…These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges…(Revelation 2:12b)
In the 2nd chapter of Revelation verse 12, Jesus addressed the pastor of the church in Pergamos. Pergamos was a city much like others in the Roman world. It was filled with idols and temples that were built in homage to a multitude of false gods. The wickedness found in each of these cities would meet or exceed the worst vice and corruption found in any city of today’s world. Pergamos, however, had a special designation; it was the place where “Satan’s seat is” (v.13). The word for seat is thronos the same from which we get “throne.” Many believe “Satan’s seat” has reference to emperor worship which gave the Roman Caesar status as a god along with the hundreds of mythological gods they worshipped. Pergamos, then, was the center for this diabolical practice of worshipping the emperor.
The 13th verse has reference to another horrible practice that has afflicted Christianity since the beginning, which is martyrdom. Any Christian that would not concede that Caesar was a god to be worshipped and would not say “Caesar is Lord” was put to death, often by the cruelest ways imaginable. The church in Pergamos was commended because in the face of this terrible persecution they had remained faithful to the Christian mantra which says “Christ is the only Lord.”
Several times in the Revelation we are reminded of the sword that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously the reference is not literal, but symbolizes the power of the words that are spoken by God. The emperors of Rome imposed their will through strong armies fighting physical battles. God has no need of physical weapons since He is able to bring the world into submission by the spoken word. “…He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:12). The assurance that God will overthrow the wicked is encouragement for His people to remain faithful and not fear martyrdom. He has the power to judge and destroy the wicked and the power to raise His dead saints to life.
Although the majority of the Revelation concerns future events, there is real application for Christians today. It is very easy to be discouraged when it appears we are making little to no headway against the increasing wickedness of our generation. It is best to remind ourselves that God does not live in the past or the future; He is the God of the eternal present. Are we waiting for God to come with the sword of His mouth? We need not wait because we possess the sword in the present. Hebrews says: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The reason Christians have not made more of an impact on our culture is because churches have abandoned the means by which we conquer. We have the double-edged sword which is the Bible, the powerful living word of God.
How do we make a difference in a place where it appears Satan has his throne? Know the word, live in the word, and most importantly share the word. The Holy Spirit uses it to convict sinners and change their hearts. People are born again “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Pet. 1:22).
Pastor V. Mark Smith