“But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam…” (Rev. 2:14).
In the beginning chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus serves as a church consultant to seven churches throughout the Asian region. Among each congregation, he gives specific commendations and other condemnations. The church at Ephesus was victorious in resisting and exposing false teachers, but the church at Pergamum did not have the same propensity.
Notice Jesus’ rebuke of the people as you read Rev. 2:12-17.
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
What did Jesus have against them?
The city was apparently so vile that Jesus would call it the location of Satan’s throne (Rev. 2:13). These believers were suffering from persecution, and even one member was martyred for his faith (Rev. 2:13). While Jesus praised them for their faithful endurance through trials, he criticized them for their fuzzy commitment to truth. While you may not know all of the specifics regarding the two heretical groups mentioned (Rev. 2:14-5), you do know enough from the description that unbiblical beliefs led to ungodly behavior.
What type of faulty doctrine are believers today tempted to condone?
We live in a time when people want to compromise on biblical truth to be culturally accepted. What was Jesus’ solution for the dangerous tendency to compromise? He mentioned a weapon that he would use to combat such an assault (Rev. 2:12, 16). He said to pick up the double-edged sword. That weapon referenced is much more powerful than a sharp blade. He meant to pick up the Word of God which is sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12).
Will you pick up this weapon to help you in these times?