11 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.
The churches who were receiving these letters are to be taken very seriously because God is warning most of them but one to get right with Him before it’s too late.
The victor are those whose faith doesn’t shrink back (Hebrews 10:38) but who endures through tribulation showing their genuine faith. When they die is when they will truly live, for hell will never touch them.
12 “Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum:
“The One who has the sharp, double-edged sword says:
The double-edged sword refers to God’s Word, a title which belongs to Jesus Christ.
13 I know where you live—where Satan’s throne is! And you are holding on to My name and did not deny your faith in Me, even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness who was killed among you, where Satan lives.
The church that was in Pergamum was surrounded by pagan worship. Satan had conquered that city for himself by deceiving the people through the worship of Zeus.
The church held fast to their faith in Jesus by not denying Him through persecution even though they witnessed the martyrdom of a faithful servant of the Lord named Antipas.
14 But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block in front of the Israelites: to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.
Not all the members of the church were truly faithful to Jesus. They have been deceived in participating in the worship of false deities and were committing sexual indecency (fornication and adultery). Sex was the tool that Satan used to compromise their relationship with the Lord and through their weaken state, they fell easily into idolatry.
Jesus was warning them of the judgment that the Israelites in times past received for the same act that the church was now committing and that judgment would come upon them if they continued and would not repent.
That incident is seen in Numbers 25:1-5 which says, “While Israel was staying in the Acacia Grove, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. 2 The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. 3 So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. 4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.” 5 So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.”
15 In the same way, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
The teachings of the Nicolaitans were very similar to that of Balaam’s. See notes in Revelation 2:6.