“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. -Revelation 2:2-6 ESV
Not only did Jesus mention the ‘Nicolaitans” to the church in Ephesus- and that mention was good, because they HATE the works of the Nicolaitans, which God also HATES. But, Yeshua also mentions this group, this MINDSET of beliefs- to the church in Pergamum; But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:14-15) I have heard that the Nicolaitans were “rulers of the people/laity”. In other words, it was a sect of people with a mindset, a belief that some were “ministers” and others “receivers’ on the ministry. Some taught and we “esteemed” higher than others, and the rest were lay people who were in submission to the rulers, those in authority. Many churches have “Pastors” and teachers who educate others, and then we have the others, those who are taught to. It is an interesting concept, and might be true, but I want to focus on the other possibility. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. (Jude 1:11)
Leader, another line of reasoning is that expressed from http://www.biblegateway.com. This seems to be the more prevalent view: The Nicolaitans were a people who used Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh, against such Paul warned (Gal 5:13). The enticement to such a course of action was the pagan society in which Christians lived where eating meat offered to idols was common. Sex relations outside marriage were completely acceptable in such a society. The Nicolaitans attempted to establish a compromise with the pagan society of the Graeco-Roman world that surrounded them. The people most susceptible to such teaching were, no doubt, the upper classes who stood to lose the most by a separation from the culture to which they had belonged before conversion. It may be that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans was dualistic. They might have reasoned that the human body was evil anyway and only the spirit was good. A Christian, therefore, could do whatever he desired with his body because it had no importance. The spirit, on the other hand, was the recipient of grace which meant that grace and forgiveness were his no matter what he did. They were those ready to compromise with the world. They were judged by the author of Revelation to be most dangerous because the result of their teaching would have conformed Christianity to the world rather than have Christianity change the world. Does this sound familiar? This seems like the pandemic that the church is facing. This is also the teachings of Balaam.
Conduit, the teachings of the Nicolaitans are linked to the teaching of Balaam. We meet Balaam in Numbers 22-24, where we learn that he is a seer who was hired by the king Balak to put a curse on the people of Israel as they were threatening to move into the Holy Land. But God wouldn’t let him! Later in Numbers, Moses is criticizing the actions of the Israelites with regard to the women of Midian, and he says: Behold, these caused the people of Israel, by the counsel of Balaam, to act treacherously against the LORD. (Numbers 31:16a) So Balaam was regarded as advising Balak to use the Midianite women to trick the sons of Israel into committing sexual immorality and abandoning the Law of God and to go after pagan gods. It seems more plausible that the Nicolaitans were in part responsible for “Christianity’s” acceptance of Christmas, Easter, Halloween and other ‘ways of the world” becoming ‘ways of the church’. More importantly, ‘Nicolaitanism’, representative of a much broader philosophy, can be blamed for the organized and systematic removal of God’s law as a central pillar of the Christian way of life. These beliefs watered down the church, it made the church much more like the world, than the world becoming like the church. This way of thinking and acting was judged by JESUS to be most dangerous because the result of their teaching would have conformed Christianity to the world rather than have Christianity change the world. God’s original plan was that He would walk with Israel and He would be their God and them, HIS PEOPLE. Other nations would see how they were and want to follow the God of the Jews, the God of the Bible- the ONE TRUE GOD. Today we must ask ourselves the same thing. Is our relationship with God watered down by the world? Or is our example, our walk with God done in such a way that others want to walk with your God! We are called to be different than the world. Today consider the question: If being a Christian was illegal- would there be enough evidence to convict you? You still have time to GET OFF THE WORLD and GET ON THE NARROW PATH! “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”. (Matthew 7:13-14)