Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nicolaitans Myth

Some anti hierarchical Protestants like to push the myth that the Catholic Church is the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:
But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.-Revelation 2:6
Likewise, you also have some people who hold to the teaching of (the) Nicolaitans.-Revelation 2:15
They claim Nicolaitian means "nico" =over, and "laitian"=laity, so they claim Nicolaitan refers to a system when there is a difference between clerics and the laity, a hierarchy. This interpretation is new, it was probably invented by Scofield.

The fact is Nicolaitans is a group named after a man named Nicholas, just a people are called Christians in the Bible. The name Nicolas is a Greek new testament name:
masc. proper name, from Gk. Nikholaos, lit. "victory-people," from nike "victory" + laos "people."
My interlinear explains the name means "conquer people." Could this sect be named after a man named Nicholas? Well there is a Nicolas in Acts 6:5
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.--Acts 6:5
In Greek Nicholas is spelled νικόλαον, the sect of the Nicolaitans in Greek is νικολαϊτῶν. Let's compare νικόλαον and νικολαϊτῶν.

Why don't dispensationalists ever claim that the Nicholas of Acts 6:5 is part of some evil hierarchy?, after all, the dispensationalists do tell us that Nicholas means laity conqueror.

The fact is it is more reasonable to believe the Nicolaitan's is a sect named after a man of that name. In fact the early Christians even identified the Nicholaus of Acts 6:5 with the Nicolaitans sect of Revelation 2.
A brother heretic emerged in Nicolaus. He was one of the seven deacons who were appointed in the Acts of the Apostles. [Acts 6:5] He affirms that Darkness was seized with a concupiscence— and, indeed, a foul and obscene one— after Light: out of this permixture it is a shame to say what fetid and unclean (combinations arose). The rest (of his tenets), too, are obscene. For he tells of certain Æons, sons of turpitude, and of conjunctions of execrable and obscene embraces and permixtures, and certain yet baser outcomes of these. He teaches that there were born, moreover, dæmons, and gods, and spirits seven, and other things sufficiently sacrilegious. alike and foul, which we blush to recount, and at once pass them by. Enough it is for us that this heresy of the Nicolaitans has been condemned by the Apocalypse of the Lord[Revelation 2] with the weightiest authority attaching to a sentence, in saying "Because this you hold, you hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I too hate."--Tertullian, cAD 200, Against All Heresies, Chapter 1
"look also on Nicolas, sentenced in the Apocalypse by the Lord's own lips [Revelation 2:6]"--St Jerome, cAD 400, Letter 14
"There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion; but we have decided that it would not be worth while to enumerate the silly doctrines of these (heretics), inasmuch as they are (too) numerous and devoid of reason, and full of blasphemy. Now, even those (of the heretics) who are of a more serious turn in regard of the Divinity, and have derived their systems of speculation from the Greeks, must stand convicted (of these charges). But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. He, as one of the seven (that were chosen) for the diaconate, was appointed by the Apostles. (But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols."-St Hippolytus, AD 220, Refutation of All Heresies, Book VII:Chapter 24
There are more references....

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