Revelation 2:13
I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.
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(13) I know thy works.—Here, as in Revelation 2:9, some MSS. omit “thy works,” and read, “I know where thou dwellest—even where Satan’s seat is.” The word is translated elsewhere “throne,” and should be here, “Where the throne of Satan is.” But why should this pre-eminence in evil be assigned to Pergamos? The answer is difficult. Some leave it unsolved, saying that in the absence of any historical notice, it must remain one of the unsolved riddles of these epistles. Prof. Plumptre suggests that the general character of the city, its worship and customs, in addition to the persecutions which the Christians had encountered, may well account for the description. Æsculapius was worshipped as the “Preserver,” or “Saviour.” The symbol of the serpent must have been conspicuous among the objects of adoration in his temple. Curious arts were practised; lying wonders were claimed; persecution had extended to death. Such evil in such a city may have led to its being regarded as the very head-quarters of the enemy.

Hast not denied.—Better, Thou didst not deny My faith in the days in which Antipas My faithful witness, was slain, &c.

Antipas.—Short for Antipater. (Comp. Lucas and Silas, short for Lucanus and Silvanus.) Nothing is known of Antipas. There are later traditions respecting him, but these are probably fancy-drawn.

2:12-17 The word of God is a sword, able to slay both sin and sinners. It turns and cuts every way; but the believer need not fear this sword; yet this confidence cannot be supported without steady obedience. As our Lord notices all the advantages and opportunities we have for duty in the places where we dwell, so he notices our temptations and discouragements from the same causes. In a situation of trials, the church of Pergamos had not denied the faith, either by open apostacy, or by giving way so as to avoid the cross. Christ commends their stedfastness, but reproves their sinful failures. A wrong view of gospel doctrine and Christian liberty, was a root of bitterness from which evil practices grew. Repentance is the duty of churches and bodies of men, as well as of particular persons; those who sin together, should repent together. Here is the promise of favour to those that overcome. The influences and comforts of the Spirit of Christ, come down from heaven into the soul, for its support. This is hidden from the rest of the world. The new name is the name of adoption; when the Holy Spirit shows his own work in the believer's soul, this new name and its real import are understood by him.I know thy works - The uniform mode of addressing the seven churches in these epistles. See the notes on Revelation 2:2.

And where thou dwellest - That is, I know all the temptations to which you are exposed; all the allurements to sin by which you are surrounded; all the apologies which might be made for what has occurred arising from those circumstances; and all that could be said in commendation of you for having been as faithful as you have been. The sense of the passage is, that it does much to enable us to judge of character to know where people live. It is much more easy to be virtuous and pious in some circumstances than in others; and in order to determine how much credit is due to a man for his virtues, it is necessary to understand how much he has been called to resist, how many temptations he has encountered, what easily-besetting sins he may have, or what allurements may have been presented to his mind to draw him from the path of virtue and religion. In like manner, in order to judge correctly of those who have embraced error, or have been led into sin, it is necessary to understand what there may have been in their circumstances that gave to error what was plausible, and to sin what was attractive; what there was in their situation in life that exposed them to these influences, and what arguments may have been employed by the learned, the talented, and the plausible advocates of error, to lead them astray. We often judge harshly where the Saviour would be far less severe in his judgments; we often commend much where in fact there has been little to commend. It is possible to conceive that in the strugglings against evil of those who have ultimately fallen, there may be more to commend than in cases where the path of virtue has been pursued as the mere result of circumstances, and where there never has been a conflict with temptation. The adjudications of the great day will do much to reverse the judgments of mankind.

Even where Satan's seat is - A place of special wickedness, as if Satan dwelt there. Satan is, as it were, enthroned there. The influence of Satan in producing persecution is what is particularly alluded to, as is apparent from the reference which is immediately made to the case of Antipas, the "faithful martyr."

And thou holdest fast my name - They had professed the name of Christ; that is, they had professed to be his followers, and they had steadfastly adhered to him and his cause in all the opposition made to him. The name Cristian, given in honor of Christ, and indicating that they were his disciples, they had not been ashamed of or denied. It was this name that subjected the early Christians to reproach. See 1 Peter 4:14.

And hast not denied my faith - That is, hast not denied my religion. The great essential element in the Christian religion is faith, and this, since it is so important, is often put for the whole of religion.

Even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr - Of Antipas we know nothing more than is here stated. "In the Acta Sanctorum (2, pp. 3, 4) is a martyrology of Antipas from a Greek ms.; but it is full of fable and fiction, which a later age had added to the original story" (Prof. Stuart, in loco).

Who was slain among you - It would seem from this that, though the persecution had raged there, but one person had been put to death. It would appear also that the persecution was of a local character, since Pergamos is described as "Satan's seat"; and the death of Antipas is mentioned in immediate connection with that fact. All the circumstances referred to would lead us to suppose that this was a popular outbreak, and not a persecution carried on under the authority of government, and that Antipas was put to death in a popular excitement. So Stephen Acts 7 was put to death, and so Paul at Lystra was stoned until it was supposed he was dead, Acts 14:19.

Where Satan dwelleth - The repetition of this idea - very much in the manner of John - showed how intensely the mind was fixed on the thought, and how much alive the feelings were to the malice of Satan as exhibited at Pergamos.

13. I know thy works—Two oldest manuscripts omit this clause; one oldest manuscript retains it.

Satan's seat—rather as the Greek is translated all through Revelation, "throne." Satan, in impious mimicry of God's heavenly throne, sets up his earthly throne (Re 4:2). Æsculapius was worshipped there under the serpent form; and Satan, the old serpent, as the instigator (compare Re 2:10) of fanatical devotees of Æsculapius, and, through them, of the supreme magistracy at Pergamos, persecuted one of the Lord's people (Antipas) even to death. Thus, this address is an anticipatory preface to Re 12:1-17; Note: "throne … the dragon, Satan … war with her seed," Re 12:5, 9, 17.

even in those days—Two oldest manuscripts omit "even"; two retain it.

wherein—Two oldest manuscripts omit this (then translate, "in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness," or "martyr"); two retain it. Two oldest manuscripts read, "My witness, MY faithful one"; two read as English Version. Antipas is another form for Antipater. Simeon Metaphrastes has a palpably legendary story, unknown to the early Fathers, that Antipas, in Domitian's reign, was shut up in a red-hot brazen bull, and ended his life in thanksgivings and prayers. Hengstenberg makes the name, like other apocalyptic names, symbolical, meaning one standing out "against all" for Christ's sake.

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest; God knows all his people’s circumstances, where they dwell, as well as what they do, and how they behave themselves in their habitations.

Even where Satan’s seat is; where the devil rules by his pagan deputies and antichrist’s officers.

And thou holdest fast my name; the word of my truth, by which I am known, as a man by his name.

And hast not denied my faith; neither by the words of thy mouth, nor by any apostacy from this profession, notwithstanding the temptations thou hast had from suducers and from persecutors, and the sight of those who have been put to death for their profession.

Even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr: it is much no ecclesiastical history makes mention of this martyr Antipas, which argueth him to have been a person but of an obscure note in the world; but Christ seeth and taketh notice of those little ones who belong to him, though the world overlooks them. Our being able from no history to give an account of this martyr, hath inclined some to think this epistle wholly prophetical, and that Antipas signifieth not any particular person, but all those that have opposed the pope, as if it were Antipapa. But certainly there was such a martyr as Antipas belonging to the church at Smyrna at that time, who suffered for the truth, though we do not allow this church to have been typical of all the gospel churches for many years. I know thy works,.... Both good and bad, and which in that pure part of this church, which opposed the growing corruptions of antichrist, were for the most part good,

And where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is. Pergamos was a city very much given to idolatry, here Satan reigned while it was Pagan, and so was a fit emblem of the idolatrous church of Rome. Pausanias says (a), the country the Pergamenes inhabited was sacred to the Cabiri, the chief gods of the Heathens. And the same writer (b) observes, that Aesculapius particularly was worshipped at Pergamos; and hence he is called by Martial (c) the Pergamean god; to his temple here, men used to go from different parts of the world for cure of diseases; hither Antoninus the emperor went for such a purpose, as Herodian (d) relates; and this being a common thing, hence Lucian (e) scoffingly says, that Aesculapius had an apothecary's shop at Pergamos. As Rome, and its dominions, were the principal seat of the church in this period of time, it may well be called Satan's seat or throne; not only because it had been the seat of the Roman emperors, the ten horned and seven headed beast, Revelation 13:2; but because it was the seat of antichrist, which the great dragon Satan gave him, whose coming was after the working of Satan, and he was influenced by him; and who, like Satan, exalted himself above all that is called God; yea, placed himself in the temple of God, the church, as God, showing himself to be God, assuming that power to himself which only belonged to God. Moreover, he may be called so for his enmity and malice against the saints, and for his art and subtlety, and insidious methods to ensnare and destroy them. Now to dwell where such an one has his seat, his throne, has a kingdom, power, and authority, must be very uncomfortable, as well as dangerous; and required great care, circumspection, and prudence how to behave: and yet to the commendation of this church it is said,

and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith: the pure members of this church are the two witnesses, which rose up at the beginning of the apostasy of Rome, and bore their testimony against it, and for the truth; and continued to do so amidst all the corruptions and persecutions of that state: these are the two olive trees, that, through the golden pipes of the word and ordinances, emptied the golden oil of Gospel truths out, of themselves, pure and incorrupt, and the two candlesticks that held forth the light of the Gospel in the darkest times of Popery; these held fast the name of Christ, or the Gospel, and denied not, but confessed the doctrine of faith in the worst of times. They had the truths of the Gospel in their possession, which were dear and valuable to them; and whereas there was danger of losing them, they held them fast, with great courage, magnanimity, and strength, though the greater number was against them, and they were attended with reproach and persecution:

even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. Antipas is the proper name of a man; so a son of Herod was called (f), even he that beheaded John, and mocked Christ: and there might be a man of this name at Pergamos, that might suffer martyrdom for the Gospel of Christ; and who was an emblem of the confessors, witnesses, and martyrs, that suffered for Christ, in this period of time, through their opposition to the popes of Rome; for Antipas is the contraction of Antipater, and is the same with Antipapas, or Antipappas, which signifies one that is against the pope, an opposer of that holy father; and so intends all those that made head against him, upon his rising and revelation, and when he assumed the power he did to himself; such as the Waldenses and Albigenses particularly, who set themselves against him, openly declared that the pope was antichrist, and that his government was tyrannical, and his doctrines the doctrines of devils, abominable and fabulous. They bore a faithful testimony against all his corruptions and innovations, and became martyrs in the cause of Christ, many thousands of them being slain for his sake within the dominions of this firstborn of Satan. The Alexandrian copy reads "Anteipas"; and his name is left out in the Syriac and Arabic versions,

(a) L. 1. sive Attica, p. 8. (b) L. 3. sive Laconica, p. 215. (c) L. 9. Epig. 14. (d) Hist. l. 4. c. 14. (e) In Icaro Menippo. (f) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 17. c. 1. sect. 3. De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 28. sect. 4.

{12} 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 {e} those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

(12) The proposition of praise is in this verse, of reprehension in the two following, and of exhortation joined with a conditional threat Re 2:16. Now this Antipas was the angel or minister of the church of Pergamos, as Aretas writes.

(e) The faith of those at Pergamos is so much the more highly commended, because they remained constant even in the very heat of persecution.

Revelation 2:13. The ποῦ κατοικ. is immediately afterwards described more accurately: ὅπου ὁ θρ. τ. σατ. This in itself does not contain a commendation, but serves as a commendation only as the church remains faithful although dwelling where Satan’s seat is, which is communicated by the more emphatic and explicit repetition at the close of ὅπου ὁ σατ. κατοικεῖ.[1113] It is a matter of importance, however, that the Lord first of all simply testifies, for its consolation, to his knowledge of the nature of his church’s abode: ὍΠΟΥ Ὁ ΘΡΌΝΟς ΤΟῦ ΣΑΤΑΝᾶ. At all events, this[1114] points to the city of Pergamos as the place of the church; and hence the explanation is incorrect, according to which the godless enemies of Christ and his believers are represented[1115] as Satan’s throne.[1116] There is nothing to support the opinion[1117] that Satan’s throne was in Pergamos as the chief abode of the worship of Aesculapius, whose symbol was the serpent; for if, on account of his serpent, John would have desired to designate Aesculapius directly as the Devil[1118] (which would have been inappropriate, as, according to 1 Corinthians 10:20, that particular ἜΙΔΩΛΟΝ can be only one ΔΑΙΜΌΝΙΟΝ among many), he would at least have indicated it by Ὁ ΘΡ. ΤΟῦ ΔΡΆΚΟΝΤΟς. We must first, with Andreas,[1119] think of a remarkable flourishing of idol-worship in general, if the remark of And. that Perg. was ΚΑΤΕΊΔΩΛΟς ὙΠῈΡ ΤῊΝ ʼΑΣΊΑΝ ΠᾶΣΑΝ (given to idolatry above all Asia) would have an historical foundation. That Perg. is called the seat of Satan as the abode of heathen and Nicolaitans,[1120] is partly too general, and partly contrary to the meaning of Revelation 2:14. The only correct view is the reference, understood already by N. de Lyra, to the persecution of the church, ascribed also in Revelation 2:10 to the Devil;[1121] decidedly in favor of this explanation is the ὍΠΟΥ Ὁ ΣΑΤ. ΚΑΤΟΙΚΕῖ in its connection with ἈΠΕΚΤΆΝΘΗ ΠΑΡʼ ὙΜῖΝ. Only in Perg. had Satan been able to proceed so far as to shed the blood of martyrs. Whether this was caused by the adherence of the heathen with special fanaticism to their Aesculapius;[1122] or the fact that Perg., as the seat of supreme jurisdiction,[1123] most readily offered a theatre for persecutions;[1124] or, finally, that only particularly hostile individuals[1125] to be sought among the heathen, because not further designated,[1126] were present in Perg.,—it is not possible to decide.

καὶ κρατεῖς, κ.τ.λ. The holding fast[1127] of Christ’s name, which continues still to the present (κρατεῖς, pres.), has already approved itself on some special opportunity (καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσω, aor.). As the κρατεῖς corresponds to the contrasted ἠρνῆσω, so τὸ ὄνομα μου is parallel with τὴν πίστιν μου. The former is the objective, and the latter the subjective nature. Christ’s ὄνομα which is held fast by believers is not “the profession of doctrine delivered by Christ”[1128] or the confession of his name,[1129] but the name of Christ appears as something in itself objective, so that one may have, hold, and lose, confess and deny it, yea, even, it may work,[1130] as the name of Christ comprises the true objective person of Christ together with his riches and glory. The κρατεῖν τὸ ὄνομα occurs in the sense of this passage, of course, only by faithful, frank confession, but not simply “in life and faith.”[1131] The corresponding inner item (Romans 10:10) is faith in the Lord: τ. πίστ. μου, objective genitive.[1132]

καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ʼΑντίπας, κ.τ.λ. The correct text, with which the Vulg. in the critical recension agrees,[1133] i.e., in which before ʼΑντίπας neither αἱς nor ἐν αἰς nor ἐμαῖς is to be read, but on the contrary before ἀπεκτ. there is a ὃς,[1134] is not explicable by the conjecture that the gen. ʼΑντίπα may have stood originally in the text,[1135] nor by the idea that ʼΑντίπας is used as indeclinable, and the form here is intended as genitive;[1136] for both conjectures, in themselves having little probability, are made doubly difficult by the nominative appos. ὁ μαρτ. ό πιστ., since here it is hard to accept the explanation which is in place in Revelation 1:5, where what is said, is of Christ himself. Grotius assumes an ellipsis and a transposition by thus analyzing the sentence: ἐν τ. ἡμ. ʼΑντίπα, ὃς ʼΑντίπας

ἀπεκτάνθη. Ebrard, who, however, reads αἰς before ʼΑντ., explains the anacoluthon in the sentence by the supposition that the originally intended construction αἰς ʼΑντίπας

ἀπεκτάνθη was abandoned, because the chief verb ἀπεκτ. is added as an explanation of the words ό μαρτ. μ. ό πιστ., and thus a relative sentence originated which contains the verb properly belonging to ʼΑντίπας. But even the latter explanation does not naturally appear in the simple members of which the entire sentence consists. Primas, N. de Lyra, C. a Lap., and other catholic expositors,[1137] have correctly hit the sense by following the explanatory reading of the Vulg. “in diebus illis,” for if also the mere article cannot have directly the force of a demonstrative, yet it marks the precise days in which the church did not deny the faith: “and in the day Antipas” (namely: was) “my faithful witness who,” etc. It is designedly that the commendation of the church is still further enhanced by the circumstance especially added (καί), that one witness, in the days when the whole church faithfully gave its testimony, was faithful even unto death. The reference to the οὐκ ἠρνήσω. τ. πίστιν μου is indicated also by the expression ὁ μαρτ. μου ὁ πίστος,[1138] as then also the παρʼ ὑμῖν and the repeated ὅπου ὁ σατ. κατοικεῖ in this connection are significant.

Of the martyr Antipas, nothing historical is known. Whether his martyrdom, noticed by Andreas, were related already perhaps from the account, contained in the later martyrologies and menologies, viz., that Antipas as bishop of Pergamos under Domitian was put to death in a glowing brazen ox, we do not know. The interpretations of the name as Ἀντι-πᾶς, i.e., “Against all,” therefore, child of God, and hence enemy of the whole world,[1139] or Anti-papa,[1140] are wrecked by grammar, which teaches that Ἀντίπας is similar to Ἀντίπατρος.[1141] Coccejus, for this reason, wants to find in Antipas the confessor of Athanasianism, since Ἀντίπατρος resembles ἰσόπατρος, and this again ὁμοούσιος. Vitringa adds, yet, that the mystical Pergamos where this mystical Antipas was slain, viz., again mystically, by banishment, or, in general, by hinderance of confession, is Alexandria, the residence of Athanasius.

[1113] Thus with regard to κατοικεῖς.

[1114] Cf. the ποῦ κατοικεῖς and ὅπου ὁ σαταν. κατοικεῖ.

[1115] Primas, Zeger.

[1116] The opinion of P. Zornius (in Wolf) is a curiosity; viz., that John had in view the Pergamean museum, and the empty speeches of the sophists.

[1117] Grot., Wetst., M. Rossal and Ph. Hasäus in the Bibl. Brem., iii. pp. 94, 104. Cf. also Eichh., Heinr.

[1118] Revelation 12:3; Revelation 12:9.

[1119] Aret., Pric., Beng., etc.

[1120] C. a Lap., Calov.

[1121] Ew., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard.

[1122] In connection with which, we must remember that the idol, because of its epithet σωτήρ, formed a manifest opposition to the Saviour; we may also think of miraculous cures in the temple of Aesc., and the interests connected therewith. Cf. Acts 19:24 sqq., Revelation 16:19 sqq.

[1123] Kliefoth.

[1124] In connection with which, relations acknowledged in Plin., Ep. 97, and the apologists, and even indicated in Acts, may be recalled.

[1125] Hengstenb.

[1126] Ewald.

[1127] Cf. Revelation 2:1; Revelation 3:11.

[1128] Grot.

[1129] De Wette.

[1130] Cf. Acts 2:21; Acts 3:16; Acts 9:14; John 1:12.

[1131] N. de Lyra.

[1132] Revelation 14:12; Romans 3:22; Ephesians 3:12. Winer, p. 175.

[1133] “Et in diebus Antipas, testis meus fidelis, qui occisus est,” etc. Lach., Tisch.

[1134] See Critical Remarks.

[1135] Ewald.

[1136] Bleek.

[1137] Cf. also Treg.

[1138] Beng.

[1139] Aretius, Hengstenb., who understand thereby Timothy.

[1140] Ed. Schmidt.

[1141] Winer, p. 97.Revelation 2:13. Two features in the local situation menaced Christianity. Pergamos, besides forming a legal centre for the district (ad earn conueniunt Thyatireni aliaeque inhonorae ciuitates, Plin. ver 33), was an old centre of emperor-worship in Asia Minor; in 29 B.C. a temple had been erected to the divine Augustus and the goddess Roma, and a special priesthood had been formed (ὑμνῳδοὶ θεοῦ Σεβαστοῦ καὶ θεᾶς Ῥώμης). Another feature, shocking to early Christian feeling, was the local cult of Aesculapius (cf. Zahn, § 73, note 2), whose favourite symbol (e.g., on coins) was a serpent (“the god of Pergamos, Mart. Revelation 9:17); so Pausan. Cor. 27, (3:402), κάθηται δὲ ἐπὶ θρόνου βακτηρίαν κρατῶν, τὴν δὲ ἑτέραν τῶν χειρῶν ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆ ἔχει τοῦ δράκοντος. In addition to these fashionable cults, a magnificent throne-like altar to Zeus Soter towered on the Acropolis (Paus. ii. 73, 75, iii. 556, 557) commemorating the defeat of the barbarian Gauls by Attalus two centuries earlier, and decorated by a famous frieze of the gods warring against the giants (the latter, a brood of vigorous opponents, having often human bodies and serpentine tails, cf. below, Revelation 9:19). No wonder Pergamos was called “a throne of Satan” by early Christians who revolted against the splendid and insidious paganism of a place where politics and religion were firm allies. Least of all at this cathedral centre of the Imperial cultus could dissent be tolerated. The Asiarch, e.g., who condemns Polykarp is the local high priest of the altar, and the animus against Cæsar-adoration which pervades the Apocalypse easily accounts for the last phrase ὁ θ. τ. σ., particularly as the symbol of the serpent in the Aesculapius cult would come vividly home to pious Jewish Christians in the church, as a reminder of Satan (e.g., Revelation 12:9 and passim). The priesthood of this cult, “a vast college, believed to be in possession of certain precious medical secrets,” came “nearest, perhaps, of all the institutions of the pagan world, to the Christian priesthood,” its rites being “administered in a full conviction of the religiousness, the refined and sacred happiness, of a life spent in the relieving of pain” (Pater, Marius the Epicurean, i. 30; see Usener’s Götternamen, 1896, pp. 147 f., 350, and Dill’s Roman Soc. from Nero to M. Aur. 459 f.). κρατεῖς, κ.τ.λ., “And the magistrate pressed him hard, saying, ‘Swear the oath [by the genius of Cæsar] and I will release thee; curse the Christ.’ But Polykarp replied, ‘For eighty-six years I have served him, and he has never injured me. How then can I blaspheme my King, who has saved me?’ ” (Mart. Polyc. ix. Jewish analogies in 2Ma 8:4, Ass. Mos. viii. etc.). Some definite outburst of persecution at Pergamos is in the writer’s mind (ἠρνήσω). To disown or abjure faith in Jesus, saying Κύριος Καῖσαρ, implies here as in the gospels the moral fault of cowardice, elsewhere (e.g. 1 John, Judges 1:4, 2 Peter 2:1) erroneous doctrine. The circumstances and surroundings of the local church are taken into account, as usual, in the prophet’s estimate; they either claim some allowance to be made, or reflect additional credit and lustre on the particular community. ὁ μάρτυς, κ.τ.λ. He is faithful who retains his faith. Antipas (= Ἀντίπατρος, Jos. Ant. xiv. 1, 3; the name occurs in a third century inscription of Pergamos, Deissm. 187), is mentioned by Tertullian (adv. Gnost. scorp. 12); otherwise he is unknown. His Acts appear to have been read by Andreas and Arethas, and, according to Simon Metaphrastes, he was an old, intrepid bishop of Pergamos whose prestige drew upon him the honour of being burned to death in a brazen bull during Domitian’s reign. The sober truth is probably that he formed the first prominent victim in the local church, possibly in Asia Minor, to the demands of the Imperial cultus. Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonikê, the other martyrs of Pergamos named by Eusebius (H. E., iv. 15, 48), died at a later period. On the whole verse see Ep. Lugd., “then did the holy martyrs endure indescribable torture, Satan eagerly striving to make them utter τι τῶν βλασφήμων”. The textual variants arose from a failure to to see that Αντίπας (or -α) was a genitive and that μάρτυς was in characteristic irregular apposition to it. The name is neither a personification nor typical.13. Satan’s seat] Better, throne—the word being the one so naturalised in English, and so translated in this book wherever used of the throne of God, Revelation 3:21 &c. Why Satan’s throne and dwelling-place is localised at Pergamum is uncertain; two explanations have been given: that it was a seat of the worship of Asclepius or Aesculapius, whose traditional image held a serpent, and who in some of his shrines (but apparently not at Pergamum) was actually worshipped under the form of a serpent: and since recent excavations it has been suggested that the phrase was intended to refer to the great altar of Zeus Soter, carved with the wars of gods and giants, which Attalus set up to commemorate his victory over the Gauls—the last great triumph of Hellenism over barbarism. No doubt, to a pious Jew or Christian the worship of the serpent might naturally and excusably seem more direct and avowed devil-worship than other idolatry, while the fame of the great altar might cause it to be treated as the chosen throne of the God of this world; but we may question whether an inspired Apostle, or rather the Lord Himself, would thus “look upon the outward appearance”—both the worship of Asclepius and the thank-offering of Attalus belonged to the better side of heathenism. Perhaps therefore the meaning is only, that Pergamum was in a special sense a home of the Satanic spirit of persecution (cf. Revelation 2:10).

even in those days wherein Antipas was] Read simply in the days of Antipas, My martyr, (or “witness”) My faithful one. According to what seems the best text, the construction is not quite grammatically regular, but it is in accordance with the usage of this Book. A legend is given of the martyrdom under Domitian of Antipas Bishop of Pergamum: it can probably be traced up to the fifth or sixth century. But by that time the fashion had set in of the “invention” (half fraudulent, half imaginative) of relics and legends of martyrs: and it is more than doubtful whether anything authentic is known of Antipas except from this passage. Perhaps it is presumable that he was a Jew by birth: the name is a shortened form of Antipater. The latter, like Philip and other Macedonian names, had become common all over the Levant: but perhaps especially common among Jews, from its being borne by the father of Herod and (in this shortened form) by his son, the tetrarch of Galilee.

martyr] The word “witness” is already used in its technical ecclesiastical sense of one who bears witness to the Faith with his life: cf. Revelation 6:9, Revelation 12:11 (“testimony”). So Revelation 17:6; Acts 22:20.Revelation 2:13. Πίστιν) To this the cognate word πιστὸς presently afterwards answers.—ἐν ταῖς ἠμέραις) See App. on this passage.[32]—αἷς Ἀντίπας) that is, οὐκ ἠρνήσατο. The Menologia say, that Antipas was slain under Domitian: the Martyrologia, that he was cast into a heated brazen bull.

[32] AC Vulg. Memph. prefixes και before εν. B Syr. omit it.—E.Verse 13. - I know where thou dwellest. The words, "thy works and," are certainly an insertion here - both external and internal evidence are against them. Even where Satan's throne is. We must translate θρόνος "throne" here, as in Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 4:2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, etc. Throughout the Apocalypse heaven and hell are set over against one another; and as God has his throne, so also has Satan. The Authorized Version inconsistently alternates between "seat" (Revelation 11:16; Revelation 13:2; Revelation 16:10; Luke 1:52) and "throne," even in the same verse (Revelation 4:4). "The throne of Satan" has perplexed commentators. It probably refers to the infamous idolatry practised at Pergamum, which had a cluster of temples to Zeus, Apollo, Athene, Dionysus, Aphrodite, and AEsculapius. These all lay together in a beautiful grove called the Nicephorium, the pride of Pergamum, as the temple of Artemis was the pride of Ephesus. Some have thought that the mention of Satan points to the serpent, which is so prominent in the cultus of Aesculapius. But the context leads us rather to understand the abominations connected with the worship of Dionysus and Aphrodite. Others, again, think that "the throne of Satan" indicates the persecuting judgments pronounced against Christians; for Pergamum was a great judicial centre. We must be content to leave the question open. Thou holdest fast my Name. We have the same expression (κρατεῖν with the accusative) three times in this epistle and again in ver. 25 and Revelation 3:11. Just as in the literal sense κρατεῖν, with the accusative means "to seize" a man, i.e. his whole person (Matthew 14:3; Matthew 18:29; Revelation 7:1; Revelation 20:2), as distinct from laying hold of a part (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:41), so in the figurative sense κρατεῖν with the accusative is "to hold fast" the whole of (Mark 7:3, 4, 8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15), as distinct from keeping a share in a possession common to many (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 6:18). On the emphatic repetition obtained by denying the opposite, "holdest fast and didst not deny," see notes on Revelation 3:8. The Greek text in what follows is a good deal confused, and cannot be determined with certainty; but the general sense is clear. In any case, "my witness, my faithful one" (Revised Version), is more accurate than "my faithful martyr" (Authorized Version). The reduplication of the article is frequent in St. John's writings, but in some cases it produces clumsiness to reproduce it in English: ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός occurs here of Antipas, and in Revelation 1:5 of Christ; compare ἡ ἀγάπη ἡ πρώτη (Revelation 2:4), ὁ θάνατος ὁ δεύτερος (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8), ἡ ῤομφαία ἡ δίστομος (Revelation 2:12), τὸ μάννα τὸ κεκρυμμένον (Revelation 2:17), ὁ δεσπότης ὁ ἅγιος (Revelation 6:10), with John 4:9, 11; John 5:30; John 6:38, 42, 44, 50, 51, 58; John 6:38; 7:68; 8:16; 12:26; 14:15, 27; 15:9, 11; 17:13, 24; 18:36; 1 John 2:7 2John 13. Of Antipas nothing is known. The name is a shortened form of Antipater, as Nicomas of Nicomedes, Artemas of Artemidorus, Hermes of Hermodorus, Zenas of Zenodorus, Menas of Menodorus, Lucas of Lucanus, Domas of Demetrius; and therefore is not derived from ἀντί and πᾶς. Much mystical trifling has been expended over the name Antipas, which no doubt is the actual name of a once well-known sufferer for the truth. Probably of the Pergamene confessors, Antipas was the only one who was called upon to suffer death. The silence of Church history respecting a martyr thus honoured in Scripture is strange. Attalus, one of the chief martyrs of Lyons, was of Pergamum (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' V. 1:17; comp. IV. 15:48). The repetition of "where Satan dwelleth" emphasizes this point, like the repetition of "repent" in ver. 5. It rather confirms the view that by "Satan's throne" is meant the judgment throne where the martyrs were condemned. Dwellest (κατοικεῖς)

See on Luke 11:26; see on Acts 2:5.

Seat (θρόνος)

Rev., rightly, throne, which is a transcript of the Greek word. Better than seat, because it is intended to represent Satan as exercising dominion there. The word is used in the New Testament of a kingly throne (Luke 1:32, Luke 1:52; Acts 2:30): of the judicial tribunal or bench (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30): of the seats of the elders (Revelation 4:4; Revelation 11:16). Also, by metonymy, of one who exercises authority, so, in the plural, of angels (Colossians 1:16), thrones belonging to the highest grade of angelic beings whose place is in the immediate presence of God.

Holdest fast (κρατεῖς)

See on Matthew 7:3; see on Acts 3:11.

My name

See on 1 John 1:7.

My faith

See on Acts 6:7.


There is no other record of this martyr.

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