Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Nicolaitanes

Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Who are the Nicolaitanes? Some ideas are:
1. A sect who followed the teachings of a man named Nicolas.
2. Those who believe in exerting hierarchical authority over the church/people/laity, from the meaning of the name “one who conquers the people.” The word Nicolaitanes (Greek: Νικολαΐ́της) is made up of Nikos/conquest, victory and Laos/people, with the ending making a proper name.
3. A sect named from the Greek word Nicolah (meaning "let us eat") who encouraged the eating of things offered to idols.

The second view is the one that I have heard most, but that is probably just my limited experience. From the information given in the Scriptures we cannot establish any of the preceding views. But we can gather the following:

1. The Nicolaitanes were an identifiable group/sect/people known to the churches in Ephesus and Pergamos.
2. The Nicolaitanes had doctrines and deeds known to the churches in Ephesus and Pergamos.
3. God hated the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.
4. Those of Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes.
5. Those of Pergamos tolerated the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.

Is it possible that we spend so much time and energy trying to identify exactly who these people are that we weaken or miss the clear point of the passages? God hates the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitanes!

We should not tolerate the things which God hates. We should hate what God hates and love what God loves.

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