Revelation 2: 12-29
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Pergamos means united in marriage. Pergamos was the center of the Babylonian cult religion. In 312 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity after seeing a vision of the cross in the sky. He made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire and stopped the persecutions of the Christians. Politic and Church united in marriage when the church supported Constantine.
Christ partially revealed His identity to Pergamos as “He who has the sharp two-edged sword in His mouth”. Word of God (Sword of the Spirit) separates and divide, Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart’’.
Words of commendation: their works, loyalty, and faithfulness to Christ in a place where pagan worship was flourishing. Pergamos was a stronghold of pagan worship. Satan’s throne refers to the temple of Zeus. They remained faithful to Christ despite the persecution and martyrdom of Antipas.
14 But I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Words of rebuke: They accepted the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of Nicolaitians. The doctrine of Balaam is immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. Numbers 22-24, Balak, the King of Moab, hired the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites but he blessed instead of cursing them. Unable to curse Israel, Balaam taught Balak to entice the Israelites with Moabite women and food sacrificed to idols.
The doctrine of Nicolatains was teaching by a heretic Christian sect that controlled and dominate the people’s authority. Repent or Christ will come and chastise them.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone, a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
Words of exaltation: Christ will give hidden manna to those who overcome and repent. Manna is a type of Christ, the true manna from heaven, John 6: 32-33, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Personal application: To those who overcome, Christ will give him/her a secret name engraved on a white stone in heaven.
Church Dispensation: Pergamos corresponds to church history from 312 AD -590 AD, where the church compromised with political influence and pagan worship. The church without persecution became weak.
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
Thyatira means sacrifice. Christ partially revealed His identity to Thyatira as “the Son of God with eyes like a flame of fire and feet like fine brass”. Fine brass speaks of sin and sacrifice.
Words of commendation: they were active in love, service, faith, patience, charitable deeds, and social works.
20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
Words of rebuke: they allowed the Jezebel spirit to enter them, committing sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. Unless they repent, they will enter into great tribulation.
23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
To those who accept the Jezebel doctrine, Christ will judge and chastise according to their works. To those who did not follow the Jezebel doctrine, but follow Christ’s doctrine, the Lord will not put any burden on them.
Church dispensation: Thyatira corresponds to church history from 590 AD to 1570 AD, where Christianity was controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. The Jezebel doctrine speaks of Roman Catholicism. Mary, called the queen of heaven, was worshiped, venerated and Jesus was sidelined. The Pope rose to power and amass tremendous wealth and influence. Sacrifice speaks of the mass and the doctrine of transubstantiation, that the bread and wine changed to the body and blood of Christ during the mass. Christ will be sacrificed every time mass was performed.
25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations, 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’, as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Personal Application: Those who continued to do good and persevere until Christ’s second coming will rule over the nations in the millennial kingdom. Those who continued to do evil will be judged, dashed to pieces, and destroyed. The morning star is Christ. Those who overcome will receive Christ’s blessing.
Memoir of a doctor is the story of Dr Andrew C S Koh’s faith journey through life from his humble childhood in Tanjong Malim until his retirement in Ipoh in 2020. He came from a very poor background, born of very poor parents, from a very small and insignificant town in Malaysia. Although his parents were non Christians, God had sown the seed of gospel message into his heart as early as primary school in the chapel service through the story of the prodigal son. Through education, he managed to get out of poverty, moved out of Tanjong Malim and made it good by becoming a medical doctor, a heart specialist, and internal medicine specialist. He was born again as a Christian in his medical student days and some years later when he was working in Telok Intan, he rededicated his life to Christ. When he came to Ipoh, he was very fortunate to be mentored by two very prominent Bible teachers who taught him the whole counsel of God, teaching him all books of the Bible exposition-ally from Genesis to Revelation. I was fortunate enough to be his pastor for about 10 years when he worked in the Ipoh Specialist Hospital and worshiped in Holy Cross Luteran Church Ipoh where I was pastoring. Over the years, Dr Andrew C S Koh and his family had become our family friends as well. Dr Koh prayed for all his patients before they were subjected to any invasive or dangerous procedure. He used his medical profession as a tent-maker ministry to share the gospel to non Christians as a market place soul winner, to encourage and pray for Christians who needed his service. He loved the Lord, loved the Word, studied, preached and taught the Bible. In the course of his medical practice , he had helped a lot of people in need, both medically and spiritually. He also preached in the Holy Cross Lutheran Church periodically when I was pastoring there. In 1999, through God’s calling, he gave up his medical practice for 3 years to study full time in Laidlaw Bible College in Auckland New Zealand from 1999 to 2001. Memoir of a doctor traced his journey of faith from primary school to secondary school, to upper secondary school, to university, to the university of hard knocks until his retirement in January 2020. Memoir of a doctor is a story of how God can work in the life a person who is faithful, obedient, and surrendered to His calling. It is about how God can use a person as His instrument to serve Him in the Kingdom. The tale of 2 cities, I am told is about Tanjong Malim and Auckland. “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times” was the slogan of the book. This book will be a great inspiration to any readers, particularly to those who are starting the journey out in life. It will no doubt be a legacy to his wife, three sons, three daughters-in-laws, 5 grandsons, 4 granddaughters, and future generations. I wish him all the best in his golden years as he continued his ministry as author, lay preacher, bible teacher, bible expositor, blogger, market place soul winner, etc.
Pastor Paul Chong and Mrs Ame Chong, Retired pastors, London.