Who were the Nicolaitans?

William Arnold III


My question is from the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In the second chapter first the church of Ephesus vs.6 "the deeds of the Nicoliatanes which I also hate" and again to the church of Pergamos vs.15 "So hast also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes." Also I believe the warning to Smyrna vs.9 "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan," and Thyatira vs.20 "because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess," are all warnings to the church of Jesus Christ about a doctrine. I am not talking about women preachers, I don't believe the Bible is either, but rather a doctrine that was very prevalent at the time that would infect four of the seven churches. I believe that if it were just a local thing and not for our day it would not have been included in the Book. I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I cannot find a good explanation for my question.


Thank you for your feedback. We don't really know much of what the Nicolaitans taught other than what is stated in the book of Revelation. Some have seen in the term Nicolaitan is a compound of nikao (to conquer, or overcome) and laos (people) and have understood this group as "conquering the people" in some sense. However, it seems more likely that these people were followers of a man named Nicolaus. This could also be a reference to the Nicolas who was one of the original deacons of Acts 6 who might have later went astray. In early church writings the Nicolaitans are mentioned briefly by Irenaeus and Eusebius. Whatever the doctrine of the Nicolaitans was, the Lord said that he hated it (Rev. 2:15), but there is really no way to be sure of what they taught.

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