What Is the Lord’s Double-edged Sword?

Wim Malgo (1922-1992)

An interpretation of the last book of the Bible. Part 21. Revelation 2:12.

Located twelve miles north of Smyrna, the church at Pergamos was the northernmost of the seven churches. The city of Pergamos mentioned here once belonged to the kingdom of Lydia, under the immeasurably wealthy King Croesus, and fell to the Persian Empire after his defeat. The city later went to Macedonia in 264 BC, and from that time onward was the widely-known and richly-decorated capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon. In 133 BC, it fell to the Roman Empire upon the death of the last Pergamene king, Attalus III, according to his will. It was famous above all for the Aesculapian Temple and the huge Altar of Zeus. The much-mentioned library, with a quarter of a million rolls of parchment (the word “parchment” also comes from Pergamos), was no longer there at the time of the Apostle, but science and art remained in their prime. This city is still preserved today. It bears the name Bergama and is part of Turkey.

Although the letters from heaven are concise, they’re not abridged. As we read the letters, we must bear in mind that these are the last words we have directly from our Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation also mentions the restoration and salvation of Israel, but it is mainly directed at the church. According to 1 Corinthians 10:11, the church of Jesus is the one upon which the end of the world is coming.

The Lord speaks to His disciples (and through them, to us) in the Gospels. But here He is addressing Himself directly to His church, and thus also to us, from the right hand of the Father. This directness is underscored because John, as the Lord’s Apostle and member of the body of Jesus, receives the messages. That’s why every word must be carefully noted, and considered through prayer and questioning: what does the Lord mean by it?

He introduces Himself to the church in Smyrna as the first and the last, as the absolute Victor over death. This church, which was experiencing severe hardship, needed that as comfort; they needed to know who their Master was. But He reveals Himself to Pergamos as the one “which hath the sharp sword with two edges” (Rev 2:12). In the Lord’s self-portrayal, we can see this letter’s subject with unmistakable clarity: no commingling at all! Hebrews 4:12 says the same thing: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

God doesn’t want any commingling! In Revelation 19, we see the exalted Lord sitting on a white horse, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword…which sword proceeded out of his mouth” (vv. 15, 21). He judges the anti-Christian nations with it. The sharp, double-edged sword is identical to the Word of God. Indeed, He Himself is the Word of God: “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14a).

The Lord reveals Himself as the sharp, double-edged sword that goes out from His mouth; not just to Pergamos, but through all of redemptive history to this day. He will also put an end to the Antichrist with this sword.

In ancient times, when Joshua was at Jericho and was first given the great responsibility of leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land, he suddenly noticed that he was facing a man “with his sword drawn in his hand” (Josh 5:13)—the Word of God. The Word of God convicts, judges, and divides, thus protecting against commingling. That’s why we have to pass the Word of God on!

Midnight Call - 07/2021

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