Pergamum is referred to as the city where Satan has his throne. Revelation 2:13 says that Pergamum is where “where Satan has his throne” and also says “where Satan lives.” This may be the only place in the bible where Jesus actually gives a physical address for Satan. At Pergamum it is plainly obvious what John, the beloved, is referring to as “the throne of Satan”.
Pergamum, like most ancient cities has the common people living below in the valley, and the elite and religious leaders living high in a temple fortress. In the Acropolis of Pergamum all the local leaders had their grand palaces, but even grander were the palaces of four major Roman deities. These included Dionysus/also called Bacchus (next to amphitheatre); Athena (Wisdom; whose temple is next to library); Zeus (most powerful god); Trajan (Roman Emperor from 138AD) on top of the mountain. Surrounding the mountain were other minor deities.
The white marble grandiose temples would have easily been considered a wonder of the world in the days of the early church. These deities represented power and control through the worship of Emperor Trajan. This was more than just a political maneuver, but he was regarded as a major god. With his divine status the Emperors could demand anything they desired.
Sexual immorality and other kinds of debauchery (our English word “debauchery” comes from the name of this god Bacchus also known as Dionysus). Next to every temple to Dionysus is an amphitheater. Here they performed dramatic plays, tragedies and comedies yet included performances which strived to seduce and bring out erotic sexual behavior. Dionysus was a god who was worshiped with all kinds of sexual immorality beyond what I am prepared to explain in this blog. Literally everything you can imagine was done.
Zeus is the supreme God of the Greeks and represents the strongest and most powerful of deities. Zeus was the chief of all deities. He could control and manipulate other gods as well. This altar to Zeus was one of the most significant places of worship in Anatolia (or Turkey). Zeus was to be feared and served. The emperors and all other deities were subject to his power as well. Thus, Zeus has always been a significant deity worshiped by political leaders who need power and control to remain in their positions.
Athena represents wisdom and the power of humanism. Next to every temple of Athena is always a library. Athena is worshiped as a source of knowledge. The Greeks were the most advanced civilization of their day and much knowledge we have today in science, medicine, religion, engineering and even politics is derived from the libraries collected at Athena’s temples. Pergamum was a significant temple which included works from the Alexandria library (the biggest in the ancient world) given to them by Cleopatra herself. Worship of Athena represents the power of humanity to conquer and understand everything. It is the human pride and centers on humanism.
Together, this mountain of worship represents what Revelation, and Jesus himself, refers to as the throne of Satan. But does the story of Pergamum stop there? Are the ruined temples of the throne of Satan mean that Satan is defeated? No, not by any means.
Recently I visited the US Capitol in Washington, DC. I visited the Capitol building itself and I was stuck by something odd. The name of the center of the capitol, the rotunda, is referred to as the “Temple of Liberty”. In that temple, it is full of Greek gods. The entire architectural style is Greek as well. George Washington, our first President, is depicted as a deity in the center of the rotunda. He is surrounded by depictions of numerous Greek gods. The capitol building itself sits on a hill. Other immediate buildings include the Supreme Court (most powerful body in the United States). It is surrounded by libraries and museums which gathers knowledge from every part of the world in the various Smithsonian buildings. The Presidential palace (White House) is nearby, along with the National Treasury (a very real god of America). In the immediate area are also some of the most incredible places for performing arts, such as the Kennedy Center. At the other end of this elaborately designed city are the military offices, including the national cemetery with the entombed remains of America’s heroes. The Pentagon remains the largest building in the world by square footage. This one building controls armies, nations and millions of soldiers across the entire world. There are US military in hundreds of nations of the world. The resemblance to Pergamum is easy to view. I am not suggesting that Washington, DC is the throne of Satan, but in this place we find power, wisdom, the arts, military, commerce, education and many more keys to controlling not only a nation, but global influence. Millions, if not billions of people’s lives are impacted by what happens in these places.
Where does Satan live today? Where is the throne of Satan? It is not for me to say as I do not know. Only Jesus knows. I know that one place you will not find Jesus is in Washington DC. They have systematically used the power of these “temples” to try to erase Jesus from the nation.
What is Pergamum (the ancient throne of Satan) today? Nothing. It is a tourist attraction for people who like to study and see the broken stones of empires of the past, which have ceased to exist. The throne of Satan is no longer in Pergamum. It has moved and it did so long ago. Satan continues to exert his influence around the world causing evil in every form to grow stronger and stronger.
Jesus has called us believer to “overcome”. Be faithful in the truth that we know in Jesus Christ. Do not waver. They will threaten, oppress, torture, persecute and despise true believers, but you must not give in. We have a promise from God as to what will happen to Satan and his followers.
“7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10).
The day of Satan and his control is coming to an end. Satan is active producing evil of every kind all over the world. We have to stand strong till the end. The end will come, and Jesus will win.