"You will find some who build complex arguments that the Nicolaitans came up with the clergy / laity system. It is all built around the fact that “people” is found in the name Nicolaitans and “laity” is also derived from the word for “people.”"
Do you think this is an unreasonable or illogical conclusion to make? Is not a good rendering of the word clergy the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity?
Didn't Paul laid out the offices of the clergy during the second half of the first century in his epistles? (Ephesians 4:11; I Timothy 3:1).
Yet, in my humble opinion, Jesus says clearly that his followers should not be a part of a clergy (which is a hierarchy), and they should not accept titles.
Can you deny that the clergy of the Universal Church of Jesus Christ and from which Protestantism has used the work of the people lived lives of indulgence, considering priests live in mansions called rectories, where all their needs are met by servants, and many pastors have salaries that exceed those of the people in their congregation. This is not meant to mean that all men of the cloth are evil men, as I know some who are truly striving to be servants of the Lord, sacrificing their lives and comfort to preach the gospel of our Lord.
Men, like Irenaeus, were establishing a church supposedly to codify the correct teachings and doctrines that were out there at the time because they felt that there were too many Gnostics. In combating these threats they needed to establish authority, and any threat to that authority would disrupt their well-intended goal.
Is it possible that men like Irenaeus lied about the true meaning of the Nicolaitans so that there would be no challenges to their establishing authority? If Thayer is correct and the Nicolaitans were composed of an established hierarchy then those early church fathers who belonged to it, also have been an anathema to Jesus? Does not the apostle Paul teach these things?
I Corinthians 7:10-15 has also been called the Pauline Privilege which has been used to negate the commandment of Jesus. Paul is saying Jesus is allowing divorce and remarriage when he says “a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.” Yet Jesus commands very differently. Is not Paul not only condoning divorce in some cases but violating the commandment of Jesus? (Matthew 5:32).
Does not Paul say, “I taught you that your idols are nothing because there is only one true God. Eating the food offered to idols is nothing to offend God because you know in your heart that these idols are nothing. But if your brother (who does not understand this yet) sees you and you make him stumble than this is what is dangerous and sinful to your brother's salvation. " (I Corinthians 8:1-10). Is not Paul saying he taught it is acceptable to eat the food offered to idols?
Does this mean that it is Paul who Jesus is speaking of when he references Balaam? And if it is Paul who is the progenitor for the term Nicolaitans, especially if the term means to "conquer the people," as it is Paul who creates the structure of the clergy?
It is clear that you reject the writings of Paul, though it appears you haven't thrown out the entire New Testament as you cite Matthew and Revelation and poorly attempt to set up contradictions between these books and Paul's writings. This is the opinion of some Messianic Jew subgroups. They don't know how to deal Paul's clear statements that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect, so rather than adjust their teaching to match the New Testament, they seek to discredit the authors of things they don't like.
First, you charge Paul of creating a clergy/laity system. Paul's statement is: "And He [Jesus Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12). Paul is clear that the authority for the positions he laid out comes from Jesus and not from himself. But that is because Paul taught by inspiration. "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12). His claim is supported by the apostle Peter who called Paul's writings "scriptures." "And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Peter 3:15-16).
I realize that none of this makes a difference to you. You have already decided to throw away most of the New Testament because it contradicts your position -- and "obviously" you are greater than the apostles. I hope you understand that I don't share your delusion.
Yes, there are jobs to be done within the church. There are people who teach God's word, but it doesn't mean a Bible class teacher is in a hierarchy above the students. There are people who have dedicated their lives to preaching the Gospel message, but it doesn't place them above others. Paul contradicts your charge against him when he said, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Fulfilling a duty does not create a clergy/laity system.
Your argument of abuses by denominations does not prove your point. It only states that abuses exist. It is interesting that you would prefer to think that Irenaeus lied about a clear definition because it doesn't match your view -- you who live 1800 years later from these events? But you go further to charge all early Christians being apart of the Nicolaitans, despite the writings by some of them condemning them. How utterly sad! Everyone whose writing opposes your opinions is transformed into Nicolaitans! Oh, and Thayer did not state that Nicolaitans were a part of an established hierarchy. He stated, along with many other scholars, that they were a group who caused decayed morals in the church just as Balaam caused decayed moral actions in the Israelites.
You also charge Paul of contradicting Jesus' teachings on divorce. Yet, he cites Jesus' command, "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11). In regards to Matthew 5:32, the divorce itself does not cause the adultery, but it sets up a situation where adultery is highly likely to occur. A driving force for people to marry is their sexual desire (I Corinthians 7:9). A person who has married has shown an inclination toward a sexual relationship. Thus the logical conclusion is that, regardless of the divorce, the person will sooner or later seek companionship and a sexual relationship.
What Jesus is stating in Matthew 5:32 is that the person who divorces his spouse is not innocent of sin (Malachi 2:14-16). A person who influences another person to sin is just as guilty as the person who actually commits the sin (Romans 1:32; Psalms 50:18; I Timothy 5:22). Nor is the person who marries a divorced person innocent of sin. Because God continues to hold the divorced person to the terms of the covenant she has made, the person marrying a divorced person is committing adultery (Romans 7:2-3; Leviticus 20:10). He cannot claim he wasn’t a party to the original covenant and so isn’t bound by its terms.
What Paul addressed in I Corinthians 7:12-16 are the situations where a believer is married to a non-believer. While a non-believer may choose to leave a marriage despite the best efforts of a believer to keep the marriage running. Paul states that a believer is not a slave to the non-believer. The believer does not have to give up their faith to keep their spouse. Rather, if the non-believer insists on leaving, they are to let go. It does not imply the marriage has ended in God's sight nor does Paul state that the believer has permission to remarry. So, no Paul does not contradict Jesus. As Paul says later in the same letter, "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37).
No, Paul did not promote adultery. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
You also poorly try to make it sound as if Paul allowed idolatry. In I Corinthians 8, Paul is arguing that Christians ought not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. He acknowledges that idols technically don't exist, that is there are no other gods -- there is only the one God. "Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live" (I Corinthians 8:6). But he warns that this isn't a complete view of the situation. This one fact is not enough. "Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:1-2). He then points out that people are not considering weaker Christians. "For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (I Corinthians 8:10-12). Since the eating of this meat is not important, "But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse" (I Corinthians 8:8), Paul concludes that not eating is the proper direction for the Christian. "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble" (I Corinthians 8:13).
Yet you twist Paul's reason to make it sound as if he is arguing to commit idolatry! You are a classic example of what Peter warned. "And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Peter 3:15-16).
No, Paul did not promote adultery or idolatry. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Paul was not a Nicolaitan. He was a Christian -- something you should become as well.
As Jesus told the apostles, "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me" (Luke 10:16).
I thought you might have been open-minded since you did post evidence that supports an alternative definition. I thought you might have the intellectual capacity to see beyond the corrupted Bible and see the truth. I see I was wrong.
I was a Christian, as you like to call yourself, but you are only an X-ian. For you, how Jesus lived, what he taught, and how he loved his Father, is meaningless to you. For people like you, Jesus could have been crucified at birth, and then Paul could have taken over, and you would have been happier because then you would not have to explain why Paul and Jesus are in conflict. I am so happy I quit being a Christian-Xian, you know what happened once I did? I found Yeshua waiting for me.
You are a Nicolaitan, pure and simple. You are also an [profane remarks removed] as you proved your mind is closed. Why are you Xians from the Midwest so nasty, is it all the [profane remarks removed] in the air? If you are not these things, then prove it! Go give up your salary, open your home for worship, and drop Paul, and follow Jesus. You place Paul’s words before Jesus. If Jesus is your Lord, why do you listen to that lying Edomite Paul? Yes, he is an Edomite, he declares himself to be a kinsmen of the Herodians, and everyone knows Herod was an Edomite. And your precious Christianity is the religion of Heyel.
Jesus was born a Jew, he lived as a Jew, he died still a Jew, and he is the Son of the living God of Israel, and that is the truth and you hate the truth. I bet you think Revelations was written for you, it was written for Jews and as you like to call me Messianic, warning us about you.
The only things that are poor in this discussion are your intelligence [profane remarks removed] and your love of the Son of God, and he will rebuke you on his Father’s Day after [profane remarks removed].
And have you ever wondered why such a beautiful letter as II Peter, passionately warning about false teachers, has a style of Greek that is grammatically different that comes before and after it? No, why should you, learning the words of the son of God is not important to you, you prefer to eat the tares.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).
If the crude language wasn't a demonstration of this man's religion, his clear statement rejecting Paul's writings and the book of II Peter would seal it. I would assume that he would throw out Jude since it is similar in content to II Peter. Acts would be out since it talks about Paul's efforts in favorable terms and Hebrews since it proves the Old Testament is gone. I guess Luke would be out as well since Luke also wrote Acts, so it would be hard to accept Luke and reject Acts. I happen to know that this man's belief rejects Jesus as being deity, so I would assume he also discards John because of its evidence showing Jesus to be God. Isn't the foolishness of it all so sad to see?
In case you are wondering about the charge that Paul was an Edomite, he is referring to: "Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord" (Romans 16:11). Note that Paul wasn't calling Herod his kin, but that a man named Herodion was a fellow Israelite, just like the two mentioned in Romans 16:7. But more interesting is that this man chooses to "accept" (and twist) this statement, but ignores: "Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Philippians 3:4-6). No, God's word proves that Paul was more an Israelite than this man -- not that Paul cared about this, which is why this man is upset with Paul. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ" (Philippians 3:7).