|The two edged sword,
as we saw last week, is connected with the Scripture. If you will note carefully what the
Scripture (Rev. 2:12-17) says, Christ promises to come and fight against
“them” -- not the church, but those
who teach the heresy. The sword, of
course, is the Bible, the word of God -- and what other weapon would
work? There is a reason for Bible
study, and this is a good example of it.
|Christ commends the
church for being true to his name. I
wonder how many of us would pass that test;
are we faithful in proclaiming Him on Sunday only? Antipas -- we know nothing other than the
name -- paid the price of naming the Name.
Could we? Especially if the
price included the disgrace that went with it? Remember, our Lord died the death of a
common criminal; a death so shameful
that Roman citizens were exempt from it (they were executed by sword).
|There is an
interesting connection here between the name Balaam and Nicolaus. Both names (in their orignal languages,
Hebrew and Greek) can mean “to conquer the people.” And indeed the seductive heresy is a
conquest -- whether that of sexual sin or worldliness.
|The reward for the
one who overcomes is described in three ways:
|• Hidden manna --
reminiscent of manna in the wilderness, it should symbolize the eternal
provision of God (remember that manna did not spoil over the Sabbath, but
would otherwise spoil overnight). This
is God’s provision as yet unrevealed.
|• The white stone --
the concept of the “blackball” is still familiar to us, and dates from these
times. A white stone was a “vote” for
admission to the club!
|• The new name --
possibly a reference to the pagan idea that knowing the hidden name of a God
gives you power over it, it is more likely a hint of things to be
revealed. It is very obscure. Isaiah 62:2 is the reference point: an new name to be revealed.
|From the futurist
point of view, this becomes the church of the Roman Empire - the state
church. Pergamum (where Satan has his
throne) is thus representative of Rome (per Revelation 13). The interpretation begins somewhat to break
down at this point. One interesting
observation is this: we now see
idolatry (represented by the eating of meat sacrificed to idols)
introduced. Is this the image (pun
intended) of the veneration of saints, and statues thereof?
|The city is now
Bergamos; it is small, and some
Christians remain in it.