New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:12 Pergamos. Pergamos was sixty miles north of Smyrna. It was a center of idolatry, with the great altar of Zeus, the largest altar in the world, located there. As the church at Ephesus had been infiltrated by false apostles, losing its “first love” as a result, and the Smyrna church by Judaizers, so Pergamos was impacted by compromise with the paganism surrounding it. Ever since the beginning of the church age, the church has been affected by either sacerdotalism, legalism, evolutionary pantheism, or all of these.
2:13 Satan’s seat. “Satan’s seat” is literally “Satan’s throne.” This may be a reference to the great altar of Zeus at Pergamos, but there is also some evidence that the priesthood of Babylonian idolatry had moved to Pergamos when Babylon fell to the Persians.
2:13 Antipas. “Antipas” means “against all.” Although Antipas may have been an otherwise unknown martyr (i.e., “witness”) at Pergamos, the Lord may have included his name here to represent all His faithful witnesses who take a clear stand for Christ “against all” the forces of Satan, even at the possible cost of martyrdom.
2:14 doctrine of Balaam. See Numbers 31:15-16. The “doctrine of Balaam,” which had apparently infiltrated the Pergamos church, was that of compromise with the immoral and ungodly life-style of the pagans around them, in similar fashion to the way Balaam had influenced the Israelites to take Moabite wives.