Because the church in Pergamos entered into a union with the world, she dwelled where the throne of Satan is; we should not be in the place where Satan is and reigns but be those dwelling in our spirit and in Christ, the One in whom Satan has nothing!
The Lord’s speaking to the church in Pergamos, the third church mentioned in the seven epistles in Rev. 2-3, is both prophetic and exposing of the situation we can be in today.
On the one hand there was a stage in church history corresponding to the church in Pergamos – after Satan realized that persecuting the church doesn’t make it diminish or go away but rather only helps her increase and multiply, he changed his tactic from persecution to welcoming the church.
Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor many “Christians” look up to for “bringing Christianity to the whole world”, joined the church to the world and produced a great mixture of divine things with wicked, devilish, evil things of the world.
When Constantine the great adopted Christianity as the state religion – with himself as the “head of the church” and many of his employees as the “priests”, he also forced many pagans to “join the church”, offering them money and clothes if they do. This brought in a great leavening into the church; the church which was once pure and shining now is mixed and corrupted to the nature.
Today in the degraded Christianity there are many evil things, pagan practices, and devilish matters, and there are many evil people who are mixed in with genuine believers. But if we look at ourselves, we can be in danger to be mixed or “joined in union” with the world to the point that we are mixed, confused, and not pure for the Lord.
May the Lord save us from seeking to have a great work, a large church, a big show, or anything that would cause the church to lose its smallness with its pure, shining nature.
May the Lord really impress us that it is better for us to be persecuted rather than welcomed, for the welcoming of the world is so subtle that it may lead us to be joined to the world and thus be the Pergamos of today!
In His mercy, the Lord has shined on us and has brought us into His recovery; our practice today is to come completely out of the degraded Christianity and keep a gap between us and the present evil age so that we may remain and be the pure and shining testimony of Jesus on earth.
Dwelling in our Spirit and in Christ, not in the Place where Satan Dwells and Reigns
In Rev. 2:13 the Lord said of the church in Pergamos, I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Because the church has entered into union with the world, many worldly things came into the church; these worldly things are related to idol worship, for worldliness is always associated with idolatry.
Satan’s strategy changed from persecuting the church to welcoming her and causing her to be joined to the world, and so the church in Pergamos first became worldly and then idolatrous.
Satan saturated the church with the world and with idols; there are idols not only on the wall (see the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox Church) but also in their heart and among them; as a result, the church became something completely different from what God intended her to be: the church became the place where Satan dwells and even reigns.
Instead of the church being a golden lampstand, small but pure in nature, shining with God as light, now the church is associated with the world and even saturated with worldly things and people. In God’s eyes the degraded Christianity today is a worldly religion, altogether impure, worldly, and full of idols.
Satan dwells in the world, the cosmos – the system he designed to keep people away from God. Since the church has entered into union with the world and has become worldly, the church dwells where Satan dwells – in the world.
Furthermore, the church in Pergamos dwells where Satan’s throne is, that is, the world. Oh Lord Jesus! The worldly Christianity of today is in union with the world and is being saturated with the thoughts, concepts, theories, and even the practices of Satan.
If we allow the Lord to shine in us and on us through His living word, and if we allow His piercing word to divide the soul from the spirit and discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart, we will realize that Christianity today is a great and monstrous thing with a lot of idolatry, worldly things, wicked situations, impure people, and evil thing, and all these are mixed with the pure word of God.
However, we should not be dwelling where Satan dwells but be those dwelling in our spirit and in Christ! We need to return to the Lord, the One who is everything to us in the church, and exercise our spirit to remain in union with the Lord! We need to abide in God by abiding in the Lord, dwelling in Him (Psa. 91:1; 2 Tim. 4:22; John 14:30).
We need to return to the orthodoxy of the church by returning not only to the proper teaching or practice but returning to the wonderful Person of the Lord Jesus, the most pure, holy, perfect, righteous, and glorious One, the One without any mixture.
When we return to the Lord, we are purified from any mixture and we are delivered from the rule of Satan. In this One, Christ, Satan as the ruler of the world had nothing – he had no ground, no chance, no hope, and no possibility in anything (John 14:30).
He was a man of prayer, a man joined to God through unceasing prayer in Spirit; He was a man one with God, living in God’s presence continually, trusting in God in His suffering, and in Him Satan had nothing. May we be those dwelling in our spirit and in Christ, the One in whom Satan had nothing!
Lord Jesus, we want to return to You, our lovely Bridegroom, the most pure and unmixed One! Lord, in You Satan had nothing: no ground, no hope, no opportunity in anything, and You are in our spirit. We turn to You in spirit, we exercise our spirit to touch You and abide in You, and we want to dwell in You! Save us, Lord, from dwelling where the throne of Satan is. Save us and deliver us from any mixture of worldly things. Keep us in the organic union with You, abiding in You and dwelling in our spirit!
Being a Chaste Bride for the Lord and Not being in Union with the World
The church in Ephesus was warned by the Lord to return to the first love and do the first works so that He would not remove their lampstand; history confirms that the church has heeded the Lord’s word, for Smyrna loved the Lord and suffered greatly for Him, not denying His name but experiencing His resurrection life.
The first three centuries were filled with persecution and suffering for the church, for the Roman government tried its best to damage her; eventually, death could not hold or contain the resurrection life in the church but rather only caused it to grow, so Satan changed his tactic to welcoming the church and seeking to be joined to the church.
As a sign, the church in Pergamos prefigures the church that entered into a marriage union with the world and became a high fortified tower, equivalent to the great tree prophesied by the Lord in the parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32). When Satan failed to destroy the church through the persecution of the Roman Empire in the first three centuries, he changed his strategy. He sought instead to corrupt her through Constantine’s welcoming of Christianity as the state religion in the first part of the fourth century. Through Constantine’s encouragement and political influence, multitudes of unbelievers were baptized into the “church,” and the “church” became monstrously great. Since the church as a chaste bride is espoused to Christ, her union with the world is considered spiritual fornication in the eyes of God. Rev. 2:12, footnote 2, Recovery Version Bible
The welcoming of the church by the Roman Empire in the third century didn’t help the church but rather damaged it and even ruined it, because it caused the church to become worldly.
In God’s eyes this union with the world is spiritual fornication; the church is a spouse to Christ as a chaste bride (2 Cor. 11:2), but through the union with the world the church has committed spiritual fornication in God’s eyes.
The church should be a chaste virgin to Christ, a bride to Him, without any spot or wrinkle or foreign element. We need the purifying of the word of God: we need to be washed by the water in the word to become a pure and chaste bride for Christ! Amen!
As the church we are the ekklesia, those called out of the world and separated from the world unto God; the world today may welcome us and may not bother us, but we need to reject its welcoming and remain pure for the Lord, not allowing the worldly elements to be infused into us and cause us to enter into union with the world.
May the Lord save us from any worldly and idolatrous elements, and may He brings us to the orthodoxy of the church through His living and dividing word, causing us to be pure before the Lord and shining for Him in this dark age.
Lord Jesus, we love You with our first love and we want to remain pure and chaste for You as Your bride, Your spouse. Save us from being in union with the world by receiving the welcoming of Satan in the world and being saturated with the worldly things. Lord Jesus, separate us and sanctify us unto Yourself through Your living and piercing word. May all Your believers refuse to be in union with the world and remain in the organic union with You to be Your church, Your bride! Amen, Lord, cleanse us and purify us by the washing of the water in the word so that we may be Your pure, chaste, loving Bride!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Mark R. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Revelation, pp. 139-141 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Returning to the Orthodoxy of the Church (2016 fall ITERO), msg. 4 (week 4), The Church in Pergamos.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh! it is so sweet to die with Christ, / To the world, and self, and sin; / Oh! it is so sweet to live with Christ, / As He lives and reigns within. (Hymns #482)
# The Lord is longing for His Bride, / All glorious within. / His heart will then be satisfied / When she is fit for Him. / ’Tis by the Word the church is made / Holy and pure as He; / All spots and wrinkles it removes / That she His Bride may be. (Hymns #1310)
# Did you know that I’m a God-man? / A three-part man mingled with the Triune God, / And I have a spirit / Where the enemy has no way, no hope, no ground… / I am a God-man! (Song on being joined to the Lord)
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