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A Virus in the Church: A Warning Against Deception (Christ's Message to the Church, Part 3)

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Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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TEXT: Revelation 2:12-17

Today, we are continuing our series on the messages that Christ gave the church for the end times. We have already looked at his message to the church at Ephesus and his message to the church at Smyrna. Now, we are going to look at Christ's message to the church at Per-ga-mos.

Pergamos was another major city in the Roman province of Asia, or what we call today Asia Minor. When it came to splendor, Smith's Bible Dictionary says that Pergamos ranked first among all the cities in Asia. The city was well-noted for its massive library that held over two hundred thousand books. It was also a major center of religious worship in the Roman empire. The city had temples dedicated to four Roman gods as well as a temple to the Roman Caesar.

What really set Pergamos apart was its temple to a deity known as As-cle-pi-os. As-cle-pi-os was the Roman god of healing and knowledge. At this temple, there was also a medical school. And because of the fame of this temple, sick people from all over the Roman empire flocked to Pergamos. William Barclay writes that "Sufferers were allowed to spend the night in the darkness of the temple. In the temple there were tame snakes. In the night the sufferer might be touched by one of these tame and harmless snakes as it glided over the ground on which he lay. The touch of the snake was held to be the touch of the god himself, and the touch was held to bring health and healing."

In the midst of this city, we find the church of Pergamos. Christ commends this church because it has held fast to the faith in the midst of the paganism that is surrounding it. He particularly calls out one saint named Antipas who was martyred. We do not know much about Antipas besides what this verse tells us. Antipas' name means "against all". 

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