Revelation of John 2:6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
Revelation of John 2:15 So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
What did the Nicolaitanes do that YHWH hates them ?
Revelation of John 2:14“But I hold a few matters against you, because you have there those who adhere to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balaq to put a stumbling-block before the children of Yisra’el, to eat food offered to idols, and to commit whoring. 15“So you also have those who adhere to the teaching of the Nikolaites, which teaching I hate. 16“Repent, or else I shall come to you speedily and fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
OK so who was Balaam?
Exodus 34: 11 “Guard what I command you today. See, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Kena’anite and the Àittite and the Perizzite and the Hiwwite and the Yebusite. 12“Guard yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13“But break down their altars, and smash their pillars, and cut down their Asherim – 14for you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for HWHY, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous Âl – 15lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they whore after their mighty ones, and slaughter to their mighty ones, and one of them invites you and you eat of his slaughterings, 16and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters whore after their mighty ones, and make your sons whore after their mighty ones. 17“Do not make a moulded mighty one for yourselves. 1
Numbers 22:5 and he sent messengers to Balaam son of Be’or at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “See, a people has come from Mitsrayim. See, they have covered the surface of the land, and are settling next to me! 6“And now, please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too strong for me. It might be that I smite them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
Numbers25:1 And Yisra’el dwelt in Shittim, and the people began to whore with the daughters of Mo’ab, 2 and they invited the people to the slaughterings of their mighty ones, and the people ate and bowed down to their mighty ones. 3Thus Yisra’el was joined to Ba’al Pe’or, and the displeasure of HWHY burned against Yisra’el.
Numbers 31:14 But Mosheh was wroth with the officers of the army, with the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, who had come from the campaign. 15And Mosheh said to them, “Have you kept all the women alive? 16“Look, they are the ones who caused the children of Yisra’Ãl, through the word of BilÈam, to trespass against HWHY in the matter of PeÈor, and there was a plague among the congregation of HWHY.
So Balaam caused Israel to sin by advising the people of Moab to seduce them into worshiping with them other gods.
But what does this have to do with the Nicolaitans?
From http://www.biblestudy.org we see the following.
Meaning of the word Nicolaitans
The word Nicolaitans (Greek: Νικολαΐ́της or Nikolaitës, Strong’s Concordance Number #G3531) is a compound word which is composed of THREE Greek words. Because of it being a proper noun, the word is TRANSFERRED instead of being translated into English. Thus, it is subject to the laws of Greek construction in regard to ellipsis, contraction and phonetics.
The three Greek words used in the construction of Nicolaitans are:
- NIKOS, of which we use the English equivalents instead of the Greek letters, as we shall also of the other two. Nikos is defined as “a conquest; victory; triumph; the conquered; and by implication, dominancy over the defeated.” Another transferred name in which this term is used is “Nicopolis,” which is composed of Niko,which means conquest and polis, which means city. Hence, the city of conquest, or city of victory.
- LAOS, which means people. Another use of this word is found in NICOLAS, which is transferred and is composed of Nikos-laos and means one who is “victorious over the people,” the letter “s” being in both words the nominative case ending, which is retained only at the end of the word to denote the case, while “a” short and “o” short are contracted into “a” long.
A still further transferred use of LAOS is found in the name Lao(s)diceans (Greek: Λαοδικεύς or Laodikeus,Strong’s Concordance Number #G2994), compounded with DIKE or DICE as the Greek “k” is the equivalent English “c.” Thus, in the name Laodiceans, we have LAOS, meaning the people, and DICE, meaning judgment or vengeance, i.e., the people of my judgment, or of my vengeance. Also the Greek word la(ic)os, which means “laymen,” of which LA-OS is the root and stem, which selfsame word, with the “o” short contracted to “i”, to which root and stem the plural definite article TON is joined to form LAITON, which is a Greek phrase meaning “the laity.”
- TON is the third and last word entering into the construction of the proper name Nicolaitans. TON, in which Omega, the long “o”, is contracted into long “a”, thus making the word TAN which is the genitive case plural in all the genders of the definite article ‘the.’
We therefore have, without the legal Greek construction, the English hyphenated word NIKOS-LAOS-TON, but which, with its lawful elisions and contractions, becomes the English name: Nicolaitans.
Is there a FULLER meaning to the word Nicolaitans?
The full meaning of the word Nicolaitans, in its native tongue and in its ecclesiastical setting, is that the bishops and prelates of the Church have gained a triumphal victory or conquest over the LAITON, the laity, until they have been compelled to submit to the arbitrary dominion of men who have become that thing which God hates – ‘Lords over God’s heritage’:
“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; NOR AS BEING LORDS OVER THOSE ENTRUSTED TO YOU (‘lords over [God’s] heritage’ in the KJV Bible), but being examples to the flock;” (1Peter 5:1-3).
The evidence of this full meaning is found in all our common school dictionaries, among which we find the following definition of the term “hierarchy: the power of dominion, government by ecclesiastical rulers,” to which the following is introduced in evidence:
“If anyone shall say that there is not in the Catholic Church a hierarchy established by the divine ordination, consisting of bishops, presbyters and ministers, let him be anathema, Council of Trent (translation) XXIII 6.” (Century Dictionary)
In other words, let anyone who has the audacity to say there is not a hierarchy, not a collection of human beings who have been given the power by other men of dominion, as ecclesiastical rulers over churchmen who are declared God’s heritage, let that man be ACCURSED — let death and hell and the devil get him. Surely, the thing in which that ecclesiastical company is glorying is their shame!
Webster’s dictionary defines the word “episcopal” as
“the power of government, belonging to, or invested in, bishops or prelates. Government of the church by bishops.”
“in episcopacy, the order of bishops is superior to the other clergy, and has exclusive power to confer orders.”
In this definition it is affirmed that a certain portion of presbyters (elders) were even “in apostolic times superior in authority to ordinary presbyters,” and also mentions the fact that episcopacy recognizes “episcopal rank” which is created by the institution thus governed; all of which affirms that any church in which episcopal government obtains is practicing the very carnal and fleshly iniquity of creating “Superiors” in what should be a holy brotherhood. The use of this appellation makes INFERIORS out of brethren who are in the selfsame clergy.
OK so what exactly did they do to make YHWH hate them?
From Word of Truth Radio ( WOTR ) web site we get this.
Nicolaitans: One of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, and perhaps elsewhere. Irenaeus identifies the Nicolaitans as a Gnostic sect: “John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith (the deity of Christ), and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word” (see Irenaeus Against Heresies iii 11. 1; ANF vol. 1, p. 426) There is also historical evidence of a Gnostic sect called Nitolaitans a century or so later.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism. (Antinomianism: A belief that is based upon a recognition of the mercy of God as the ground of salvation, but it makes the fatal mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of God is no longer binding. It held the truth on the gratuitous reckoning of righteousness; but supposed that a mere intellectual “belief” in this truth had a saving power. The Apostle James refuted this error in James 2:19 with the admonition, “The devils also believe, and tremble”; reminding us that true faith is an active principle which works by love and it goes beyond a profession of belief. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20) The Bible teaches us that salvation is a free gift, based upon God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) However, the very next verse tells us that “we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) True faith produce action, as well as a desire for holiness and obedience. (1 John 3:18, Titus 2:11-15, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Revelation 14:12)
Nicolaitans of the 2nd century seem to have continued and extended the views of the 1st century adherents, holding to the freedom of the flesh and sin, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh had no effect upon the health of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that Christians are supposed to “die” to sin and the deeds of our “flesh”: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2) “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)
Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made God’s law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
From http://www.spiritandtruth.org we get this.
Surprisingly little of substance is known concerning the Nicolaitans only mentioned in Scripture in the book of Revelation. The Lord commends the Ephesian church for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, whereas He has against the church in Pergamos, those who hold to the Nicolaitan teachings which He hates.
There are two main views concerning the identity of the Nicolaitans. The first view holds that they are an early cult which followed or perverted the teachings of Nicolas, one of the seven men chosen by the congregation in Acts 6:5. The second view discounts this historical witness1 in favor of understanding the designation “Nicolaitan” as denoting the error of their practice which asserted authority over the people in an unnatural distinction between clergy and laity (and which continues to be a distortion of biblical teaching to our own time).2
In favor of the first view is the mention of a cult purportedly related to Nicolas by early members of the church.
Irenaeus (Haer. 1.26.3) basically repeats the biblical material, adding the assertion that the Nicolaitans were heretical followers of Nicolaus, the proselyte of Antioch who was chosen to be one of The Seven (Acts 6:5). Hippolytus (Haer. 7.24) underscores Irenaeus, adding that Nicolaus departed from true doctrine. Clement of Alexandria (Str. 2.20) claims that Nicolaus was an ascetic, and then current Nicolaitans were not his true followers because they perverted his teaching that it was necessary to abuse the flesh.3
The importance of these early citations has been questioned because they include precious else about the sect. Yet there is no evidence in the early church of alternate explanations or a challenge to the statements of these men, except to say that the Nicolaitans misrepresented the true teachings of Nicolas.4 Perhaps the Nicolaitans distorted the teachings of Nicolas in a similar way that antinomian sects throughout history have distorted Paul’s teaching on liberty?5
The relationship which may exist between the mention of the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:15+) in close association with Balaam (Rev. 2:14+) has also been noted. The two names (Nicolaitans, Balaam) have very similar meanings in their respective languages: “Balaam is derived from two Hebrew words, בָּלַע [bālaʿ] (‘he swallows’) and עָם [ʿām] (‘people’). Interestingly, according to the derivative meanings of the names, the two groups troubling this church [Pergamos] were ‘swallowers of the people’ (i.e., the Balaamites) and ‘conquerors of the people’ (i.e., the Nicolaitans).”6 If the similar meaning of their names is significant and their mention in adjoining verses in the letter to Pergamos is intended to show a relationship, then it is thought that the licentious tendencies of the Nicolaitans might be understood in light of the doctrine of Balaam.
Was there, in the first place, any sect existing at the time when these words were uttered, which actually bore this name? I believe not. . . . the key to the right understanding of it is given us at Rev. 2:14-15+; where those “that hold the doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2:14+) are evidently identical with those “that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” (Rev. 2:15+). we are here set upon the right track. . . . it may be observed that his name [Balaam], according to the best etymology, signifies “Destroyer of the people” ( . . . from בֶלַע [ḇelaʿ] and עָם [ʿām] ; and Νικόλαος [Nikolaos] (νικα῀ν τὸν λαόν[nikan ton laon] ) is no more than a Grecizing of this name . . . The Nicolaitans . . . are the Balaamites . . . those who in the New Dispensation repeated the sin of Balaam in the Old, and sought toovercome or destroy the people of God by the same temptations whereby Balaam had sought to overcome them before.7
After Balaam, who was hired by the Moabite King Balaak (Num. 22:5, Deu. 23:4) to curse Israel failed in his task (Num. 24), he evidently counseled that Israel could be drawn into God’s disfavor by luring them into sexual relationship with the women of Moab (Num. 25:1; 31:16) which would also entice them to worship foreign gods (Num. 25:2). If the Nicolaitan doctrine is a reflection of the doctrine of Balaam, the key may be intermarriage with the heathen leading to compromise and idolatrous worship.8 Peter mentions false teachers who are “following the way of Balaam” (2Pe. 2:15). It is said that “by covetousness” these teachers will exploit the church (2Pe. 2:3). They are said to be walking “according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness” (2Pe. 2:10) and having “eyes full of adultery” (2Pe. 2:14). This would accord with the libertine aspect of the Nicolaitans mentioned by the early witnesses.
It is said that Balaam taught Balaak to influence the Israelites “to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14+). How similar this is to the warning given the Gentiles by theJerusalem council:
Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:19-20)
In both passages a connection is made between eating meat sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality:
The Jerusalem conference had in its decree brought into juxtaposition the eating of εἰδωλόθυτα [eidōlothyta] and indulgence in sexual impurity (Acts 15:20, 27) and John had not lived in a Greek city without becoming aware that the two things were in fact closely bound up together. Pagan festivities were too often occasions of immoralities from which Gentile converts had been rescued with the greatest difficulty.9
If the Nicolaitans taught a similar doctrine to Balaam, it most likely urged believers to make a practical compromise with the society within which they found themselves. “They taught that Christians ought to remain members of the pagan clubs, and that they might do so without disloyalty to their faith.”10 How doubly-dangerous is such compromise with the surrounding culture: eroding the sanctification of the believer while simultaneously denigrating the witness of the Church.11
However, the view that this was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans supposes that the mention of the Nicolaitans adjacent to Balaam (Rev. 2:14-15+) indicates a similarity of teaching. If this is not the case, then we know virtually nothing specific from Scripture about Nicolaitan practice and beliefs.
Those who discount the historic witness to an actual sect known as the Nicolaitans12 see the meaning of the name as being a key to understanding their errant teaching.
The meaning of the Greek is “rulers of the people.” This meaning may imply that this was an attempt to divide and make an unnatural distinction between the clergy and laity, creating a division in which the clergy exercised rulership over the laity. Certainly, elders have the biblical authority to determine the policy of the local church. But the authority described here probably went much further than the issues in the local church and may have extended to the personal lives of the members.13
If this is the Nicolaitan error, then one only need look at the top-heavy ecclesiastical structures which characterize much of Christendom throughout history to see the sour fruit of such teaching. This is one of many reasons why the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer (2Cor. 3:6; 6:4; 1Pe. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6+; 5:10+; 20:6+) is so important for the saints of every age.
We have this from Easton’s Bible Dictionary
Nicolaitanes – The church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:6) is commended for hating the “deeds” of the Nicolaitanes, and the church of Pergamos is blamed for having them who hold their “doctrines” (15). They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul’s doctrine of grace (comp. 2 Pet. 2:15, 16, 19), and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam (q.v.), Rev. 2:14.
And lastly we have this from Smiths Bible Dictionary
Nicolaitans – (followers of Nicolas), a sect mentioned in (Revelation 2:6,15) whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in (Acts 15:20,29) The teachers of the Church branded them with a name which expressed their true character. The men who did and taught such things were followers of Balaam. (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11) They, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. In a time of persecution, when the eating or not eating of things sacrificed to idols was more than ever a crucial test of faithfulness, they persuaded men more than ever that was a thing indifferent. (Revelation 2:13,14) This was bad enough, but there was a yet worse evil. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church. And all this was done, it must be remembered not simply as an indulgence of appetite: but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, (2 Peter 2:1) It confirms the view which has been taken of their character to find that stress is laid in the first instance on the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans. To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church that otherwise is weak and faithless. (Revelation 2:6) To tolerate them is well nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. (Revelation 2:14,15)
So what do we make of all this information ?
If YHWH and Yahushua hated these people then all believers should abstain from doing what they did. It is incumbent on each of us to research and understand this relationship between Balaam and Nicolaitian influence in our worship places and get rid of it. Over zealous leaders and or pagan ritual creeping into our assemblies is something YHWH hates and the Messiah condemned in very strong words to John in Revelations. Seek only that which can be confirmed in Scripture by two or more witnesses. Dig into meanings of words and context of verses so you truly understand what is being said so you cannot be led astray. All pagan influences are against YHWH’s commands and should be removed no matter how cherished the custom. If a thing is unclean it cannot be made clean by mixing with the clean. That only makes both things unclean.
We should look closely at modern church traditions and see if there are any worship practices that are rooted in pagan ritual that needs to be removed from our fellowship with YHWH.
Things to look at:
Halloween – http://www.watchman.org/occult/hallow.htm , http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/e008rp_Halloween.htm , http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/10/halloween-monotheism-and-the-pagan-vacuum.html
Christmas – http://unexplainedmysteriesoftheworld.com/archives/the-mystery-of-the-pagan-origin-of-christmas-jesus-was-not-born-on-december-25th-but-a-whole-bunch-of-pagan-gods-were , http://www.essortment.com/christmas-pagan-origins-42543.html , http://www.exposingsatanism.org/christmas.htm
Easter – http://www.albatrus.org/english/festivals/easter/is_easter_pagan.htm , http://www.truthbeknown.com/easter.htm , http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/03/easter-pagan-symbolism
Statues , http://faithinyhvh.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/how-can-the-vatican-be-holy-when-it-still-keeps-pagan-statues-up/ , http://danielquinn.org/gallery/pagan-statue-in-the-vatican/ , http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/catholic_church_idolatry.html
Scripture verses about pagan practices and symbols.
Exodus 20:4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Exodus 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but you shall utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exodus 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Exodus 34:15 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods, and one call you, and you eat of his sacrifice;
Exodus 34:15 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring
after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods, and one call you, and you eat of his sacrifice;
Deuteronomy 4:16 Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deuteronomy 7:16 And you shall consume all the people which YHWH your Elohim shall deliver you; your eye shall have no pity on them: neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 7:25 The graven images of their gods shall you burn with fire: you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it to you, lest you be snared therein: for it is an abomination to YHWH your Elohim.
Deuteronomy 12:3 And you shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
Deuteronomy 12:30 Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise 31 You shall not do so to YHWH your Elohim: for every abomination to YHWH, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
Deuteronomy 13:6 If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend, which is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, you, nor your fathers;
Deuteronomy 16:21 You shall not plant you a grove of any trees near to the altar of YHWH your Elohim, which you shall make you.
Deuteronomy 17:3 And has gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination to YHWH, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and puts it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
Joshua 23:7 That you come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves to them:
Judges 2:12 And they forsook YHWH Elohim of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked YHWH to anger.
II Kings 23:13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
Amos 5:26 But you have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which you made to yourselves.
Jeremiah 10: 3“For the prescribed customs of these peoples are worthless, for one cuts a tree from the forest, work for the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4“They adorn it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it does not topple.
Acts 7:43 Yes, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which you made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
Revelations 21: 2 And I, Yohanan, saw the set-apart city, renewed Yerushalayim, coming down out of the heaven from Elohim,
Revelations 21: 25 And its gates shall not be shut at all by day, for night shall not be there. 26 And they shall bring the esteem and the appreciation of the gentiles into it.
27 And there shall by no means enter into it whatever is unclean, neither anyone doing abomination and falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.