Bible Ballistics: Q & A Time. January 26, 2014 Vol.3 No.11
Well, it’s our Question and Answer time again. I have chosen two questions for this week; one a question about a Bible word, and the other about a Biblical doctrine.
Our first question comes from Chad, he asks, “Who were the Nicolaitanes?” Referring to those mentioned in Revelation 2:1-7, 12-17. I’ll only list a portion of these passages (for time and space constraints), and then offer an answer.
Revelation 2:6, “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.”
And Revelation 2:15, “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”
These verses were to two of the seven churches that Jesus addresses directly in the book of the Revelation. In both, Jesus declares that HE hates the deeds and doctrine of the ‘Nicolaitanes’. Not something we’d want to be a part of, but who and what were the ‘Nicolaitanes’? There is no direct scriptural answer to this question, and though scripture itself does not identify these people, I’d like to offer my simple answer. Theories abound, but in Greek, the word literally means, to “be a victor over the people”, from two Greek words Nike (victory) and Laos (people). While it could refer to a specific person and his followers, as some suggest, I prefer the simpler approach. It seems the church was being influenced by those promoting an “exalted” class of Christians. Throughout scripture Jesus calls us to practice ‘servanthood’, not ‘lordship’. He calls HIS followers to a different standard, the standard of humble service.
Jesus called for His followers to meet the needs of others with humble service and example, not to divide themselves into segments of a superior “clergy” and an inferior “laity”. Jesus said it clearly:
Mark 10:42-43, “ But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:”
Luke 22:25-26, “ And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.”
Jesus pointed out the contrast– ‘lord it over’, ‘rule’, ‘exercise authority’, OR (as His children) to be ‘servants’ to one another and the world. So, to me the simplest answer is the best answer. The ‘Nicolaitanes’ are those who promote segmentation and division in the church according to some innate, special or imparted gift, a right or authority to ‘rule’ over the ‘laity’ of the church. Jesus said He hates this. One of the greatest pictures of ‘servanthood’ is in Philippians 2:5-8,
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Are we serving?
The second question is part of a question, which I’d like to address today (and address the rest later), from Jarred. “I’ve run into some Muslim people who believe in Jesus but don’t believe that Jesus IS God. How do I counter this?” This answer goes beyond just one group not accepting the ‘deity’ (being God) of Jesus, unbelievers of many persuasions and some of the so-call “Christian cults” deny that Jesus is God. We counter this the same way for all of them, with scripture. Scripture clearly deals with this, and the absolute necessity of accepting and believing in the ‘deity’ of Christ to be saved. This is one of the fundamentals of our faith that we CANNOT waver on. Let’s begin with the gospel of John:
Portions of John 8:19-27, “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also……. 21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come…. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.”
The ‘I AM’ here is a reference to the covenant name of God from Exodus, when God revealed himself as the “I AM” to Moses. John’s gospel focuses on the “I AM’s”, and Jesus clearly states that we MUST believe that HE is “I AM”—God.
John 8:58, “ Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
And John 5:18 where the people understood that Jesus was claiming to be God but rejected HIM,
“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
Jesus IS GOD!!!
John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
And we’ll finish up with some other passages that reveal Jesus to be ‘creator’, as we all know Genesis 1:1,
“In the beginning God created……”
Colossians 1:15-17, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
Go back and reread Philippians 2:5-11. And remember Isaiah 7:14, which was fulfilled in Matthew 1:23,
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Jesus is God, He claimed it himself.
I hope this helps, as I believe that Scripture is often commentary enough. Please feel free to send your questions and we’ll answer them together during this time each month. And if you’d like a private answer I’ll do my best to reply, or if you don’t want your name mentioned just let me know. We’ll only use first names so the person who asked will know it’s their answer, but not everyone else will know who they are.