- what he has seen (this chapter);
- what is (the letters to the seven churches in the next two chapters);
- what will be (in the future).
Revelation 2-3 Each of the letters follows a pattern of evaluation, and commendation or condemnation of the church and those in it. Jesus says (through the Spirit) that He knows the works of the believers, and evaluates them. He knows the conditions under which they live, and takes everything into account. Those sinning are urged to repent and a promise of blessing is held out to those who become overcomers. A promise of judgment is held out to those who don't repent. This judgment of believers is for rewards or punishment. It is not about faith in Jesus' death for them (the justification aspect of salvation), but their sanctification and glorification. Jesus issued His calls to discipleship to those who had ears to hear, meaning those who were willing to listen. Each message ends with the same call. See the Chart here, and under Digging Deeper.
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him."
2:12-17 Pergamum, about fifty five miles from Smyrna was where Satan kept his summer palace, and had more pagan temples than Jesus had disciples. Being a believer there must have been difficult not just because of the persecution, but because of the pervasive pressure to compromise. Christ commends their works and loyalty to the faith and His name, even when Antipas was martyred (we know nothing else about him). However, Jesus did have a few things against them. They had some who held to the teaching of Balaam, who when unable to curse the Israelites, taught Balak to derail God's people by enticing them into sensual pagan worship (see Genesis 22 for the difference between Yahweh and pagan worship). Participation in pagan idol worship usually involved feasting and sex, as one acted out the request for fertility. Many temples have excavated large numbers of chambers designed to house temple prostitutes of both sexes. In addition, there were some who held to the teaching of the Nicolaitans (see comments above, and in this context the meaning of “no restraints” would be a close fit). Jesus warns that if they don't repent, He will judge them with the “sword of His mouth” which was the word that said the immoral wouldn't have an inheritance in the kingdom (see comments on 1Cor 6:9-10; Eph 5:5, etc.). Instead of food offered to idols (the eating of which would give the strength of the God), the Messiah would give the hidden/secret manna (the miracle food which sustained Israel in the wilderness), and a white stone with a secret name on it. There are lots of conjectures about the meaning of the stone, many revolving around a white stone used for acquittal in a vote, but that view doesn't take into account the “name having been written on it" (perfect tense). An interpretation which comes close to fitting the context is the use of a stone with a special mark used to admit the possessor to an entertainment event like a play or concert. The counterpoint to pleasure of pagan sex would be the pleasure of entrance into the courts of the God in whose presence is fullness of joy (cx the unfaithful priests in Ezek 44, a key chapter to know in order to understand Revelation, see comments there).