The Naughty Nicolaitans
Who were the Nicolaitans, why are they hated by Moshiach (Messiah) and do they exist today?
Revelation 21Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
12And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
What I wish to focus on is vv. 6 and 15 regarding Yeshua’s words to the K’hilot (Congregation) of Ephesus and Pergamos regarding the historically shrouded and mysterious sect of the divinely despised Nicolaitans. Again I ask, who were the Nicolaitans, why are they hated by Moshiach and do they exist today?
In short, the Nicolatitans was a gentile movement to set false, oppressive and manipulative religious authority over the people to incorporate former pagan rites and practices especially those dealing with idolatry and sex into the religious life of Torah Observant gentile believer in Messiah Yeshua and to draw them away. The breakdown of the word, Nicolaitan means, Victory over the people or Conquering of the laity. It was a move of syncretism to blend the former religions of these gentiles into their new life as Torah Observant believers and as time passed till the modern day, lo and behold it worked, for modern day Christianity is full of paganistic practices that can be traced back to Rome and Babylon, such as the abandonment of the commanded High Holy Days of Leviticus 23 for pagan laden holidays such as Christmas and Easter. We see this blatantly in the papal church and covertly in the protestant version of the papacy.
Here is what some had to say regarding the Nicolaitans:
“Several of the early church fathers, including Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Theodoret mentioned this group. Irenaeus discusses them but adds nothing to the Apocalypse except that "they lead lives of unrestrained indulgence." Tertullian refers to them, but apparently knows only what is found in
The common statement, that the Nicolaitanes held the antinomian heresy of
Nicolaism (after Rev.2.6,14- 15) also commonly refers to the practice of clerical marriage, especially in rural areas of
“The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was mentioned in the Apocalypse of John to the churches of Pergamos and
the seven churches of Ephesus Asia in Revelation 2. It
is a symbolic name of a party that represents the hierarchy of a ruling class
over the rest of the people, developing a pecking order of fleshly
leadership… The Early church father Iranaeus, identified the Nicolaitans in his
treatise "Against Heresies" in the second century as they who are an
"offshoot of the knowledge which is falsely so-called," mentioning
that they "lead lives of unrestrained indulgence." There is no
absolute proof that the heretic Nicolas was the Deacon of the same name from of the seven
deacons in the book of Acts, but Iranaeus supposed him to be so. Ignatius
mentions the Nicolaitans also, so there was in fact a heretical group existing
at that time. Nicolas the deacon was perhaps confused with another Nicolas, the
bishop Nicolas of Antioch
who was a heretic in the company of Simon Magus.” “Nicolaitans” Jay Atkinson Samaria
“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
, the Christian pastors, as a body,
excluded such teachers. But in Ephesus
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). Pergamum
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. – “Who are the “Nicolaitans”’ William F. Dankenbring
Interestingly enough in the book “The Golden Tradition” by Lucy S. Dawidowicz pgs. 29-30; it speaks about how in the 1800’s of Tsarist Russia there was what was called the Nicolaitan government who were followers of Nicolas I of
tried to assimilate Jews and convert them to Christianity through forced
education through state schools. Russia
Besides fear and ignorance assimilation is the greatest enemy of the Torah Observant believer in Messiah in which we have to be on constant guard for.
Kris Shoemaker - Yehuah ben Shomeyr