In the book of Revelation the Lord speaks about the Nicolatians. To the church at Ephesus he says:
Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
And to the church at Pergamos he says:
Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
This speaks of both THE DEEDS and THE DOCTRINES of the Nicolaitans. So who are the Nicolaitans? And what are these “deeds” and “doctrines” that the Lord hates?
First let’s look at the meaning of the word “Nicolaitan”. It comes from three different Greek root words NIKOS-LAOS-TON.
NIKOS means “to rule over” or “to conquer”
LAOS and TON together (laiton) mean “the laity” or “the people.”
So NICOLAITAN means “to rule over the people”.
This seems to speak of those who, like Diotrephes, wish to have “the preeminence”:
3John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
This is the place that belongs only to Jesus Christ:
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Jesus said that we are not to exercise dominion/authority over others, as was seen among the Gentiles. He said: “It shall not be so among you”:
Mat 20:25-26 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.
This is affirmed by the Apostles, as not even they sought to be “lords over” God’s heritage, but to be “examples” to the flock and “helpers” of their joy:
1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
2Cr 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
When we speak of ourselves we are seeking our own glory, rather than glorifying the Lord, in whose name the gospel is to be preached:
John 7:18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Going back to Diotrephes, “who loveth to have the preeminence”, John speaks of “his deeds”:
3John 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deed which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
Nothing like being cast out of the synagogue, huh? How many claiming to have a better understanding of spiritual truths begin to cast others “out of the church”? Even as (some of them) claim to have been the victim of the same at the hands of others when they came to “the truth” that they now have? Doing the very same thing to others, in violation of the very thing that they preach? Jesus spoke against this, too.
We need not guess what the Lord “hates”:
Prov 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Prov 6::17-19 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
John clearly identified “the deed” of Diotrephes as “evil”:
3John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Again, Paul affirms that we are not to preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. We are to be “servants” not “lords”.
2Cr 4:5 For We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Paul warned us that there would be those men who would arise, speaking perverse things and drawing away disciples after themselves:
Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.
Just as the scriptures and the Holy Spirit testify of Christ so do His true disciples. This pattern is seen even in John the Baptist, who was “not that light” but was “sent to bear witness of that light”, Christ:
John 1:8 He was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John was not trying to draw disciples after himself:
John 1:19-20 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
He was preparing the way for the Lord!!
Those who followed John (“willing for a season to rejoice in his light” John 5:33) left John to follow Christ. Much like the law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, so should Christ’s disciples point us to the true light which is Christ. The bride belongs to the bridegroom!!
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
The preeminence and the headship belong to Christ!!
Paul said that the “power” and “authority” that was given to him was for edification, not destruction:
2Co 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
2Co 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
So while this may address THE DEEDS of the Nicolaitans, what of THE DOCTRINES of the Nicolaitans?
I’m not really sure if there is any particular list of “doctrines” that can be attributed to the Nicolaitans. Anyone know of any? Maybe it simply has to do with teaching anything that causes this sort of division, putting schism into the body of Christ?
We know that we are to walk in love, as love is the fulfillment of the law. And we are not to accept anyone into our spiritual house who brings not THIS doctrine. And Paul speaks in his epistle to the Romans about those who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned”. He said we are to “avoid them”.
Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they (incorrectly) “suppose that gain is godliness”:
1Ti 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
Christ said that “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God”:
Luk 16:14-15 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Declaring that “the law and the prophets were until John”. But now is “the kingdom of God being preached, every man presseth into it”!
Luk 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Peter also warns of false prophets and their false teachings, which deny the Lord and bring swift destruction:
2Pe 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
As does Paul when he speaks of “foolish and hurtful lusts” which “drown men in destruction and perdition”:
1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Not sure if that touches on it or not but it seems to fit the description of those who would be seeking “preeminence” in the body of Christ. And, in so doing receive not the brethren and forbid them that would, casting them out of the church. Which thing speaks contrary to Paul’s admonition not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (as one body), as Paul said was “the manner of some”:
Heb 10:24-26 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
So let us consider one another to provoke one another to love and to good works; that which we were before ordains to walk in! That there be no schism in the body of Christ!
All Blessings in Christ!!