3. Pergamos

Who is this Antipas?

Like the Flood, the Exodus marks the beginning of a new period. In these critical prophecies, as you will see, God discusses highly visible or the most significant historic events, to mark the beginning and end of a period. These events have inscribed a permanent mark in history. Most people of the world are aware of the flood and the Exodus. How else could prophecy best serve the followers, than to identify with the greatest and most significant events of the history of its followers? Once the landmark events are discussed, we know that God is aware of what is going on, among His people.

Trying to place the third church prophecy in any other period of time we run into inevitable difficulties. The post Calvary era simply does not avail any explanations for who Antipas might be. Yet, Antipas, like the aforementioned 10 days period, is an important part of this next church prophecy. Was he, as some suggest, one of the many martyrs who died during the Dark Ages? No Christian denomination seems to have a good explanation, on “Who” Antipas might be, and the opinions vary greatly, since there were many, many martyrs during the post-Calvary era. Isolating any one of them above another seems quite unfair, since they all gave their lives for the cause. This martyr being a vital part of this third church prophecy must carry the same historic clout as the Flood and Exodus, to be consistent with the rest of this prophecy. Indeed, this must have been a very special individual, to be referred to, by God, as “My” faithful martyr.


Cross

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 those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” (Rev 2:13 KJV).

Reading carefully, we can see, from the Greek interlinear Bible, that translation, rather than transliteration was used here. First, There is no trace of the word “was”. It was a supplied word. Antipas is not referred to as being the “faithful martyr”. In fact the “faithful martyr” text is not an accurate translation. Properly translated it should say “my witness the faithful“.

We find this evidence in Revelation 1:5:



Revelation 1:5 (Greek): and from Jesus Christ, the witness the faithful

As you can see, the original text is the same in both verses (Revelation 1:5 and 2:13) and they both imply the same individual.



Revelation 2:13 (Greek): ...even in the days of Antipas the witness of me the faithful

And we can see this usage in other prophets’ vocabulary. Jeremiah refers to God in the same way in his prophecy:

Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. (Jer 42:5)

To really get a good insight on who the “Faithful Witness” really is, however, we need to jump ahead and read a verse from the 7th church’s prophecy.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Rev 3:14)

Now it is clear “Who” we are talking about. The Savior Himself is spoken of this way. No man has ever been called a “faithful witness” in prophecy. There is a reason for that. None of us is reliable enough. Humanity is stained with sin and lack of faith. Other than the Savior Himself, no one else qualifies for that excellent title. No, not even Abraham. The very term “Faithful” does not describe human agents, since all have fallen short, as Paul would put it. Only the Savior was faithful unto death. In prophecy, the term “Faithful” is used to describe the Savior as a prime example of what faithfulness is about and only the superlative example, of what faithfulness is about, is worthy to be called “The Faithful“.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Rev 19:11)

When Christ, the Faithful Servant, was crucified, Herod Antipas was in power. In view of that we can understand the original Greek context of Revelation 2:13. The prophet expresses this idea clearly: “even in the days of Antipas, my witness the faithful” Herod reigned in the time of Christ and played a part in the Savior’s trial. This was not the Herod who killed the children of 2 years old and below. This was a successor. (Luke 23:6-11) As a consequence of this, he is mentioned in prophecy, but Antipas is in no way the Faithful Witness!

As Adventists, we are quite aware of the difference punctuation can make. Our favorite example is the Savior’s promise on Calvary:

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43 KJV)

From our study into the state of the dead we conclude that the comma, which was added many years after this text was written, is misplaced. When men die they do not ascend into heaven that day. Even Christ did not ascend at His death. The verse should read “verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise [in the future].”

We face this same problem, here. Revelation 2:13 should have a comma inserted after “even in the days of Antipas,” The Savior is the only true “faithful witness” who was killed in the time of Antipas’ reign. Furthermore, the Crucifixion of the Son of God, like the Flood and Exodus and much more so, is a monolith and landmark in the history of all time, worthy of mention in prophetic format to help the reader gain an insight into God’s plans, which affect the world.

What is the “sword” of His mouth?

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev 2:16 KJV)
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Mat 10:34 KJV)

Now that we understand the timing of this prophecy, we can also understand that this reference was fulfilled to the fullest degree. The sword spoken of in Revelation 2:16 and 2:12 is His words, which He gave to the world. Some it healed, and others it cut to pieces. This is why it is referred to as the sharp, two-edged sword. The Savior came and fought with the Pharisees over the issue of their hypocrisy and they were cut to the heart. They wanted Him dead, so they crucified Him.

What about the “hidden manna”?

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” (Rev 2:17 KJV)

While in the wilderness, the Israelites were fed manna from heaven – hidden manna – which sustained them for many years in the desert. Like the promise of the tree of life, given to those of the first church, Manna is promised to those of the third church. It is to the people from the Exodus to Christ, or Israelites, that the reference to “hidden manna” would have the most meaning. After all it is one unique miracle, which all generations of the children of Israel have inscribed in their memories. No other nation on this planet has experienced this.

The Manna from God made it possible for the Israelites to achieve a feat of nearly 2 million individuals surviving in the desert for 40 years. The simple admission that the Israelites did leave Egypt to go to Canaan suggests that a miracle of this kind was imperative to achieve this. In prophecy, God promises these people the living Bread or the Savior, using types and symbols from their experience.

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