Serapis Temple

This comes from a conversation I had with a guy a few years back. He was doing a study on the Seven Churches and he shared this with me. I just came across this conversation again today and now wish I would’ve done a section on this in my book. Today this Serapis Temple in Pergamon is called the Red Basilica. #theirgodisjupiter

Revelation 2 in the letter to Pergamos makes reference to the Satan’s Seat (Seat being Thronos). Because of the nature of the letters to the Seven Church, I don’t necessarily think Satan’s Thronos is literally in Pergamos though it could be. I may touch on one theory for where it could be later in this study or in a future one. In my past Seven Churches post I showed that what Jesus meant by Satan’s Seat allegorically in this context was the Serapis Temple (a cult that originated in Hellenistic Egypt base don Osiris and Apis/The Golden Calf and also Apollo) not the more famous Altar of Pergamom.

In Revelation 13 The Dragon/The Serpent/The Devil/Satan gives his Thronos and his power and his authority to The Beast. The same Authority he offered Jesus in his third Temptation.

In Revelation 16 when the 6th Bowl of God’s Wrath is poured out this Thronos is mentioned again. Because of how this ties into the rest of that chapter and the following ones I’m convinced it must be located at this time west of the Euphrates.

For Pergamos, better known as Pergamon, most people assume “Satan’s Seat” there refers to the Altar of Pergamon, now housed as the Museum in Berlin. But that doesn’t have a Throne of any kind.

There are a number of other structures at Pergamon that could work better. The Heroon where the kings of the by then defunct Hellenistic Kingdom of Pergamon were worshiped. The Temple of Athena, The Temple of Dionysus. The Diodorus Pasporos Heroon.

Two structures on the lower Acropolis involved Serpent themed deities. One was the Temple of Asklepius (the Asclepium), a son of Apollo affiliated with healing.

The key however I think is that the Satan’s Seat references are both before and after the reference to the Martyrdom of Antipas. According to tradition Antipas was killed in the Temple of Serapis, known today as the Red Basillica.

At this temple in the year 92 Saint Antipas, the first bishop of Pergamum ordained by John the Apostle, was a victim of an early clash between Serapis worshipers and Christians. An angry mob is said to have burned Saint Antipas alive inside a Brazen Bull incense burner, which represented the bull god Apis.

The name Serapis similarity to our word serpent is somewhat debatable if it’s a coincidence or not. Supposedly the name came from a Hellenized combing of the Egyptian deities Osiris and Apis. Apis was probably the Egyptian deity the Golden Calf was modeled after. Serapis also took on aspects of Dionysus and Hades.

The statues of Serapis tend to take a very basically Human and Hellenic form, but with a Serpent like base modeled after the Egyptian Uraeus symbol of ruler-ship.


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