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Query for the Month
Next up-date: April 1st 2009 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
(Unfortunately, the above book is no longer available as a free download. I will endeavour to find a site where you may buy it, for it's really good!)
In the meantime, try this site. And here's one where you can read it online.
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges [the BOOK, Hebrews 4:12];
13 I know your works and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast My name, and have not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [“against all (the gods)”] was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.
What is Satan’s SEAT and why did he “dwell” in Pergamos?
Pergamum was a kingdom established in present-day Turkey after fall of Babylon, around 539BC. Its capital was Pergamos, and it was here that the Spirit says Satan’s “seat” was in 90AD.
In John’s time Pergamos included many of Satan’s determined and loyal followers and these helped him to maintain his “seat” there. What does this mean?
The book “Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop convincingly shows that the present Roman Catholic religious system which forms part of what God calls “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5) IS NOT A COPY of the ancient/ Babylonian one, but is actually the same idolatrous system transposed from Babylon to Rome. But it did not happen directly.
Historians tell us that the transfer began on October 12, 539BC, on the night Belshazzar the last king of Babylon was slain and Darius the Mede took the kingdom. Daniel 5:30-31. (Today that area is known as Iraq.) After Babylon fell, there was a general move by the priesthood away from that country into the area of Pergamum. Following a period of great expansion and financial growth, the last god/king of Pergamum, Attalus III (281-133BC), having no heir, left his city and possessions to the Empire of Rome, which called it the province of “Asia”. Rome already had a COPY of Babylon’s pagan religion, for it was a very popular one throughout the world under various names, but the Roman one was not active in politics at that time. The religious hierarchy of Pergamos did not move there immediately, but waited for an opportune moment.
At first the Roman Pagan religious leaders had no immediate connection with the Pergamos system, but eventually Julius Caesar became the first of the Roman god/kings to take the title Pontifex Maximus which came with the religion, and he did this in 65BC. (He also claimed Venus as the ancestor of his family!) Subsequent emperors, including Augustus his successor, continued the practice.
The temple at Pergamos was dedicated to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus in 29BC and the city fathers were very active in promoting it as the religious centre of the Roman state religion. For example, the emperor Hadrian (76-138AD) enlarged the temple there, and from then on it did become the chief town of the whole new province. With this background it was only natural that the Christians in it should be singled out for persecution because they refused to worship the emperor.
In Pergamos there was a great altar to Zeus which could be the literal “seat” that the scripture refers to – Zeus being the head god of the Pagan religion. It is now in the Pergamum museum in Berlin. Construction of the altar began about 160BC and it is rumoured that it was a site of human sacrifice. (Also in the German museum is the Ishtar gate from Babylon, and the bust of Nefertiti, the wife of Akhenaton and the mother of Tutankhamen, both important symbols of Satan’s religious system.)
However, Satan’s “seat” was not only the hub of his religion, but also a great medical centre, having the most modern of systems in the world at that time.
The healing centre, called the “Asclepieum” after the god of healing, was very similar to many modern natural healing clinics today, for as well as surgery, patients were given exercises, drugs, herbal remedies, or they could take the honey cure, drink the waters of the spring, and even be treated by hypnosis. They were sometimes prescribed walks among the trees in order to be calmed by the scent of pines. Over the main entrance were emblazoned the words: “In the name of the Gods, Death is forbidden to enter”.
Snakes were sacred to the god “Asclepius” because of their apparent power to renew themselves by shedding their skins. There was a carving of snakes symbolizing a new life at the entrance to the sacred area of the medical centre, and the shrine quarter itself was inhabited by thousands of harmless snakes.
(Consider Revelation 12:9 where it is written, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”.)
As mentioned before, the city became the seat of Babylonian sun worship, a centre of idolatry and demon controlled religions, with splendid temples to Nature. People came from all over the Roman Empire to seek healing in the Pagan temple.
Thus medicine and science were also worshipped there, and the symbol of their worship, the snake, has been carried down into our own day by the medical emblem of a staff entwined with serpents called the “caduceus”.
Aesculapius is often depicted holding the caduceus in his hand.
If you've ever been to a hospital or flipped through a phone book looking up a physician, you've seen the image: two serpents criss-crossed around a staff topped by a round knob and flanked by wings. This is known as the caduceus, and it has been the symbol of the American medical profession for nearly a hundred years -- a decidedly odd symbol for doctors, until you begin to investigate its underlying meanings.
Something else the city was famous for was its massive use of parchment. Because of its enormous library, rivalled only by the one in Alexandria in Egypt, they used a lot of papyrus which they imported from Egypt. However, one day the king of Egypt banned the export of the material because of a shortage of the reed from which it is manufactured. Forced to find a substitute, the people of Pergamos came up with idea of using calf or goatskin, stretched, scraped and dried under tension, which creates a stiff white paper alternative known after the Latin name of the city “pergamenum” or “parchment” in English. (Its best quality is called “vellum” which, until recently, was used in important legal documents.)
The characteristics of the branch of the Christian church in that city in 90AD are used in The Revelation as a picture of the qualities of the whole church in the centuries between 313AD and 538AD when the Roman ways were infiltrating it. They were Sabbath-keepers, their good “works” were noted and the only condemnations were that they had among them those who worked religion for money, and that they were developing a class system of clergy and laity. They stayed close to their Bibles (the BOOK) as evidenced by the salutation, although many died as martyrs at the hands of Satan’s congregation, including “Antipas”, who stood solely for the one God.
Of course, Satan's “seat” is in other wicked cities as well, and he is a wily foe to contend with wherever he is, but in this instance it was a suitable picture for the prophecy, having, as it did, the actual religious framework from Babylon. The city had a background of a world-wide state religion, imposing medical work, and the production of many books! It was a hard place in which to raise up a Christian church because of the opposing influences surrounding the converts, many of which infiltrated into the congregation.
A few centuries later however, in 382AD, the emperor Gratian refused to continue the Pagan tradition in Rome, and officially abolished the Pagan religion by removing its state subsidies. (Constantine had favoured the Christian religion in 321AD.) Some time after that the whole priesthood and system literally migrated from Pergamos to Rome and became assimilated into the Roman Christian church, making Rome the “seat of the beast” and the bishop of Rome became the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest.
By 538AD that system with its rituals was calling itself “Christian”!
God says of that later time (538-1517), “Notwithstanding [your good works] I have a few things against you, because you suffer [allow] that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication [worship other gods], and to eat things sacrificed to idols [the mass]”. Revelation 2:20.
However, not until Martin Luther made his stand was “Jezebel” really seen for what she was – Satan’s handmaiden.
In 90AD Pergamos was literally the centre of Satanic sun worship through sacrifice and education and healing. (Satan’s clergy had moved there after the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon in 539AD.) But it was only a step in Satan’s plan, for he wanted the city of Rome to be the new centre of his religious arm. The Christians in Pergamos were commended for their steadfastness in the face of special persecution.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from April 1st, 2009.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”.
And there followed another angel, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name”.
And He said to me, “You must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings”.
What do these three messages mean, and why do they need to be repeated?
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