Reading through Revelation, Chapter 2:16-17 – Pergamos, the Lord’s warning of judgment and promise of blessing



Revelation 1:12-16

GNV

12 Then I turned back to see the voice that spake with me: and when I was turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks,

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and hairs were white as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,

15 And his feet like unto fine brass burning as in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and his face shone as the sun shineth in his strength.

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1 Corinthians 13:12

GNV

16 Repent thyself, or else I will come unto thee shortly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Let him that hath an ear, hear what the spirit saith unto the Churches. To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Manna that is hid, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.


Some thoughts

The Lord’s thoughts are infinitely higher than ours – good and righteous, altogether!

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. 

And He gives wisdom to those who ask for it, who want to understand His words and ways and those things which please Him.

James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and reproacheth no man, and it shall be given him. 

Also, it takes countless words for us to express what He says in a few words, swiftly – His word runs very swiftly! – and powerfully.

He knows each human heart and so can warn or promise to each. (With Him actions are weighed.) So this is what He promised to those in the church in Pergamos and to all who hear, 

To fight them with the sword of His mouth,

or

To reward them with the hidden manna and the white stone with a new name!

Because “now we see through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), we can disagree in interpreting Scripture. Please don’t let this keep you from enjoying the various beautiful things people have written on this passage.


Study Helps

Overview of Revelation 2:12-17 (Pergamos)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“The word of God is a sword, able to slay both sin and sinners. It turns and cuts every way; but the believer need not fear this sword; yet this confidence cannot be supported without steady obedience. As our Lord notices all the advantages and opportunities we have for duty in the places where we dwell, so he notices our temptations and discouragements from the same causes. In a situation of trials, the church of Pergamos had not denied the faith, either by open apostacy, or by giving way so as to avoid the cross. Christ commends their stedfastness, but reproves their sinful failures. A wrong view of gospel doctrine and Christian liberty, was a root of bitterness from which evil practices grew. Repentance is the duty of churches and bodies of men, as well as of particular persons; those who sin together, should repent together. Here is the promise of favour to those that overcome. The influences and comforts of the Spirit of Christ, come down from heaven into the soul, for its support. This is hidden from the rest of the world. The new name is the name of adoption; when the Holy Spirit shows his own work in the believer’s soul, this new name and its real import are understood by him.”


Warning of Judgment

Holding Fast the Faith

Charles Spurgeon, sermon on Lord’s Day Morning, February 5, 1888

“Specially note, dear Friends, at the opening of this morning’s meditation the character under which the Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to the Church at Pergamos. ‘These things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges.’ Does the Lord Jesus come to His Church in that way? Does He, at the door of the Church, bear a sword? A sword unsheathed? A sharp sword? A sharp sword with two edges? Yes, even to His visible Church this is how our Lord Jesus Christ appears. To His own spiritual and faithful ones He is to each one a husband full of unutterable tenderness and love.”


Promise of Blessing

The Hidden Manna

Arthur Pink, 1944

“. . . as the manna was the food which God supplied from Heaven for His people of old, nourishing and sustaining them throughout their wilderness journey, it must be regarded as a figure of the written Word which is the Christian’s spiritual staff of life. And since the Word of God ‘lives and abides forever’ (1 Peter 1:23), does not the ‘hidden manna’ (Revelation 2:17) point to the inexhaustible riches of Divine wisdom, which are stored up in it, and of which we have at present—but a fragmentary knowledge. We cannot think that any of that treasure will be lost to us—rather, do we conclude it will be made known and afford part of our delectation [joy, rapture, happiness] in Heaven.

“Now we know the marvels of Divine inspiration and revelation ‘in part,’ but then shall we know them in full. 2 Corinthians 12:7 shows that Heaven is the place of ‘the abundance of the revelations.’ As the risen Christ expounded the Scriptures to His disciples and opened their understandings to understand them (Luke 24:27,45), will not the glorified Savior do the same for us (Hebrews 13:8)!”

1 Peter 1

23 Being born anew, not of mortal seed, but of immortal, by the word of God, who liveth and endureth forever.

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Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan, 1965

The Hidden Manna may be the Fruit of the Tree of Life (22:2). The New Manna may stand for a form of existence that will be satisfying beyond anything we have ever known or dreamed of in this life) . . .”

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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, 1871.

Bible Study Tools

17. . . . the hidden manna–the heavenly food of Israel, in contrast to the idol-meats (Revelation 2:14 ). A pot of manna was laid up in the holy place ‘before the testimony.’ The allusion is here to this: probably also to the Lord’s discourse (John 6:31-35). Translate, ‘the manna which is hidden.’ As the manna hidden in the sanctuary was by divine power preserved from corruption, so Christ in His incorruptible body has passed into the heavens, and is hidden there until the time of His appearing. Christ Himself is the manna ‘hidden’ from the world, but revealed to the believer, so that he has already a foretaste of His preciousness. Compare as to Christ’s own hidden food on earth, John 4:32 John 4:34, and Job 23:12. The full manifestation shall be at His coming. Believers are now hidden, even as their meat is hidden. As the manna in the sanctuary, unlike the other manna, was incorruptible, so the spiritual feast offered to all who reject the world’s dainties for Christ is everlasting: an incorruptible body and life for ever in Christ at the resurrection.

31 Our fathers did eat Manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you that true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34 Then they said unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am that bread of life: he that cometh to me, shall not hunger, and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst.

“white stone . . . new name . . . no man knoweth saving he — TRENCH’S explanation seems best. White is the color and livery of heaven. ‘New’ implies something altogether renewed and heavenly. The white stone is a glistening diamond, the Urim borne by the high priest within the choschen or breastplate of judgment, with the twelve tribes’ names on the twelve precious stones, next the heart. The word Urim means ‘light,’ answering to the color white. None but the high priest knew the name written upon it, probably the incommunicable name of God, ‘Jehovah.’ The high priest consulted it in some divinely appointed way to get direction from God when needful. The ‘new name’ is Christ’s (compare Revelation 3:12, ‘I will write upon him My new name’): some new revelation of Himself which shall hereafter be imparted to His people, and which they alone are capable of receiving. The connection with the ‘hidden manna’ will thus be clear, as none save the high priest had access to the ‘manna hidden’ in the sanctuary. Believers, as spiritual priests unto God, shall enjoy the heavenly antitypes to the hidden manna and the Urim stone. What they had peculiarly to contend against at Pergamos was the temptation to idol-meats, and fornication, put in their way by Balaamites. As Phinehas was rewarded with ‘an everlasting priesthood’ for his zeal against these very sins to which the Old Testament Balaam seduced Israel; so the heavenly high priesthood is the reward promised here to those zealous against the New Testament Balaamites tempting Christ’s people to the same sins.

“receiveth it — namely, ‘the stone’; not ‘the new name’; see above. The ‘name that no man knew but Christ Himself,’ He shall hereafter reveal to His people.”


Zouloufi frozen lavas, Patmos - Νικολίτσα Τσίτσικα. Nikol Patmos at Greek Wikipedia

Zouloufi frozen lavas, Patmos – Νικολίτσα Τσίτσικα. Nikol Patmos at Greek Wikipedia.

 


Arki (Patmos) Strongyli - Photo: Waldviertler

Arki (Patmos) Strongyli – Photo: Waldviertler


What thorns can teach us

..

In all of God’s Word,

our lessons appear –

wonderfully clear

and beautifully varied!

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When Adam and Eve chose to disobey the Lord, refusing to trust Him and desiring “to be like” Him, He cursed the ground from which Adam was taken. The good earth became infested with these hardy weeds that choked the growth of the things they needed in order to live, so that the earth had to be worked and the weeds uprooted. Here are passages of the Bible in which thorns appear for our instruction..

The first thorns

Genesis 3

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

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The Lord used thorns in a figure of speech to tell His people to repent.

Jeremiah 4

3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

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The Lord used thorns to picture things that make His Word unfruitful in people. 

Mark 4

2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, 3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit… 13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word… 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.   

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The world used thorns to crown the Lord.

Mark 15

15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. 17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, 18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

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A thorn kept Paul humble.

2 Corinthians 12:7

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

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Someday evergreens will grow where thorns have grown. 

Isaiah 55

12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

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