not see, and listen but not understand’ the message of the Kingdom (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ and ‘obey’ the message so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.  

But you [Pergamum], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 2 – Messianic Community of Thyatira

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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