Even though Christ starts out reminding them that
He alone holds the sword of truth and justice, there is room for commendation
to those who have upheld their faith, even in the face of living within an area
that was almost totally run over with evil.
Pergamum was the center of worship for four of the principle
deities of the region. Temples dedicated to Athena, Asklepios,
Dionysos, and Zeus were located there. But Pergamum, more then that, was devoted to the
cult of emperor worship. The first
temple devoted to emperor worship was built there in 29 B.C., in honor of
Emperor Augustus. Later, the city built
two more temples, honoring the emperors Trajan and Septimus
Severus. The city was the center of
emperor worship in the province, and there, more than in any other city,
Christians were in danger of harm from the emperor worship cult.
And it was for this reason that it is called the seat
of Satan’s power, his throne, as it were.
Evil was rampant there.
The reference to Antipas occurs only in this
passage, but implied is his martyrdom because he did not compromise his
Christian principles and was put to death because of that.
The word, ‘martus,’ means
The rest of the letter to Pergamum deals with their
compromise of Christian principles in favor of worldliness, and therefore
within that context we can easily conclude that Antipas did not compromise. For that he paid the ultimate price.
Others likewise held on to their principles, did
not bow down to the emperor, and were most likely executed or at the very least