How the Nicolaitans' Hijacking of the Early Church Still Impacts the Kingdom

(Unsplash/Sheri Hooley)

"But this you have: You hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" (Rev 2:6).

The clergy mentality of today came from the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans were those who taught and practiced that the ministers of God were superior and were to be elevated about the flock.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was created by those who claimed to have a superior status over the laity of the church; the laity being the average member of the church. There is no biblical basis for the clergy or laity. This doctrine created a division between the people of God known as the "clergy-laity divide" and prevented the doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers" from being practiced in the early years of the church and continues to this day.

Those who followed the doctrine of the Nicolaitans assumed superiority over the common people. They exercised authority and power over the people using the positional, top-down hierarchy system. This doctrine taught that only those who served as the official clergy were the ones who could hear, understand and know what God was saying to the people.

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It is clear that Jesus hated the doctrine (teaching) of the Nicolaitans, which would exalt one believer above another. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans led to the one bishop ruler prevailing in the Catholic church, followed by a single pope over all the Catholic churches. Then Christianity also adopted this practice during the Reformation by replacing the bishop and pope with the pastor.

Much of our thinking and our Christian traditions came out of the Reformation and are simply not according to the apostles' faith, doctrines and practices. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is still practiced today when we exalt or elevate a priest, pastor, elder, bishop, fivefold minister or clergy member to a hierarchical position of rank, authority and power over the other members of the family of God. The church has been hijacked by the Nicolaitans.

The Nicolaitans are the ones who are called by titles like "reverend," "doctor," "pastor," "apostle," "father" and so on. These men have set themselves above the rest of the people and have assumed power over the flock, and absolute power absolutely corrupts.

In addition to the power, they are taking sordid gain (money others have worked for) and the money also absolutely corrupts. So, the Nicolaitans are doubly corrupted. They are corrupted by the love of power and the love of money. This is why Jesus so hated the ways of the Nicolaitans.

The Old Covenant had selected priests to go between the Lord and the people. In the New Covenant, we are all priests with direct access to God the Father through Jesus our Lord and high priest. Therefore, the earthly priest and the tithe were eliminated.

But the problem is that the Old Covenant hasn't disappeared yet. Today we have the clergy everywhere (the earthly priest, the Nicolaitans) who supposedly have to go to God to tell us what God has to say and they still collect the Old Covenant tithe to pay themselves. They have set themselves up above the rest of us and expect to be treated like kings and to be paid with the money others have worked for.

The Nicolaitans are the false teachers and false prophets of today that Jesus warned us about. "But do not be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Nor be called teachers, for you have one Teacher, the Christ" (Matt. 23:8 -10).

A true servant of God does not need a title or the honor of men.

For more teaching on this topic, listen to the entire episode of The Great Deception podcast here.

For almost 40 years Don Britton has researched the Scriptures and compared his findings to the generally accepted beliefs of today's modern American Christianity. His book, The Great Deception of American Christianity Without Christ, is a result of those many years of observing various practices of the American church and the many teachings they produce compared with what the Scriptures actually have to say.

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