Still, He starts off with a bit of positive. He understands that these people live in a place surrounded by evil. Under the very throne of Satan. Yet, they have not denied His name. They are still following Him. He is glad of this, but not happy with the ways they are willing to bend the rules and manipulate the truth to let others slide by. He wants them to stop. He is about to destroy the evil-doers and it is best that the church not be wrapped up in that mess. Like Lot fleeing from Sodom, Pergamum needs to pull away from the Nicolaitians and the Balaam crowd.
Balaam was known for his role in bringing down the people of Israel, encouraging them to become part of sexual worship and other such idolatrous practices. The Nicolaitians believed that, since Christ had redeemed them and they lived free in Him, they were free to do anything they liked, no matter how sinful. They cheapened grace and insulted the sacrifice made for our salvation. You can imagine how these people could tear apart a church.
My favorite part of this letter is the very last line, which I will end this entry with. I have no commentary on it, because I do not know what I think it signifies. There may be a post on it later, when I have had time to let it ruminate.
Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing
through the churches. I'll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I'll also
give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new
name. (Rev 2:17)