“I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” (Revelation 2.13, NKJV)
On top of the mountain overlooking the Roman city of Pergamos was a giant altar to Zeus one hundred feet square. This altar was in the form of a great throne or chair, forty feet high. It could be seen from almost anyplace in the city. Jesus told the church there that they dwelt where Satan’s throne was.
Last summer, on the way to visit Cindy’s father in Arizona, we broke up our trip by spending the night in Las Vegas. It is hard to describe the spiritual oppression and darkness I felt. I often get up in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. At 3:00 in the morning I arose, grabbed my Bible, and went in search of a quiet place in our hotel where I could read without waking up the rest of the family. I admit I was somewhat curious about casino life at that time of the morning. The elevator came to the lobby, I stepped out, and at the first slot machine I passed, an attractive young woman who was sitting on a stool motioned for me to come over to her. I could see in her eyes what she was offering. I put my hand up, shook my head, and kept walking. The experience gave me a strong impression of what it is like to dwell in the shadow of Satan’s throne.
That was what it was like for the believers in Pergamos. It was not easy to live for Christ in such an environment. Once a year everyone in the city was required to confess that Caesar was lord. Those who refused could be put to death. Many of the Christians held fast to the name of Christ, refusing to renounce their faith, even in the face of such hostile opposition. One believer named Antipas (whose name means “against all”) was a faithful witness of Jesus Christ and put to death as a result. Clearly, Satan had a great stronghold and influence over this city.
Let’s face it: it is not easy to stand for Jesus Christ and His Word. You will be the victim of attack. You will be the target of Satan’s fury. He will do all he can to tempt, deceive and destroy you. Where he can’t destroy you he will seek to get you to compromise. He will seek to tarnish your witness for Christ by making you an object of reproach. No believer is exempt from his attacks. And we have all succumbed to his devices from time to time. Left to ourselves he would surely destroy us. But God has raised up a standard.
“When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ Says the Lord.” (Isaiah 59.19-20, NKJV)
The standard God raises against the enemy is our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4.4). Even when we dwell in the shadow of Satan’s throne, we can depend upon Christ to guide us in the way of victory. He leads us by His Spirit and His Word.
Do not fear the enemy, even when you can feel his hot breath on the back of your neck. But know that your Redeemer lives, and He will let nothing harm you. Only let Him deliver you. When the devil starts knocking, say, “Jesus, it’s for you!”
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