Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 13th

Living Where Satan Has His Throne

To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.

Rev 2:12-13

This church is in sharp contrast to the church at Smyrna. Smyrna was enduring persecution; this church was faced with enticement and corruption. The devil has only two ways of approach. If he cannot make you knuckle under with hostility and persecution, he will begin to entice you and lure you into something dangerous. It is either intimidation or enticement. It is either the violence of a roaring lion or the corruption of an angel of light. Pergamum is the church that is being undermined by corrupt practices and corrupt teaching.

Our Lord identifies himself as the one having the sharp, doubled-edged sword. That is the symbol of the Word of God coming from his lips. It is double-edged; it cuts two ways. That refers to the fact that the Word can cleave the skull to get to the mind, and it can pierce the heart to touch the emotions. It can awaken us to reality. By the Word of God our minds begin to learn truth that we never saw before. We see things the way they are, and it motivates us to action. It can also pierce the heart. On the Day of Pentecost, when Peter had finished his message, the people were cut to the heart. That is the power of the Word.

Pergamum was the Roman capital of the province of Asia. It was a center of pagan worship and there was a temple to Caesar there as well. It is called here the place where Satan lives and rules. This is his headquarters. Many scholars think that refers to the great altar of Zeus which was on the hillside overlooking the city. It was a great throne, forty feet high, and any citizen could look up and see what Jesus calls Satan's throne. This was a center of pagan worship and the very center of evil.

In his appraisal, our Lord assesses the strengths of this church: He says, first, You remain true to my name. They had refused to budge on their view of his person. They held to the truth about Jesus. They saw him as the God-man, combining in one person two natures. That is the teaching of the church from its very beginning, and clearly evident in the Scripture. Against all the corrupting influences around them, these people had held to that truth. Almost all heresies today flow out of a denial of the deity of Jesus. But we must not also deny the humanity of Jesus. Both are true.

Second, they held to this at the risk of their own lives. Jesus says, You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives. Antipas means against all. We do not know much about this man, although he is said to be the first martyr under the Roman persecution in Asia. Tradition says he was roasted to death in a brazen bull that was heated to a white heat. That is the price that he had to pay for being true to the doctrine about Jesus. He had to stand against all!

Lord, strengthen me to remain true to your name in the midst of places where Satan has his throne. Amen.

Life Application

What are the unique ways Satan might have his throne where you live?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Smyrna and Pergamum -- The Pressured Church

Listen to Ray