If “the joy of the Lord is our strength,” then we must enjoy the Lord. Let’s look at what that doesn’t look like.
1 My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart…
The church at Pergamum had issues. First, Pergamum was the place “where Satan has his throne” (Revelation 2:13). This throne may have been the Great Altar that was a prominent feature of the city. It was constructed around 150 BC and was probably dedicated to Zeus and Athena.
The second issue was a group of people who held to the teaching of Balaam, “who instructed Balak to cause the children of Israel to stumble, making them eat idol-food and indulge in sexual immorality” (Revelation 2:14).
The third issue was a group of people who held to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. To read the definition of the Nicolaitans, it sounds a whole lot like the teaching of Balaam. It was okay for them to mix with the pagan religions and their activities while serving Christ. The verse concerning Balaam was an example that the followers of Nicolaitan teaching would have caught immediately as referring to them.
It seems that the “doctrine” of the Nicolaitans was that it was all right to have one foot in both worlds
and that one needn’t be so strict about separation from the world in order to be a Christian. This, in
fact, was the “doctrine” of the Nicolaitans that Jesus “hated.” It led to a weak version of Christianity
that was without power and without conviction — a defeated, worldly type of Christianity.
The call to repent (v.16) follows with a warning of someone coming to them and rebuking them, the sword possibly being the Word of God brought by a messenger, maybe even an apostle. We must remember that symbolism is the main ingredient in Revelation with the Old Testament Scriptures being the key to that symbolism. Two great OT examples of the Lord coming to fight against the people of God was when Assyria came and took Israel away (Isaiah 10:1-11), and when Babylon came and took Judah away (Jeremiah 21:3-7). Both times the Lord referred to Him coming to punish them through earthly men.
The best way to combat the temptation to follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans is to walk closely with Jesus. Let Him be your Source of love, joy, peace, pleasure, and contentment. It’s all about the relationship. The question we must answer is, “Do we trust Him?” It’s hard to trust someone you fear. Jesus told us not to fear (Matthew 10:31). The closer we walk with Jesus, the more we feel His love, joy, peace, the comfort of His leadership, and the enjoyment of the Fellowship of the Trinity. Let’s get started!
Abba, You are my source of satisfaction and pleasure. You are my contentment. Beyond the pleasures of this world, I know that You are my peace, my joy, and my comfort. I also know that someday soon I will experience all of these on a scale so great that I cannot even imagine. They are, indeed, a “foretaste of glory divine.” I’m looking forward to it, Lord. Amen.