The Pergamon Altar, A.K.A. Satan’s Throne, and A Little Obama Irony

There are things that happen in the world that should, for all intensive purposes, be sheer coincidence but there always comes a time when, if you have eyes to see, you will understand that coincidence is a faulty concept based upon a demonic worldview and that what actually happened was brimming full of meaning.

One good example includes the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in one day by a United Nations vote, having not existed since 70 A.D. If you know God and you know the scriptures, then this event was the fulfilment of many scriptures and cleared the way for other scriptures to be fulfilled that would otherwise be impossible. That’s just shy of 1,880 years as of 2014!

Enter another great example.

The Pergamon Altar is a sacrificial altar built in the ancient city of Pergamon, Asia Minor (today Bergama, Turkey) during the reign of King Eumenes II of the Seleucid empire in the 2nd century B.C.

20140223-170623.jpgModel of the Pergamon Altar (above)

Wikipedia tells us this:

Contrary to popular belief, the Pergamon Altar is not a temple, but probably the altar of a temple, although altars were generally located outdoors in front of their temples. It is supposed that the Athena temple located on the acropolis terrace above it may have been its cultic point of reference, and the altar possibly served solely as a place of sacrifice. This theory is supported by several statue bases and consecrating inscriptions found in the vicinity of the altar and whose donors named Athena. Another possibility is that both Zeus and Athena were jointly honored. It could also be that the altar had an independent function. In contrast to a temple, which always had an altar, an altar did not necessarily have to have a temple. Altars could, for example, be quite small and placed in houses or, less commonly, have gigantic dimensions as in the case of the Pergamon Altar. The few remnants of inscriptions do not supply enough information to determine to which god the altar was dedicated.

So far, none of these theories is generally accepted. This situation led a long-time director of excavations in Pergamon to conclude that:

No research is undisputed concerning this most famous artistic masterpiece of Pergamon, neither the builder nor the date nor the occasion nor the purpose of the construction. –Wolfgang Radt

The historians are confused here, and they usually are even when they don’t admit it, but Jesus is very clear about the Pergamon and its altar:

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. “‘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. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’ (Revelation 2:12-17 ESV)

Pergamon according to Jesus: “where Satan’s throne is…where Satan dwells.”

So was Jesus merely using some Hebrew hyperbole?

Sarah Yeomans suggests that this is the product of cultural conflict between Rome and the early church:

During the second century A.D., Pergamon’s fame as a center of healing and medical science eclipsed its reputation for anything else. Its most celebrated citizen during this period was the physician Galen, whose work and research was largely responsible for providing the foundation from which modern western medicine was to spring. The asclepion at Pergamon was one of the most famous in the ancient world, and this ancient version of a medical spa attracted pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean region who came seeking the restorative powers of its thermal waters and medical treatments for various ailments and injuries.

Given the fact that they city represented the epitome of Hellenistic culture, traditions and religion in both its pursuits and its very architecture, it is perhaps not surprising that early Christians viewed it as a bastion of all that was anathematic to Christian beliefs. In the Book of Revelation, John conveys a message from the risen Christ to seven Christian congregations in Asia Minor, all of which are located in modern Turkey. Pergamon’s congregation was one of these, and Christ’s message to the faithful praises them for adhering to their faith while living in the place “where Satan dwells.” Antipas, a Christian bishop of Pergamon, was believed to have been martyred here at the end of the first century A.D., around the time when many scholars believe the Book of Revelation was composed. The execution of their bishop certainly would not have endeared the city to its Christian inhabitants, and the Biblical reference to the city is reflective of the general tension between Christian and pagan communities at the end of the first century A.D.

Is this a satisfactory answer though? After all, John may have written it but Jesus himself spoke it.

Would Jesus twice indicate Pergamon as both the dwelling and ruling place of Satan for mere rhetorical purposes?

Unlikely.

I’ll warrant that Satan hasn’t moved shop either but time will tell.

The German Empire began excavating and eventually moving the Altar from Pergamon to Berlin in 1879.

20140223-170933.jpgThe Pergamon Altar reconstructed at Berlin’s Pergamon Museum (above)

In Germany, it became an inspiration for architects, particularly under the Third Reich in the 1930′s:

The Zeppelinfeld (in English: Zeppelin Field) is located east of the Great Road. It consists of a large grandstand (Zeppelinhaupttribüne) with a width of 360 metres (390 yards) and a smaller stand. It was one of Albert Speer’s first works for the Nazi party and was based upon the Pergamon Altar. The grandstand is famous as the building that had the swastika blown from atop it in 1945, after Germany’s fall in World War II. The name “Zeppelinfeld” or “Zeppelinwiese” refers to the fact that in August 1909 Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin landed with one of his airships (LZ6) in this location.

20140223-170331.jpgThe Zeppelinfeld at the height of the Third Reich (above)

The Zeppelinfeld served as the Nazi Party rallying grounds and as a speaking podium for many of Adolf Hitler’s grandiose speeches.

By now, you may have noticed the strange coincidence that the best known murderous dictator in history used a podium modelled after the altar that Jesus called Satan’s Throne. Coincidence, eh? It gets better though.

During the 2008 Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High, Barack Obama accepted the Democrat presidential nomination on a stage that can be described at best as heavily inspired by the Pergamon Altar and at worst as its near perfect replica.

20140223-191054.jpgObama’s 2008 acceptance speech on Pergamonesque Stage

Sure, comparing Obama to Hilter could be a bit much given that Obama has never passed laws and financed mass murder.

Oh.

One of his first acts as President, you say?

Oh.

Back to that connection that I didn’t make though: the unmistakable salute to the Pergamon Altar.

Why?!

Seriously, why would you?!

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3 ESV)

Well I guess that makes sense then.

Here is a video version of the aforementioned information from someone else who sees this bizarre connection:

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/pergamon-2/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/01/23/us-obama-abortion-idUSTRE50M3PQ20090123

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