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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Nicolaitane Error Jesus Hates (was not Santa Claus)

Overcoming The End-Time Nicolaitanes

"neither as lords over God's heritage" -1Peter 3

At times it may sound as if I am anti-pastor. This is not so. We love the pastors whom God has graciously put in our lives. The truth is aimed at the harlot system and her institutions,
and NOT at any individual that is trapped by the error of the Nicolaitanes.

  • "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes".
    VERY few Christians "hate" this, and if one cannot recognize the Nicolaitane error then one cannot "hate it"  
    (i.e., despise it).
  • Secondly, we do not "hate" them who are snared by and labor in the Nicolaitane error themselves. Jesus said to love those with whom we disagree as well as our friends, and this we seek to do.
Revelation 2: (To the church at Ephesus)
6   But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate;
15 So you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them (the Nicolaitanes) with the sword of my mouth. (you cannot repent of this unless you know what it is and why Jesus hates it)

Here is the truth:
what God detests is simply the most common form of church government found in almost every church and denomination.

"Nicolaitane" is from two Greek words "Nike" and "Laos"

The Greek word "nike" means "to conquer"…to dominate, intimidate, CONTROL, rule over, even to manipulate.
It means exercising carnal control. It means ruling by position, dominion, subjugation and taking authority by these means.
The word "laos" means "the people", that is, the laity.
Hence,  "nike-laity", i.e. "Nico-laitane" error.
Thus we have by definition the deeds and teaching of those who conquer, dominate, manipulate, and "lead" the laity, or the people.

What makes it difficult to identify the Nicolaitanes is that the labels have changed.

Why does Jesus "HATE" their deeds and doctrines?
Simply put, it because it puts men in the place of God, whether they be called the church board, elder, pastor, priest, Pope, Bishop, or some other ecclesiastical title. And it virtually guarantees the majority of God's people never mature into faith and their own ministry as Jesus said of His followers in Mark 16:16-20.

It results in the people following their "leadership", rather than Jesus Christ and down the "broad way" we all went. And worse yet, it leads to outright abuse, extortion, and people building the their own kingdoms rather than Gods kingdom. So many are deceived by the system they serve  and think they are doing a work for God but in truth it is for the benefit of themselves.

Denominational, factious, competitive Christianity has given the church a hierarchical, professionalized, titled, system of church government which is foreign to scripture. This is indeed, "The error of the Nicolaitanes".

·         There is no Senior Pastor, Youth Leader, Choir Director, pope, cardinal, Archbishop, priest, monsignor, or denominational structure in scripture.
·         There is no scripture giving any pastor-priest sole ruler-ship, headship, or authority over an assembly of God's people.
·         There are no formal titles or labels attached to any New Testament disciples including the obvious ones like the apostles.
·         There are no church boards, assistant pastors, co-pastors, associate pastors, or senior officials.
These are the products of "the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. 

No tithes, no titles, no tabernacles.
There are no presidents, Superintendents, youth pastors;  there are no capitalized Apostles, Prophets, Bishops, pastors, deacons, or elders.
·         The word "pastor" is used only once in the New Testament, and not even one Titled pastor is named!
How many TITLED pastors are mentioned in your local phone book?

Overcoming the Nicolaitane error and deeds
In Revelation 2, this is one of the admonitions for the people of God who have eyes and ears to overcome:
15: So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner.
16: Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.
17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.  To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

Several strong admonitions are given in scripture in regard to what Jesus said was the relationship among the brethren and what actual church government is:

Here is what Peter said in 1Peter 5:
1 The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.

In this passage, note the elders (plural) are among us, Peter includes himself as an elder, and there is no specific mention of "pastors".
Why not? Because God gave a five-fold ministry to oversee and "tend" the flock. The elders were to do so not from duty, obligation, or money.
-neither ...  defined:  "  not even, no, not once".
-as lording: defined: "to lord against, that is, controlsubjugate: - exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome."

This is exactly what the Nicolaitane error does and Peter said not even once was the flock to be carnally subjugated, controlled, or have someone exercise dominion over.
As the Christian sees the truth of scripture, he will need to realign his thinking in terms of what the New Testament ministry truly is, not from what we have seen all around us.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ;

The ministry is given to serve, edify, and steward the faith. Those who minister are to comfort, correct, and contend for the faith.
The faith they are to contend for is THE faith as it is written (not the fragmented, conflicted, sectarian mish-mash of faith found in the church world).
The ministry is NOT given to become the head of every man and woman.

Friends, Jesus gave, taught, and lived THE faith to His disciples, who in turn gave the same gospel and the same faith to the churches they established. 

Read the gospels and book of Acts, that is where you find what we are to become in Christ.
The Bible record bears no resemblance whatsoever to the practices and structure of the modern church around us. No pews, pulpits, choirs, worship leaders, assistant pastors, co-pastors, boards, orchestrated services, voted-in or hired pastors, etc... Not even a special “Easter” service.  

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, *governments, diversities of tongues.
*governments"?  "THERE IT IS!!-say the Nicolaitanes!
But we find the word "governments" simply means: "pilotage, directorship, steerage" and is not a hierarchial command structure.

"Governments": Do we need to correct ourselves here?
Should we put center stage orators, tithe collectors, titled clergy, either robed or Gucci suited,  back on their platforms so we can devour their words, vision, and fund their programs?

Let's look at the verse again and run for the shelter of scripture.

1Corinthians 12:28 And God has set some in the church, first apostlessecondarily prophetsthirdly teachersafter that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, *governmentsdiversities of tongues.

1. NOTICE the order "God has set in the church", if the pastor is the primary governmental "director, pilot, and steerage of the body, then he is WAYYY down on the list behind the prophets, teachers, miracle workers, and healers.
2. Where in the verse does it even MENTION the word "pastor" in terms of "governments"?
3. IF pastors are the head of local church governments, WHERE is that in the verse?
4. If pastors are "governments", then why are the helps, healings, miracles, AHEAD of the directorage-pilotage-steerage?
5. If pastors are "governments" then why are teachers, prophets, and apostles AHEAD of the directorage-pilotage-steerage?
6. If "pastors" means governments, then why is there not even one passage where the apostles established the form of church headship that we all are familiar with?

The pastors of scripture were the simple, quiet, "no-name" laborers of their day, "among the people", serving, supporting, and sharing their substance with the believers. The same went for the prophets, apostles, teachers, and evangelists, who all served Christ without expectation of fame or fortune. 
They were the elders, overseers, and ministers of the faith who did so without self-promotion or lording kingly authority over the people God gave them to serve.

These actions were NORMAL for the Christians and pastors of scripture, but they are rare today; unlike the prosperity gospel, "accept Christ" salvation, and church building centered Christianity we observe.

Many pastors compare themselves to Moses who led the people of God to the "Promised Land" with the idea that there must be a leader-centered administration of a church body. But that is not a model found in the New Testament because we have Christ and the Holy Spirit given to direct an assembly if they are Spirit-filled and Spirit led. Most churches simply fall back into the traditions of men in their structure.

You see, when the Nicolaitanes imposed their error and deeds upon the church, the pastor-priest became the preeminent personage.
T'was never meant to be and there is not one positive New Testament example of that.
Who gave the pastor-priest preeminence over the rest of the five-fold ministry and the false hierarchial system of "accountability"?
It was the Nicolaitanes.  As many of us finally realize, this is the most common form of church government around us. .

How do you "overcome" the Nicolaitanes?
In the great majority of instances it means walking out the "church" doors, going home, and asking God Himself to take their error and deeds out of your hearts. And it means NOT going to find another group that calls itself a church yet has the same error.

"come out of her My people"


  1. Great article, Rory. Yes, the churches do have it all wrong, that is why there is so much division, lethargy, luke-warmness and outright foolishness that goes on in today's churches. It is also why we see so little of the true power of the Lord and the Kingdom of Heaven today. If the leadership is out of order then everything that follows will be out of order as well. We now see man's kingdom in the churches instead of God's. Sad, very, very sad.

  2. I think you answered my question I left on an earlier, (similar) post. I think this one issue has become a real snare to the Body of Christ, and they are so used to their traditions, they are blinded by them. It's a shame because for one thing, I believe it keeps the so called laity dependent upon the so called leadership and they never grow up into a completion of the body unity the Lord intended for them, where they flow together like a fine tuned orchestra. Of course, you never hear this sort of thing preached in the churches by the one man band. At least, I never did. The LORD had to show it to me after he pulled me out of the mess, (with their help of course, lol)

    Thanks for bringing this out. I hope the people see it and take heed.

    God bless you

  3. As a side note, references in early church literature indicate that the origin of Nicolaitans to be related to one of the early church deacons (Acts 6:5) not to parsing the Greek roots of the word. Below are some references.

    “The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles" (Irenaeus Of Lyons [c.120-202],Against Heresies, 1:26:3).

    The literature indicates that Nicolas initially taught a form of asceticism; “that the flesh must be abused (Clement Of Alexandria [d. c.215],Stromata, 2:20].”

    Those called Nicolaitans twisted this so that abusing the flesh became self-indulgence in such a way that they became known for "their maintenance of lust and luxury" (Tertullian [c.160-c.230], The Five Books Against Marcion, 1:29).

    All three of these writers were known to be fluent in Greek and capable of the parsing exercise but explained the Nicolaitan problem differently.

    Please note that I am not defending church hiearchy and structures, just providing an alternative view of what Nicolaitan heresy was about.