Wednesday 03 September 2014

Bible Book:

“These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.” (v. 12)

Revelation 2:12-17 Wednesday 3 September 2014


The two-edged sword (verses 12, 16) had been introduced in Revelation 1:16. It comes from the mouth ofChrist as an indication that it is his words that judge hispeople.

Pergamum is here called the place "where Satan's throne is" (v.13). This might be a reference to the huge altar of Zeus whichoverlooked the city being seen as a symbol of the idolatry thatheld sway in the city and which was increasingly taking the form ofthe emperor cult. The reference to "holding fast" (v. 3) suggeststhat this situation has already caused conflict for the church. Wedon't know any more about Antipas but the word "witness" used todescribe him is the word that gives us "martyr" for others whosimilarly lay down their lives in the cause of the gospel (the goodnews of Jesus).

The story of Balaam is found in Numbers 22-24, and John sees the Nicolaitans aswreaking similar havoc in leading Christians into immorality andidolatry; but so far removed from the time and place we cannot nowwith certainty be more specific.

The form of the promise to those who take the message of thismini-letter to heart offers "hidden manna" and a "white stone" (v.17). Manna was the food of Israel in the nation's early days ofwandering in the desert, provided daily by God; the Jewsanticipated that manna would be provided again when God's kingdomwas re-established. Moses had instructed that a pot of it be keptfor all time as a symbol (Exodus16:32-33) but it had been lost six centuries earlier when theBabylonians sacked Jerusalem.

The white stone could mean several different things but thereference to the name written on it, and the ancient belief in thepower of a name, perhaps make most likely the idea that it is akind of amulet/keepsake inscribed with the name of God.

To Ponder

  • The church is urged to repent (verse 16). Repentance is alwayspart of the process of first becoming a Christian, but that is notthe end of the matter. In what ways and for what reasons doChristians and the Church of today need to repent?
  • What forms does idolatry take in today's world? Which of itstrappings are hardest to avoid in the course of going about yourdaily life?
  • What precious thing(s) do you possess that preserve for you aspecial link with the giver?

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