Revelation 2:4: “Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent”.
These words are those of a legal proceeding. The court is being informed of the accusation against the Church at Ephesus. The Church had “fallen” from the perfect or idealized place it should have in the heavenlies, that is, the Spirit.
Revelation 2:6 “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate”.
The Church is commended for one thing: they hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans. The Hebrew word for ‘hate’ in view here may have been chêt’, “to condemn in a forensic sense, declare guilty.”
“The deeds of the Nicolaitans may have been to follow after the error of Balaam. “His error was thinking that God was the minister of man’s convenience rather than the Lord of his destinies. Their [the Nicolaitans’] doctrine was similar to that of Balaam through whose influence the Israelites ate things sacrificed to idols and committed fornication,” (Revelation 2:14-15″ ZPBD, p. 586).
However, the word ‘Nicolaitans’ may have been a transliteration of the Hebrew word nâkâl which means “to act fraudulently.” Derivations of the word mean “machination, wile.” Derived nouns mean “fraudulent, deceitful, crafty.”
From the root of this word is the name of the city of Kala, or Calah, which was originally built by Nimrod. Also from the same root is the name of the city, Calneh, one of four cities, including Babel, Erech, and Akkad, which were founded by Nimrod. In Arabic the word ‘calneh’ means “to call some person or thing by a figurative name or cognomen.”
The False ‘Revelation’ by Nicolaus
Eusebius quotes Dionysus and Irenaeus concerning the sect of the Nicolaitans. They attribute the founding of the sect to a certain Cerinthus who purported to have a special revelation of a secret writing from Nicolaus, one of the deacons appointed along with Stephen. This spurious revelation taught that the kingdom of Christ was to be an earthly kingdom of a thousand years where all of the lusts of the flesh would be indulged to the full. It thus encouraged utter promiscuity. “Cerinthus and the Nicolaitans tried to import into Christianity the notorious licentiousness of western Asia Minor,” (ibid. 138 note 3).
This spurious “revelation” which Cerinthus brought forth, was sometimes confused with the Book of Revelation given to John. This confusion brought discredit to the Revelation of John and caused some to reject it saying that it was not the work of a Christian but rather that of Cerinthus (ibid., 7.25.6). In truth, this Scripture in chapter 2:6 clearly shows that the Revelation of John condemns the doctrines espoused by Cerinthus and his Nicolaitans.
‘Nicolaitans’ Not From the Deacon Nicholas
Lightfoot discredits the opinion that the Nicolaitans derived their name from the Nicolas of Acts 6:5, but rather from the Hebrew word Necola, meaning ‘Let us eat together,” comparing them to those of Isaiah 22:13 who reveled in idolatrous eating of flesh and drinking of wine (CNT, vol. 4, 64). Thus Eusebius, Irenaeus, Dionysus and Lightfoot basically agree as to the character of the Nicolaitans.
The defendant Church is ordered to “repent,” etc., or if they will not, the judgment will fall upon them quickly. Their ‘candlestick’ will be removed. That ‘candlestick’ is the ministering Spirit. To remove this ‘candlestick’ is a cosmic disaster similar to that of a falling star.
In Isaiah 13, a prophecy is given against Babylon. It tells of God’s wrath against her. This is done on the “Day of the Lord.” In this day, “the stars of heaven and their constellations, [symbols of the ministers and their congregations], will not show their light.”
 Ges. Lexicon, s.v., Hiphil (3).
 Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.28.1 and 3.29.1.
This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.