Who In The World Were The Nicolaitans?

The stern warning to Ephesus is followed by an encouragement that is notoriously difficult to understand. It is this encouragement that provides us with a considerable amount of clarity about the matter of criticism itself.

6 But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate. (Rev 2:6)

The encouragement had to do with Christ’s affirmation that the believers in Ephesus do hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. In order to understand what those deeds may have been we must see what John was asked to write to the congregation in another great Roman city in the Asia Minor – the City of Pergamum. We read in Rev. 2:13-15

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is… I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” (Rev 2:13-15)

In these verses we see the evil deeds of Balaam in teaching Balak to entice Israel to sin. The treachery concerned two things 1) eating foods sacrificed to idols and 2) engaging in acts that are sexually immoral (Num 22-24). These things are somehow connected with the evil teachings of the Nicolaitans. Incidentally, the decision of the Jerusalem council as expressed in their letter to the Gentile followers of Jesus, while exempting the non-Jews from all kinds of burdens of observance obligatory to Jews, set forth a concrete set of food-related prohibitions for Gentiles as well. We read in Acts 15:28-29,

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

It is not hard to notice that out of four behaviors forbidden to Gentiles two had do to with Nicolaitans and Balam/Balak issues (eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality). It is important to see that this combination of food and sex-related offenses was particularly important for the Jewish Apostles and elders to address in their letter to Gentile converts to the Jewish Christ. In other words, is it even conceivable that the Apostles would permit Gentile followers of Christ to commit murder, to steal or to be obsessed with the possessions of their neighbors?! The answer to this is of course not. This was not a comprehensive list. But these issues brought up at the Jerusalem Council (consuming food sacrificed to idols, blood, and illicit sex) seem to constitute central challenges that the Gentile followers of the Jewish Christ encountered in their daily lives in the Roman Empire.

In the Roman world, the overwhelming majority of meat sold on the market was first offered/dedicated to one or another deity. The only exception to this was the Judean/Jewish isolation from the rest of the Roman population who had their own slaughter rules and privileges. Most Jews residing in the Roman Empire were a part of the network in which food was handled differently. The writings of the Apostle Paul to the nations (all the letters that Saul/Paul ever wrote that made into our New Testament) show clearly that these issues continued to plague the believers enough for him to address them in considerable detail (1 Cor.8-10).

Judging from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (that we mistakenly call the first Letter to the Corinthians – 1 Cor.5:9) some Gentile Christ-followers felt that they could continue to purchase and consume meat that had been sacrificed to a pagan deity. The Apostle Paul while agreeing with them that these gods (idols) are nothing, sides with the Jerusalem council in forbidding all the Gentile Christ-followers from eating food associated with Greco-Roman worship rituals in any way (1 Cor.8:1-13). Having considered this important issue, let us return to the discussion of the Nicolaitans.

Who were the Nicolaitans and what is the origin of this word that first comes up in Rev. 2:6and then is repeated in Rev. 2:15? The main traditional attempt to understand the etymology of the word is often tied to diaconal appointee Nicolas in Acts 6:5 – “The proposal pleased the entire group, so they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a Gentile convert to Judaism from Antioch.” Presumably at some later stage Nicolas began to teach what was eventually defined as evil deeds of the Nicolaitans and the matter is quite obscure. However, there is another, often overlooked option, suggested many years ago by great Jewish Christian Hebraist John Lightfoot. It allows one to continue reading the Book of Revelation as thoroughly Jewish anti-Roman document. He suggested that perhaps deacon Nicolas was a wrong trail to follow. Instead Nicolaitans was a Hebraism (in this case something originally said in Hebrew but spelled with Greek letters). What did he have in mind?

In Hebrew in order to say “we will eat” verb נאכל (nokhal) would have been used. We read in Is.4:1, “And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat (נֹאכֵ֔ל) our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach. If this Hebrew word נאכל (nokhal) is transferred into Greek it can be used as a term describing the “we will eat” people. In a sense that this was their motto, their sentiment – “we will eat” the food that others think is forbidden (food offered to pagan deities). Thus τῶν Νικολαϊτῶν (ton nikolaton) “the Nicolaitans” as a group or teaching can originate from Hebrew נאכל (nokhal) “we will eat” making a cohesive connection to the context of Balaam and Balak and incident in the book of Numbers referred to in Rev. 2:13-15.

7 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, will permit him to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.’ (Rev 2:7)

“The one who has an ear, let him hear” is also a Hebraism that is used also on a number of occasions in the Gospels by Jesus himself. For example, in parable of the seed falling on the good soil and producing various level of fruit (Mark 4:1-20). The basic meaning of this Hebraism is this: “if one is able to hear it, one must obey it.” In this case (Rev. 2:7) what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Christ-following congregations of the Asia Minor is so important that if one hears it, one must obey it.

Besides the Hebraism there is a word play in Greek of this verse. The one who hears is “the one who overcomes” τῷ νικῶντι (to nikoti) which is a form of the verb νικάω (nikao) that means “to win, conquer, persevere and be victorious”. This suspiciously sounds very similar to the term we just encountered – Νικολαί̈της (nikolates) “a Nicolaitan”. If the motto of Nicolaitans is “we will eat” then as a pun this is exactly what God promises to the one who overcomes. If they forgo eating food sacrificed to idols they will eat of the Tree of Life and live. The writer of the Wisdom of Solomon compared the righteous people to the trees of life, as if each one of them is a tree.

1 Faithful is the Lord to them that love Him in truth, To them that endure His chastening, (2) To them that walk in the righteousness of His commandments, In the law which He commanded us that we might live. 2(5) The pious of the Lord shall live by it forever; The Paradise of the Lord, the trees of life, are His pious ones. 3(4) Their planting is rooted for ever. They shall not be plucked up all the days of heaven: (5) For the portion and the inheritance of God is Israel. (Wisdom of Solomon 14:1-5)

Almighty always keeps those he calls and chooses. He chastises them but always desires for them to prove themselves faithful, so that they may be with him forever, planted as the trees in the House of the Lord. This was a serious warning.

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  1. David

    Excellent explanation Dr. Eli. Especially since it confirms the link with Balaam and balak and eating foods sacrificed to idols in the other Rev. Message. The nicolaitans have been a mystery to me and I believe you are correct in your deduction. I think the application for us today is to not eat food sacrificed to the Roman Calendar like the feasts that are held for holidays etc. there is a reason why people always get sick around the “holiday season”.

    1. Josiione Rogers

      Interesting need more in depth information of the Nicolaitans were they evil people? Did they eat their children?

  2. Davi

    Amazing explanation!!!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      David, welcome to Jewish Studies for Christians. Eli

  3. Rodney Baker

    Todah rabbah, Dr Eli. The best explanation I had heard previously linked nicolaitan to “those who suppress the laity”, but I agree that in the context your (Lightfoot’s) explanation makes much more sense. It also ties in nicely to Isaiah 66:16-17. שלום

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks, Rodney! Blessings and peace, Eli

  4. catherine hodge

    who is the gentile pagans today and whose foods are we not allowed to eat today.
    in the days of the Apostle Paul his warnings were against the pagan idol worshipping Romans.
    but today who are its equivalent.
    in other words are Christian food suppliers forbidden to us.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think that all those of us who are not Jewish following the Jewish Christ have to stick to the decisions of the Jerusalem counsel (Acts.15) that Paul accepted and supported too (Acts 16).

  5. Lois

    Dr Eli,

    I read that it was Irenaeus that linked the Nicolaitans to the Nicolas of Acts 6 and also associated him with a gnostic interpretation of Christ which might include the issues here, too, in terms of mixing pagan practices into Christianity? redefining practices? So the issue here of “we will eat” is to be understood as mixing of worship ( the first commandment) and not with the unclean or tame/tahor? Do you see the 1 Corinthians and Revelation passages as separate subjects from the unclean/clean?

  6. Yazmin Taylor

    Does Nicolaitans has anything to do with the pagan tradition of St Nicholas or Santa Claus?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Hi, Yazmin! Welcome to the Jewish Studies for Christians. I refer you to the following article. I think you will be satisfied with that explanation – http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/nicolaitans/

      Dr. Eli

  7. Leon Vermeulen

    The two areas that the Lord Jesus addresses here seem to be transgressions of a moral and ceremonial nature ( Acts 15). Are there perhaps any connections between this and the doctrine of antinomian-ism?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Leon, I am glad you noticed!

  8. Tommy Brown

    I was enlighten a great deal from this study on the Nicolaitans so my question may seem odd but you mentioned that we have Paul’s letters to the Corithians fasley labeled can you explain further ?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Please read 1 Cor 5:9, Paul mentions his letter to Corinthians, which we do not have. So 1 Cor is really 2nd.

  9. Susan

    Shalom Dr. Eli. I was interested in your reference to the Wisdom of Solomon and your comments and inferences to the “trees of life”. I read the entire Wisdom of Solomon and found nothing regarding this citation. Do you have a different version and what is it? Mine is in the “Apocrypha” printed by the Nonesuch Press of NY, 1924 ” reprinted according to the authorized version of 1611″ I am always interested in further study on the “trees of life” and find your comments on them and the “Hebraism” most interesting. Todah Rabah. P.S. I am glad you are home safe and sound.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Susan, thanks for your thoughtful feedback. Since you asked, this quote comes from R H Charles Apocrypha translation, which is public domain. Here…

  10. Jerry Akinwe

    Thank you Dr. Eli for this exposition on the Hebrew background of the book of Revelation. I so much believe that the good knowledge of Hebraism is key to understanding the Bible. If nothing, I have gained better understanding to the seriousness of the phrase “he who has ears, let him hear…”.
    Jerry Akinwe

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am glad to hear that! Of course recognizing Hebraisms comes from studying Hebrew, which we here at eTeacher are very good at.

  11. Daphne Brown

    Dear Dr. Eli — First of all, let me say thanks for sharing your vacation with me (us). I felt so much a part of that trip, as if I were there with you.
    Thank you very much for this fantastic piece of information concerning the Nicolatians. It strengthens what I have been teaching- always. For this reason, I do not go to certain restaurants; for example, neither do I buy certain packages of food in the super markets. I just prefer to make my own things at home.

    I must say that I am in sympathy with Gilbert Walter RE: his grandchildren. I have three of them myself, the youngest being 27 years old; and what a joy to have them in my life. I counsel them almost every week about being “unequally yoked” (not only with unbelievers, but also with different religions/beliefs).

    Thanks again

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      It is my pleasure, Daphne. Thank you for your support and affirmation.

  12. yetilived

    Is a Hebraism experiencing God prior to the gospel? Take for example the phrase “open eyes” . Gen 3:7 is very different then Acts 26:18. I see words like “no greater BURDEN” and I have to wonder why these people were Christ followers rather than people who need to come to Christ. What is a Hebraism?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think we are talking about different things. Please see the definition of the term

      1. Kat H

        Yes I had turned the word into Judaism. I will pay more attention to Jewish culture, etc and add Christ followers to my definition of Hebraisms 🙂 Thank you!

  13. sven vestman

    Dr, Eli, thank you so much for this lesson!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are welcome.

  14. stewartinoz

    Shalom Dr Eli,
    Welcome back.
    I seem to remember from studies, that Paul deals with the aspect of food offered to idols. He said that you can eat whatever is sold in the market (Shambles (love that concept) in the Authorised version) with a clear conscience. However the implication being, that as long as it was undifferentiated as being from what had been offered to an idol, but not so if it had been stated to have been.
    There is a growing problem in the West with the insidious encroach of Islam, in that Food Processors and Marketers, in order to satisfy the blackmail, stated or implied, that the Muslim market will boycott and or not purchase the companies’ products, are required to sign up to the Islamic Council and pay an annual fee, to have the HALAL insignia on their packaged products so that the Muslim population can buy and eat.
    I have not investigated the ritual of Halal slaughter but I was told that it involves the concept of ?Offering? the animal to their god before cutting its throat etc. Now an increasing proportion of packaged food in our supermarkets and shops carry the HALAL symbol, surreptitiously, such that you have to know what it looks like and be able to find it, as it is by no means conspicuous.
    The problem now arises that if you know that a food carries the symbol, can a Christian in good conscience, buy it and eat it?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      This is a practical theology issue and we usually stay away from these because it is a job of priests, rabbis and pastors to lead their flock in practical observance matters. I am not familiar with intricacies of halal and someone else more informed may need to give a fuller answer. But if the process of deeming or designating (stamping) something as halal is similar to kashrut in Judaism than there is no sacrifice or even dedication practice. Kashrut is simply a proper slaughter concern that make meat acceptable or unacceptable, plus the question of pollution in processing or preparation. If there is some votive dedication or sacrifice-like ritual then the situation would fit perfectly into the Pauline passage on the topic.

      1. Lois

        Dr Eli,
        I have a similar question but it is related not to food but yoga. In the western world, yoga is presented as a physical or mind/body system , separated from its original practice as a preparation for spiritual enlightenment, ie kundalini. In our world, perhaps it is this kind of practice that would be similar to the food problem in the Roman world of the first century? And if it started out as a way of worship can it actually be divorced from that simply by saying it is not a worship practice? This is practical but also a theological question.

  15. Alejandro

    Shalom Catrina, Dr. Eli. If some of you have visited a chinesse or vietnamisse shop or restaurant, you have to think about it, they used to have some idols in their shops or restaurants, this is normal for them, they dedicate to their idols their business. So maybe this answer yous question Catrina, still today it happens this things.
    God bless you.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Yes, this occurs today. Good example.

  16. Conrad Cumberbatch

    Thank Dr i find this interesting but some what unclear

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Shalom, Conrad! Which part is somewhat unclear?

  17. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Thanks for the feedback Wendy.

    1. Emunah

      TODAH RABAH, dr. Eli. It has clarified so much of my questions about the Nicolaitans I ´ ve had for several years .

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        Dear Viera,

        so wonderful to hear from you! I hope you will find Jewish Studies for Christians a wonderful place to learn and grow! Blessings and much peace, Dr. Eli

  18. Wendy Schild

    Shalom.. Thank You. But this is love, not that we loved God but that He loves us and gave His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin.
    I’ll look all these up I think. Interesting that so much of the Bible seams to be about Christ as the Passover lamb. As often as we eat this bread or drink this cup we proclaim His death till He comes.
    So LORD whenever we eat let us give thanks and proclaim You death till you come. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony… And peace be upon Jerusalem and all believers. The Peace ofChrist. Thank You Father Amen.
    Come LORD Jesus. Amen

  19. Kingsley Fulbrook

    Thank you for your explanation of the derivation of ‘nicolaitans’: I was unaware of what Lightfoot said about it but it makes more sense than connecting with Nicholas of Antioch who is otherwise a completely obscure person. Since Revelation is stuffed with hebraisms. the Hebrew derivation is very plausible. Kol tov!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      That is why I wanted to share what Lightfoot said with the wider audience.

  20. Fred Aguelo

    Dr, Eli, thank you so much for this lesson. It has clarified so much of my questions about the Nicolaitans. So far, your explanation is the best one I;ve heard yet and the most plausible.

    Shalom b’vrachot!


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Bevakasha, Fred. Glad it makes sense.

  21. Catrina

    Thank you for these articles! In my notes for Rev. 2:6 I have the Nicolaitanes as Strong’s #3531-32 heretic, victorious, conquest. I also notice they hate the “deeds” which stand out to me as hate the sin and not the sinner. But in 2:14 I have notes questioning the possibility of science/meds/drugs. Is it possible that is the food sacrificed to idols today?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am not sure it is fare to draw that kind of analogy.

  22. M A

    I love this message. It leave much for us to punder as gentiles the importance be mindful of who is teaching us this wonderful word of life eternal he who have ears let him hear what the SPIRIT is saying to the church.

    Thank you so much for this teaching. Amen

    God bless you

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are welcome. Thanks.

  23. Stephen Yang Th.D

    שלים Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg. Rev. Dean.

    Thank you so much for your great a lecture of the N.T.(Rev.2:6) consider “Nicolaitans

    practice ; eating foods sacrificed ti idols and engaging into acts of immorality.”.

    Now a days, all nations, all people ,all religions were hard to find out the purity, except

    chosen people of Israel. All the people, nations need “Repent, for the kingdom of

    Messiah is at hand”(Mat.4:17).; “For the time is near”(Rev.1:3f).


    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Glad you are a part of our study, Dr Yang.

    2. Celia Camara

      2Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things become new.

      Stephen, I experienced an epiphany in 1987 and I know it was Trinitarian. Not just God the Father. This was during a Charismatic prayer meeting when my brothers and sisters in Christ prayed over me. I was slain in the Spirit. Towards the end of the experience, while they were still singing and praying for me, God whispered in my right ear, “My dear child give all your problems to me.”

      Since then, I became a new creature in Christ and I am more immersed now in the Scriptures. I have always been a practicing Catholic and was educated in a 400yo Catholic university in Manila. I am a much better Christian now after undergoing a severe domestic violence and getting a divorce.

      My graduate studies in theology made me understood and appreciate better the Judeo-Christain tradition of my faith; especially learning verse by verse of the Pentateuch.

      I do not understand when you say ‘now a days, all nations, all people, all religions were hard to find out the purity, it is only the chosen people of Israel.

      Makes a big enlightenment to know Christ!

  24. Arthur Krisanto

    Thank you Dr.Eli

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are welcome.

  25. les

    Thank you Brother Eli. this teaching of the practice of the Nicolaitans is the most reasonable explanation I have heard!! then the sexual immorality of Jezebel in Thyatire puts all the pieces together. the practices of the Greco-roman world.

    1. Richard Leigh

      Likewise for me!

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am glad it makes sense, Richard and Les. Sometimes Hebrew is the key to understanding NT.

  26. Steve Barnes

    Thanks for a most enlightening article. I’ve read a few studies on the Niclaitans and until now I had the understanding that the Niclaitans were those that believed they were to rule over the laity or common members of the Church. I see some things in scripture much more clearlY now. I think it’s in John’s Gospel where Yeshua says to some of his detractors that if they were blind they would not be held accountable (see Lev. 4) but since they say they see they will be held accountable.



    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      That is true.

  27. Mona Drion

    The points raised on the subject of the

    nicolaitans are each very interesting but you leave out the idea that the Nicolaitans were those who practise division in the church between lords, nikos, and laity, since Christ alone is the Christian’s only Lord.
    I am student 871866 on BH course B.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      It is impossible to cover all bases. The goal it is to provide a good interpretive framework.

  28. Maria Isabel Villamizar

    Estoy interesada pero yo no hablo Ingles.

    1. Deborah Lee

      Puede leer el estidio en Español también aquí:

    2. alfredo

      Hola María Isabel. Hay arriba en esta página una pequeña banderita de España con el rótulo “ESPAÑOL” para que cuando hagas click allí, puedas ir a la traducción en español de este y de todos los artículos en el sitio.

  29. Paul Kingery

    in this post modern era: ISIS/ ISIL, those whom would impose the will upon others without mercy.
    Those whom pray to GOD, Most Merciful, gracious, and faithful, yet depart from that to impose judgement upon others.
    ….By what measure one judges, so they to will be judged.
    Nicolatians in Revelations, they would interpret the law of condemnation to others, while expecting mercy and grace for themselves.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Haven not thought about drawing such parallels.

  30. Deborah Kametz

    Thank You for this study, I started a study on face book in the book of Revelation, today I started chapter 4, The Throne of God. Not one Pastor or minister will tackle and preach the book of Revelation or Prophecy being full filed today. NOT ONE in my area of Akron Ohio , that I know of, and I have many friends that are pastors, and not one will contribute a word on face book, after I invited them. There are about 12 or more with several husband and wife pastors. I do not get it. This is why I am doing this study to pull out the fear out of all. We need to rejoice He is coming soon.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      There is nothing scary in Revelation, Deborah. People feel inadequate, unprepared to teach it because it is complicated and one needs to know a lot about history, Hebrew and Jewish Scriptures to do a good job.

    2. Michael Lawrence

      I agree with Dr. Eli, Deborah. I also live in the Akron area and there is very little substantial teaching coming from the pulpits here. Teaching The Revelation and other books of that caliber requires a great deal of study and preparation. Many Pastors are too distracted with prosperity theology and social gospel to rock the boat with sound doctrine. Let’s keep our city in prayer.

    3. Shannon Evans Emmans

      Deborah and Michael, you should try Pastor John Muncy, he’s in Ohio but he travels around a lot doing prophecy seminars… and by the sound of it you’d really like him. He has a special study he does on the calamities that befall nations that are against Israel… it is very intriguing.


  31. yetilived

    I hope to understand this better as my perspective within the historical text still influences my words repentance and grace. First, what did the 7 bulls and 7 Rams represent in Numbers? The two treacheries of the Nicolaitans as I see it (coming from a non-sacrificial system) are:
    1. WORKS – What part does God play in… our bread, our clothes, our sacrifices? ( Gen 22:8, Exodus 24:4-7, Mark 14:22-25)
    2. Poor social laws – wouldn’t second law be hidden as offerings to God (first law) rather than brotherly love if idol worship was present. And how does someone repent from second law and still acknowledge the Roman Government? 
    I treasure these articles – looking forward to more …..

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      These are all worthy and deep questions. I am not sure we can answer them here in context of Revelation. Thanks for the feedback.

      1. yetilived

        Context is my goal 🙂 —tweaking my idea of a synagogue as I experienced two sides of victory (repentance + asking for the gift) prior to attending church 😉



    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Family is very important. Draw close to you grandchildren and perhaps you can help them see their identity in different light someday. Blessings, my prayers are with you.

  33. Lynda Janzen

    Shalom, Dr. Eli. Thanks for this exposition of the term “Nicolaitans”. The converts to the Way of Jesus from the pagan religions of Asia Minor (mainly Greek) would have been used to the use of both sex and food (worship of Aphrodite, Eleusinian mysteries). Therefore, the proscription of the abuse of both in their new faith could certainly be considered warranted. Also, there was an heretical teaching about, at the time, that since Grace flows to sinners (who repent), the more sin, the more Grace, which is, of course, antithetical to Jesus’ teaching of “Repent, and sin no more.” May I also say that your teaching, from the Jewish point of view, is enlightening. The Hebrew / Aramaic languages are so rich in texture; more so than either Greek or English.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks for adding to the discussion, Lynda.

  34. J.Skinner

    Shalom Dr. Eli,
    Thank you for your billiant synopsis about the Nicolatians in Revelations. In all the studies I have attended, it seems that this portion of the book is somewhat elided, prophecy the primary importance.

    I fail to understand how the two subject matter modulate into one tonal key of prophecy.
    Is it possible to get an explanation?

    Bless you,
    J. Skinner

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Very true. The way they modulate is that apocalyptic prophecy is about real life drama that the people to whom the words are addressed to are going through at the moment of prophecy. That is the nature of apocalypse. And that means history is important and thus culture and language of the culture.

      1. Jan Lewis

        Thank you for this explanation. I was wondering if you could expand more on the reference to the verse in Isaiah 4:1 from whence you gathered the “we will eat” Hebraism. That verse is in the context of polygamy, which we know Jesus abolished in the Sermon on the Mount when He reclassified entering into most second marriages as adultery. Do you think a further connection can be drawn between the “we will eat” people from Isaiah 4 and the sexual immorality ascribed to the Nicolaitans in Rev2? Might these people have been advocating eating what they wanted as well as adding wives (perhaps in order to provide some level of protection for woman as is applied in the Isaiah 4 request)? If not, can you expand on the sexual immorality aspect charge against the Nicolatains?

        Thank you for your consideration.