What say YE? Who are the Nicolaitans?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by dianetavegia, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
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    Rev. 2:2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary......... 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

    Who are the Nicolaitans? Today? The future?

    Diane Tavegia
     
  2. Dale McNamee

    Dale McNamee
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    Dear Diane,

    Here are two links regarding ther Nicolatians,

    Historical: http://a-voice.org/library/nicolait.htm

    Today: http://goodnewschristianministry.org/footnote_R101.htm

    From the "today" link:

    " Many churches have arisen whose entire function is structured in the sale of tapes and books detailing extraneous religious formulas for life enrichment. The Church of Religious Science, for instance, uses this approach to a large extent.

    Paganistic religions are those which promote the secular Gods of this world. They rarely present in the form of rock statues like those that dot Easter Island. Instead, they are seen most clearly by the love for worldly possessions and values exhibited by those who avariciously cling to them.

    Gold and silver idols are simply the material elements themselves: money and all the luxurious trappings which the gold and silver buy. BMW's & Porche's for instance. Perhaps a Lexus or a swimming pool home with a sweeping city or ocean view. All the trappings and etiquette of a society antagonistic to the Gospel's tenants."

    Sounds like the "prosperity preachers" & TBN doesn't it?

    In Christ,

    Dale
     
  3. prophecynut

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    The Scriptures do not specify who they were. Most likely a heretical sect in Asia Minor who practiced pagan idolatry and immorality. The Corinthians had this problem also, they brought many of their pagan practices into the church.

    Applicable to the 7 churches and the Church Age.
     
  4. Link

    Link
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    Some churches influenced by the Plymouth Brethren movement, like the local church movement and some house churches, think that 'Nicolatianism' is the system of clergymen dominating the people. The reasoning is based on folk etymology because Nicolatian means conquerer of the people. The brethren movement in England started in a nation where one-man bishprics were abundant.

    I do not agree with the Brethren movement, though the Christodelphian book Eureka makes a stronger case for it.

    Eusebius, who wrote a history, including many previous traditions, in the 300's said that Nicolatians were named after one of the Seven in Jerusalem. He said that someone accused him of greediness or stinginess or something along those lines, and to prove the point that he wasn't, he offerred anyone his wife. No one took him up on it, but the legend goes that somehow the name got attached to a group of people who taught people it was okay to eat meat offerred to idols and commit fornication. I do not have a lot of confidence that they are named after one of the Seven, but based on the context, it does seem likely that they were teaching people to be licentious possibly about sex and eating meat offerred to idols.
     
  5. Jim1999

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    The Nicolaitans appear again in Rev 2: 12-27 in the church at Pergamos. The word itself dervies from the name Nicolas, and these were obviously his followers. In these few verses we can determine, at least, some of their doctrines; compromise with idolatry. A Christian path smoothed over to make the journey in paganism much easier to assimilate. It is also connected to the falsehood of Balaam (see Numbers 31:16) and noted in verse 14 here.

    For more information about the Nicolaitans, one must study the early Church Fathers, ie" Irenaeus and Tertullian, who were outspoken in their attacks on the Nicolaitans and their expulsion from the early church. The Fathers state their doctrines as including that: "since their bodies were physical, and therefore evil, only their spirits were important. Hence, they could indulge in all manner of physical evils, especially sexual indulgance. It is suspected that the leader was Deacon Nicolaos, who engaged in adultery and was expelled from the church.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    Could it be the social gospel of to-day?
     
  6. mioque

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    "Could it be the social gospel of to-day? "
    "
    Unless stuff like wifeswapping and wild orgies are part and parcel of the whole social gospel thing I would say no.
     
  7. Jim1999

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    You might be surprised at what liberties are taken under the social gospel. It is a very broad term.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. ascund

    ascund
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    Hey Jim

    The word Nicolaitans is a compound word from nikos (victory) and laos (people). It refers to a system which conquers the people. some hold that it is the corrupt Catholic system that conquered the people through its structure of priests . . . . to pope hierarchy.

    Lloyd
     
  9. askM

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    I think they are compared with BAlaam, back in Numbers 22. Evil doctrine and Evil deeds. Faucette's bible dictionary has some good info. [​IMG]
     
  10. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Does not everybody's explanation above somehow or other fir what the text say, as given bt dianetvegia? "Rev. 2:2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary......... 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

    The rich and indulgent, the pleasure-seekers - who has seen any devout and humble amongst them? And who knows of one despot or oppressor who had not looked after his own interests first and follow them only? I liked that first explanation most - it keeps in mind the setting within the text - those who must persevere in hardship over against the mighty and affluent.
     
  11. Matt Black

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    Like Jim, I would defer to the ECFs like Irenaeus who, unlike us who live 1900 years after the events and are thus forced to speculate, lived only a few decades after the events described and are therefore more likely to know what they are talking about. In Irenaeus' case ('Against Heresies'), he concurs with Eusebius that the founder of that sect was one of the Acts 6 deacons.
     
  12. Eric B

    Eric B
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    Then why aren't we told that?
    (Oh, boy, here we go with the secret oral traditions again!)

    On my Revelation page; I point out:

    The doctrine of"Baalam" (Numbers 24:14, 25:1, 31:16; 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 11).—moral compromise.

    v.15: "So" (KJV) or "thus"(NAS)— houtos ουτως—Strong #3779 means "in this way"— "you also have them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans". So this doctrine of the Nicolaitans is connected with the doctrine of Baalam—compromise. The word Nicolaitans(#3532) means "of Nicolas". There is a Nicholas mentioned in Acts 6:5 as a proselyte of Antioch; one of the seven chosen to serve Hellenist widows, and Strong's Concordance assumes this apostate group is associated with him by defining him as "a heretic" (#3531) and cross-reference Bibles refer the Acts verse with these two Revelation passages, even though he is never mentioned as starting an apostate group.

    (so even in 200 years, an assumption could have been made. That wasn't the only person in the world named "Nicholas", after all!)
     
  13. prophecynut

    prophecynut
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    Eric B

    I like your explanation, Nicholas was "full of the Spirit and wisdom" (6:3) and would not of been associated with the Nicolaitans and their pagan lifestyles.
     
  14. Matt Black

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    Eric, what do you mean by "why aren't we told that?"? We are told that - by Irenaeus who, BTW is writing within 100 years, not 200, of Revelation; unlike you and I, who are writing 1900+ years after.
     
  15. Eric B

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    I meant why aren't we told that in scripture? 0 years far more reliable than 100 years!
    An assumption can be made in 100 years as well. Closer in time does not necessarily mean more information. Something can be buried somewhere and lost to the next generation, and then uncovered later on. Here in the city, they just found some letter solving a 70+ year old disappearance. Someone 60 years ago had no more information on it than someone last year.
    Now, we have not found any more information on who the Nicolaitanes were, but the point is, that being closer in time does not by itself make what he says true.
    In fact, look at the footnote here, and you'll see: 302 [This is disputed by other primitive authorities.]
     
  16. Jim1999

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    In a cursory reading of Revelation, the Nicolaitans are mentioned, but the additional historical report by Irenaeus lends more information to the rest of the verses, Rev. 2:12ff. That is all we were saying. The Bible doesn't include all the facts of history and we must seek profane history for additional information.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Eric, Nice for a change to agree with you fully! The context the reference to the Nicolaitans is made, tells more and better than anything else who and what sort of fellows they were.
     
  18. Jim1999

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    Sorry, read Revelation 2 again. It does not specify what the evils of the Nicolaitans are, it just names them..."I have a few things against you...." it names the cult and specifies the doctrine of Balaam. It then goes on to just name the Nicolaitans. It does not specify its doctrines. By profane history we learn something about Nicolaitans and its founder, a church deacon who toiled in adultry and was expelled from the church. It is only this history that makes sense of verses 12-17 and we can apply those things to the Nicolaitans.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    PS. It is not earthshaking if you disagree with me. It doesn't change theology one iota.
     
  19. Eric B

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    The association with Balaam IS telling us what the evil of the Nicolaitanes is; and THAT is what makes sense of v.12-17. (Just because a decaon falls into sin and is expelled; why would a whole group with a whole set of corrupt teachings form around him?) And remember, Irenaeus is disputed by other authorities. Once again, the deacon was not the only Nicholas in the world. To assume so is like assuming that the followers of Simon the sorcerer were started by Simon Peter.

    Also, while the doctrine is clearly compromise, people fingering "the social gospel" should beware, because another group, the Ephesians, is commended for opposing the Nicolataines, but they go the opposite extreme in losing their first love (Jesus) in their zeal, and are warned of an even worse judgment. It has been noted that the "conservatives" have often formed their own "social gospel", and unlike the liberals, they wed it more to the Bible, but in reality it is not more biblical.
     
  20. dianetavegia

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    Thanks for all the answers. We have many churches and religious organizations TODAY that fit the description of this church and many of them are accepting of 'Nicolatans' within their own leadership.

    Eric, VERY interesting reading, your pages.
     

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