Living Near Satan's Throne

David Bast

READ : Revelation 2:12-17

You are living, where Satan’s throne is. (v. 13)

Pergamum was the capital of Asia. John describes it as the place “where Satan’s throne is.” This may have referred to the hilltop altar of Zeus that stood in Pergamum, or to the Asklepion, the temple where pilgrims thronged in hopes of being healed, or perhaps to the great temple to Caesar that had been erected in the city more than a century before.

These pagan temples dominated the skyline, the culture, and the economy of Pergamum, yet to their credit the Christians there had remained faithful despite the pressure and even a martyrdom (v. 13). We all face the temptation to bow to the gods our culture worships. The Lord seeks to safeguard us by first reminding us that behind all idolatries stands Satan himself. Worshiping the gods of status and sophistication (Zeus), health and physical fitness (Asklepios), or money and power (Caesar) is really offering allegiance to the evil one. Secondly, Jesus warns us against false teachers (vv. 14-15). Balaam (the Old Testament figure who enticed Israel to idolatry) and the Nicolaitans (a sect that encouraged moral laxity) represent those who try to convince us to buy into the world’s value system.

Jesus’ command is to “repent” (v. 16): to recognize and confess our sinful compromises with the gods of our age, turn from them, and resolutely follow him once more.


Lord, don’t let the world squeeze me into its mold.