Apologetics, Bible, End times, Spiritual Warfare, z4
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The place where Satan lives? Pt 1

Is the Pergamum Alter, the throne of Satan referred to in Revelation 2? Photo Wikipedia/Raimond Spekking

Is the Pergamum Altar, the throne of Satan referred to in Revelation 2:12-13? Photo Wikipedia/Raimond Spekking

[by Dean Smith] In a December 2013 interview with The Guardian, a mortician named only as Lucas, living in San Pedro, Honduras said:

“Satan himself lives here in San Pedro. People here kill people like they are nothing more than chickens.”

With a population of only 900,000, the city averages 20 murders a day. This works out to a murder rate of 173 per 100,000 more than double the country’s national average which is 85.5 per 100,000. New York City in comparison has 3.5 murders/100,000.

According to the article, San Pedro has the highest murder rate of any region in the world outside a war zone.

Lucas said when he started working years earlier, people died mostly of natural causes and murders were rare. That has completely reversed and now death by natural causes is rare. Today, it is not uncommon to see corpses with multiple bullet wounds — some as high as ten. Others arrive with heads and other body parts cut off.

But the statement that caught my attention was the phrase “Satan himself lives here.”

Jesus acknowledged that murder was one of the trademarks of Satan’s work. Jesus speaking to a group of scribes and pharisees said, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44 NASV)

So the murder rate of San Pedro certainly fit the bill. But is there a specific place on earth where Satan lives?

The place where Satan dwells

In Revelation 2, when addressing the church at Pergamum (also spelled Pergamon), God has an interesting word for the city:

And to the angel of the church of Pergamum write: I know where you dwell (katoikeo), where Satan’s throne is and you hold fast My name and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where satan dwells (katoikeo) … (Revelation 2:12-13 NASV)

In this verse, God speaks of the church and Satan dwelling in the city of Pergamum in modern Turkey which was the capital city of Asia at this time. It was a powerful and influential city.

The same Greek word for dwell, katoikeo, is used in both instances. According to the Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, katoikeo, means “to settle down in a dwelling, to dwell fixedly in a place.”

In other words, in the same way the church members lived in the city, so did Satan. We also see the connection with violence as God specifically mentioned the murder of Antipas.

The throne of Satan

However, Pergamum was more than just a dwelling place for Satan, the passage says it was also the city where Satan had his throne. This suggests it was the administrative headquarters for the satanic realm at this time in history.

Pergamum site: Burk Andree

Pergamum site  Photo: Burk Andree

In Matthew 12:22-27, the Pharisees had just accused Jesus of casting out a lower demon by invoking the name of a ruling evil spirit named Beelzebul. Jesus never challenged that notion, He argued instead:

“If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.” (Matthew 22:26, 27 NASV)

This discussion implies that an organizational chart of some kind exists in the satanic realm.

In the Book of Daniel, the Godly angel addressing Daniel speaks of his conflict with the Prince of Persia, a demonic angel apparently overseeing the Persian Kingdom (Daniel 10:13)

Though the satanic kingdom is spiritual, there are often manifestations taking place in the physical realm that mark its location.

In Pergamum’s case it was the home of the throne of Zeus — a giant altar built around 200 BC. It was a massive structure 35.64 meters wide and 33.4 meters deep.

The altar existed when Apostle John wrote Revelation. Many wonder if this was the throne of Satan John was referring to. The altar itself was not necessarily the throne, it simply manifested in a physical way what was taking place in the spiritual realm.

The altar was dedicated to the Greek gods — particularly Zeus. In Greek mythology, Zeus was the head of the gods. This group of gods with Zeus as their leader may have been a veiled reference to Satan and the demonic kingdom.

Paul in fact refers to Satan as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). It was through this altar at Pergamum that Satan received human worship. In Deuteronomy 32:17, Moses addressed this connection. Speaking of Israel, the patriarch said:

They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known (NASV)

As Christianity became dominant in Rome, the altar fell into disrepair. The temple built around the altar was turned into a fortress and partly destroyed through many battles. The altar gradually disappeared covered by debris and dirt.

In 1878, German archaeologists working at Pergamum uncovered the ancient altar with horrifying results.

To be continued in the next post

More in this series:

Read more:

Feature image: Pergamon Photo: Laszlo photo/Foter/ CC-By

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