What does Revelation 2:12 mean?
ESV: “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
NIV: To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
NASB: And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:
CSB: "Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum: Thus says the one who has the sharp, double-edged sword:
NLT: Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
KJV: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
NKJV: “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Verse Commentary:
Pergamum lay about sixty miles north of Smyrna and fifteen miles from the coast of the Aegean Sea. For some four centuries, beginning in 133 BC, it was the capital of Asia. Like Ephesus and Smyrna, it was a wealthy city. Pergamum boasted a library of about 200,000 volumes, but it rejected God's written Words, and the wisdom of Christ. Here, Jesus addresses the church at Pergamum through the apostle John.

Christ commanded John to describe Him as possessing the sharp two-edged sword. The description reminds the church that Jesus wields more power and authority than any government official who wields the sword of justice in Asia on behalf of Rome. This verse uses the word rhomphaian, typically implying the large, broad swords used by Roman soldiers. This is a weapon of offense, meant to separate and slash. Jesus' words are able to pierce paganism and destroy the works of Satan. This echoes statements such as Hebrews 4:12, which describes God's written Word as a sharp, dividing sword.

The characteristics of the church at Pergamum prefigure those of the Church from AD 316 to 500. Interestingly, "Pergamum" means "marriage." During the fourth and fifth centuries, the Church was effectively "married" to the state.
Verse Context:
Revelation 2:12–17 is a message from Jesus to the church at Pergamum. Jesus commends the church for keeping the faith despite intense persecution and the pervading worship of Satan around them. However, some members of the church followed the teaching of Balaam, and others followed the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Jesus calls the church out for repentance regarding those flaws. Failure to repent would bring judgment. The passage ends with Jesus' promise to give conquerors hidden manna and a new name written on a secret stone.
Chapter Summary:
The contents of Revelation 2 are miniature letters to four churches, dictated by Jesus to John. Ephesus and Smyrna were coastal cities, whereas Pergamum and Thyatira were inland cities. Three more such letters are in Revelation 3. Each of these messages contains a unique description of Jesus, a command, a promise. All but one—the church in Laodicea—receive some commendation. All but two of the seven letters—those to the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia—also contain a critical rebuke. Like churches today, most of the congregations addressed by Jesus had both good characteristics and at least one point which needed correction.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 1, John introduced his order from Jesus Christ: to write out a message to seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1:9–11). Here in this chapter, John writes to the church in Ephesus, the church in Smyrna, the church in Pergamum, and the church in Thyatira. Chapter 3 will continue with messages to the other three churches. The rest of Revelation will explain future events connected to the ''end times.''
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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