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13 - Pergamos and Thyatira

Steve E. Behrmann | May 10, 2014


Significance of the Name

1. Many commentators provide the apparent meaning of the word as "elevation, height, or tower61."

This meaning was born out in the geographical situation of the metropolis around and upon a large, impressive hill. The city was set upon a high and rocky throne typical of the political and sovereign role it played for centuries as the seat of government and the court of imperial justice.

2. Also significant is the presence of the Greek word for a wedding or marriage; gamos. This is not accidental to the purpose of this prophecy which denotes the era and character of Pergamos as a marriage between church and state, the compromise of pure doctrine and practice with paganism and idolatry. Throughout the Old Testament this illicit mingling of the true with the false is parabolized as "adultery," "whoredom," or "harlotry." 


The name distinguishes him from the other Herods.

  • Tried Jesus

  • MORE SIGNIFICANTLY HERE: he beheaded John the


  • Thus: “My faithful martyr”
  • Singled out because of his special relation to Jesus o Technically the first “Christian” martyr
  • Otherwise why would the Pergamene Antipas have honorable mention over probably hundreds if not thousands of other current martyrs? 

Hidden Manna

The lost manna in the ark of the covenant whose eating (by Rabbinic legend) would give eternal life. (It didn"t deteriorate).

The White Stone 

The word used is “psephon.” There are several possibilities for understanding this stone, but clearly in the context it refers to a stone of judgment; one which gave favor.

The same root is found in the word "count" (the number of the beast 13:18). The meaning is "to calculate, to determine."

The interpretation of the white stone has always been enigmatic. Probably the difficulty lies in the fact that white stones had several uses and nearly parts of all of these uses are alluded to here. 

The New Name

Mystery names were given for the purpose of exclusivism. This name, though no doubt, is not so much unknown to anyone else in terms of knowledge, but rather the emphasis in the kingdom will be upon the character name given exclusively from Jesus himself72. There will not be two Peters, two Johns, two Marys.

Particularly then the name is given with emphasis of uniqueness to oneself, not principally as a mystery name. 


Significance of the Name

The name is a combination of two words:

1. “thui” “sweet smelling”
Related to other words in the Apocalypse:

  • Incense, “thumiama” (Rev. 5:8; 8:3,4; 18:13)

  • Aromatic wood, “thuinon wood;” (Rev. 18:12)

2. “teira”, that is “Tyre” (the City of Tyre). THUS: “A Tyre that is sweet-smelling”

To properly understand the message to the church of Thyatira it is necessary to note the characteristics of the Palestinian city named Tyre. Some of the pertinent facts in regards to this city provide light for the interpretation of the counsel to the church of Thyatira.

1. Tyre was built on a rocky island, which afforded it unusual security. It took Nebuchadnezzar 13 years to take the city. Later, under siege by Alexander the Great, a causeway (1/2 mile long) was built and since then the city has been connected with the mainland. 

2. Tyre was the hometown of the Phoenician princess, Jezebel. Her father was Ethbaal, the King of Tyre and its sister city on the mainland, Sidon (1 Kings 16:31) (see 4 IDB, p. 722). Ethbaal was also the priest of Astarte.

3. Tyre was famous for its production of pottery, glassware, and especially purple. In the heart of the sea it was naturally a seaport and maritime commercial center extraordinaire.

4. With it's demise the prophecies concerning it (esp. Ezekiel 26:2- 29:18) came true. It was "brought down to the deep" and to "know the deep places of Satan" (26:20; cf. 26:12 last part; 27:34; 28:8).