THE NICOLAITAN VIRUS
IS IT INFECTING THE CHURCH TODAY?
What is the Nicolaitan Virus?
"Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." Those are the words of Jesus in Revelation 2:15 in His letter to the church at Pergamos also called the Compromising Church. In Revelation 2:20 Jesus also writes this to Thyatira, the Corrupt Church, saying "I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess to teach and seduce My servants..."
The word Nicolaitan comes from the Greek words nikan, meaning to conquer and laos, meaning the people (from where we get the words laity or lay people). Simply put, Nicolaitan means to conquer the people!
Jesus was telling the church that He saw the doctrines of the Nicolaitans practiced among its members, and He hates it. The New Testament people referenced in this verse were afflicted by the same spirit as the ones cited in the Old Testament. Nicolaitans were cultic and their doctrines were first mentioned in 1st and 2nd Kings. These OT accounts tell of the people following the teachings of Balaam and Jezebel.
The Old Testament tells of a woman named Jezebel who was the daughter of a Phoenician king and the wife of Ahab, who notably became the most evil king of Israel. But many have cited his wife as being the power behind the throne. She helped convert Ahab from worship of the Jewish God to worship of the Phoenician god Baal. Together, Ahab and Jezebel allowed temples of Baal to operate in Israel. This opened the door for Jezebel to subtly lead the people into moral impurity, idol worship, sexual perversions, and heresy with her bewitching control. Jezebel was a manipulating woman who lured them into sin before they realized what was happening.
Is the Nicolaitan Virus infecting the Church today?
Even today, those with a controlling and intimidating spirit are referred to as having a "Jezebel spirit". The "Jezebel" referred to in the letter to Thyatira (Revelation 2) was an evil self-proclaimed prophetess and from within the church at Pergamos who corrupted the people with diverse sins, partaking of forbidden foods (foods sacrificed to idols), and had a vile hold of power over them. Her name may have not actually been Jezebel but Jesus identified her as being of the same wicked and cunning spirit as the woman Jezebel in 1st and 2nd Kings.
To understand the doctrines of Balaam in the letter to Pergamos (Revelation 2) we have to look at the conquering and false teachings of the Nicolaitans and we'll see why Christ hated their ways and could not allow these acts to continue! He does not want us conquered and controlled and He is a jealous God. He alone is the Head of the Church. His Church has to be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5: 27). Once and for all, God will remove His light from the lampstands of such an idolatrous, sexually perverted and manipulated people. This means His Holy presence and protection will be denied them. Their repentance must take place.
Just because a church body proclaims the name of Jesus does not mean it cannot have corruption, controlling spirits and deception operating within as this rebuke shows. Now I hear a number of 'Boos' for saying our churches can be corrupted. There are denominations ordaining active homosexual clergy when God has said it is an abomination. There are church-attending women getting abortions while infidelity and sexual abuse is rampant. Alcoholism and pornography are prevalent among church leaders and congregants alike. Not to be left out is manipulation, gossip and disunity. Remember, here it is not 'I' saying this; it was Christ who was identifying worldly corruption within the church.
The words Jesus spoke are directed to His Church today just as to the church then. Repentance must take place in our churches now as well. Repentance is needed from the leadership to the weakest member of the body. The church is only as strong as its weakest member and the pastoral team is responsible for loving, teaching, caring for and protecting its membership. The leadership and the body are also to exchange mutual accountability which is never seen in those hungry for power and control.
The Compromising Church in Revelation existed in a sinful environment – just like we have now. Though the church at Pergamos hung in to remain in the midst of a cultic environment, there were evidently those in the church who had begun to stray from righteousness and compromised their walk with the Lord. As today, it is easy to let the secular world and its ways creep in – many times in the name being seeker-friendly.
What is 'acceptable' or conveniently 'overlooked' in your church today that wasn't even thought of being allowed 20-30 years ago?
Where it Leads
The ways and ideologies of this world lead us into sin, abominations and will bring spiritual death if left unchecked. Both 1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9 say that 'a little leavening leavens the whole lump'. Leavening symbolizes sin, intruders of false doctrines, or any unclean contaminate. So we cannot allow even a little, for it will contaminate the whole. Are you easily swayed by what others think? Beware of whose books you read – whose programs your follow – who's association and influence you allow!
Have you experienced an allowance of idolatry (i.e. of positions, wealth, cliques, etc.), spiritual corruption (religiousness, legalism, or man's agenda instead of God's) or immorality of any kind (blasé about sin)? If so, this is the continued spread of the Nicolaitan Virus. One of the most common forms of idolatry in the church is the agenda of power and control adorning those in position. How many of you put your leadership in a lofty position (over God) and how many of them require it?
This comes under the heading of Nicolaitan - 'conquering of people'. Leadership is to serve the Body of Christ, not control it. Has this Nicolaitan Virus spread into your local church? Do you believe that the separation of clergy and laity comes from the Nicolaitans and their root-word definitions? Many churches have become under man's control rather than allowing Jesus Christ to be the head (Ephesians 5:23). Those congregational leaders have shut out the sovereign authority of Christ as the head of the Church and instituted their own agendas. The churches that allow this become darkened and compromised, playing a dangerous game of man-made religion. Those congregations have elevated their leaders to be on the preverbal pedestals instead of Christ.
Many clergy become 'conquerors of the people' by setting themselves above the laity and by removing themselves from any mutual accountability with their members. Mostly, they've removed themselves from accountability to God. Don't get me wrong, churches are to have God-ordained leaders and the body is to be blessed and bless each other with the functioning ministries of the people. (See 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:11 ).
Because many churches are not functioning and anointed in the way God has intended, it is suffering from a steadily dimming light in their lampstand. Too many church leaders are reportedly falling into extra-marital affairs, homosexuality, big $$ in their eyes, etc. Too many "Christian" entertainers have gone the way of the world when God gave them a gift to glorify Him. This is, in all probability, because the church is not operating the way God intends. There is often little-to-no recognition from leadership toward the use of the spiritual gifts given its members. "As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4: 10) Everyone has received a gifting from God.
Where We Are
Too many churches are falling for false doctrines, hijacked scriptural teachings and secular progressive world views (such as the recent Emergent Church movement). Churches are nowadays more interested in the Latte' shops in the lobby to greet you or the lights, camera, action fanfare taking place on stage in their multi-million dollar mega facility. Worse yet are the misleading doctrines of organizations like the Emergent Church and those connected with it like Jim Wallis, Bill Hybels and Brian McLaren.
Church leaders are leaving out what is the most important. They are neglecting teachings from the Word of God and the message of the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are neglecting members who are anointed and gifted by God to be used to edify, encourage and disciple within the church. Also omitted is the genuine need for repentance since they don't address sin and the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Pastors like Joel Osteen adhere strictly to the "make me feel good" only type sermons. Instead these churches are succumbing to the secular ways of the world under the spirits of the Nicolaitan Virus. It is alive and in the church today!
Today's culture in America is a moral cesspool. People have become more self-centered. They have become the 'it's all-about me' generation. When truth is abandoned, the result is that people look to all manners of earthly "wisdom and fulfillment" in their search for meaning. At the same time this situation exists, we see the American Church relinquishing whatever good effect it ever had on society. In this process believers are giving up the God-given birthright bestowed on them when they became born-again. This vanishing church is more consumed with political correctness and fears of persecution.
How sad it is to see churches revving-up the emphasis on flair over substance. Some even talk of having "relevant" sermons/talks/messages for attendees. The Bible is relevant! Its history, promises, and prophecy are relevant! The Church today however shows its disrespect for Scripture by elevating 'lights, cameras, action' over the instruction of Paul: Preach the Word. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." (2 Timothy 4:2)
Neglect and false teaching is what we get in our upside-down world if we forfeit the Word of God. Paul goes on to say in verse 3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned into fables." What do you want to hear?
Paul also told Timothy that in the last days, 'people will be despisers of good'. And Isaiah 5:20 says "Woe to them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" But this is what we have now, even inside our church buildings.
What We Can Do
The Nicolaitan Virus, that Jesus so hates, is taking away what He has established for His followers. That being: His love, His protection, His sovereign control, plus His freedom to perform miracles and for the Holy Spirit to flow in us. Put on the full armour (Ephesians 6: 10-17) and purge the Nicolaitan Virus from your life and from your church! Exercise your authority of Christ to repel Satan. Repent for allowing even the smallest amount of corruption to enter in, turning everything upside-down and instead, reap all that God has for you and pass it on.
Here is a theory: people want someone to stand up and tell them the Bible is true, and THE guide for life. Tell them why. Show them. Explain. Preach. Teach. Keep it simple with a strong focus on the Lord and His Word. The American Church today has largely abandoned this call, to its great shame.
How far can it go?
Spiritual deception is quickly setting the stage for a one-world religion and a one-world leader. Jesus Himself warned us that "many will come in My name saying 'I am the Christ' and will deceive many." The spiritual deception that Jesus warned about is here and many are being taken spiritual prisoners. Jesus tells us in Mathew 7:13-23 this spiritual deception is a sign that we are in the last days. Jesus tells us that false teachers will look like Christians, and talk like Christians but they will be wolves in sheep's clothing.
When Christians put the state, public policy, the economy, and politics and ecumenicalism above obedience to the Bible and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ you get patriotic ecumenicalism. When the camouflaged iniquities of the world look and sound good, and enter your church, you have the Nicolaitan Virus infecting the House of God.
Many self-described Christians will knowingly, or unknowingly, compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of hijacked scriptures and pagan spirituality if it will help save America, their freedoms, and their comfortable life-style. Our decision is whether we will chose to follow the last days' deception or Biblical truth even in the face of ridicule by self-professed Christians.
When you study the Word of God you learn to recognize spiritual deception, how false teachers are disguised and the characteristics of that one-world leader to come, the anti-Christ. By knowing how to identify the deceiving Balaams and Jezebels, you too can overcome. By keeping your focus on the Lord instead of those you've put on a pedestal, you too will eat of the tree of life.
Satan knows Bible prophecy. He can read the signs of the times. He knows that Jesus is coming soon. Satan is preparing mankind for the acceptance of his ultimate ploy to deceive the World - the unveiling of his Anti-Christ.
My friends, we live in an age of deception. Jesus said that in the end times "false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). We must be spiritually discerning. We must "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1). Do you find the Nicolaitan Virus in your church? It's there in one way or another if you choose to see it.
Satan is stepping up his deception and control by way of the Nicolaitan Virus. Know the Word! Test the spirits, and judge by the fruits. Beware of sheep in wolves clothing; be of strong faith and in your relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.