If it is your first time reading the book of revelation, is likely you will pause in the second chapter of the book when you encounter the word “Nicolaitanes” and ponder over it…

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate (Revelation2:15).

Since the word is mentioned only in the book of revelation in the entire bible without an in-depth explanation, there are so many theological suggestions concerning what the Nicolaitanes represents, their deeds and their doctrine. One tradition suggested that the Nicolaitanes were heretical sect in the early church founded by Nicolas, supposing to be one of the seven deacons in Jerusalem Assembly (Act6:3-5). Some early scholars claimed that Nicolas deviated from the truth in his latter days and established a heretical Christian cult, but there is no concrete evidence that the Nicolas of Samaria who held the philosophies of Simon Magus was the same Deacon mentioned in the book of Acts.

It is my opinion that Nicolaitanes is more of a system than a heretical sect, after long-period of re-searching from the writings of the “church fathers” and so many other great books in Church history, including many bible commentaries and dictionaries, I have come to agree with the view that the word “Nicolaitanes” is a combination of two Greek words “Nikao” to capture, conquer, overcome or enslave, and “Laos” which the word “laity” comes from meaning “lay people rather than clergy”. The two words together means conquerors of congregation, captivators of souls or religious slave masters. In the early church, the Nicolaitanes represent the money conscious preachers “pastors and Bishops” who despised God’s principle of leadership and established their own leadership pattern; instead of them to remained humble servants of the Lord among other Christians they exalted themselves and became lords and masters, dominating and using young believers to achieve their selfish end.


According to John, there are Deeds and Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes; the Church of Ephesus was commended by the Lord for disliking the practices of the Nicolaitanes, which the Lord also hates; But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate (Revelation2:6).
While the church in Pergamos was rebuked for keeping the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes; so hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate (Rev 2:15).

The deeds of the Nicolaitanes stands for wrong principles in spiritual leadership; for the purpose of monetary gain, some unregenerated money conscious group of men in the first century refused to accept the apostolic traditions and established their own kind of church order of leadership different from the spiritual pattern that Jesus Christ revealed to his disciples. Nicolaitanes’ deeds include;

(1). Making Disciples for Themselves
Paul the apostle gave a prophetic warning to the Christian elders in the city of Ephesus concerning the rising of the Nicolaitanes….
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Act20:28-30).

The early apostles of Jesus Christ were not preaching the gospel to be famous or to win recognition of man, and they were not recruiting followers for themselves, instead they were bringing sinners back into a direct fellowship with God so that the believers would not depend on them or to see them as “the great ones”.(Mathew23:8-12) To make Jesus Christ known, the apostles and elders were down to earth type men; they extremely humbled themselves, making themselves unpopular always to enable people to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ.(Hebrews12:2) Also in the early church, believers were taught to celebrate Jesus Christ alone not pastors; people were not allowed to celebrate preachers as Christians do today. It is obvious Christians these days talk about the greatness of their preachers more than they preach Christ. It was an abomination to exalt or praise a preacher instead of God who gives men the grace and the gifts to perform miracles (Act14:8-14).

The Nicolaitanes preachers were working contrary to the apostolic mindset, they were proud; presenting themselves to the congregation instead of Christ, and that shifted the minds of many Christians from looking unto Jesus Christ to becoming dependent upon the pastors as the ultimate oracles. Some of us think that Nicolaitanism pertains to things of the past, however; Nicolaitanes system continues to live up till today, most pastors and bishop’s today have absorbed the mediatorial seat in the church, instead of servants they are “lords”. Nowadays people go to church to watch a pastors’ performance on stage instead of Christians to become like Christ, the majority are conforming to the exact image of their pastors, bishops and so forth.

The reasons why some Christians behave more like their pastors instead of emulating Jesus Christ is because the majority of the present day pastors present themselves to the congregation not of Christ. Most pastors especially in Africa people like Pastor E A. Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, Chris Oyakilome, T B. Joshua, Lazarus Moka, Mike Okonwo, W F. Kumuyi, Ayo Oritshejiofor, Ray Mccauley, Barnabas Lekganyane, D K. Olukoya, Mamadou Karambiri, Duncan Williams and so many other  are seen by the African believers as the local almighty, a “demi-god” , some of them represent the eyes, ears and mouths of the assembly; it is the pastors alone who hear from God on behalf of the entire church and tell the people what God is saying.
I have witnessed in a church where the pastor alone dominated all of the fivefold ministerial offices; he is the only one who travels as an apostle to preach in different churches and in different nations, and he is not reaching the unreached people groups of where he goes. When he travels, half of his congregation will not attend the so-called church service until he returns to resume his place as a teacher. This pastor (also being the ultimate prophet) will give his congregation a “new year prophecy” at the end of the year, while none of his church members can take the initiative to hold crusades to convert sinners and make them disciples for Christ. The pastor alone is the only one “called to do that”, he has the power alone to organize and preach on crusade grounds, run television, internet and radio ministries. All that his church members are good for is to give monetary offerings and pay their tithes to support his family and other personal affairs.

It is obvious that the African church leaders nowadays have forgotten that every Christian has an assignment (2Corinthians3:6-7, 5:17-20). The responsibility of the Christian leaders is not to use their members to raise money to support their selfish religious business empires. The duty of any person who assumed office as a leader in the structural church is to equip the people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians4:11-13). In searching through the New Testament scriptures, you will not find where it is written that Jesus Christ laid hands on his disciples and prayed to heal them from sickness and diseases. Jesus taught the disciples all that He learned from the Father. Instead of praying for them always, Jesus taught them how to pray for themselves and other people, he also empowered them to heal the sick and to perform other miracles. The Lord assured his disciples that they would do the same works He has done and even greater works than Him (John14:12). Christ did that so that the people would not depend on him, but God. He wants everyone to have a one on one relationship and fellowship with the Father, and that is the essence of the gospel.

It is clear that most of our present day pastors will not allow their church members to see beyond them; if someone in their congregation wants to grow spiritually above them, they will find a way to frustrate that person’s effort or press them down by trying to kill their vision. If the majority of the so-called “men of God” today are not walking in the same spirit with the ancient Nicolaitanes, Christians would make a great in impact in this world. Jesus promised that everyone who believes and are baptized in his name shall be saved, and miraculous signs will accompany them: “They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed (Mark16:16-18)”. Imagine if the thousands of Christians that’s gathering around to watch Pastor E A. Adeboye, Bishop David Oyedepo, Chris Oyakilome, T B. Joshua, Lazarus Moka, Mike Okonwo, W F. Kumuyi, Ayo Oritshejiofor, D K. Olukoya in Lagos Nigeria every Sunday are to become true disciples of Jesus Christ (Mathew28:18-20, Mark16:15-18) would the world not be a changed place? Let us be aware that Nicolaitanism is still very active in African churches today, which is why instead of Christians becoming miracle workers, they remain miracle chasers. Consciously or unconsciously most pastors in Africa have positioned themselves in the place of God, they are indirectly receiving the praise and worship that’s suppose to be for God alone.

(2). Rejection of the Melchesedec Priesthood Order
As we all know, Jesus Christ our Lord was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchesedec (Hebrew5:10). In the Melchesedec priesthood system, every born again child of God is divinely ordained a priest (1Peter2:9, John 15:16), while Jesus Christ remains the only high priest and the bishop of our soul (Hebrews6:20). The Nicolaitanes denied the priesthood of all believers for the purpose of exploiting the saints.Jesus said to His disciples that they must not be called teacher, because they are all equal brothers in the kingdom of God and have only one teacher. He also told them not to call anyone here on earth father, because they have only the one father in heaven, and none of them should answer master, because they have only one master, the Christ. That the greatest among them should be their servant (Matthew23:8-11).

The Nicolaitanes ignored the word of the Lord and created class within the church, separating the clergies from the lay people; they drew lines between leaders and the congregation by converting the ministry gifts into ranking “titles” instead of leaving it as functions in the church. That is where the idea of Pope, Cardinals, Rev Father, Rev Dr. Bishop, Archbishop and so forth comes from. Now, it is important to reorganize that the priesthood of all believers is denied not only by the Roman Catholic Church but also in Protestants, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. In Africa to seek counsel from all these so called big pastors today in the church you have to fill out forms, make appointments and ensure that you have an envelope containing your offering and tithe. Pastors have believers to clean their houses and wash their clothes but them as leaders can’t visit the homes of the poor, eat with them or wash their clothes in order to be an example. Jesus Christ is the role model of the New Testament Priesthood; though He was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, took the humble position of a slave, and was born as a human. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross (Philipians2:6-8). During His earthly ministry, he went everywhere including interior villages, towns, city streets, market places, etc. and preached the gospel to the people. How many pastors and bishops are willing does that? Pastors can’t leave their offices today to go into the world (unreached interior villages) where the sinners are and preach to them; instead they will spend the congregations’ money to print flyers and posters for distribution to invite customers to their church to come and watch them perform.

(3) Taking Advantage of their Church Members
Jesus teaches that a good shepherd laid down his life for the sheep (John10:11). The Nicolaitanes church leaders rejected the divine counsel of the Lord, by allowing the sheep to die for them instead of them laying their own lives down for their congregation, and this practice continues till this day. In African churches of today, most especially in Nigeria, the sheep are laying their lives down for the shepherds. The leaders in today’s church are the first to drive fine cars, live in expensive houses and mansions, own private jets, universities and send their children to school overseas using the monetary contributions of their church members. The followers return home to endure sleepless nights, thinking of where their next meal will come from or how their bills will be paid. These ministers of Satan use all sorts of gimmicks to steal from their victims such as selling anointing oil, blood of sprinkling, mantles, prayer aprons, miracle soap books, CDs, and so forth, all to deceive people that these things will help them to receive miracles from God. In their congregation, the poor are getting poorer while the pastor is getting richer. Most of them use the churches money to loan to the rich, who will in turn do business with it, afterwards returning the amount borrowed plus interest to the pastor. The pastor cannot just set up a small-scale business for one poor member of his church or establish a business employing the poor church members. God sees and He will judge all!

Also in most churches today people have to “sow seed” for everything; for instance, if you want to buy a car you have to sow the seed of car to the pastor, is it a house that you want? You will sow a seed of house, or to get a good husband or wife you must sow seed for it. If the pastor gives you a personal prophecy, he will expect you to sow seed to activate the prophecy! On the pastor’s birthday, everyone is expected to send their envelope containing monetary offerings or other good gifts, but the pastor will never have time to visit homes of the poor, or sow a seed on the members’ birthdays. Pastors who already have five cars and live in mansions, still have some blind folks who will continue to buy more cars for him and give him their offerings without considering the poor people in their church and communities. However, the scripture teaches that…

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want (Proverb22:16).

Jesus says….(“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Mathew6:19-21).

How can one who claims to have the Spirit of God live among the un-evangelized and the poorest communities and boast of being the richest pastor with the largest congregation? Just imagine a place like Africa where there is much political instability, ethnic conflicts and high rates of poverty. There is hunger everywhere in the continent of Africa, and HIV/AIDs and other epidemics continue to claim the lives African children in large numbers. It is estimated that in sub-Saharan Africa, measles takes the life of a child nearly every minute of every day, and this is true because I have been there! An effective measles vaccine costs as little as $1 per child, and more than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, infant diarrhea, dysentery, river blindness, etc. Lack of good drinking water is a major problem in almost all African villages especially among the desert dwellers of Niger, Chad, Burkina-Faso, Mali, Sudan Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somali, Djibouti and many other countries in Africa.
Who will believe that African pastors and Bishops are still gathering these poor people together to collect their money using the name of Jesus Christ? While the African children are suffering and dying in large numbers daily, these false church leaders are busy spending their money on mansions, and acquiring multiple private jets and expensive cars.... Some of the churches in Africa, especially those in Nigeria estimated net worth are $15 - 170 million. It is reported that some Nigerian pastors earn an annual salary of $150,000, 200,000, 400, 000 and so on, in additional to the money they acquire through their private business enterprise. Some own private schools that are too expensive for the average Nigerian child to attend….

Most the "gospel ministers" in Africa have the financial capacity to assist a whole nation like Niger Republic, but they refuse to, they wait for America to come help poor Africans. It is a pity, and a downright shame that some of the most popular American preachers go to Africa to raise money. I remember a time when an American Pentecostal preacher came to preach in a certain church in Nigeria and people were made to pay for seats, they were paying N600, then “600” was a lot of money. People must come to the full realization that ninety nine percent of the super star celebrity pastors and bishops in Christendom today are the antichrists!!!!!!!!
My people, open your eyes, think, make use of your common sense, and don’t let them fool you with mere religious label "men of God"! We all have equal access to God, so stop depending on pastors and prophets, and start going direct to the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord!

(4) Dominion and Control (Operating Church as a Franchise)

In the first century, neither Jesus nor His early apostles built any cathedral and named it church headquarters; all of the local believers’ meetings mentioned in the bible were autonomous. There was no such thing as a “general overseer, GOs, Papa, Daddy and Mummy”, Christian missionaries and preachers were being called and sent out by the Holy Ghost not by men (GOs) (Galatians1:1). And as they went forth to preach the gospel, no bishop or general overseer tried to control them; the people were led by the Holy Spirit to carry out their assignments, it was the Holy Ghost who directed them where to go preach and where not to preach (Act16:6-10). Their message was given directly by God through the Holy Ghost (Act13:1-4, 11-12). The Jerusalem church was not regarded as the headquarter church and Simon Peter was just a brother, not a general overseer. No one requested that the churches planted by the Jewish apostles outside of Jerusalem should be collecting tithes and offerings to send to the Jerusalem church as the headquarters.

The Nicolaitanes started the system whereby they would manipulate gathered large crowds of people; they presided over these people and established the place as their headquarter church. Nicolaitanes bishops train up young ministers and place them on a good monthly salary, and then send the people out to plant branches of their churches in a foreign country, not for the sake of winning souls for Christ, but instead to use the missionaries to generate income. The young preachers go to other places and set up churches for the sending bishops, they will then be asked by the general overseer to collect the offerings and tithes from the people and send the money to the headquarter church, and it doesn’t end there; these people that they send out mostly preaches only what the sending bishop or general overseer is preaching, and all of his activities are conducted according to the general overseers instructions. In most cases the young minister must go to a country where the economy is booming, so that they will be able to send a good return back to their sending overseers. If the sent out pastors deviate from their policies, for instance, preach a revelation contrary to what the “G.O.” is preaching; their salaries will be withdrawn and they will be forcefully retracted from the mission field.

Christians need to realize that the Nicolaitanes system is even stronger in today’s Christianity especially in Africa; the pastors working with denominational churches can tell you the truth; they are all prisoners under bishops or general overseers. Pastors working with organizational churches cannot preach where God is leading them or preach the current message that the Holy Ghost is revealing to them, they must go to the place appointed by their church leaders and adhere to their sending church doctrine and mission policies, which is one of the reasons why Christian cross-cultural ministers are not making any impact. Vision and strategies must come from God, not from the “general overseer” or mission board; not all policies are effective in all nations, and tactics used in one country may not work in another because people are different and have different beliefs and traditions. All countries and even cities, towns and villages within the same country view things differently and have different approaches towards things. In some countries where there is no freedom of religion, a missionary has to pioneer underground work, and in other places he can freely walk around to tell people about Christ and set up discipleship centers. Missionaries must work with the Holy Spirit. Most church leaders want to take charge over those sent out pastors and control them simply because they are supporting them financially. The posting and withdrawing system of missions is an anti-God principle, whereby the senior pastors relax in their air-conditioned offices, send out immature Christians as missionaries and preside over them directing them where to go to set up their religious organizations. They dictate what they should preach to the people, the amount of offerings and tithes they are expected to return to their sending church and determine when to withdraw them from a particular field and post them to another place. Christians must be led by the Holy Spirit to carry out their tasks in the field.

Jesus despises the Nicolaitanes church-networking principle because it is a great business empire. The present African church leaders are selling “church” as a franchise! Imagine if a Bishop or an overseer is presiding over a 20,000-30.000 congregation in a place he calls his headquarter church, and has about 1000 branches of his churches planted abroad in different countries led by his own-trained junior ministers, and each branch of his church has at least 2000-5000 members. The bishop is collecting offerings and tithes in each church meeting from the 20,000-30,000 people seated under him in the headquarter branch; then, at the end of each month the bishop’s junior pastors will make an account for the bishop in his church, giving him the offerings and tithes of their church members, After which; the senior pastor will pay salaries to his overseas pastors. Can someone tell me any business that is more lucrative than this evil Nicolaitanes denominational system of Church?

The Nicolaitanes networking system is what most pastors and bishops (especially in Africa) have used to secure great wealth, what is reigning for African Bishops now is to own private jets, most have gotten up to two or three private Jets through wrong church networking principles. It is pure evil for example, for someone to go another country and establish a church, return and expect the people to collect their tithes and offerings to send to you. Every local gathering place must be independent; for instance, if a Nigerian or Brazilian pastor travels to South Africa and establishes a church, he must endeavor to train up South African nationals as leaders and freely hand over the church to them when going. He need not call his brother from Brazil to come take over the church in Africa. All offerings and tithes collected in South Africa should be used in developing poor South African communities, not to be sent back to Brazil.

I have been to South Africa and have seen many foreign churches in the country but none is headed by the South African Nationals. We called out people must work together to break down this Nicolaitanes system dominating Christians in the structural church, it is also wrong to charge people fees in order to train them in bible school; discipleship is be free. It is bad that in Africa some structural churches are collecting from fifty dollars upward to admit people into “new membership and baptismal classes”, I actually witnessed this ludicrasey in Johannesburg South Africa! Soon people will be paying gate fees before entering into “church” buildings. May the peace of the Lord be upon every soul who stands for the truth!


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