“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells…” — Rev 2:13
Pergamum was one of the largest cities in the ancient world, [and] was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia and retained this honor well into the second century. But it wasn’t primarily for either political or economic achievements that Pergamum was famous, but for religion. Pergamum was the center of worship for at least four of the most important pagan cults of the day. . . . Jesus was fully aware that Pergamum, of all the cities in Asia Minor, would be most severely threatened by pagan influence. Thus the place “where Satan’s throne is” (v. 13) most likely refers to the primary role of Pergamum as the center of the imperial cult and as such the center of Satan’s kingdom in the east if not beyond as well.
The fact that “throne” has the definite article “the” indicates that Jesus is referring to a specific throne, whether literal or figurative, which he expects the people of Pergamum to recognize. In Revelation 13:2 it says that Satan gave the “beast . . . his throne and great authority” (cf. 16:10). If nothing else, this suggests that Satan works through the ungodly, earthly political power in Pergamum to persecute and oppress God’s people. . . . The Christians at Pergamum went to bed each night and awakened each morning to a relentless and pervasive idolatry in a city that had willfully “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:23).
Here’s what I want you to understand: Jesus also knows where you dwell. Don’t dismiss it as a theological truism. I can assure you, the oppressed believers in Pergamum didn’t. They laid hold of that glorious revelation and drew from it the refreshing waters of reassurance and hope and confidence. They would often, no doubt, remind themselves that no matter how hard it was to be a Christian there, no matter how intense the temptation to abandon Christ and serve another god, Jesus knew where they lived, he knew what they faced on a daily basis, and he knew every intimate detail of a life pursued in a city that hated God.
Jesus knows where you dwell. Meditate on it. Rejoice in it! Whether you live in an isolated Midwestern town of five thousand or feel lost in a metropolis of five million, Jesus knows where you live. Whether you attend, or perhaps serve as pastor of, a congregation of fifty or a mega-church of five thousand, Jesus knows where you dwell. He knows the temptations you face, the pressures you feel, the fear that perhaps you’ve been misplaced or marginalized or lost in the shuffle of life and the countless concerns that our Lord must deal with on a daily basis. Fear not! Jesus knows where you dwell.
You haven’t been abandoned, far less ignored. Your life and ministry are as important to Jesus as that of any Christian in any church in any city in any country. You may feel as if your community is a modern Pergamum, devoted to idolatry and immorality and the public ridicule of our glorious Savior. But of this you can rest as-sured: Jesus has sovereignly and strategically placed you there as his witness, to hold forth his name and to display his glory. That is why, contrary to the title of this meditation, every city is Christ’s City. Jesus knows where you dwell.
Adapted from Sam Storms, To the One Who Conquers: 50 Daily Meditations on the Seven Letters of Revelation 2-3, Kindle Edition