This is a photo I took of Pergamum and my wing man while I was flying an F-4 Phantom II over Turkey about 30 years ago (taking photos from jet fighters is no longer legal). Pergamum was once the center of a small kingdom. In The Book of Revolation it is labeled a place where Satan has his throne, or where Satan lives. One reason often suggested for this statement is that Pergamum housed a famous temple to Asklepius, the Greek god of healing, symbolized by the figure of a snake. An evil dragon in one of John’s later visions is labeled “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Another possible reason for placing Satan in Pergamum is that Antipas, possibly the first Christian martyr in Asia, was killed there, and “Satan” is simply the label attached to his persecutors (like “Satan” or “the devil” at Smyrna).
Even the ruins of Pergamum are beautiful with its Amphitheater overlooking a breathtaking vista. I was amazed when I set in the highest seats of another Amphitheater in Ephesus and could understand people talking in a normal voice at ground level.
This Ephesian Amphitheater is where “Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Acts 19
As you think about the erosion of Christian Religious Freedom today, ask yourself what gods our governors and corporate CEOs worshippeth in 2015.