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Stories in Stone

About this Blogger

After earning an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Regent University, Erin spent four years at CBN News, where she served as a line producer for both Christian World News and The 700 Club newscast. Currently, she is travelling to Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Italy to produce segments about Christian history and biblical archaeology for The 700 Club.

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A Visit to the Seat of Satan

What is the strangest thing your boss has ever asked you to do?

 

In my job, with my boss, there would normally be several assignments fighting for that title, but this one came along and topped them all.

 

One day, about two years ago, my boss, Gordon Robertson, sat down in my cubicle and announced that he had a great new story idea.

 

Let’s investigate the Seat of Satan.

 

Yes, well… I’m going to need to hear that one again.

 

It took about five minutes of explanation to sell me on the idea. Gordon had been reading the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor in Revelation and had wondered what had won the city of Pergamum the titles of “Seat of Satan” and “the place where Satan dwells.”

 

If I had been studying Revelation instead of Gordon, that would have been the moment when I would have turned the channel on that horror movie and moved on to something lighter. (Random thing you should know about me: when I was eight years old, I went behind my mother’s back and watched a late night broadcast of The Exorcist, and since then, I’ve been plagued by mildly hysterical reactions to anything scary or Satan-y.)

 

Then Gordon surprised me and went on to make a connection between this “Seat of Satan” and Nazi Germany. That was intriguing to me, so I tested this information on my go-to focus group: my editors and cameramen. Most people groan in premature boredom when they hear a historical documentary is headed their way, but if my editors think a story is cool, then I know it will interest our viewers.

 

They did.

 

Over the next two years we talked about it off and on, but countless other projects got in the way. Then last fall, Gordon told me to make the arrangements for a shoot in Turkey. Soon, we were on our way to Satan’s Seat, complete with security and a camera crew. Two days before we got there, I got laryngitis and lost my voice for an entire week. I was trying hard not to attach any unnecessary significance to that.

 

I’m not sure what I expected to find when we arrived at the ruins of Pergamum. For about a thousand years, people worshiped everything from Greek gods to Roman emperors. When you watch the 700 Club story, you’ll see the horrifically cruel human sacrifices that were performed on this mountaintop. So what would the Seat of Satan look like? Dark, shadowy ruins with clouds, cobwebs and an eerie solo horn playing somewhere in the distance?

 

Not at all. To my shock, the Seat of Satan was quite beautiful.

 

In fact, Pergamum is a breathtaking place. More than a thousand years ago, the city was abandoned because of massive earthquakes, but even its ruins show traces of former beauty. Majestic marble pillars, mysteriously placed stones, wide, spreading trees, and a heart-stopping mountaintop view over a misty valley that was still emerald-green, even in November. I love ruins, and this place was irresistible to me. I never felt a shiver down my spine, never looked nervously over my shoulder, never once said to my cameraman, “Get the shot, and let’s get out of here.” (Side note: I have said that on other shoots.)

 

The other thing that struck me about Pergamum was its steepness. The city’s acropolis was built on the side of a mountain; in fact, the theater sits at a near-90-degree angle, which immediately triggered my vertigo. Once we got our shots at the bottom of the theater, the whole crew started walking straight up the rows of seats to the top. I took one look and said… no, thank you. I’ll take the road. The sun was setting, and as I walked alone up the darkening mountaintop, I got to watch a full moon rise over the Seat of Satan.

 

And still it wasn’t creepy.

 

How many of our views of Satan, the antichrist, or the end of the world have been shaped by medieval church tradition, Gothic novels or Hollywood? Or even – and no doubt, I’ll take some heat for this – the Left Behind books? When it comes to Satan, we’ve been programmed to expect horns and a pitchfork. Can we even hear the word “antichrist” without picturing the dreaded Triple-6 inked into someone’s forehead?

 

Who in his right mind wouldn’t run away from something like that? Satan is far more complex than that; otherwise, he wouldn’t be a threat. He’s no snarling Hollywood fiend; he’s the Great Deceiver, the Master Tempter, the Subtle Questioner. In 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Paul says that “Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light. So why does it seem strange for Satan's servants to pretend to do what is right?” (CEV)

 

Satan won’t always appear as chanting priests throwing Christian martyrs in the midst of a blazing altar, like the Pergamum of 2,000 years ago. Sometimes, he will appear with the subtlety of today’s Pergamum: a cool evening breeze over a mountaintop, a warm ray of afternoon sunlight on a piece of marble, the morning mist over a green valley.

 

But even that shouldn’t send a chill down your spine, because Jesus’ own brother James provides a simple solution: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) The idea behind the Greek word for “resist” there is just to stand. Don’t struggle, don’t throw a punch, don’t shout a curse, don’t even fall down and play dead: just stand.

 

Satan is certainly no joke, and his work is nothing to take lightly. But on the other hand, how do you fear someone who gave up his seat to an earthquake… and who runs away at the sight of you just standing there?

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 9:05 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

A different take on Satan as we most always view him. "Beauty...angel of light"--not the way we see him, yet how God describes him. Maybe we should pay more attention to his description as "deceiver." Then perhaps we would not be deceived so often. Thanks for this different perspective!
Left by Marilyn K. Smith on Jul 22, 2011 6:54 AM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

The angel was writing to the church not to the heathen, for the saints there in Pergamos have been influenced by Judaeo doctrines that reverted back to Moses laws for righteousness and observed carnal ordinances, and many began to deny stewardship as we see the mention of Balaam. So today the church is defiled with many strange doctrines which the angel of the Lord has addressed through dreams and visions and confirmed through the stewardship. Some believers were offended at Antipas (elder/apostle) for refusing fellowship and rejecting their teachings and these unconverted believers sowed discord and riot that Satan inflamed to the point of Antipas martyring.
Left by Apostle Eric on Jul 22, 2011 7:58 AM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Very well written, Erin. I could picture everything you spoke of in my mind. And btw, excellent points well taken regarding Satan's subtlety and what "resist" really means. Always enjoy your writing. God's best, DC
Left by dcunlimited on Jul 22, 2011 9:30 AM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

CBN might be interested in a folo with Turin, Italy. According to the locals and tour guides, the city is a place where black and white magic meet, it has a lot of "negative energy" spots, it's famous for the Shroud of Turin, an important Eygptian museum, lots of occult symbols, and there is a city square called the "gates of hell." Nostradamus reportedly lived there for some time, etc.
Left by dwvaldez on Jul 22, 2011 10:53 AM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

excellent article Erin! Satan can be a "sneaky pete" but that is why we are to always stay close to Jesus and God's Word....keep up your great work and God bless you!
Left by debbie on Jul 22, 2011 4:27 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

I was fascinated by the documentary and also very troubled. The evil culture that was in existence back then could easily become our reality if we as Christians let our guard down. Our country and world around us is in a crisis; economically and morally. We as the Lord's hands and feet need to be available to do His will while we still can to make a difference in this dark world where right is called wrong and visa versa. I hope more documentaries will be made to get Christians to wake up from their spiritual slumber and get in step with what the Lord is trying to show us in these last days.
Left by Betty on Jul 22, 2011 8:02 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Excellent piece. Please produce more of these to help keep us alert in these challenging times.
Left by Todd on Jul 22, 2011 8:35 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Very well done and informative series... God bless CBN and the entire team for making this!
Left by mistertoronto on Jul 23, 2011 8:56 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

I am reading "brotherhood of darkness", by Dr. Stanley Monteith which explains the mysterious forces behind the men who rule the world, and why some of our leaders have dedicated their l
ives to destroying our nation. Most are satan worshipers, one worlders.
Left by Anonymous on Jul 23, 2011 10:54 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Antipas was not alive in John's era, even though catholics would like to make him a 'catholic' saint. The letters to these 7 pentecostal churches was written not long after(possibly just before) the great Asia Minor earthquake(A.D. 60), at least 7 years before destruction of the Herodian Temple(A.D. 70). They have 'late date' reasons, especially to further distance the entire Book written by John on Patmos clearly against 'catholicism'(nicolaitanism). 'Nicolaitanism' vs.'Pentecostalism',& VIVID DESCRIPTIONS OF HARLOTRY CHURCH, which PETER, PAUL, JUDE, etal, also consigned to them some time BEFORE A.D. 60 earthquake (devistated most of the cities of those 7 pentecostal churches, including where the Seat of Satan had earlier inspired catholic 'harlotry', all the way back, & prior to the 'genuine Antipas' the 'Greek' of pre-Christ Judiasm struggles with descendents of Esau(Idumeans) who embraced, bringing forward 'catholic nicolatianism' as direct Holy Spirit rivalary!
Left by B.J.Stone on Jul 24, 2011 8:56 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Just discovered this site. Nice story and liked your behind the scene comments. I am a Documentary producer and the work your team was outstanding! I think it is bold to go to the supposed "seat of Satan" and deliver information for the viewer in light of where we are at in history today. I am glad that your team told the story with Gordon with passion. Engaging work and I hope to see more of what can and will be done for the sake of the cause for the Kingdom.
thank you.
Left by Tucker on Nov 30, 2011 10:04 AM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Even to this day im in awe about this story, satan is by far a crafty being. For almost an eternity he learned the ways of the light from the Lord our God. So cunning and crafty he is, but at the same time so powerless he is, for the christians in fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Cuz of his craftiness many will fall victim to him believers and nonbelievers alike. That's why its so important to me to know my bible and to have a great teacher to help me understand the parts I dont understand. Satan is only a foot stool to me now, as i am covered by the blood of the one and only true Messiah Christ Jesus.
Left by dogmat007 on Jul 16, 2012 8:14 PM

# RE: A Visit to the Seat of Satan

Erin,

Great, great article. I am also a Regent student and I am doing a dissertation on Spiritual Warfare and the discription you give of the remains of Satan's Seat is certainly a shift in my perspective. There is a 'gloom' and 'dread' connotation to spiritual wafare but it is informative to know that is Satan's cleverly disguised beauty that is often the hook and sinker for us.
Left by sheshepherds on Oct 11, 2012 7:13 PM