People from all over the empire would come to Pergamum to be healed by Asclepios. Snakes were a symbol of this cult and Asclepios’ temple was infested with snakes, even to this day we use the snake as a symbol of the medical profession. The Greek historian Pausanias of Lydia kept a journal about his travels and the different cities he visited. In describing the temple of Asclepios he wrote,
“I looked upon Asclepios who was sitting on a throne with his hand upon the head of a serpent”. Pausanias
“They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor.” (2Pe 2:13-15)
While the church was admonished to repent from following these false teachers (Rev 2:13), I must point out that some held fast to their faith. One of them, Antipas, was even put to death for his faith. According to some ancient sources the second bishop of Pergamum was a dentist named Antipas. Then there ts the theory that the word Antipas describes the type of person or persons who at that time related to the phrase “ the things which are" in Rev 1:19. The word Antipas (ἀντί) in Greek, can also signify "against all, over against, opposite, or instead of. So the use of the word antipas here could be a designation of those who were faithful in their opposition to false teachers who corrupted the truth. There is no way to proof either of these explanations, but I offer them both for consideration.
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, I pray that those who read His words will call upon the name that is above all names, and gain eternal salvation.