From about 313 A.D. to about A.D. 600*
To: Pergamos (Marriage)
Satan tried persecution as a way to stop the advance of the church. This, for the most part, backfired on him. What he meant for evil, God used to test His people. Their faith (trust in Him) prepared them to endure and face prison and death. Genuine faith does that. Lack of that kind of faith will bring failure under testing. Since that strategy only strengthened and purified the Church, Satan switched tactics. His primary approach in this local church and in the period of Church history it typified was to slowly and stealthily introduce compromise. Just a little giving in here and a little more later, slowly, gradually giving in still more, until the power and blessing of God was mostly withdrawn. The Church had married the world. Religion dealt a strong blow to that Church and that period. Satan had a heyday. ” And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast My Name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:12-17). Jesus commends them for their faithfulness but confronts the situation that needs to be corrected, or else. Doctrinal compromise, occult activity, immorality, religion (as opposed to Christianity) and false teaching all needed to be stopped. Jesus called for repentance and spoke of blessings for overcomers. Selah! The message for that church and for that period of time is one that needs to be heeded today as much or more than it needed to be then! Ron
*I’ve used the time periods from Lehman Strauss’ commentary on Revelation. (Published 1964).