In verse 12, we read twice about Satan, "Thou dwellest, were Satan's seat is," and at the end of the verse, "Where Satan dwelleth." The Christian church and Satan dwell in the same city! The throne of Satan is the counterpart of God's throne.
It is not clear to us what the background of this exression is. It could refer to the altar of Zeus that included a large throne with the image of Zeus. It could refer more generally to the strong concentration of idolatry, temples, and cults in the city. It could also refer to the shape of the city mound. As travelers approached the city from the south, the mound resembled a giant throne. A final explanation could be that Pergamos was the seat of the Roman government in Asia, and we know that Ceasar persecuted Christians. But whatever the background is, this idolatrous and godless city was hostile against the Christians and even persecuted them. We read, "Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you." One of the brethren, Antipas, lost his life here on earth after finding eternal life in Christ. He remained faithful to his Savior, Christ, and was killed. But what remarkable praise for the church in Pergamos. A church surrounded by so much pressure to be conformed to the world and to give up faith in Christ. We read, “I know thy works, … and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith…” Amid persecution and tremendous opposition, they remained faithful in their works and testimony. What a mirror this is for us. The world around us is hostile to Christ. We read in Psalm 2 that the heathen rage and the kings take counsel against the LORD. Later in the book of Revelation, we will hear about Babylon, the godless city, as a picture of the world. The hostility of the world is not always in the same intensity, but the direction of the world is always opposite to the direction of the Christian. Like the church in Pergamos, let us not give up. We read in Psalm 8, that despite the hostility of the world, the LORD has appointed His Son as King. Christ rules from heaven and is all-powerful. Pergamos is an example to us. They confessed Christ’s name openly despite the possible consequences. They couldn’t otherwise because they were given faith in Christ, and by grace, they persevered in following Christ. Those who see their own sinfulness and God’s love cannot help but love Him above all and live in gratitude for the salvation of Christ Jesus.