and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation
by John Daniel
Philologos Religious Online Books
Secret Societies and
Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation
Transcription of seven 1-hour audio cassette messages
by John Daniel, author of "Scarlet and the Beast"
The Secret Society at the Church of Pergamos
Tape 2 | Introduction | Tape 4
Hello, I'm John Kreigel, President of JKI Publishing. Before we begin this series of seven messages on the seven churches of Revelation, I want to give you a brief overview of God's plan for mankind as recorded in Scripture. This will help you better understand the purpose behind these seven messages.
There is a battle between God and Satan. It's not an eternal battle for Scripture prophesies the end of Satan. God is the victor over evil in the past, the present and the future. The devil knows this, but he continues the war against God anyway in hopes of putting off the inevitable. His mode of operation is to form secret societies to conspire against God and man.
Satan was once Lucifer, the mighty archangel. Scripture tells us that he first conspired with 1/3 of the angels to dethrone God. As a result, there was war in heaven and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven onto the earth where Lucifer became Satan, the Adversary. On earth, the Adversary's battle continued for the souls of mankind. God warned Adam and Eve in advance not to join Satan's rebellion or they would die. Satan deceived Eve with the promise of godhood; Eve recruited Adam and together they joined Satan's rebellion. Because of their disobedience, God could no longer fellowship with Adam and Eve, hence the human race was doomed to both a physical and spiritual death unless God intervened.
In love of, and infinite mercy for His creation, God set in motion a redemption plan. In Genesis 3:15 God announced His plan to Satan; God would destroy Satan through a Redeemer born of the seed of a woman which is interpreted to mean, born of a virgin. The development of the seed plot is recorded throughout the entire Old Testament. The Redeemer would be of Hebrew race, born of the tribe of Judah, through the kingly line of David. To the Jews of the Old Testament, he was known as the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah. The New Testament records the culmination of God's plan. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God's seed was miraculously placed in the womb of a virgin, her name was Mary, of the lineage of King David.
When the Messiah ("Christ" in Greek) was born, Mary named him Jesus which means "Savior." Jesus Christ, the Savior Messiah of the human race was both deity and man, God incarnate. In this form, God would pay the penalty for mankind's sin of rebellion by His own death. Christ's ministry on earth, His life, His death, burial and resurrection, completed the redemption plan for mankind.
However, the redemption plan is not a blanket amnesty for mankind. Every person must choose to accept or reject the plan. Only those who accept the plan are redeemed to eternal life. To carry the good news of this redemption plan throughout earth, Jesus Christ founded the Church. The Church is not a building, it's not a corporation. It is a body of believers in Christ who have been given the task to spread the good news that the human race is no longer doomed to eternal separation from God, that if they repent of their rebellion against the Almighty and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they will have eternal life. The finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary defeated Satan.
Satan's ultimate doom, however, is prophesied not to occur until after the end of the Church Age. Therefore, to prolong his life, the Adversary fights to extend the Church Age. With those who rejected the redemption plan, Satan conspired to form secret societies to infiltrate the Church for the express purpose of slowing the progress of evangelism. The record of this conspiracy is recorded in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
John Daniel, author of the best-selling trilogy "Scarlet and the Beast" is both author and narrator of these series of seven audiocassette messages entitled "Secret Societies and Their Infiltration of the Seven Churches of Revelation."
Now, here is John Daniel.
Turn in your Bible to Revelation chapter 2. We'll be reading from the old King James version.
In our last study we learned that the Smyrna church period suffered almost 300 years of martyrdom under ten Roman emperors beginning with Nero in 67 AD and ending with Diocletian in 303 AD. The apostle John suffered during the second wave of persecution under Domitian in 81 AD. Christians brought before this emperor were given a chance to live if they would renounce their faith. John refused and was sentenced to be boiled in oil. Miraculously John survived and was exiled to the island of Patmos. It was on Patmos that he wrote the book of Revelation in 96 AD as revealed to him by the risen Savior.
In Revelation 1:11 Christ told John to send the book to seven churches in Asia Minor which were located at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Many Bible scholars believe that hidden within the names of these seven cities and manifested in the characteristics of the seven churches in these cities are prophesied seven distinct church periods from John's day to our day. So far, we have confirmed this in our study of the first two churches. There we witnessed by scripture and in history that persecution was the result of the failure to evangelize. In the first century Ephesian church, preaching the gospel was their first love so Satan sent false apostles to infiltrate the church to slow the progress of evangelism. These deceivers belonged to a secret society of Gnostics who not only denied the deity of Christ but taught pagan licentious living as a way to gain salvation. During the latter half of the Ephesian church period the Gnostic crisis was so great that the church forsook evangelism to defend the faith. Defending the faith at the expense of evangelism closed the first church period and opened the second. This was prophesied by Christ when he warned the first church that if it did not return to its first love of evangelism, he would take away their candlestick. The Smyrna church period was fulfillment of that prophecy.
Almost three centuries of martyrdom ravaged that time in church history in an attempt to extinguish the light of the gospel. The persecutors were the same heretics cast out by the Ephesian church. They plotted their murders from behind the walls of secret societies that Christ called "the synagogue of Satan, those who say they are Jews but are not." This code name will identify all secret societies that have infiltrated and will continue to infiltrate the church throughout the church age. During the Smyrna church period I suggested that the synagogue of Satan was the Eleusinian Mysteries, a precursor of modern Freemasonry. And like Freemasonry today, the predominant Gentile membership of the Gnostic Eleusinian Mysteries were given the title Jew upon completion of that initiation.
So we see in the characteristics of the first two churches of Asia Minor a prophecy of those same characteristics in the first two church periods. This process will be repeated in the next five churches. What is most significant in our study of the seven churches is Christ's personal message to each individual Christian. Our risen Savior says that there is an eternal occupation awaiting the Christian that overcomes the obstacle inherent within each of the seven churches. This suggests that not only were the characteristics of the seven local churches in Asia Minor a prophecy of seven church periods throughout the church age, they were also a prophecy of seven characteristics inherent in the lives of individual Christians. Hence, our study of each of the seven churches will be divided into these three segments: First, we shall relate the characteristics of each local church in each Asia Minor city to what we know historically of that ancient city and church. Second, we shall relate those same characteristics to a church period that from our perspective today we can prove historically had those same characteristics. Finally, we shall relate the characteristics of each church to each individual Christian. As a Christian, where do you fit into the prophetic picture? The answer is found in your Christian characteristic. Therefore, of that characteristic which best fits you in your own spiritual walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, take particular note for that characteristic is developing you for your eternal occupation in the New Heaven and New Earth so long as you overcome the obstacle the secret societies have placed before you to hinder your part in the spread of the gospel.
Now let's look at the third period of church history prophetically named after the city of Pergamos. Revelation 2:12-17:
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
In each of the seven churches Christ first addressed their works. At Ephesus they had two works: first was evangelism and second was defending the faith. Both were commended by Christ but he preferred the church return to its first work of evangelism. At Smyrna, Christ again addressed the works of the church which consisted of submission to tribulation, poverty and death all without renouncing their Christian faith. Now at Pergamos, Christ is once again addressing the works of Christians which works are relative to where they live. They lived in the wickedest city on earth where Satan himself had set up headquarters. Here are our Savior's words to this church: "I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is." The problem the church at Pergamos faced is defined in the city's name which means "mixed marriage." As capital of Asia Minor, Pergamos was a city of mixed religions from all over the world and it was a city whose politics were married to the state religion of emperor worship. Living in Pergamos would indeed test the faith of Christians for a mixed marriage of religion and state is a marriage made in hell. When Satan was cast out of heaven, he set up headquarters on the earth. The location of his headquarters had always been at the center of political and military power. Hence, as one world power conquered another, Satan's seat moved to the new ascending world power. To control that world power, Satan merged his mystery religion with the state. If subjects of that state wanted to prosper they worshipped in the state religion.
The first post-flood headquarters of Satan is mentioned in Genesis 10:8-11 and Genesis 11:1-9. It was under the leadership of an historically obscure individual named Nimrod who with his father Cush built ancient Babylon and its infamous tower. Babylon was the first post-flood world power to merge both religion and state. In that system Nimrod was honored as king and worshipped as a god. In my book "Scarlet and the Beast" I tell of a righteous ruler who after defeating Nimrod in battle immediately made it hazardous to worship in this licentious Babylonian religion. This forced the followers of Nimrod to develop a form of worship that required secret initiation into its most profound rites. Hence the phrase "mystery religion" or "secret society" originated at Babylon where religion was first married to the state. Revelation chapter 17 defines the end-time manifestation of this mixed marriage of religion and state. It's called Mystery Babylon and the beast. Henceforth I shall refer to the union of religion and state as the Babylonian System.
When Nimrod's followers were forced to worship in secret, Satan developed a counterfeit of the true religion to deceive new converts. A description of this counterfeit is found in Zechariah chapter 5. Verse 6 of that chapter reads "This is their resemblance through all the earth." When taken in context with the two previous chapters of Zechariah 3 and 4, this verse in chapter 5 is in reference to a resemblance of Solomon's Temple. This Old Testament prophet has documented for us that after the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity, Satan's Gentile Mystery Religions took on Judaic character. Five hundred years later, Christ refers to them as "the synagogue of Satan."
Satan's political system is mentioned in Revelation 12 and is made up of seven heads and ten horns. We know that the seven heads are seven historic Gentile world powers. As each power in succession rose and fell, Satan's seat moved to the new ascending world power. Each of these world powers had a profound yet singular effect on Israel. In my book I list the seven historic powers as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and Nazi Germany. Revelation 17:11 states that the beast empire of the Apocalypse will be the eighth and final world power and will come out of one of the seven. Now when John was writing the book of Revelation he mentioned in chapter 17:9-10 that he was living in the time of the sixth head which would be the Roman Empire. When Christ told John that Satan's seat was in Pergamos, there's no contradiction for Pergamos at that time was both the capital city of Asia Minor and the religious center of the Roman Empire. In fact, we can prove historically that Satan's seat had been in Pergamos for three centuries before John's writing and remained there during the first part of the Pergamos church period. As proof, in the second century BC when the vile Attilus III, the priest/king of the Chaldean hierarchy fled before the conquering Persians to Pergamos, Satan shifted his capital from Babylon to Pergamos. All Babylonian kings were spiritual successors of Nimrod, the founder of secret societies and like Nimrod they wore a crown of bull horns. Attilus II was no exception. His middle name was Turokaron (ph) which in Greek means "bull horned." As a representative of Nimrod, Attilus brought the Babylonian System with him where he was both king and worshipped as a god. Satan's seat was still in Asia Minor at the opening of the Pergamos church period when in 324 AD Constantine began to reign as emperor of the Roman Empire from Constantinople which is modern Istanbul. By the end of the Pergamos church period, Satan's headquarters had moved to Rome. Why would Satan who virtually controlled the East with his pagan religions move his headquarters West to Pergamos and then to Rome? To help answer these questions we shall first look at the failure of the apostles to evangelize the East, then we shall consider their success in the West.
It's believed that the majority of the apostles went East to spread the gospel of Christ. Peter may have gone to Babylon because at the end of his first epistle he salutes his readers from the church at Babylon. Some believe this Babylon is a figure of speech in reference to Rome. According to Dr. Stuart McBirney (ph) in his book "The Search of the Twelve Apostles," there is evidence that Peter may have journeyed to Babylon in 44 AD but didn't stay long nor did the church prosper there. Peter did end up in Rome, however, for it was in Rome that he was crucified upside down. Andrew may have preached in the area of the Black Sea. Philip ministered in Sythia (ph). James, a son of Zebedee, is said to have preached to the scattered Jews in India; if so, his ministry there was short-lived because he was martyred in Jerusalem in 44 AD. Likewise, Bartholomew is said to have gone to India for only a short while, then to Armenia where he preached for 16 years. James, brother of Matthew, founded a church in Armenia. Jude likewise preached in that country. Matthew went to Persia which is modern Iran. The most successful apostle to the East was Thomas who founded seven churches in southern India. There he was martyred by Hindu priests.
With this powerful missionary movement to the East, why would Satan move his headquarters West? I suggest the answer is found in the history of the church in the East for it never got off the ground. What churches did survive remained small and weak. Satan may have anticipated this since he had such a demonic hold on Eastern peoples, his system there was secure. Hence, Satan left the East to set up his throne in the West to check-mate the advance of the gospel to the West. I believe there is scriptural ground for this viewpoint. We know that the apostle Paul desired to preach in the East but was forbidden of the Holy Spirit. Acts 16:6-10 records a vision in which Paul was called to preach to the West: "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them."
On this passage Dr. E. Skyler English wrote:
The Holy Spirit was guiding his servants. He showed them where to go and also where not to go. If they had gone East instead of West the whole story of the church and civilization would be different today. Then perhaps Europe and America would be in darkness and paganism while China and Japan and India might now be so-called Christian nations.
We know that Christ gave the command to preach the gospel worldwide. Isaiah prophesied this with the following words of the Lord in Isaiah 45:6 "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me." Again, in Isaiah 59:19 the prophet writes "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." The enemy is Satan. He came in like a flood when he moved his headquarters from the East to the West. Scripture prophesies that when he would make this move the Holy Spirit shall set up a standard against him in the West. That standard can only be the church. Perhaps this is why the Holy Spirit constrained Paul and his band of missionaries from going East, because Satan had set up a headquarters in the West at Pergamos. I also believe that the location of the seven churches have prophetic significance to the Westward movement of the church.
In your Bible turn to the map of Asia Minor, find the cities of the seven churches then take a pencil and connect them with one line. The shape is an arrowhead pointing Northwest. At the tip of the arrowhead is Pergamos where Satan had established his headquarters. If traveling by land, Pergamos is the Western-most city of the seven churches as if to announce to Christendom that throughout church history Satan would be on the Western edge of the advance of the church to hinder it from spreading the gospel farther West. The historic fact remains that Christianity rapidly moved West and not East and in advance of it was Satan's powerful Babylonian System of a mixed marriage of religion and state in an endless attempt to prevent the spread of the gospel. When we expand this concept to the broader Pergamos church period, we find Satan's seat moved from Asia Minor to Rome, again, the Western edge of Christianity at that time. This enables us to precisely date the beginning of the Pergamos church period at 312 AD when Roman General Constantine began his bid for the imperial throne. In 324 AD when Constantine came to power, he decreed an end to persecution by legally sanctioning Christian worship. He then performed the mixed marriage of church and state by decreeing Christianity the state religion. We date the end of the Pergamos church period at 606 AD, the year Boniface III was crowned the first universal pope.
To understand the wickedness of Satan's seat is to comprehend the significance of Christ's commendation of the Pergamos church. Follow as I again read our Savior's words of commendation in Revelation 2:13 "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." Christ's commendation has two parts: holding fast to his name and not denying his faith. The first implies that the key battleground was once again the deity of Jesus Christ. In a city devoted to many gods, in a city demanded emperor worship to hold fast the name of Christ was indeed commendable. The question "who is god?" was at the heart of the struggle. The resounding answer faithfully preached by the church "Christ is God incarnate, the Lord of all, the king of Kings, his name is above every name!" Holding fast to his name was central to their faith. Pergamos believers never let go of the basic doctrine of Christianity that Christ is God incarnate.
The second part of Christ's commendation is that they had not denied his faith even in those days when Antipas was Christ's faithful martyr. This implies that even under pain of martyrdom the Pergamos church held strong to the faith of Christ. Although the faith of Christ and the deity of Christ are related, there is significant difference between the two. Whereas the deity of Christ centers on who he is, the faith of Christ centers on our unbending trust in him because of who he is. The key word to the faith in Christ is "denied." The Pergamos church had not denied the faith of Christ. Denied in Greek means "a verbal or written disavowing, rejection or renunciation of the Christian faith." At what time in church history were Christians faced with a verbal or written renunciation of their faith in exchange for life? Christ gave the answer when he said "thou hast not denied my faith even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr who was slain among you." Antipas was most likely the pastor of the local church at Pergamos. Historically we know that he was the first martyr of Asia Minor. The method by which he met his demise is more barbaric than any mentioned in our previous study. According to tradition he was slowly roasted to death in a bronze kettle during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian. As you recall, Domitian began the second wave of persecution in 81 AD. Christians who stood before this savage ruler were given a chance to live if they would renounce their faith. The test was an oath they had to take during renunciation. When they refused to deny their faith in written or spoken word even under penalty of inhumane death, Christ commended them.
Christ, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, was not only addressing the local Pergamos church, he was also projecting his message to the future Pergamos church period that would make the transition from three centuries of martyrdom to peace. From that vantage point of peace, Christ looked back to the Smyrna church period and said to the Pergamos church period "thou hast not denied my faith even in those days." By using the word "even" in reference to the past, Christ implied that they also remained true to their faith in these days, that is, in the days of the new emerging Pergamos church period when persecution had ceased and the church married the state. Now let's see if history confirms this prophecy.
During persecution the church is purified because cowardly heretics renounce Christianity and join the persecutors. During peace-time, however, heretics return to once again plague the church with their heresy. And so it was in the transition from the Smyrna church period to the Pergamos church period. In 324 AD when Constantine ascended the imperial throne of Rome, he immediately sanctioned Christian worship which put an end to persecution. With this freedom came a new wave of secret society heretics to once again infiltrate the church. They were the descendants of the same Gnostics who plagued the first church period. This time, their heresy is historically called Arianism which like all the other heresies before them, denied the deity of Christ. Arianism is named after its founder Arius who taught that Jesus Christ was not part of God but created by God, therefore, Arianism denied the deity of Christ. This is similar to the heresy that Cerinthus tried to impose on the Ephesus church that Christ did not exist before Mary.
In Revelation 2:16 Christ warned the Pergamos church period how he would deal with both the church and the heretics "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." Notice that Christ will come unto THEE, meaning the church, but fight against THEM, meaning the heretics. His coming unto the church is a judicial coming to cleanse the church of heresies by fighting the heretics with the sword of his mouth. In Revelation 1:16 this sword coming out of Christ's mouth is a two-edged sword and is one of his characteristics. In Revelation 19:15 when Christ returns to earth in judgment, commonly known as the second coming of Christ, he smites the nations with the sword out of his mouth. Ephesians 6:17 informs us that this two-edged sword is the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 testifies to the power of this word "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
How does the sword out of Christ's mouth relate to the heresy of Arianism? Simply, that God's word was the sword that won the battle against the heretic Arius. The debate for and against Arianism was held in the summer of 325 AD at the first great council of the church held in Nicea which is in modern Turkey. Present were about 1,500 delegates. The laymen outnumbered the bishops five to one. It was a stormy council of intrigue and political bargains. From time-to-time Emperor Constantine himself had to step in and quell the storm. The word of God wielded against the heretics by the defenders of the faith once again proved its power. One example is recounted by Dr. Harry Ironside in his book entitled "Lectures on the Book of Revelation":
At one point in the debate when the heretic Arius seemed to have stopped the opposition, a black hermit from the deserts of Africa sprang to his feet and ripped off his tiger skin cloak. Bearing his upper torso to the assembly, he marched up and down the aisles revealing his dreadfully disfigured body from having been thrown to the wild beasts in an amphitheatre during the last persecutions. He cried out again and again, "These are the brand-marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot bare this blasphemy!"
The hermit proceeded to give so stirring an address, setting forth clearly by scripture the truth as to Christ's eternal deity, that the majority of the council realized in a moment that it was indeed the voice of the Holy Spirit. All it took was the obedient voice of one man wielding the two-edged sword of holy scripture to turn the tide. That faithful day Christ's prophecy was fulfilled. The sword from his mouth, the powerful word of God was wielded against Arius and the heretic with his heresy was vanquished. The council then labored on writing the standard of faith for Christendom, known ever since as the Nicene Creed, a standard that continues to be held high in most churches to this day. When completed, it was read to that great assembly. Listen to the doctrine of our faith as I read the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God by God, light by light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
After the Nicene Creed was read to the 1,500 delegates it was time to vote for acceptance or rejection. In holding to the Roman democratic procedure, the vote consisted of casting white or black stones into a drum. White stones represented positive votes to uphold the creed, while black stones were negative votes in opposition to the creed. When the drum was overturned the black stones were insignificant to the blinding reflection of light. For this positive vote, Christ commended the church for holding fast his name and not denying his faith. Although the council upheld the faith of Christ, the bargaining between delegates to get a positive vote consolidated what Constantine had already begun, the supremacy of the clergy over the laity.
This fulfills one portion of Christ's condemnation of the Pergamos church. Found in Revelation 2:14,15 "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate." As you recall from our first study, Nicolaitane means "to conquer the laity." Throughout the Pergamos church period we witness a steady rise in the power of the clergy. In the earlier years, all the leaders of the church came to power through a democratic process of voting with black and white stones. Voters ranged from politicians in the Roman Senate to ordinary lay folk who warmed the pews. In the latter years of the Pergamos church, however, the Nicolaitanes made their bid for a complete overthrow of the laity. Dr. Malachi Martin tells the story in his book entitled "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church." I quote Dr. Martin:
At the Roman Senate of 499 AD were 25 of the clergy signed in as cardinal-priests. Pope Symmachus endeavored to get rid of the political influences by excluding the Senate and ordinary lay folk. Symmachus laid down the law that only the clergy of Rome may elect the new pope. In time, popes would claim absolute, complete and supreme imperial power over all men. In time, a council of stern bishops would declare the pope to be above and beyond the reach of any mere council of bishops.
So you see that what Constantine had initiated in the overthrow of the laity, was first prophesied by Christ and our Savior wasn't pleased with this self-appointed hierarchy. Now Constantine's courtship with the church began before he came to power. As a Roman general contending for the position of emperor after the death of Galerius, he allegedly saw a vision of a fiery cross in the sky and heard a voice say "In this sign, conquer." Some doubt that this vision was from God since the symbol of the cross became the first of many idols the next church period of Thyatira bowed down to. Others claim that the cross was in the shape of a pagan symbol used by a secret society that infiltrated the Thyatira church period. You'll be the judge as we progress to that study. What is agreed to is the fact that Constantine opened the Pergamos church period, a period in church history of the mixed marriage of church and state and a mixture of pagan doctrines with church doctrine. The name Pergamos, as you recall, means "mixed marriage."
The city of Pergamos in Asia Minor set the standard for the broader Pergamos church period for not only was it a city of mixed religions and mixed doctrines, it was also a city where religion and state were married. Constantine would continue this tradition. In 312 AD when Constantine began contending for the imperial throne, he also began his courtship with the church. He offered Miltiedes (ph) (who was bishop of Rome) lands, buildings and a Christianity sanctioned and propagated by civil and military power. Miltiedes accepted the lands and buildings but rejected the notion that Christianity be made a state religion. Two years later the frail bishop died. Shortly thereafter, laymen lost a voice in church affairs. One example is in the selection of Sylvester as the next leader of the church following the death of Miltiedes. Constantine assembled the general membership of Christians and simply told them: "The bishops, deacons, and I have chosen to approve of Sylvester as the successor to Miltiedes and to Peter the apostle as representative of Jesus the Christ." The assembly of Christians confirmed the emperor's choice. Nicolaitanism re-entered the church in the year 314 AD. Sylvester, the first bishop of Rome to be crowned like a temporal prince, accepted an alliance between church and state. His justification was the new opportunity he saw for the church. It could spread by means of Roman roads, Roman arms, Roman law, Roman power; the world would entirely belong to Jesus. Besides thought Sylvester: "No one knows when Christ will reappear so why not make straight the way of the Lord?" After his coronation, Sylvester sat down in the Lateran Palace with Constantine. The Roman Emperor made a full confession of his whole life, asking for Sylvester's advice and the forgiveness of Christ for his sins. The emperor then gave the church a number of buildings called basilicas used in ancient Rome as courts of justice or places of public assembly. When converted into churches, Constantine donated large sums of money to lavishly decorate them. At the far end of the entrance of each basilica was a semicircular, vaulted recess. Constantine built lofty thrones under the vaulted recesses then outfitted the bishops with costly robes. The bishops piously sat on their thrones, gazing down at a packed church. Below was the altar, adorned with gold and gems. What an opportunity to preach the gospel of salvation to all those lost souls who had been ordered by the state to attend church. But alas, they mixed pagan practices with their ceremonies and a sensual form of worship was introduced. As a result, the character of preaching changed and evangelism suffered. Sylvester had taken the first step towards a state church.
Eventually, imperial and pagan titles would be given to the bishops of Rome. One example is in the title of the high priest of the cult of Magi that Attilus III brought from Babylon to Pergamos. This high priest held the title of Chief Bridge-Builder meaning "the one who spans the gap between the mortals and the gods." In Latin this title is written Pontifex Maximus or Pontiff for short, and was taken by Constantine in 325 AD. The emperor also became known as the Vicar of Christ and the Bishop of Bishops. After his death and continuing to this day, these three titles are retained by the popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Giving a church leader the title Pontiff or Vicar of Christ is contrary to scripture. For in 1 Timothy 2:5 we read "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Less offensive pagan practices that entered the Pergamos church period were pagan holidays such as Christmas and Easter. In the early church the birth of Christ was not celebrated, only his death, burial and resurrection. Christmas was first a pagan holiday called the Winter Solstice which honored the birth of the sun-god on December 25th. Easter, the date in spring when we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, was first celebrated by the third century Christians as Pesach or the Passover. Although not an apostolic institution, Pesach was observed by many professing Christians. Pesach was not idolatrous nor was it preceded by Lent. Lent, or the 40 days of abstinence before Easter, was directly borrowed from the worship of Ishtar, the licentious Assyrian goddess of love. Her fertility was represented by a decorated egg called the "Ishtar egg." Tammuz, her husband who was the Assyrian form of the pagan Nimrod who founded Babylon, was judicially put to death in the spring of the year for a great offense committed against the gods. Ishtar mourned his death for 40 days. This pagan ritual when adopted by the church at the Council of Aurelea (ph) in 519 AD, reversed the period of 40 days of mourning to precede the commemorated date of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. In England, Lent was celebrated in March and April, the end of which is Easter. Easter is the English name for the pagan and licentious goddess Ishtar.
Constantine's motive behind the marriage of paganism with Christianity was more political than religious. When he selected Christianity as the state religion, all Christendom bowed to his authority whereas pagans were continually raising insurrections in various parts of the empire. Consequently, in 324 AD and frequently afterwards, Constantine issued edicts against paganism forcing pagans by the sword to be baptized. To make sure his orders were upheld by the courts, pagans were banished from the bench and replaced by Christians. As a result of forced baptism without repentance, many pagan practices were mixed with church doctrine. Following are four: worship of saints and angels in 375 AD; worship of Mary begun in 431 AD; doctrine of purgatory introduced in 593 AD; and prayers directed to Mary in 600 AD.
Another doctrine that entered the church as a result of the marriage of church and state was postmillennialism. Although not heretical, it did cause Christians of the Pergamos church period to abandon the doctrine of the eminent return of Christ. The founder of postmillennialism was Augustine, Bishop of Hippo from 395 AD to 430 AD. As Augustine saw the church become rich and powerful, he spiritualized the millennium suggesting that by the union of church and state a condition of affairs would develop that would usher in the millennium without the return of Christ. Since support from scripture was needed for such a doctrine, the church was made to be spiritual Israel. It was taught that the Jews had been cut off forever and that all the prophecies of Israel's future were intended for the church after which Christ would return to destroy the wicked at the great White Throne Judgment. But did Christ intend for the church to be God's temporal kingdom on earth?
In Mark 1:14-15 Christ preached to the Jews that the kingdom of God is at hand but was this meant to be a temporal kingdom? The answer is given by Christ himself in Luke 17:20-21. There he informs the Pharisees that "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Then in Luke 16:16 Christ's statement about the kingdom of God is futuristic: "The law and the prophets were until John:" meaning John the Baptist, "since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." When the church was founded at Pentecost, the kingdom of God was preached as a spiritual kingdom with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reigning in our hearts as king of our lives. This is what Christ meant when he told the Pharisees "the kingdom of God is within you." One day there will be a temporal kingdom of God, but not until after the tribulation. Mark 14:25 and Revelation 20:4 both report that the temporal kingdom of God is when Christ physically returns in judgment then literally reigns on earth for 1,000 years as king of Kings and lord of Lords.
When Constantine married the church to the state it was against the plan and will of God. What happened as a result was prophesied in Christ's condemnation of the Pergamos church. Found in Revelation 2:14-15 I quote our Savior as saying "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate." We shall first look at Christ's condemnation in light of the local church at Pergamos, then broaden it to cover the Pergamos church period.
Of the seven cities mentioned in Revelation, Pergamos was indeed the most wicked for Satan's seat was established there. As its name implies, Pergamos was a city of mixed religions and temples. In fact, a title held by the inhabitants of Pergamos was "chief temple-keepers of Asia." Behind the city was a cone shaped mountain rising 1,000 feet above sea level which in John's day was covered with heathen temples. Towering above all the temples and visible for miles around was a giant altar to Zeus, the Grecian father of the gods. The city was also headquarters of the serpent god, Asklepios and like Smyrna, Pergamos had erected a temple to the Roman emperor. The most prominent religious system of the city and most likely the one that plagued the local church for what Christ had condemned it, was the worship of Bacchus, the Greek god of revelry and licentious orgies. The annual drunken feast held in the spring in honor of Bacchus called the Bacchanalia included eating meat sacrificed to idols and climaxed in a sexual frenzy. To give us a modern flare of the gala festivities and the drunken orgies that were performed in this city-wide carnival, Mardi Gras has its roots in the Bacchanalia.
Apparently two heretic groups, the Balaamites and the Nicolaitanes, were permitted to teach as church doctrine that it was okay to attend the festivities of the Bacchanalia and even participate in the orgies that followed. We know who the Nicolaitanes are. During the Ephesus church period, they arrogantly styled themselves Gnostics; they claimed to be superior to Peter or Paul or any of Christ's other disciples. They alone had drunk up the supreme knowledge, are above principalities and powers, secure of salvation and for that very reason they were free to debauch women or indulge in all manner of licentiousness. They further claimed that this knowledge is of itself perfect redemption and sufficient. The doctrine of the Balaamites can be found in Numbers chapter 22-25. Balaam was a pagan priest who practiced his magical arts around the area of Babylon during the time Israel was entering the Promised Land. He was hired by Balac, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites. When God restrained Balaam, the wicked priests suggested to Balac that he invite the Israelites to a licentious feast to Baal-peor. We find the results of this wicked counsel in Numbers 25:1-3 "And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel." The apostle Peter likewise connected the pagan doctrines that entered the early church to the doctrine of Balaam. Follow as I read 2 Peter 2:12-15 "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness."
In lifestyle Balaamites, Nicolaitanes and Jezebelites of the next church period, are identical. In fact, one Bible commentator makes the following statement: "From their heretical tendencies it would appear that all three groups were Nicolaitanes." Another commentator notes that it was the deeds of the Nicolaitanes during the Ephesus church period that Christ confronted, as opposed to their doctrine during the Pergamos church period. This distinction is significant. At Ephesus it was a lifestyle practiced by vile members of the Ephesian church, at Pergamos it's the same lifestyle but taught as church doctrine. As you recall from our first study, the Nicolaitanes blasphemously taught lewdness to be obligatory as law and not only lawful but necessary to salvation, not only compatible with the Savior's religion but an essential part of it. At Ephesus these heretics were rebuked and cast out but at Pergamos they were not only tolerated but allowed to teach these vile pagan practices as church doctrine. Peter called it "beguiling unstable souls." Christ compared it to Balaam who cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. As Christ's wording implies, it was a calculated plan of this secret society of Gnostics to cause Christians to stumble.
Now consider a Christian practicing such a licentious lifestyle. Would that person be an effective witness? The answer is obvious. Hence, during the Pergamos church period evangelism suffered. Are there Pergamos churches today? To help answer this question I'll list the characteristics that must be present: 1. there must be those from a secret society who are in a position in the church to teach heresy that Christ is not deity; 2. church members must first have the opportunity to vote; 3. that opportunity to vote must gradually be taken away by an overthrow of the laity, forbidding members to vote until after a priest or pastor have been selected by a bishop or superintendent; 4. there must be those from a secret society who work their way into a position in the church to teach false doctrine for the express purpose of casting a stumblingblock before the membership; 5. there must either be the Babylonian System of the unity of church and state or a mixture of pagan doctrine with church doctrine.
Let's take each in order and be more specific to what these requirements entail in our day. First, are there those in the church today who teach heresy that Christ is not deity and as a result cause evangelism to suffer? In 1987, 10,000 Protestant clergymen were mailed a four question poll by the Jeffrey Haydn (ph) survey. 7,441 clergymen replied which according to pollsters has an error factor of less than 2%. Only three of the four questions are pertinent to our subject. To the first question, "Do you believe that the scriptures are the inspired and inerrant word of God in faith, history and secular matters?" 24% of Missouri Lutheran pastors answered no. 67% of American Baptist Pastors answered no. 77% of American Lutheran pastors answered no. 82% of United Presbyterian pastors answered no. 87% of Methodist pastors answered no. 95% of Episcopalian priests answered no, that they did not believe the scriptures are the inspired and inerrant word of God. To the second question "Do you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus?" 5% of the Missouri Lutheran pastors answered no. 19% of American Lutheran pastors answered no. 34% of American Baptist pastors answered no. 44% of Episcopalian priests answered no. 49% of United Presbyterian pastors answered no. 60% of Methodist pastors answered no, that they did not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. To the third question "Do you accept Jesus' physical resurrection as fact?" 7% of Missouri Lutheran pastors answered no. 13% of American Lutheran pastors answered no. 30% of Episcopalian priests answered no. 33% of American Baptist pastors answered no. 35% of United Presbyterian pastors answered no. 51% of Methodist pastors answered no, that they did not accept Jesus' physical resurrection as a fact.
Now dear friends, is there any question why evangelism is suffering today? These negative answers suggest these pastors are infiltrators from the synagogue of Satan where they are questioning the very deity of Jesus Christ. If Christ was not virgin born, then he's not of God, therefore, he's not deity. And if he did not raise from the dead, we ourselves have no hope of eternal life. The apostle Paul addresses this in that great resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, that if Christ is not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Now the blasphemous position held by these pastors is the same doctrine held by Cerinthus of the Ephesian church and Arius of the Pergamos church, that Christ did not exist before his birth. If your pastor denies the deity of Christ by saying he does not believe in the virgin birth nor the resurrection of Christ, your assembly has passed the first test of being a Pergamos church. The second requirement for being a Pergamos church is that your membership have the opportunity to vote this heresy out of the church. Whether you do or not is not the question, if the opportunity is there to vote out the heresy and vanquish the heretic pastor then your church has passed the second test of being a Pergamos church. The third requirement for being a Pergamos church is that there be men in the church who belong to a Gnostic secret society, who hold the doctrine of Balaam and who teach others to cast a stumblingblock before the church members to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. Now as it reads, this blasphemy is not readily apparent today but when we understand how secret societies operate, we shall discover the doctrine of Balaam has infiltrated many churches under the name Freemasonry.
Freemasonry as war against the church in America first became apparent following the 1825 publication of a book exposing the secrets of Freemasonry. The author was a Freemason, one Captain William Morgan who was murdered that same year by his Lodge brothers for breaking his Masonic oath of silence. As a result of this murder, the anti-Masonic movement was founded in 1830. Involved in the movement were former Freemasons Charles G. Finney and Jonathan Blanchard. Finney confirms Morgan's Masonic murder in his 1869 book entitled "The Character Claims and Practical Workings of Freemasonry," but he gives scanty details. In our reprint of Finney's book we have added an introduction and an epilogue. The introduction contains a more detailed history of the anti-Masonic movement which spawned the revivals of the second great awakening in America. The epilogue is a history of Freemasonry's retaliation against the church, part of which documents a 1926 Masonic order given to Masons throughout America to join local churches and liberalize them for Masonic use. As documentation of Freemasonry's success and its war against evangelism in the church, we conclude the epilogue of Finney's book with testimonies from several Southern Baptist pastors who recognizing the Masonic stumblingblocks against evangelism, confronted the Masons and as a result lost their churches.
The subtlety by which Freemasonry practices the doctrine of Balaam in casting stumblingblocks before Christians is explained in a story recently told me by a 90 year-old retired evangelist of the Methodist denomination. I'll call him Harry. More than anything in the world, Harry loved preaching the salvation message of Jesus Christ. Although those were the days of tent meetings, Harry held his evangelistic crusades in churches of his own denomination. One Methodist church Harry would never forget. The pastor there was ambitious and had set goals for advancement within his denomination. He was told by Masons in his church that promotion within the denomination was enhanced by joining the Lodge. The pastor's initiation into the first degree was held on Wednesday night during prayer meeting. That was simple enough, the pastor asked his assistant to fill in. When the pastor petitioned for the second degree, the only available evening at Lodge was the opening night of an evangelistic outreach at the church. Now the pastor had been working in committee for months to assure the success of the opening night but his desire to climb the ladder in Freemasonry to enhance his promotion within the denomination was more important than winning souls to Christ. Again, he put his assistant in charge. When it came time for the pastor's third degree initiation, the Lodge kept putting him off. Month after month he petitioned and month after month he was told there were no open nights. They would call him, however, if there was a cancellation but it would be short notice and he would have to drop prior commitments and come straight to the Lodge. The pastor agreed. The call came on the opening night of another evangelistic crusade; Harry was the evangelist. The pastor and Harry had been in prayer together for four hours that afternoon. They cried out to the Lord to melt the hearts of those who would fill the pews tonight. They prayed that the Holy Spirit would not be hindered, that Satan would be rebuked in all attempts to keep people from attending. Two hours before the service, the evangelist was eating supper with the pastor and his family. As they were finishing their meal the telephone rang, "Pastor," said the person on the other end, "we have an opening. Are you interested?" "Oh, yes," replied the pastor, "when is it?" Harry saw the anguished look on the pastor's face as he hung up the phone. The pastor said to Harry, "I'll introduce you tonight but I've got to leave. An important meeting has just come up and I can't miss it." Now what spur of the moment meeting is more important than winning souls to Christ? Harry never asked but that night no souls were saved nor that week. It was some time later that Harry learned what actually happened. How does this story relate to the doctrine of Balaam? Simply this, the Balaamites are the Masons. They cast a stumblingblock before the pastor by scheduling his initiations on nights of important evangelistic functions forcing him to choose between soul for Christ or initiation into Freemasonry. When he chose the latter, he symbolically ate things sacrificed to idols and committed spiritual fornication. Yes, the doctrine of Balaam is at work in many Protestant churches today. How dare we point a finger at the Catholic Church when our own bed is soiled with spiritual adultery with Freemasonry. If your pastor or any of the elders in your church are Freemasons, then your church has passed the third test of being a Pergamos church.
The fourth requirement of being a Pergamos church is Nicolaitanism or the overthrow of the laity. Some Protestant churches are run by a hierarchy who dictate all policy, forbidding members to vote on certain issues. The selection and placement of pastors in other denominations are handled by bishops or superintendents. The vote of church members if indeed there is one, is simply an endorsement of a prior selection. Included in Nicolaitanism is its doctrine which is identical to that of the Balaamites, both of which come from licentious secret societies. This suggests that today whole denominations are controlled by Freemasonry. One example is found in denominations that belong to the National Council of Churches which I document in my book, was founded by Freemasonry and is today totally run by Masons. Former 33rd degree Freemason Rev. Jim Shaw was the first to expose this link. He stated in a sermon that the pastors of the National Council of Churches are promoting Freemasonry. I quote Rev. Shaw as saying "I have served in Lodge with them. I have a list of many NCC pastors who are working for the Masonic monster with all the strength they have. They are not interested in the Lord Jesus Christ though they pretend to be." In another sermon Rev. Shaw adds "A preacher in the National Council of Churches is really not in until he is a Mason." If your denomination is a member of the NCC, then your church has passed the fourth test of being a Pergamos church.
The fifth and final requirement for being a Pergamos church is that there must be either the Babylonian System of unity of church and state or a mixture of pagan doctrine with church doctrine. The only nation in the Western world where there is unity of church and state is Great Britain: the church of England is a state church and the monarch its head. In America we shall consider the second part of the mixed marriage in the Pergamos church, a mixture of pagan doctrine with church doctrine. Today it's called the New Age Movement which has found a platform in some Protestant churches. For brevity, I shall consider only one area that of making God both male and female. As you recall, during the Pergamos church period the worship of Mary was instituted in 431 AD and prayers were directed to her in 600 AD. This same doctrine is today promoted by the Masonic Balaamites and Nicolaitanes who control the National Council of Churches. James Kilpatrick in October, 1983 [?] that the National Council of Churches was out to take the sex out of scripture. He said the NCC was rewriting certain passages of scripture in the Old and New Testament so as to eliminate references to gender or as an alternative to spread the gender around. Thus, Jesus would no longer be identified as the son of God, but rather as the child of God and in this equalitarian version, it is God the father and mother. Member churches were not long in following the National Council of Churches' recommendations. One such member is the United Methodist Church which is the largest financial contributor to the NCC. The Associated Press reported in December, 1983 that the governing board of the United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee had approved guidelines on Biblical and theological language that suggest that fewer male nouns and pronouns be used in referring to Jesus. By 1986 the blasphemy had become greater when in Denver, Colorado the Rocky Mountain Region of the United Methodist Church adopted a new policy prohibiting ministry candidates from referring to God as exclusively male in church paperwork and interviews. The policy allows that the historical Jesus be called "he" but prohibits any exclusive male reference to a divine or Messianic Jesus. The policy also calls for phrases such as "divine light," which are Masonic terms, to be used in place of Father, King or Lord. Candidates are allowed to refer to God as mother and father or as he or she.
The most recent account of the Methodist Church's stand on the worship of the female goddess began in 1994 and continues to grow today. That year, the Methodist Church Councils in each state were given the opportunity to vote on whether to permit prayers be lifted to a pagan female goddess called Sophia. Many state Councils rejected it but others adopted it. What do you think would happen to a Methodist pastor who refused to adopt this pagan practice in a state that authorized it? The answer is found in the story of a close friend of mine who was pastor of a large Methodist church in such a state. When he took the charge it meant uprooting his family from a city where his children were born and raised and moving them halfway across the country. In this new church was a woman promoting that prayers be prayed to Sophia so that the women would feel a part of the worship service. My pastor friend rebuked her. Within days he received a telephone call from his bishop stating that if he didn't withdraw his rebuke he would be transferred. When my pastor friend threatened to resign, the bishop declared that he would never pastor another Methodist church. Could this have anything to do with the fact that there are more Masons per capita in the United Methodist Church than in any other denomination in America?
Now lest anyone think that I'm picking on Methodists, let's take a look at the Southern Baptists. In the mid 1980s some SBC pastors felt that Freemasonry was hindering revival in their denomination. In 1971 the SBC authorized the Home Mission Board to study Freemasonry and recommend a stand. In the SBC's 1993 National Convention, the Home Mission Board's stand was weak at best but some startling figures were released about Freemasonry's influence in the SBC. Of the 38,000 Southern Baptist pastors, 14% are Masons while 18% of church deacons are Masons. Of the 2.5 million registered Masons in the US, over half are in the Southern Baptist convention. Obviously, these Masons have obeyed Masonic law and joined the SBC to liberalize it for Masonic use. Yes, it appears that when Freemasonry has a foothold in any denomination, evangelism ceases and heresy enters the church. In the United Methodist Church as a whole, evangelism is a thing of the past and, indeed, heresy has taken root. As for the Southern Baptist's, some pastors believe evangelism is dead but heresy has not entered their denomination, not yet. If your church has mixed pagan doctrine with church doctrine such as prayers to Mary or Sophia, your church has passed the final test of being a Pergamos church.
Now that we've discussed the requirements of being a Pergamos church, we shall consider the requirements of being a Pergamos Christian. If I never deny the deity of Christ, nor deny his faith even when faced with persecution yet I permit spiritual prostitution to be taught in my church, then I am a Pergamos Christian. Hence, all of Christ's commendations, condemnations and warnings apply to me. This brings us to the final portion of our study, the Pergamos overcomer. The Pergamos overcomer must be victorious in the wickedest land on earth by living a moral life both physically and spiritually. When heresy of denying the deity of Christ enters the church, the overcomer led by the power of the Holy Spirit must confront the heresy with scripture. When a vote is taken the overcomer must cast a ballot to excise the heresy and vanquish the heretics. Finally, when pagan doctrines are mixed with church doctrine, the overcomer must once again confront the sin with scripture and vote it out.
This brings us to the eternal occupation of the Pergamos overcomer. Found in Revelation 2:17, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." First, the Pergamos overcomer will be given hidden manna to eat for eternity. Manna was food that fell from heaven to feed the children of Israel during the 40 years of wandering following their exodus from Egypt. In Hebrew, manna means "what is it?" Moses called it "bread of heaven"; the psalmists called it "angel's food." The first description of manna is given in Exodus 16:31 "it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey." Coriander seed had to be prepared by cutting, crushing, grinding or beating into a mortar before baking it on a fire. Manna is a type of Christ; white represents his purity and like the preparation of manna, Christ was crushed, beaten, cut and killed to save us from the eternal flames of hell. Jesus confirms this in John 6. He was speaking to the Jews at Capernaum who were there only for the bread he would multiply and feed them. Christ told them not to labor for this kind of food for it will perish, but labor for spiritual food that gives everlasting life. Then he explained what he meant in verses 49 and 51 "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." To eat of the bread of life is to have faith in Jesus Christ. In all Eastern languages, the word "eat" in reference to religion means "to have faith in." Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Tree in Eastern religions is symbolic of their religion. Adam and Eve's sin was that they ate, or they had faith, in the religion of the serpent. A missionary from Korea explained the same idea: when a Korean becomes a Christian, he said, his unsaved family responds with these words "So you have eaten of the white man's religion?" Saint Augustine of Hippo who lived in northern Africa during the Pergamos church period understood this for he said "Believe and thou hast eaten." On earth, Pergamos church goers who accept Christ as Savior have eaten of the bread of life; they are overcomers if they live morally pure lives both physically and spiritually; they are overcomers if they defend the deity of Christ and they are overcomers both in days of persecution and in days of peace if they never renounce their faith in Christ. For eternity, Pergamos overcomers will eat or have faith in that same manna Jesus Christ the kings of Kings and lord of Lords.
Pergamos overcomers will also be given a white stone each with a new name written in it. It's a secret name known only to each overcomer and the Lord. What is this stone and what does it represent? Throughout Old Testament scripture God is called the "Rock of Salvation." In Matthew 21:42, Christ refers to himself as "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner." Ephesians 2:20 confirms this when referring to Christ as "the chief corner stone." 1 Peter 2:8 says of Christ that he will be a "stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence" to the disobedient. But this is not what is meant by this white stone given to the Pergamos overcomer. In all the Greek words for "stone," the word for this stone is different and is used only once in the New Testament and that's in reference to the Pergamos overcomer. The Greek word means "a stone used as a ballot to cast a vote." You recall the voting that took place in the Council of Nicea to pass the Nicene Creed in the summer of 325 AD? The ballots were white and black stones and the white stones won. In heaven there will be no black stones, no negative votes. The Pergamos overcomer, the one who voted to uphold the name of Christ and not deny his faith will for eternity be known for his positive vote as he carries around his white stone. This stone will send a message to all who set eyes on it much like the message sent by rings worn on our fingers: There are wedding bans, high school rings, college rings, birthstone rings, Super Bowl rings, all of which send a silent message. I suggest that the white stone might be some precious gem worn as a ring or a necklace. For all eternity the Pergamos overcomer will be recognized by this white stone as one who held high the deity of Christ and did not deny the Lord's faith in those critical days when the church nearly abandoned who Christ really was. There's also a secret contained within this stone for written in it will be a new name given the Pergamos overcomer, a pet name known only to the overcomer and Christ. As one author put it "It's a secret communication of love and intelligence between Christ and the overcomer, a joy which none can share, a reserve token of appreciative love." It's been said that the most beautiful sound in the world is when someone calls out your name. Pergamos overcomers will have a new name, a pet name, known only to themselves and to the one they love most the Lord Jesus Christ. Husbands and wives give each other pet names; when that name is called out it speaks volumes and they embrace. Likewise, the church is the bride of Christ; he's given Pergamos overcomers a pet name. Throughout eternity I believe Jesus will occasionally call to his side the overcomer by that special name. The sound will speak volumes to the ears of that faithful voter, assuring the overcomer again and again that the Savior has not forgotten the day that he voted to save the basic doctrine of the church from passing into oblivion.
In our next study we shall learn the eternal occupation of the Thyatira overcomer. May God bless you as you read these scriptures in advance of each study.
We trust you have been blessed by the study presented by John Daniel. Mr. Daniel is also the author of another work, a trilogy of books entitled "Scarlet and the Beast." If you are interested in ordering "Scarlet and the Beast: A History of the War between English and French Freemasonry" write to us at JKI Publishing, PO Box 131480, Tyler, Texas 75713 or call toll free 1-800-333-5344 for an order form and a free chapter-by-chapter review.
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