2009-02-12 - Antipas of Pergamum
Rev 2:13 'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (NASB)
There is one mention in all of the Bible speaking of this gentleman from Pergamum. In that point he is not unlike the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into His Kingdom at their crucifixion. There is one mention of both of them. Both of their names have been a witness down through the last two millennia.
Imagine that you can have one thing remembered about you - your epitaph if you will. I'm not sure that many of us would even consider the thought that the Lord Himself would write of us, "My witness, My faithful one," for everyone to read. That is almost beyond thought, let alone consideration. Look at what Jesus says about the town of Pergamum - "I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; ..." Now my little home town is not perfect, and I certainly know my own imperfection. But I would be hard pressed to say something so harsh about place I live. That being said the culture in which we live becomes decidedly more anti-Christian on a daily basis as the things that are considered acceptable in our culture, and even are protected as rights under the law, fly in the face of God's righteousness. How far away from the culture of Pergamum are we? How long will it be before God must witdraw His grace from us after we exhaust His deep patience and mercy?
In the midst of this, Antipas is commended highly by the risen Christ - Who is the first and the last, Who was dead and came to life (Rev 2:8), the One Who has a sharp two-edged sword (Rev 2:12), His eyes are a like flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze (Rev 2:18), and there are more superlatives of our Master. In verse 14 Jesus calls Himself, "the faithful and true Witness..." He was the witness of the Father during His 33 years on this Earth. He told anyone who He spoke with that God loved them, warned them about sin and extended mercy and forgiveness, and showed them the far simpler way to please the Father than trying to follow hundreds of rules and regulations. The human race was reacquainted with the Creator that loved them - enough to send His Son to to die in their place so they could have the opportunity to live in eternity with Him.
Jesus being that faithful and true witness then turns around an says of Antipas, "My witness, My faithful one ..." I can think of nothing that would be more of an honor, and yet more powerfully humbling. It may have been that Antipas was confronted by the government to deny Christ and worship the Emperor. It may have been any number of similar situations. Whatever the case was Antipas refused to deny his Lord and Savior and, in the mortal perspective, it cost him his life. He became a martyr. In the light of eternity, Antipas gained his freedom from the battle that wages in our mortal selves, between the spirit and the flesh. He lost what he could never keep, his mortal life, and gained what he could never lose - eternity with God.
What will be recalled to others about you? Is there anything you would like to change?
Grace & Peace,