The “Nicolaitans”, as referred to in Revelations Chapter 2, were a mysterious group of wicked religious imposters. What did they teach? Why does God hate them? Do they still exist today? In the warnings to the seven churches of Revelation, we are told to beware of them. Why are they dangerous and how would you recognize them, today?
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by William F. Dankenbring
In Revelation, chapter 2, we read of an enigmatic sect or group called the Nicolaitans who post a great threat to the churches of God. The Messiah, Yeshua, says to the Ephesus church: “But this you have, that you hate the DEEDS of the Nicolaitans, which I also HATE” (Rev. 2:6). Notice that they hated and rejected the doctrines, works, and doctrines of the “Nicolaitans.”
The Ephesus church was historically a type or antitype of the first and second century churches of God – essentially, the first generation of the church and their early descendents. But Christ said, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to [all] the churches” (v.7).
Then, to the Pergamos church, who existed in a succeeding period of the church, Yeshua declares again: “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. REPENT, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (vs. 14-16).
Doctrine of Balaam
Notice that their teachings are comparable or the same as the doctrine of Balaam, the arch apostate deceiver and prophet who tried to use divine magic against Israel when they came out of Egypt. When God would not allow him to place a curse on Israel, he later taught the Midianites and their allies to “seduce” Israel from their faithfulness to God by sending their daughters and wives to use their sexual charms on them and to entice them to commit immorality and the partake of pagan festivities and idolatrous worship, combining paganism with the worship of God – something which God considers an abomination and thoroughly detests! The blending of the truth of God with paganism and wicked pagan festivals and practices is an abhorrence to God. It is called religious “syncretism.”
The word “Nicolaitans,” in Greek, means “followers of Nicolas.” The name “Nicolas” means “victor of the people.”
Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary says of them, “They seem to have held that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit the immoral excesses of the heathen, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in Acts 15:20, 29. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church. And all this was done, it must be remembered, not simply as an indulgence of appetite, but as a part of a SYSTEM, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boasts of a prophetic illumination” (p.449).
Early Church Syncretism
The Nicolaitans, therefore, were the early Christian-pagan syncretists, the false teachers that crept into the church, who disguised themselves as followers of Christ – who professed to be His ministers and servants – but who led the people astray.
Peter wrote of them, saying, “But there were also false prophets among the people [such as Balaam], even as there will be FALSE TEACHERS among you, who will secretly bring in DESTRUCTIVE HERESIES, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed” – by the world around, which will paint all true Christians with the same brush-stroke, as being corrupt, immoral, and evil, because of the shenanigans and wicked works of these “Nicolaitans” or false Christians, false teachers who claim to represent Messiah and His truth (II Pet.2:1-2).
Peter goes on, “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words” (v.2). He says of them, that they “despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed,” and like brutish beasts “speak evil of the things they do not understand” (verse10, 12). “They are spots and blemishes [in the churches], carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you . . . 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, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (verses 13-15).
These are the ‘Nicolaitans.” Halley’s Bible Handbook tells us of them, “Sexual vice was actually a part of heathen worship, and recognized as a proper thing in heathen festivals. Priestesses of Diana and kindred deities were public prostitutes. The thing had been a troublesome question for Gentile churches from the start. . . Meantime great multitudes of heathen had become Christians, and had carried some of their old ideas into their new religion. . . Naturally there were all sorts of attempts to harmonize these heathen practices with the Christian religion.
Many professing Christian teachers, claiming inspiration from God, were advocating the right to free participation in heathen immoralities. In Ephesus, the Christian pastors, as a body, excluded such teachers. But in Pergamum and Thyatira, while we are not to think that the main body of pastors held such teachings, yet they tolerated within their ranks those who did” (p.694).
Ancient Pergamos was a city where the worship of Zeus and Asclepios were endemic, whose symbol was a serpent entwined around a rod or staff. It was a city where paganism and politics were closely entwined and allied. Nicolaitan pressures were very strong in this city where pressures to “compromise” would have been very heavy.
“Sacrificed to Idols”
The Nicolaitans seduced God’s people to “eat things sacrificed to idols” – that is, participate in heathen, pagan festivals, including sexual immorality – in other words, to commit spiritual fornication and adultery – which is IDOLATRY! This convergence of Christianity with pagan beliefs and practices was sheer APOSTASY in the eyes of God!
The Interpreter’s Bible Dictionary tells us, “Since the same practice and teaching of immorality and of idolatry appear in the church of Thyatira, the Nicolaitans, though not named, were probably present also in this church (Rev.2:20-25)” (p.547). By the time of the Thyatira church age, the problem had grown into a much greater state or condition, for at that time a woman, “Jezebel,” represented the group of apostate heretics and their heresy – a powerful church in conflict with the true Church, masquerading as the true Church.
John wrote, to Thyatira, “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because YOU ALLOW THAT WOMAN JEZEBEL, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev.2:20). God says of that heathen “church,” which inculcated massive pagan practices and festivals into its church calendar, “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit ADULTERY [idolatry!] with her into GREAT TRIBULATION, unless they repent of their deeds” (v.22).
Down Through Church History
It is clear from the evidence that this heresy, which began as a small group, in the first century, mushroomed and became a strong, dominant CHURCH by the third and fourth centuries, and became the foundation of the Church of Rome and the papacy. It is described in Revelation 17 as a “woman sitting on a scarlet beast” with the name: “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth” (Rev.17:3-5).
By the Middle Ages this church became the great persecuting church and was guilty of spilling massive amounts of the blood of the true saints and servants of God (Rev.17:6).
What was the main crime of this church? Spiritual fornication – or spiritual adultery! Combining pagan practices and doctrines with the Word of God, or replacing the teachings of God’s Word with corrupt, pagan deceptions and lies, straight from the bowels of Satan the devil!
Says The Interpreter’s Bible Dictionary, “Pagan feasts might thus foster immorality, which is understood literally as licentiousness, or possibly in an allegorical way as unfaithfulness to God. . . . At Thyatira followers of Jezebel claim to know the deep things of Satan. . . . This claim to special knowledge of deep mysteries marks the incipient Gnosticism which flourished a century later (Iren.Her.II.2.2). The Nicolaitans may be taken to be a heretical sect, who retained pagan practices like idolatry [such as image worship, observing pagan holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.] and immorality contrary to the thought and the conduct required in Christian churches” (p.548).
The early church fathers also spoke of the Nicolaitans. “Tertullian reports the lust and luxury of the Nicolaitans, cites evidence from Revelation, and adds that there was another sort of Nicolaitans, a satanic sect, called the Gaian heresy [worship of Mother Earth, which has reared its ugly head today] . . . Clement of Alexandria knows of followers of Nicolaus, ‘lascivious goats,’ who perverted his saying that it was necessary to abuse the flesh . . . Clement undertakes to show that Nicolaus [the deacon mentioned in Acts 6:1-6, a faithful servant of God] was a true ascetic and that the later, immoral Nicolaitans were not his followers, though they claimed him as their teacher . . . Later their name flourished as a designation for heretics.”
The “Synagogue of Satan”
When the Nicolaitans become powerful and the apostasy becomes full blown, and matures, then it changes into a whole Church – but no longer in any degree or sense a part of God’s true Church but an entirely apostate Church body! When Satan the devil takes over the church body, it becomes literally a “synagogue of Satan”!
This was prophesied to happen during the course of history, and a vast parallel church would be formed of people who think they are Christian, but they are far removed from the original true teachings of the apostles during the first century.
John, in the book of Revelation, spoke of it in the message to the Philadelphia church. He wrote, to this faithful and true body of believers, who held fast to the truth, and did not deny His Name, “you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed [for this reason] I will make those of the SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, who say they are Jews [spiritual Jews or true Christians] and are NOT but LIE [they are deceived frauds, impostors, phony as a $6 dollar bill] – indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev.3:8-10).
Christ warns this church body, the genuine “Philadelphia” church, called that because God names things according to their dominant characteristics, and this church is characterized by “brotherly love,” for the Greek word philadelphos literally means “brother love.” He warns it, “Behold, I am coming quickly! HOLD FAST what you have, that no one may take your CROWN” (verse 11).
This church does not slip into the apostasy of the Nicolaitans. In fact, it has conquered them and their full-blown image – the “synagogue of Satan” by remaining faithful to God’s Word and doctrine!
But many, not knowing or understanding, fall victim to the “conquerors” – the “victors over the people.” Speaking of such religious leaders, Paul declared, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (II Cor.11:13-15).
Church history has been replete with such splinter groups, heresies, sects, denominations, cults of all bizarre types and sizes and beliefs. They are all part and parcel of the “great apostasy” that developed over the centuries from the original church of God.
Paul warned the brethren in Ephesus, “For I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30).
He was especially concerned about the church in Galatia, and wrote to them, exclaiming, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to PERVERT the gospel of Christ” (Gal.1:6-7).
This was already beginning to occur during the very FIRST generation and Age of the church! The apostasy and heresy has developed and grown massively since that era, with thousands of Octopus-like tentacles reaching throughout the world.
How did it all begin? When did the real apostasy really start?
The Real Nicolas Identified
Who was the original founder of this apostasy? There is no evidence to support the idea that an early deacon in the church named Nicolas was the one who began this heretical movement. The New Testament nowhere says that he later went astray. Rather, he was a man who was chosen for a special task, along with Stephen, one of “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:5).
However, God calls things what they are – He names people according to their major characteristic. A look at the name “Nicholas” will be helpful. It literally means “victor of the people.” A synonym of “victor” would be “one who vanquishes an enemy; a conqueror” (The Winston Dictionary).
Who was the great conqueror who first led the world into APOSTASY?
“Cush began Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a might hunter before [or, Hebrew, “against”] the LORD” (Gen.10:8-10). He was the first world despot or tyrant upon the earth after the Flood. Alexander Hislop, in The Two Babylons, tells us, “He [Ninus] was the first who carried on war against his neighbors, and he conquered all nations from Assyria to Libya, as they were yet unacquainted with the arts of war” (p.23, Hislop quoting Justin’s “Trogus Popeius”). Ninus was Nimrod, the most ancient king of the Assyrians and Babylonians.
Nimrod “began to be mighty upon the earth.” He was a great dictator, autocrat, and ruled with an iron hand. He was very contentious and brooked no insult or disobedience to his iron-fisted rule. He was also the religious leader of the world, leading mankind away from the worship of the true God and into incredible idolatry. He was the founder of the “Babylonians Mysteries” (compare Rev.17:1-5).
Cush and Religious “Chaos”
Says Hislop, “Cush [Nimrod’s father] is generally represented as having been a ringleader in the great apostasy” (p.25). Cush was also known as Hermes [“son of Ham”], or Mercury, and was “the great original prophet of idolatry; for he was recognized by the pagans as the author of their religious rites, and the interpreter of the gods” (ibid., p.25-26). Cush was also known as Bel, “The Confounder,” who confounded the truth with his replacement lies and deceptions. He was also called Janus, “the god of gods,” who said of himself, “The ancients . . . called me Chaos.”
He was the one who brought “Chaos” into the world after the Deluge.
Nimrod: The Original “Nicolas” and Arch Apostate
Cush’s son Nimrod (or “Ninus”) “inherited his father’s titles, and was the first king over the Babylonian Empire, which he created by conquest. Nimrod also led the great rebellion against God by building the tower of Babel, in an attempt to unite all mankind under his rulership and in defiance of the ordinances of heaven.
Hislop goes on to say that when the deification of mortals began, “the ‘mighty son’ of Cush was deified, the father, especially considering the part which he seems to have had in concocting the whole idolatrous system, would have to be deified too, and of course, in his character as the Father of the ‘Mighty one,’ and of all the immortals that succeeded him. But, in point of fact, we shall find, in the course of our inquiry, that Nimrod was the actual Father of the gods, as being the first of deified mortals” (p.32).
Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews, tells us, “Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah – a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage that procured their happiness. He also gradually changed the government into a tyranny, — seeing no other way to turn men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power” (Bk.I, iv, 2).
Nimrod was the first great “victor of [or over] the people.” He was the first “Nicolaus.” He is the one for whom the WHOLE SYSTEM is named! His name is stamped on the forehead of this “Mystery, Babylon,” religious system which seeks to bring the whole world into one unified religious system of belief, doctrines, and religious globalization.
To compromise with that entire system or any part of it, God says He HATES – He is passionately against it – it is utterly idolatrous, the horrendous religious system inspired and created by Satan the arch-enemy of God – the devil who deceives the WHOLE WORLD by masking truth of God and replacing it with his nefarious, devious, enticing doctrines (see Rev.12:9)!
Where Are the Nicolaitans Today?
The Nicolaitans today comprise all those people who DEPART from the truth of God, and jettison the true teachings and doctrines of the Bible, for the substitute “mush” from the churches of “nominal, mainstream” Christianity, which has over the centuries, plunged back into a religious system originating in ancient Babylon, and from there to Rome, and from there to Protestantism, and the wide-ranging cults, sects, and denominations of our current generation.
The world is full of them! They are everywhere – like dandelion seeds, wafting on the winds, blown about and scattered all around us. “You will know them by their fruits,” the Messiah Yeshua declared (Matt.7:20).
The vast, overwhelming number of churches in the world today would fall into the category of the infamous “Nicolaitans”! The deception is global. And it is getting much, much worse, and stronger!
The apostle Paul wrote, about the last days, before the coming of Christ, “Let no man deceive you by any means for that Day will not come unless the FALLING AWAY comes first, and the man of SIN [lawlessness] be revealed, the son of perdition [destruction], who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped [such as Nimrod himself!], so that he sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until He [or “he”] is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (II Thess..2:3-8).
An end-time “Nicolas” – victor or tyrant over the people – is soon to appear on the scene!
The end-time resurrection of this evil apostasy and deception is fast falling into place and coming together before our very eyes, at this moment in history!
False Doctrine – A Mark of the Nicolaitans
What are the identifying “marks” of this vast, deluded apostasy? How do you know that you personally have not to some extent fallen into some form of this adulterated subspecies which broke off from true Christianity?
First, look at their teachings and doctrine. Compare them with the Scriptures very carefully, taking nothing for granted. Believe nobody, but check up on everybody, and then believe your Bible! The apostle Paul wrote, “PROVE ALL THINGS; HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD” (I Thess.5:21). Isaiah the prophet wrote, “To the law and to the testimony [the Old Testament and the New Testament – the Word of God]! If they do not speak according to THIS WORD, it is because there is NO LIGHT in them” (Isa.8:20).
Paul praised the Bereans because “they received the word in all readiness, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Paul wrote to Timothy, exhorting him (and all of us), “Be diligent to present yourself to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth” (II Tim.2:15).
Nicolaitans are those who have departed from the faith, in some degree or completely. They have been led astray by false teachings and doctrines. Most have rejected the true Sabbath. Most have rejected the TRUE holy days of God, the annual festivals of His Word (Lev.23), and some THINK they observe them, but have been misled, and keep a false “Passover,” a false “Pentecost,” and even the wrong days for the other holy days, and reject specific commandments of God when they do so! Most reject the TRUE calendar of God, the New Moons, and the proper calculation of the Hebrew months, and therefore the holy days. Many accept a false, “fixed’ Jewish calendar when replaced the true calendar in 357-58 A.D. in the time of Hillel II.
And these are only SOME of the false teachings of modern day, end-time “Nicolaitan”-influenced churches which claim to be the true remnants of the Church of God and assure the people that they have the bona fide “TRUTH”!
But Yeshua declared, “Thy Word is truth,” (John 17:17), and “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), and asserted also, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4; Luke 4:40.
The Second Fatal Identifying Mark – False Form of Church Government
The Nicolaitans are also like their original founder, Nimrod the apostate, guilty of not only compromising the truth of God, and adulterating it, and mixing it with PAGAN beliefs and doctrines and practices, but they possess a wicked, deceptive, deceitful form of CHURCH GOVERNMENT. They are often in the form of religious tyrannies, authoritarian, totalitarian, abusive ministers, and very quick to discipline and disfellowship recalcitrant or slow-to-conform members of their churches. They are very intolerant and autocratic – and rule their congregations like a “god” or a Hitler with a Gestapo-like ministry.
Jeremiah the prophet prophesied of them: “ ‘WOE to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’ says the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: ‘You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,’ says the Lord” (Jer.23:1-2).
Speaking of the churches of God, and the religious leaders of His people, God says, “ ‘For both prophet and priest are profane; Yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,’ says the LORD. ‘Therefore their way to them shall be like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,’ says the LORD. And I have seen folly in the prophets [ministers, pastors, preachers] of Samaria [the modern United States, Britain and house of “Israel”]; the prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to ERR” (Jer.23:11-13).
God is very angry at these end-time preachers, ministers, and their lack of true conversion, humility, fear of God, and arrogance! He thunders, “ ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision [or doctrine, teaching] of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD” (v.16).
God is going to punish. He declares, “The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly” (v.20).
Do you understand? Do you fear and tremble before the Word of God? (see Isaiah 66:1-2). Do you humble yourself before His Word?
God goes on in His severe warning: “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied [preached]. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings” (vs.21-22).
God would even forgive them, for their preaching in His name, if only they would preach the TRUTH! But they don’t, and they won’t. So God declares, “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy LIES in My name, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed, they are prophets of the DECEIT [deception, false teaching, false doctrines] of their OWN heart” (vs.25-26).
God thunders, “ ‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the LORD. ‘Is not My word like a fire?’ says the LORD, ‘And like a hammer the rock in pieces? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the LORD, ‘who STEAL MY WORDS everyone from his neighbor” (vs.28-30).
The warnings of Yahveh God are very explicit. He declares, “Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams [false ideas, teachings of their own heart – see verse 26],’ says the LORD, ‘and tell them, and CAUSE MY PEOPLE TO ERR by their LIES and by their RECKLESSNESS. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,’ says the LORD” (Jer.23:32).
And in verse 36 God warns, “For every man’s word will be his oracle [“burden”], for you have PERVERTED the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God” !
Very serious charges, these are! Don’t you agree?
The LORD Yahveh says He is going to forsake utterly those who pervert His Word, and preach the deceit of their own hearts, make His people to err and go astray by their LIES, and their “RECKLESSNESS” regarding His divine Word, His TRUTH!
Modern-day “Nicolaitans” and their followers should get a real “HEADS UP” and WARNING from Jeremiah’s message in chapter 23. He is speaking to THEM!
The Final Mark – Abuse and Cruelty
Ezekiel the prophet was inspired to continue this awesome, power-packed indictment against the shepherds of Israel during the end-time. He wrote, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: ‘WOE to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.
The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; BUT WITH FORCE AND CRUELTY you have RULED them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field [false churches, religions, and spiritual gurus] where they were scattered” (Ezek.34:1-5, NKJV).
Notice! These churches, regardless of their posturing and posing, and dubious claims, persecute the flock under them. They mistreat God’s people, cause them to grovel in the dirt before their imagined authority, rule them with CRUELTY and hardness, harshness, and overbearing authority.
They do not love the flock; they are not loving or good shepherds, who would even give their lives for the sheep (see John 10:11). Rather, they are mere ‘hirelings,” who have their own agenda, their own motives, for being ministers, teachers, and pastors! The Messiah Yeshua said, “But a hireling, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and FLEES; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:12-13).
These “hirelings” rule the flock with “force” and “cruelty.” The Hebrew word for “force” is #2394, chosqah, meaning “vehemence (usually is a bad sense), force, mightily, repair, sharply.” Gesenius says, “might, violence, very, mightily.” The Hebrew word for “cruelty” is #6531, perek, and means “from an unused root meaning ‘to break apart,’ fracture – i.e. severity – cruelty, rigor” (Strong’s Concordance). Gesenius states: “oppression, tyranny, from the signification of crushing.”
Do we get the picture? Do you know ANY ministers or churches like that? How does your minister or church handle it when or if members DARE to ask questions concerning doctrines, teachings, beliefs, or Scriptures which seem to conflict with the church’s teachings and doctrines?
A true minister of God will handle questions in a gentle, loving, patient manner. As Timothy was told by the apostle Paul, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity” (I Tim.5:1).
Paul declared, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perchance will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” to stir up strife and cause confusion in the flock, and to destroy all he can, for he is the “great destroyer” (II Tim..3:24-26).
Peter tells the true servants of God, the true ministry, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being EXAMPLES to the flock” (I Pet.5:1-3).
And to the church members, God says, “Remember those who rule [lead] over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established with grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:7-9).
Paul adds, “Obey those who rule [lead] over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you” (verse 17).
And to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote, “And we urge your, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish [“instruct or warn”] you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (I Thess.5:12-13).
Warning for the End Time
The problems with false teachings, false doctrines, and the spirit of Nicolaitan ministers and teachers, was foretold to become very serious and extreme in the “end of days.” The apostle Paul warned, “Now the Spirit expressly [explicitly] says that in the LATTER TIMES some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Tim.4:1-2).
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul issued the same warning, only more explicit He wrote, “But know this, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a FORM of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the TRUTH. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth” (II Tim.3:1-8).
The Nicolaitan condition is like a spiritual cancer, that spreads and poisons cells and creates tumors and metastasizes until it spreads its lethal cargo throughout the whole body. If it is not purged, it leads ultimately to death.
Therefore, God tells His true ministers, and servants, to be on their guard. “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with al longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Tim.4:2-4).
Each one of us is responsible for our own salvation. We dare not trust any man to do our work, study, prayer, or research for us – we must work out our own salvation, “with fear and trembling” (Phil.2:12-13). Paul also declared, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph.4:14).
Salvation is serious business! The spirit of Nicolaus/Nimrod and religious deception is alive and well, and thriving in this end-time generation.
Now that you know who and what the “Nicolaitans” are, what are you going to do about it?