Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Mystery Babylon is Pergamos, Turkey.
Message to the Church at Pergamum in Turkey or Asia Minor.
Pergamum was 40 miles northeast of Smyrna (now Bergama).
The name is from the Greek, pergos, which means tower. A tower symbolizes a stronghold. Towers were the strongholds of city walls. The earliest city was built on a cone-shaped acropolis a thousand feet tall with steep, nearly perpendicular sides. On one side there was a narrow passageway to the top. The city was a fortress that was easily defended. After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, one of Alexander's generals, Lysimachus, left his lieutenant, Philetaerus, in charge of Pergamum along with 9,000 talents of gold for war expenses. But Philetaerus decided to keep the money and establish himself as ruler of the state of Pergamum. When Lysimachus died in 292 BC, Philetaerus declared himself king of the new Attalid Kingdom, named in honor of his nephew. Successive dynasties of Evil Kings of the kingdom were worshipped as gods. King Attalus III (138-133 BC) left the kingdom to Rome upon his death, and Pergamum becomes the de facto capital of the Roman Province of Asia.
Pergamum had the second largest library in the world with 200,000 volumes. It was second only to the library at Alexandria. Mark Antony gave the library to Cleopatra after her library was burned by the army of Julius Caesar in 41 BC. The rivalry between the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamum led to the invention of parchment. When the Ptolemies of Egypt prohibited the export of papyrus to Pergamum, the Pergamenes invented parchment, which they called pergamene, from the Greek Pergamenos. It was made from animal skin. The best grade, called vellum, was made from calfskin. The parchment was more flexible than papyrus, which made it possible to make books rather than scrolls.
Pergamum was known for the worship of the Evil King and Prostitute of Babylon in various forms. It was the center of Ecumenical Babylon in the Roman province of Asia. There were temples in the city for the worship of Zeus, Dionysus, Athena, and Asklepios. The city was also a center for worship of Roman Evil Kings as early as 29 BC when a temple was erected to Augustus and to Roma, the goddess of Rome. Later temples were erected to Trajan and Caracalla.
Picture of Pergamon at the bottom of the page, the Altar of Zeus is located at the right-center. To the right of the Altar of Zeus (outside the picture) was the agora, the market square. The Temple of Athena is behind the theater, and the Temple of Trajan is at the top left.
Pergamon was known as the center of Aesklepios, the serpent, which represented Satan as the god of healing. The temple of Aesklepios was full of snakes, which were considered sacred because of their power to renew themselves by shedding their skin. Invalids flocked to the temple, where state-of-the-art medical treatment was available, such as herbal remedies, bathing, meditation, massage, and even dream analysis by priests or sleeping in rooms while awaiting healing demons.
Satan's Throne Altar of Zeus
The message to the church at Pergamon begins with a reminder of the Lord's two-edged sword with which He will make war at the Second Advent against the enemies of Israel (Revelation 2:12, 16; 19:11-15, 21). The "two-edged sword" that comes from the Lord's mouth will be used at the Second Advent, but the sword also symbolizes the great wars of history that represent the Second Advent, such as World Wars I and II.
Revelation 2:12-13 12 “And to the messenger (pastor-teacher) of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: 13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Satan's throne was a metaphor for the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon (or Pergamum). A reconstruction of the altar in the Berlin Museum is shown in the photo. Notice that the altar resembles a large throne. There are 24 steps from the ground to the top of the altar, where 24 stands for Satan's strategic attack on Israel. Satan's attack on Israel is his strategy in world history. The Altar of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its history is even more of a wonder.
A German archaeologist, Carl Humann, began excavating the altar on September 9, 1878. The altar was moved back to Germany and reconstructed. Kaiser Wilhelm II celebrated its erection in Berlin in 1902. German archeologists also excavated ancient Babylon in Iraq from 1899 to 1917. They brought the Ishtar Gate back to Berlin. Germany started World War I in 1914. After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, a granite mausoleum based upon the design of the Pergamon Altar of Zeus was built for him and opened in 1929.10,11 Note that 1924 stands for Satan's strategic attack on Israel.
The Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way from the excavations of ancient Babylon were reconstructed in Germany and temporarily accommodated in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum until 1929 when they were moved to the Pergamon Museum in East Berlin. They were first presented to the public in 1930 when the Pergamon Museum opened.9 In 1933 Adolph Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. In 1934 he became dictator and ordered the construction of the Tribune at Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg for his Nazi rallies.12,13 The architect, Albert Speer, used the Pergamon Altar as the model for the tribune. The Führer's pulpit was in the center of the tribune, which was built from 1934 to 1937. Adolph Hitler, the Evil King of Germany started World War II in 1939. After the end of World War II, the Soviets took the Pergamon Altar to Leningrad in 1948 as spoils. The Alter was later returned in 1958.14
Thus, Satan's throne in the form of the Pergamon Altar was moved from Pergamon to Berlin to herald the rise of the Evil Kings of Germany in World Wars I and II. It was used as the plan for Lenin's tomb in 1929 to herald the rise of the Evil King of the Soviet Union. And it was taken to Russia in 1948 to herald the beginning of the Soviet attempt at world conquest. It was returned to Berlin in 1958. Both Lenin and Hitler were symbols of the coming Evil King of the Revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation.
* But, remember Satan's Seat will always be Pergamos, Turkey and not Germany. God tells us where Satan's Seat of power is.
Balaam and the Prostitute of Babylon
'But I have a few things against you because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a baited trap before the sons of Israel, to eat meat sacrificed to idols, and to practice prostitution. (Revelation 2:14)
While Israel was camped at Shittim just prior to entering the Promised Land, Balaam taught Balak how to use the Prostitute of Babylon to seduce Israel (reference Balaam). Temple prostitutes were sent into the camp of Israel. They offered sacrifices to Baal and taught the men of the Army of Israel to eat the meat and fornicate. The prostitutes in the Temple of Athena and other temples of Pergamon were the same as the Prostitute of Babylon. Some of the members of the church in Pergamon were still involved in the idolatry of the Prostitute of Babylon, which involved practicing prostitution. In verse 14 the Greek word porneuvw (porneuo) means to prostitute, or practice prostitution.
Not only were the church members of Pergamon involved in the same idolatry with the Prostitute of Babylon as Balaam, but they were also like the apostate Nikolaitans (also transliterated Nicolaitans and Nikolaitons).
'Just as you have also those who hold to the teaching of the Nikolaitons in the same manner. (Revelation 2:15) The Nikolaitans were an apostate group like the Gnostics. They believed the only way to be free from lust was to submit to sensual desire in order to conquer it. They used religion as an excuse for pursuing the hedonistic pleasures of the Old Sin Nature. The Nikolaitans were also enslaved to the Prostitute of Babylon. Whereas the Christians at Ephesus had rejected the Nikolaitan apostasy, the Christians at Pergamon fell for it.
Change Your Mind
The Christians at Pergamon were commanded to change their mind.
'Therefore, change your mind. But if you do not, I am coming quickly; and I will war against them with the sword out from my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)
"Change your mind" is the Greek metanoevw (metanoeo), where metav (meta) means change and noevw (noeo) means the mind or thinking. The word is often translated, repent, which is fine as long as it is understood that the word has nothing to do with subjectivity, such as feeling sorrow or penance. The change of mind is necessary toward Bible Doctrine. The only way to advance to the high ground of the Spiritual life is to execute Bible Doctrine, which requires thinking doctrine. The thinking of the Christians at Pergamon regarding the Prostitute of Babylon and the Nikolaitan apostasy must change.
The Christians at Pergamon were further reminded that time is short. They need to change their mind, which means Rebound and get moving with Bible Doctrine because the Lord is "coming quickly." This obviously didn't mean immediately. It meant that the next prophecy to be fulfilled in the Church Age will be the Rapture. The reminder is that the Lord will execute the enemies of Israel at the Second Advent. Just as He will use the sword that comes from his mouth at the Second Advent (Revelation 1:16; 19:15), He will also use the sword to protect the Christian and the Jew until then.
Blessings for the Winner
Special rewards in this life and for eternity will be given to those Christians who handle the counterattack at Pergamon with Bible Doctrine.
'He who has an ear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To the winner, I will give him the hidden manna, and I will give him a white pebble, and upon the pebble, a new title has been inscribed, which no one knows except the person receiving it.' (Revelation 2:17) Anyone with a single ear should listen to what the Holy Spirit is communicating to the churches of Asia. Even though the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking, the Holy Spirit is communicating also because this refers to the execution of Bible Doctrine.
Blessings in time and eternity will be given to the winner-believer who passes the testing of the Pergamon church. The blessings for the winner-believer are:
"Hidden manna" - Faith; Bible Doctrine - Just as manna was food to be eaten, Bible Doctrine is the sustenance of the Spiritual Life (John 4:32). Bible Doctrine must be metabolized, which means it must be executed in the Spiritual Life. The manna is hidden just as the mystery doctrine of the Church Age is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).
"White pebble" - Love; a vote of confidence - Pebbles were used for voting (Acts 26:10). A white pebble was for a yes vote and a black pebble was for a no vote. The Lord will intercede for the believer in the fight against the devil. The personal support of the Lord is from His Love.
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