Study Guide: Revelation 2:12-17 (Pergamum)
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. 13 “ ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith 2 even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and 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 the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
Christians will be tempted to compromise theologically and morally, but those who remain
faithful to the end will receive a reward from the Lord.
Pergamum was an influential city within Asia Minor that was the official center of worship
for the emperor and the state. One of the core problems in Pergamum is that their patriotism had crossed the line into idolatry and worship of the emperor. In this passage, Christ commends the church for its initial faithfulness, but later condemns the church for
compromising their theology and morality due to external pressure. As a result, Christ calls the church to repent and return to him before it is too late. If they do, they will be safe from judgment and receive an eternal reward.
- Christ mentions two times in Revelation 2:13 that Pergamum is where “Satan dwells.” What do you think this means? If Satan’s throne dwells within the midst of this city, what does that tell us about Pergamum’s theology and morality?
- What is the church commended for in Revelation 2:13?
- What are the results of Balaam, Balak, and Nicolaitans teachings? Why do you think
the church embraced their teachings?
- What do you think Christ means by “hidden manna” and “white stone” in Revelation 2:17? What must the church do to receive these rewards?
- The church of Pergamum was located in a city that worshipped the emperor and the
state. Why is it dangerous to mix the worship of the state with the worship of Christ? Have you seen this happen in America? What are the results?
- Do the greatest dangers of the church come from the outside or the inside? How does this shape the way we pray for our church and guard its purity?
- How does remembering the judgment of Christ and the reward of faithfulness result
in endurance during this life?
Spend some time praying for our church and our leaders. Pray that our church will not compromise theologically or morally, and that it will reflect the heart of Christ to our culture.