Revelation 2:12
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
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(12) Pergamos.—Unlike Ephesus and Smyrna, Pergamos was not distinguished as a commercial city. Its importance was due to other causes. A striking coneshaped hill rose from the plain which bordered the northern banks of the Caicus. The hill was considered sacred. Its value as a strong natural fortress was early recognised, and it was used as a keep and treasury where local chieftains deposited their wealth. Its greatness as a city dated from Eumenes II., who was given by the Romans a large surrounding territory, and who fixed Pergamos as his royal residence. Under his auspices a splendid city—rich in public buildings, temples, art galleries, and with a library which rivalled that of Alexandria—rose into being. It has been described as a city of temples, “a sort of union of a pagan cathedral city, an university town, and a royal residence.” It retained its splendour even after it passed by bequest to the Roman Republic, and was declared by Pliny to be a city unrivalled in the province of Asia.

Sharp sword with two edges.—See Note on Revelation 1:16. The appropriateness of this language to the state of the church in Pergamos will best appear afterwards. (See Note on Revelation 2:15-16.)

Revelation 2:12-13. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write — “Pergamos, formerly the metropolis of the Hellespontic Mysia, and the seat of the Attalic kings, is by the Turks, with some little variation, still called Bergamo, and hath its situation about sixty-four miles to the north of Smyrna. Here are some good buildings, but more ruins. All the city, almost, is occupied by the Turks, very few families of Christians being left, whose state is very sad and deplorable. Here is only one church remaining, dedicated to St. Theodorus; and that the name of Christ is not wholly lost and forgotten in Pergamos, is owing to the care of the metropolitan of Smyrna, who continually sends hither a priest to perform the sacred offices. The cathedral church of St. John is buried in its own ruins; their angel or bishop removed; and its fair pillars adorn the graves and rotten carcasses of its destroyers, the Turks, who are esteemed about two or three thousand in number. Its other fine church, called Santa Sophia, is turned into a mosque, and daily profaned with the blasphemies of the false prophet. There are not in the whole town above a dozen or fifteen families of miserable Christians, who till the ground to gain their bread, and live in the most abject and sordid servitude.” There is the less reason to wonder at the wretched condition of this church, when we consider what Christ here testifies concerning the corruptions which now prevailed in it, and the threatening denounced against it, if they did not repent, and purge out the destructive leaven.

These things saith he which hath the sharp sword — Coming out of his mouth, with two edges — To wound and pierce the unbelieving and disobedient, and bring them to the footstool of divine mercy for pardon and salvation; and to cut off the impenitent, and especially the persecuting enemies of his church; even that Word, which is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword: I know thy works — I observe them exactly; so as to reward or punish as the case requires: the ministers are commended for what is good, or blamed for what is amiss in their respective churches, because the state thereof depends much upon them, and they will be made accountable, in some measure, for it. And where thou dwellest — What thy situation is, and the circumstances in which thou art placed; even where Satan’s seat is — Fixed in the midst of idolatry, superstition, and persecution, by the union of which the kingdom of darkness is supported. Pergamos was above measure given to idolatry. And thou holdest fast my name — Openly and resolutely confessing me before men; and hast not denied my faith — Any great truth of my gospel; even in those days wherein Antipas — Put to death under Domitian; was my faithful martyr — Laying down his life in attestation of the truth. Happy is he to whom Jesus, the faithful and true Witness, giveth such a testimony! Slain among you, where Satan dwelleth — Seems to take up his residence, as may be inferred from the enormities which are continually practised there.

2:12-17 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.And to the angel of the church in Pergamos - See the notes on Revelation 1:20.

These things saith he which hath the sharp sword, ... - See the notes on Revelation 1:16. Compare Hebrews 4:12; Ecclesiastes 12:11; Isaiah 49:2. Prof. Stuart suggests that when the Saviour, as represented in the vision, "uttered words, as they proceeded from his mouth, the halitus which accompanied them assumed, in the view of John, the form of an igneous two-edged sword." It is more probable, however, that the words which proceeded from his mouth did not assume anything like a form or substance, but John means to represent them as if they were a sharp sword. His words cut and penetrate deep, and it was easy to picture him as having a sword proceeding from his mouth; that is, his words were as piercing as a sharp sword. As he was about to reprove the church at Pergamos, there was a propriety in referring to this power of the Saviour. Reproof cuts deep; and this is the idea represented here.

12. Trench prefers writing Pergamus, or rather, Pergamum, on the river Caicus. It was capital of Attalus the Second's kingdom, which was bequeathed by him to the Romans, 133 B.C. Famous for its library, founded by Eumenes (197-159), and destroyed by Caliph Omar. Parchment, that is, Pergamena charta, was here discovered for book purposes. Also famous for the magnificent temple of Æsculapius, the healing god [Tacitus, Annals, 3.63].

he which hath the sharp sword with two edges—appropriate to His address having a twofold bearing, a searching power so as to convict and convert some (Re 2:13, 17), and to convict and condemn to punishment others (Re 2:14-16, especially Re 2:16; compare also see on [2675]Re 1:16).

Pergamos was a famous city of Troas; we read of Pergamos no where else in Scripture, but of Troas we read of Paul’s being there, Acts 16:8,11 20:5,6, and preaching Christ there, 2 Corinthians 2:12.

These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges: see the notes on Revelation 1:16.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,.... Of the city of Pergamos; see Gill on Revelation 1:11. In it was a church of Christ, but when it begun, and how long it lasted, is not certain. Antipas, who is mentioned, Revelation 2:13; is thought, by some, to have been the pastor of it. Though, according to the Apostolical Constitutions (s), Caius was the first bishop of it; and it appears, that in the "second" century there were several in this place that suffered martyrdom for Christ, as Carpus, Papulus, and a woman whose name was Agathonice (t). Attalus, the martyr, who suffered in the same century, was also a native of this place (u). In the "fifth" century there was a bishop of Pergamos in the council at Ephesus; and in the "sixth" century, there was one in the "fifth" synod at Constantinople; and in the "seventh" century, Theodorus, bishop of the church here, was in the sixth synod held at the same place; and in the "eighth" century one Pastilas was bishop of Pergamos; and in the same age, Basil, bishop of this place, was in the Nicene synod (w); and the Christian name now is not wholly, though almost extinct; for when our countryman, Dr. Smith (x), was there, there was a little church called St. Theodore's, whither a priest was frequently sent from Smyrna, to perform divine service, there being but a very few Christian families in it. This church represents the church from the time of Constantine, and onward, rising up to, and enjoying great power, riches, and honour Pergamos signifies high and lofty; things that were sublime and lofty, were, by the Greeks, called , and also all high and lofty towers (y). It was built under a very high and steep mountain, upon the top of which a tower was erected, by the lords of the lesser Asia, which still continues (z). The church it represents had its principal seat at Rome, where Satan dwelt, Revelation 2:13; which signifies exalted likewise; and it introduces the man of sin, antichrist, the popes of Rome, who exalted themselves above all that is called God, princes, kings, and emperors; whom they excommunicated, dethroned, trod upon their necks, kicked off their crowns, and obliged them to hold their stirrups while they mounted their horses, with other haughty action, too many to name,

These things, saith he, which hath the sharp sword with two edges: of which See Gill on Revelation 1:16; This title is used partly to show, that the only weapon this church, and the true ministers and members of it had, to defend themselves against the growing corruptions of antichrist, who in this interval rose up by degrees, and was revealed, and came to the height of his power, was the word of God, the Scriptures of truth; and partly to show, that in process of time, though not in this period, the man of sin should be destroyed, with the breath of Christ's mouth, and the brightness of his coming; of which his fighting against the Nicolaitans, with the sword of his mouth, Revelation 2:16; is an emblem,

(s) L. 7. c. 46. (t) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 15. (u) Ib. l. 5. c. 1.((w) Hist. Eccl. Magdeburgh. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. (x) Notitia, p. 120. (y) Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1. p. 403, & l. 2. p. 633. Ed Basil. 1586. (z) Smith. Notitia, p. 112.

{11} And to the angel of the church in {d} Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

(11) The third passage is to the pastors of Pergamos. The introduction is taken from Re 1:16.

(d) Pergamos was the name of a famous city of old in Asia, where the kings of the Attalians were always resident.

Revelation 2:12. The designation of Christ[1112] looks forward to the threat, Revelation 2:16.

[1112] Cf. Revelation 1:16.

Revelation 2:12-17. The epistle to the church at Pergamos.

Pergamos or Pergamum in Mysia, on the river Caïcus, not to be confounded with ancient Troy or Pergamum considerably distant to the north,[1102] was distinguished for the temple of Aesculapius, which was regarded as an asylum,[1103] and much visited not only because of its worship, but also because of incubationes[1104] and dream-cures,[1105] vying in glory with the temple of Diana at Ephesus, and the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi,[1106] as well as for its library. By the will of the last and childless King Attalus, this rich place[1107] tell to the Romans. According to Pliny,[1108] Pergamos was the seat of a Roman supreme court. The present Bergamo contains many relics of the ancient city. The earliest record of the Christian church at Pergamos is this in the Apoc. In conformity with Revelation 2:13, Tertullian[1109] speaks of Antipas the martyr. Eusebius,[1110] after having treated of Polycarp of Smyrna, makes mention of the martyrs in Pergamos, Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonice. The “doctores” mentioned by N. de Lyra held Carpus to be the bishop to whom John wrote. Others call the bishop of Thyatira by that name.[1111]

[1102] Against C. a Lap., Tir.

[1103] Tacitus, Annal., iii. 63.

[1104] [The spending of nights in the temple of Aesculapius as an act of gratitude for some deliverance. Smith’s Dictionary Greek and Roman Antiquities, p. 376b.]

[1105] Herodian, Hist., iv. 8. Cf. K.F. Hermann, Lehrbuch d. gottesdienstl. Alterth. d. Griechen, Heidelb., 1846, § 41.

[1106] Cf. Wetst.

[1107] Hor., I., Od. i. 12; II., Od. xviii. 5.

[1108] H. N., v. 33: “Pergamos, by far the most renowned of Asia.—The jurisdiction of that district is called Pergamean. To it belong the inhabitants of Thyatira, and other less honored states.”

[1109] Adv. Gnost. scorp., 12.

[1110] H. E., iv. 15.

[1111] Revelation 2:18. Cf. Alcas., C. a Lap.

Revelation 2:12-17. The message to Pergamos, the Benares or Lourdes of the province.

The Church in Pergamos. 12–17

12. he which hath the sharp sword] Mentioned because He threatens to use it, Revelation 2:16.

Verses 12-17. - The epistle to the Church at Pergamum. Verse 12. - Pergamum is the usual form both in Greek and Latin writers; "Pergamus" is very rare. And if Πέργαμος were right here, why "Pergamos" any more than "Ephesos"? The city lies north of Smyrna, in Mysia Major, or the right bank of the Caicus. Pergamum is first mentioned by Xenophon, and becomes important and magnificent under Attalus, the friend of the Romans (B.C. 241-197), and his son Eumenes (B.C. 196-159). Its library was second only to that of Alexandria; but Mark Antony took it to Egypt and gave it to Cleopatra. Parchment gets its name from Pergamum, and Galen the physician was born there. Pliny writes of "longe clarissimum Asiae Pergamum" - a description which probably has reference to its buildings. It still exists under the slightly changed name of Bergamah, or Bergma; and its ruins still tell of the magnificent public edifices which have caused it to be described as a "city of temples," and again as "a sort of union of a pagan cathedral city, a university town, and a royal residence." Its idolatrous rites were frequent and various, and the contamination which they spread is manifest from this epistle. The sharp two-edged sword (see notes on Revelation 1:16 and Revelation 2:13). How much this weapon is needed is shown by the evils protested against. Revelation 2:12Pergamos

The proper form of the name is Pergamum. It was situated in Teuthrania in Mysia, in a district watered by three rivers, by one of which it communicated with the sea. The original city was built on a lofty hill, which afterward became the citadel as houses sprang up around its base. The local legends attached a sacred character to the place, which, together with its natural strength, made it a place of deposit for royal treasure. The city was mainly indebted to Eumenes II.((b.c. 197-159) for its embellishment and extension. In addition to walks and public buildings, he founded the library, which contained two-hundred-thousand volumes, and was second only to that of Alexandria. The kingdom of Pergamum became a Roman province b.c. 130; but the city continued to flourish, so that Pliny styled it by far the most illustrious of Asia. All the main roads of Western Asia converged there. Pergamum was celebrated for the manufacture of ointments, pottery, tapestries, and parchment, which derives its name (charta Pergamena) from the city. It contained a celebrated and much-frequented temple of Aesculapius, who was worshipped in the form of a living serpent fed in the temple. Hence Aesculapius was called the God of Pergamum, and on the coins struck by the town he often appears with a rod encircled by a serpent. The great glory of the city was the Nicephorium, a grove of great beauty containing an assemblage of temples. The city has been described as a sort of union of a pagan cathedral-city, a university-town, and a royal residence, embellished during a succession of years by kings who all had a passion for expenditure and ample means of gratifying it. The streams which embraced the town irrigated the groves of Nicephorium and of Aesculapius, in which flourished the licentious rites of pagan antiquity. The sacred character of the city appears in coins and inscriptions which described the Pergamenes by the title claimed by the worshippers of Diana at Ephesus, νεωκόροι temple-sweepers or sacristans.

The sharp sword with two edges

See on Revelation 1:16.

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