Revelation 2:11 says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” When I was in Bible College, I had a teacher that used to tell us preacher boys that God gave us two ears and one mouth because we were meant to listen twice as much as we spoke.” That’s some pretty good advice. I wish more people would take it to heart. That’s including, at times myself.
In this verse we also come to the second promise of salvation to him who overcomes. He will not be hurt by the second death. The second death is spoke of again in Revelation 20:6 where it says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” What is the second death? While all men, short of the rapture, will die a first time in this life: only those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will not suffer the second death which will occur after the Great White Throne judgment. This death will result in the one who has not placed their faith in Jesus Christ being cast into the Lake of Fire to never see or experience the presence of God again. It’s been said that if a person is born once (physically) they will die twice (physically and spiritually). If a person is born twice (physically and spiritually) they will die once (physically). My physical birth happened on September 26, 1966. My spiritual birth took place while I was a nine year old boy attending a revival service in Greenville, South Carolina. Those two births assure me that I will only die a physical death, but never a spiritual one. How about you? How many birthdays do you have?
Now let’s look at verse 12 where it says, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” Again, we must remember that the names of these churches have much to do with the situations they were in at the time. The first Church of Ephesus, had left its first love and thus its name meant "desirable” or “first love". The second Church of Smyrna, was under deadly persecution and thus its name meant Myrrh which was a spice used in the embalming process.
Now we come to the Church of Pergamos. This is where I want you to put your thinking caps on for a minute. We are going to break the word down. "Per" means "mixed or objectionable." "Gamos" means “marriage or wedded”. For example, “polygamy” means married to many and monogamy means married to one.
So Pergamos means "mixed or objectionable marriage." We will see as we read the letter that Jesus accuses Pergamos of compromise because it married the world. This is the church of compromise. It’s the church that originated the phrase, “Why can’t we all just love each other and get along?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that statement. Yes, the Bible does teach that we are to love one another and “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18). However, the Bible also says in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
As a pastor, I have been forced to make some decisions in regards to who our church was to have fellowship with. Many of them were long, drawn-out, painful, and prayerful decisions. In the end, old relationships were sometimes broken and new ones were formed. However, all of them were made based upon the clear teaching of the Word of God. There is not nearly as much “guess work” in the Bible as many would have us to believe!
So, the Church of Pergamos was the compromising church. It was the church that had “married” the world and God certainly saw that as “mixed or objectionable. I remember hearing one time that the boat is okay in the ocean as long as the ocean doesn’t come into the boat. Unfortunately, that’s the story with not only the Church of Pergamos, but also many churches today. Next time, we’ll take a closer look at that sharp sword with two edges and how God intends to use it.