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Lessons From Pergamum & Thyatira

The Calling: Lessons From Pergamum and Thyatira

Tested By Fire Conference – Day 2 Session 2

 

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In preparing the assembly of believers for the coming trials and tribulations leading to the Day of the Lord, Jesus addressed 7 assemblies encouraging and admonishing them in truth and to strengthen them for the coming difficulty. Here Jesus’ messages to Pergamum and Thyatira are discussed to glean what lessons we can learn from our Messiah in order to be strengthened to stand through trial.

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Lessons From Pergamum & Thyatira

BACKGROUND

BACKGROUND

A. Pergamum1

1. Became a Roman province in 130BC, and was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia (before it was moved to Ephesus); all the main roads of Western Asia converged in Pergamum; three rivers in the area, one of which went to the sea

2. The city was dominated by a huge hill (1000 ft above sea level), with an acropolis; stadium, theatre, amphitheatre, gymnasiums, many temples, a university, a large library (second only to Alexandria—200,000 volumes); about 200,000 residents

3. An illustrious and wealthy city, particularly famous for production of parchment (pergamena)

4. Had many temples and was the religious center of Asia; there was a temple to the Egyptian gods Isis and Serapis; in a grove called Nicephorium were temples to Zeus, Athena, and Dionysos; south of the acropolis was a temple to Asklepios, the god of healing (“worshipped in the form of a living serpent fed in the temple” 2); on the upper part of the Acropolis was the Great Altar of Pergamum, dedicated to Zeus

5. Asklepios was known as the god of Pergagum, and on coins was represented by a rod encircled by a serpent (still a medical symbol today); near the temple of Asklepios was a university for the study of medicine; was one of the most famous therapeutic/healing centers in the Roman world

6. Pergamum: the first city in Asia with temple dedicated to Augustus and Rome; became the center in the province for worship of the emperor; the terms “Lord,” “Savior,” and “God” were regularly in reference to the emperor, which put believers in a tough spot

B. Thyatira3

1. Forty miles southeast of Pergamum; a trading center; home to many guilds (dyers, potters, tanners, weavers, bakers, robe makers slave traders, etc); a supplier for the Roman garrison in Pergamum

2. Famous for abundant crops and purple dye (Lydia was from here, Ac 16:14)

3. Apollo the sun god the main deity worshipped here

4. Each guild was dedicated to a patron god; the guilds had feasts in the temples, with meat offered to the various gods

AFFIRMATIONS

AFFIRMATIONS

A. Attributes of Jesus Highlighted

1. Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. (NIVRe 2:12)

16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. (NIVRe 1:16)

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESVHeb 4:12)

1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.2 TheSpirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord— 3and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. (NIVIs 11:1-5)

6 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (NIVRm 2:16)

2. Thyatira

18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze (glowing metal). (NIVRe 2:18)

13No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account. (HCSBHeb 4:13)

13From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; 14from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— 15he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (NIVIs 33:13-15)

5Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. (HCSB1Jn 1:5)

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (NIVHeb 12:28)

14“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” (ESVIs 33:14)

B. Affirmations to Church in Pergamum

1. Clinging to Jesus’ name/Faithful Witness

13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name (or cling to [NET], or “hold fast to” [ESV, NASB]). You did not renounce your faith in me (or “deny My faith” [ESV, NASB, RSV]), even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. (NIVRe 2:13)

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me (present imperative: “keep following” or “keep accompanying”). 24For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” (NASBLk 9:23-24)

15“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with (or “through” [ISV]) perseverance. (NASBLk 8:15)

3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. (NIVRm 5:3-4)

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (ESVCol 1:21-23)

22“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved (NASBMt 10:22)

C. Affirmations to the Church in Thyatira

1. Deeds, Love, Faith, Service, Perseverance, Growth

19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first (“your latter works exceed the first” [ESV]). (NIVRe 2:19)

1Finally, then, brothers we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (ESV1 Th 4:1)

CORRECTION/REBUKE

CORRECTION/REBUKE

A. Pergamum

1. Repent and Overcome!

16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (NIVRe 2:16)17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone (Gk psēphon – “pebble”) with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (NIVRe 2:16-17)

32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ ” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” (ESVEx 16:32-33)

31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (ESVJn 6:31-33)

16 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the Lord, they shall no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; nor shall another one be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no longer stubbornly follow their own evil will. (NRSVJer 3:16-17)

“This old word for pebble (from ψαω [psaō], to rub) was used in courts of justice, black pebbles for condemning, white pebbles for acquitting. The only other use of the word in the N.T. is in Acts 26:10, where Paul speaks of “depositing his pebble” (κατηνεγκα ψηφον [katēnegka psēphon]) or casting his vote.” 1

10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them (Lit “brought my pebble [psēphon] against them”) (NIVAc 26:10)

B. Thyatira

1. Hold Fast and Overcome!

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (NIVRe 2:24-29)

16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule (“govern’ [NIV]) the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. (NRSVGen 1:16)

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (ESVRev 22:16)

19And so we have the prophetic message confirmed even more, [the word] in regard to which you do well if you keep paying careful attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises, in your hearts knowing this first of all (or “rises in your hearts”; cf Mk 2:8 “knew in his spirit”)…(Author2 Pt 1:19)

The morning star here mostly like refers to the planet Venus (though some think it possibly refers to the sun). Besides the sun, Venus is the brightest “star” in the sky, reaching its maximum brightness just before sunrise or just after sunset, depending on where it is in its orbit of the sun. Just as the morning star heralds the end of the night and the beginning of the new day, so the Second Coming will mark the end of this age of darkness and the beginning of His Day. Cf Gn 1:14-19; Jb 9:9, 38:32; Ps 19:1-6, 84:11; Is 40:25-26, 60:1-2; Ml 4:2; Lk 1:78; Rm 10:14-18, 13:11-12)

11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (NIVRm 13:11-12)

 

Tim Miller Tim Miller (124 Posts)

Tim is founder of the Daniel Training Network. His passion is to see followers of Christ embrace a life of the cross. He, his wife Emily, and their four children itinerate regularly as part of their ministry, and are presently living in New Mexico.


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