12 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 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. 14 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 stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh 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 knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
The city of Pergamos (Greek) or Pergamum (Latin) developed the use of parchment for a writing material and was important in its manufacture.(4) The monument to Zeus at Pergamos is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and there were many other monuments to pagan gods that were honored at Pergamos. The thing, though, that justifies that statement that this is where Satan dwells is not only the rampant and ingrained paganism of the city but also the doctrinal defection of many Christians who held to the doctrine of Nicolaitanism. Mixing the Christian faith with paganism and heresy plagued this church as it did historical church organizations within Christianity who adopted pagan practices to make themselves more marketable to the heathen they were trying to convert.
Antipas, whom we do not know from Scriptures, was clearly a prominent martyr, important to God if forgotten by history. Strong’s dictionary says that his name means, “like the father,” so I am guessing he may represent a great many martyrs.
Sex was a common part of ancient religious practices whether it be the temple of Aphrodite in Acrocorinth causing the Christians to insist that the women in the Corinthian church have long hair to distinguish them from the short haired temple prostitutes (1Corinthians 11:1-16) or the heterosexual and homosexual temple prostitutes of Canaan that became mixed with God’s religion (Deuteronomy 23:18; 2Kings 23:7).
Balaam caused the Hebrews to turn from the practices that God demanded and to turn to the filthy religious practices of the heathen.
What is hidden manna? It is uncertain but manna was food that God supernaturally fed the Hebrews with in the wilderness. We have supernatural food in God’s words.
Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Could hidden manna refer to God’s word? It is interesting. What about the white stone? Stones are important throughout the Bible. In this they have a new name from God, a unique identifier, that no one knows but them. Could this be that God knows us and will know us in a unique way that is available only to Him and us?
(4) Unger, Archaeology and the New Testament, 275.