Pergamos: Satan’s Seat
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;” Rev 2:12
As stated earlier, Pergamos is unchanged from the Greek spelling and is derived from PERGOS, which means a “tower” or fortification “rising to a considerable height, to repel a hostile attack or to enable a watchman to see in every direction.”
It is also interesting that the word “parchment” is derived from the word for this city, which invented this writing material on which is found many profound words.
As one goes through these names, we see that they were not picked randomly, but the names and the qualities of the cities themselves are chock-full of symbolism.
When we read over the instructions to Pergamos we see that the meaning of the name is indeed fitting. In this third stage the seeker is besieged with all manner of troubles, hurdles and threats. He enters into the territory of the devil himself and is tempted by destructive doctrines.
To avoid the dangers he must create a mental watchtower (Pergamos) so he can see the dangers ahead and where they will lead. In this way he can navigate his way safely through enemy territory.
The first message to the seeker in the Pergamos stage is a reminder that the inner Christ “hath the sharp sword with two edges;”
Why is he told this? The simple answer is this: the two- edged sword is a symbol of the word, or truth of the God Within, as verified by the soul. This gives added meaning to the word “parchment” on which many of the words of God were written. The sword is mentioned first because a true comprehension of the truth is essential at this point for the traveler to successfully navigate through the dens of Satan, and successfully see through the fogs and illusions that cover the terrain.
The seeker thus plunges into dark territory with the powerful weapon of the two-edged sword of truth that strikes at the heart of the dragon. Wielding this sword takes courage, for he strikes fear into the hearts of all that dwell in Satan’s seat, causing them to lash out to harm and destroy. He must learn to strike with good judgment and power.
Next we are given the key to success, let us examine the rest of the message. Verse 13 reads:
“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” Rev 2:13
The Master knows all about the aspiring disciple. He knows his works. Nothing is hidden, even his dwelling place, “where Satan’s seat is.”
As this message begins, it sounds like the seeker has gone to hell in a hand basket, but then the next thing he is told is “thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith.”
It is interesting then that he dwells where Satan’s seat is but is still keeping his faith. How is this happening and what is Satan’s Seat? This phrase has mystified readers for many centuries.
There have been many guesses as to what Satan’s seat is. Some have said it was the Temple of Athene where sacrifices were made to Zeus. Others say it could have been the god of the city, which was Asclepios. His name meant “savior” and his symbol was the serpent. Sounds antichrist and devilish, does it not?
The most popular idea is that Pergamos itself is the seat of Satan because it was a capital city in Asia and administered many of the ungodly rules of the Roman Empire. The biggest problem for the Christians in Pergamos was that they were required once a year to go to the temple of the emperor and acknowledge that “Caesar is Lord.” If they would do this one simple thing, they could worship in any religion they pleased.
Unfortunately, such a proclamation was anathema to a Christian as for to him the only Lord was Jesus Christ. Even so, the temptation to go along with the system was great because if a Christian refused, he could be put to death, and many were.
This situation would seem to be Satan’s seat if anything was, and it is probably the closest thing we could find to it in the physical reality of that time, but we are looking for something deeper. We are looking at the principle behind the seat of Satan that applies not only in ancient times, but in all times and places where the seeker must abide.
The truth is that Satan’s Seat is so close to us and ubiquitous that the forest cannot be seen for the trees. The Greek Gods, temples and Caesar, which many identify as being the seat of Satan, have one thing in common: they all signify powerful authority on the outside that takes the place of the authority of God on the inside. If the seeker places the voice of the God Within above the credibility of the God without, he is in danger of persecution, imprisonment or death.
When the seeker dwells where Satan’s Seat is, this means he is surrounded by believers who follow an outer voice. These religious (and other ideological) followers believe their leaders know best what the word of God is and what he has in mind for them. The seeker often finds he is completely surrounded by robotic people, and is under constant pressure to just conform and even adjust his thinking to get along and make the best of his life.
He remembers his commitment to never forsake the Inner Voice; he holds fast to the name of the inner God and does not deny his faith. We are told he held fast “even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Scholars have no idea who Antipas was, but his name in the Greek means “like the father.”
Even when the father, or the teacher of the seeker is slain, or is taken away for some reason, the seeker will not lose his faith and will continue to verify all things through the Inner Voice.
When he seems forsaken by the greatest teacher of all, his Father, God, he will still keep his faith and follow principles that have been verified to him in the past. Even while exclaiming “My God, why have you forsaken me?” he will still remember and believe in his true source.
The seeker thus receives praise for keeping the essential truth in his consciousness – that none of the outer authorities are one hundred percent reliable. His final faith must be on the message of the inner Christ, even during the times that his voice seems to have forsaken him.
The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism. Sir William Osler (1849 – 1919)
Jan 11, 2007
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