Corruption and Infiltration

Countdown to the end . . . #17

Vol. 4, No. 31 – August 4, 2019

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: “The words of Him who has the sharp two-edged sword. “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith . . . BUT . . . He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  –Revelation 2:12-17

The Church at Ephesus left its first love; the Church at Smyrna suffered with both internal and external attack, yet remained true in practice of doctrine. The Church at Pergamum allows evil to gain a foothold, deserving rebuke.

Pergamon (Pergamum). The great religious and political center, famous for its library (until Mark Anthony gave it all (200,000 volumes) to Cleopatra. She moved it to Alexandria. Pergamon was famous for its paper, large universities, and medical centers. She was filled with cults and temples. She was a city of leisure; known for tapestries and pottery.

Pergamon had a hill, 800-feet high, clustered with temples. One, Aesculapius, housed the god of healing (we get our English word scalpel from its name. Worship was conducted under the sign of a coiled snake (gives thought to snake handling in our own country during worship services).

This was a center of pagan worship, emperor cult worship, and the place where Nicolaitanism and Balaamism came into the church. The temple of Athena was noted to hold the throne of Satan himself.

The sharp two-edged sword speaks of judgment.

The Church at Pergamum did not just flirt with corruption and immorality; it allowed Satan to court the church. Intimidation, enticement, and tolerance was rampant in the church. Satan was pleased because he planned for the Church to destroy itself.

Today’s Church is hemmed in on one side by the violence of a roaring lion (a war of culture), and the fallen angel of light bringing into the Church false teaching and false teachers. Pergamum is also undermined through corrupt practices, corrupt teaching, and corrupt culture.

In the church!

Yet there are those in the church that remain faithful – but not all. There are those who bought into the religious fad of the day, bought into the pagan styles of worship, bought into the changes needed to attract others that though in the same way. The evil ones got control and brought into the church those they liked without opposition.

Jesus says to the faithful ones in the church, “Do not be seduced by the error of the pagans.” Today’s churches are under attack of the Balaamism operative at the churches in Pergamum. Balaamism brought into the culture its own set of “morals.”

  • Their style of pornography
  • Their lifestyle of adultery
  • Their looseness of cohabitation
  • Their allowance of church leaders and teachers tolerating immorality and homosexuality

There was further damage:

  • They allowed the Nicolatian philosophy to creep into the Church
  • They allowed the Nicolatian doctrines to be taught in the Church
  • Doctrines taught and deeds acted out go hand-in-hand
  • Christ says He hates their deeds and their doctrines

Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. Revelation 2:16

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Revelation 2:7

Behold, Jesus is coming soon to take you home to Heaven; His words are faithful and true  Revelation 22:6

Life Application

Who is responsible to make sure false doctrine and practices do not enter the church? Is it just the leadership . . . or does it include those who should be in the Word of God daily to hear the God of truth speak His truth to the heart of the believer. I vote for both.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

August 4, 2019

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