Pergamos was a church where the Lord brought the two-edged sword. The audience that Jesus was speaking to would understand what he was referring to. The two-edged sword used in Roman warfare was called the gladius Hispaniensis. It was used in battle when an enemy was approaching from both sides. The gladius Hispaniensis was deadly when swung to the left or right.
A two-edged sword does twice as much damage to the enemy because it was forged with two edges, allowing for better thrusting effects. A double-edged sword is more effective at penetrating through armor than a single-edged sword. An enemy cannot grab a two-edged sword in battle like a single-edged sword. The Lord likens his word to a double- edged sword that can do damage to the enemy. God’s two-edged sword is alive and active. It is quick, filled with life, effective and powerful.
God’s two-edged sword can also pierce or penetrate to separate or divide the soul and the Spirit. That is, a division can be made by the word of God in a person between what comes from the soul (mind, reason, intellect, emotions) and what is from the innermost being or spirit of man. (the eternal being) In other words, God’s word penetrates our being to discern what is from the soul and the spiritual person. God’s word discerns the thoughts and motives.
The sword of the Spirit is a part of the Christian’s armor in fighting battles with the devil.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of Spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:10-18
The Lord addresses the church in Pergamos with his two-edged sword. He tells them that he knows their work. (their labor in him) He also recognizes that they are living in an environment that is satanic in nature. The Lord sees that the church are standing in his power and might, making a firm stand against the devil’s wiles to steal their faith.
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Using his two-edged sword, the Lord also sees that the church in Pergamos has allowed a doctrine of demons to creep into their midst. While the church at Pergamos trusted in the name of Jesus, they were compromisers of the gospel in a pagan culture. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which the church in Pergamos allowed to operate was antinomianism[i]in nature. That is the doctrine that teaches Christians can retain sinful habits and worldly ideology and still be saved.
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”
The two-edged sword came to address this false doctrine. To point it out by exposure and then to offer a remedy. That remedy is repentance. Acknowledging sin and turning away from it. Failure to follow the Lord’s instructions results in getting into a battle with the two-edged sword.
“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Revelation 2: 16
The Lord warns the church at Pergamos to repent from the false doctrine of loosey goosy grace. The Lord himself says that he hates that doctrine.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
The Lord makes it clear where he stands about a Christian living in sin, as the Bible describes. God’s mercy will thrust his two-edged sword at the believer’s heart.
The Lord desires all to repent and come to him for forgiveness. God’s word will fight against those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. To those who still live in the sins that they were redeemed from.
For those believers that repent, the Lord says he will extend to them his mercy and eternal life.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it.” Revelation 2:17
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