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Notes on Revelation

Pergamum

"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."--Revelation 2:12-17

See "The Two Babylons: The Great Red Dragon."


"The church at Pergamum was engulfed by a city that was largely pagan and devoted to idol worship. Pagan cults as Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus and Zeus had an important place in their local religious observance. The town also boasted a library of 200,000 volumes and was noted for its paper, and paper itself was called 'pergamena.'"

(Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, John Walvoord)


"The city of Pergamos was a blend of political power, pagan worship, and academic sophistication at its university. It was the capital city of Asia Minor, and royal officials filled it with beautiful palaces, temples and idols.

"There was an altar to Zeus that was a wonder of the ancient world. The patron god of the city was Esculapius, the god of healing. In his temple a living serpent was the symbol of worship." [the sign of doctors?]

"Pergamos also contained a temple to Octavius Caesar where Caesar-worship flourished. Each citizen was required to offer incense to the emperor once a year and declare that Caesar was Lord."

(There's A New World Coming, Hal Lindsey)


"Pergamos...The name was originally given to a remarkable hill, presenting a conical appearance when viewed from the plain. The local legends attached a sacred character to this place. Upon it the Cabiri were said to have been witnesses of the birth of Zeus...The greatest glory of the city was the so-called Nicephorium, a grove of extreme beauty, laid out as a thank-offering for a victory over Antiochus, in which was an assemblage of temples, probably all the deities, Zeus, Athene, Apollo, Aesculapius, Dionysus, and Aphrodite.

"The sumptuousness of the Attalic princes had raised Pergamos to the rank of the first city in Asia as regards splendour, and Pliny speaks of it as without a rival in the province. Its prominence, however, was not that of a commerical town, like Ephesus or Corinth, but arose from its peculiar features. It was a sort of union of a pagan cathedral city, an university town, and a royal residence, embellished during a succession of years by kings who all had a passion for expenditure and ample means of gratifying it."

(Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1872)


"...we now know that Asclepius' major shrine at Pergamum required the offering of a piglet before entry into its Greater Incubation Chamber...Asclepius prescribed the rarest remedies to patients who saw him in dreams...clients asked a priest to dream on their behalf when they were having a lean time at night.

"[The oracle of Apollo (the archer) of Claros dated around 160 AD regarding the plague (small pox?) and what to do about it] moves in stately hexameter and spends the first nine lines on flattery of the citizens' ancestry, their closeness to the gods and their special honor from Zeus himself. On Pergamum's steep hilll, said Apollo, the infant Zeus had been placed just after childbirth: his statement refuted a host of competing cities which claimed that they, not Pergamum, had received the newly born god. It was no wonder that the people and council of Pergamum decreed that the reply should be inscribed on pillars and displayed 'on the agora and the temples.' It [the oracle] also offered advice...Apollo wished to please his son, Asclepius...so he told the leader of Pergamum's delegation to return and divide the city's youth into four separate groups...and he told each of their groups to sing a hymn to a particular god while their fellow citizens feasted and sacrificed in support. This festivity was to last for seven days...Each libation was to be joined by prayers that the plague might depart...The young men's hymn to Zeus happens to survive in Pergamum, a splendid composition which calls on Zeus to 'come propitiously' and honor the city with his presence...He was the 'dweller on the heights of the Titans,' the realm of the Sun, and was the ultimate master of the crops and seasons.'"

(Pagans and Christians, Robin Lane Fox)


See the book The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia by W. M. Ramsay.



See also Antipas
See also Balaam
See also Seven Churches.
See also '...like a jasper and a sardine stone...'
See also Nicolaitanes.
See also White Stone.


Moza

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