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Holding fast where Satan's throne is (Revelation 2:13)

I think we'd all acknowledge that there are some places in the world where it's more difficult to be a Christian. It's easy to be a Christian in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, where there seem to be more seminaries than Chick-Fil-As. (Don't fact-check me on that.) It's not so easy to be a Christian in, say, North Korea.

Imagine trying to be a Christian where Satan's throne is. That's how Jesus describes the situation of the church at Pergamum:

I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:13)

What a place to call Pergamum. But if that's what the Savior called it, that's exactly what it was. We're not sure exactly why Jesus called it that. We do know that it was a place teeming with idolatry. They even had a massive statue of Zeus, who was considered the head god of the Greek Pantheon. Whether that's what Jesus had in mind when He called it the place where Satan's throne is, we don't know. But certainly, for a place that was devoted to the chief false God of the Greeks, it was apropos.

It was a place that wasn't simply intellectually opposed to Christianity. It was violently so. Christ commends the church for holding fast to His name and not denying His faith (i.e., His teachings) even in the days of Antipas His faithful witness. We don't know any more about Antipas than this verse, but what we do know is that He faithfully proclaimed Christ, and he died for it. He died for it in this place where Satan dwelled.

What a glorious thing to be remembered for. As you might guess, the next verse will start to explain what Christ wanted them to fix. But at this point, let's just focus on the fact that the church at Pergamum will forever be known as the church that stood fast in the place where Satan dwelled and that Antipas will be forever remembered as Christ's faithful witness there. What an honor.

We shouldn't be encouraged to try to make a name for ourselves, but we should want to be like these brothers and sisters in this way. No matter how easy or hard being a Christian is where we live, may we hold fast to Christ's name. May we never deny His faith, even to the point of death.

Christ died for sinners like you and me. It is a small sacrifice to make to die for Him, especially because, at the point of death, we will immediately be taken into His glorious presence.

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