Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the third church, the church in Pergamos (2:12-17). As we have pointed out, the name of each of the seven cities is very meaningful. In Greek Pergamos means “marriage,” implying union, and “fortified tower.” As a sign, the church in Pergamos prefigures the church which entered into a marriage union with the world and became a high fortified tower, equivalent to the great tree prophesied by the Lord in the parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32). When Satan failed to destroy the church through the persecution of the Roman Empire in the first three centuries, he changed his strategy. He sought instead to corrupt her through Constantine’s welcoming her as the state religion in the first part of the fourth century. Through Constantine’s encouragement and political influence, multitudes of unbelieving ones were baptized into the “church,” and the “church” became monstrously great. Since the church is a spouse to Christ as a chaste bride, her union with the world is considered spiritual fornication in the eyes of God.
Verse 12 says, “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword.” In this epistle, the Lord as the speaking Spirit declares that He is the One with the sharp two-edged sword. Such a worldly church is qualified to receive the Lord’s judgment in His sharp word.
In the epistle to the first church, the Lord advised the church in Ephesus to repent and to recover her first love. We must believe that His advice was heeded, for the second church, the church in Smyrna, truly loved the Lord and suffered persecution and became a suffering church. According to the facts of history, during the first three centuries, the church suffered a great deal as the Roman government tried its best to damage her. Eventually, the enemy, Satan, realized that persecution did not work very well. Therefore, being the subtle one, he changed his strategy from persecuting the church to welcoming her. In the early part of the fourth century, Constantine the Great accepted Christianity and made it a state religion. From that time onward, Christianity became a type of Roman state church. This welcoming of the church by the Roman Empire ruined her, because it caused the church to become worldly. As we all know, the church has been called out of the world and has been separated from the world to God. However, by being welcomed by the Roman Empire, the church went back to the world and, in the eyes of God, even married the world. God considers this type of worldly union to be spiritual fornication.
Due to this marriage, the church lost her purity and became worldly. Because the church had entered into union with the world, many worldly things came into the church. Worldly things are related to idol worship, for worldliness is always associated with idolatry. The church in Pergamos firstly became worldly and then idolatrous. Satan saturated her with the world and with idols. As a result, the church became absolutely different from what God intended her to be. God desires a church which is outside of the world, having nothing to do with the world. The church must be a golden lampstand, the pure expression of the Triune God, and must have no connections with the world. But after the Roman Empire had made the church a worldly religion, she became altogether impure, worldly, and idolatrous.
In verse 13 the Lord said of the church in Pergamos, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” Satan’s dwelling place is the world. Since the church has entered into union with the world and has become worldly herself, she now dwells where Satan dwells—in the world.
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