Simply the Bible Blog

Daily Devotion and Podcast

Holy Hatred (Rev 2.6)

“But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2.6, NKJV)

The Bible tells us that God is love. Jesus came to manifest that love. He demonstrated it in every word and action, culminating with laying down His life for us all. But the love of God does not prevent Him from hating. God hates evil, and He tells us that if we are going to fear Him, then we must also hate evil (Prov 8.13).

Jesus commended the Ephesians for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also hated. This poses two questions: 1) Who were the Nicolaitans? 2) What were they doing that Jesus hated? The only other mention of them in Scripture is in vs. 15, which doesn’t help us much. Moreover, there is little agreement by church fathers on exactly who this group was. We are left with the meaning of the Greek word, which is really a compound word. Nikos means victory (e.g. Nike shoes). Laos means people. Put them together and you get to be victorious over or to conquer the people.

Still, hate is a strong word. When Jesus was on earth were there any people whose practices Jesus hated? Yes, He condemned the practices of the scribes and Pharisees:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23.13, NKJV)

As Jesus pronounced His “woes” against them, He called them blind guides, brood of vipers, whitewashed tombs, and fools. But more than anything He called them hypocrites. He accused them of devouring widows’ houses (conquering the people).  Earlier in this chapter Jesus said:

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23.2-4, NKJV)

“They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’” (Matthew 23.6-7, NKJV)

Get the picture? They were posers…imposters who paraded themselves as being spiritual when really they wanted to lord over the people and not to serve the people. They wanted others to serve them. It would seem that Peter was already seeing this leaven creep into the church. He wrote to overseers:

“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, but being examples to the flock;” (1 Peter 5.2-3, NKJV)

The Nicolaitans were unwilling to follow Jesus who came not to be served but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20.28). This can happen to believers (vs. 15). Somehow in their passion to serve God they forget that they are to serve people and to be the slave of all. No servant is greater than his Master. The truth is that every time we think we’re better or superior to another there is a little Nicolaitan in us. May God search our hearts and help us to hate what He hates, even when it means hating the sin within us.

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