What Was the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans?

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:15, KJV)

Jesus sharply rebuked the Church in Pergamos for embracing false doctrines, including the Nicolaitan doctrine. But what exactly was this doctrine?

Two aspects define the Nicolaitans’ teaching: its nature and its origin.

The Nicolaitans were a heretical sect within the Church, propagating the belief that Christians could engage in sexual immorality without moral consequences. They encouraged Christians to pursue sexual pleasure without restraint, echoing the antinomian movement of the early Church. This movement contended that faith in Christ meant freedom from moral laws, leading some to indulge in sexual immorality, convinced that Jesus’ liberation from the law negated any repercussions.

The source of this teaching is equally alarming. Although the Nicolaitans’ identity remains debated, most scholars believe Nicolaus, one of the original seven deacons (Acts 6:5), was the origin. But how could a deacon, chosen by the 12 Apostles, end up promoting such a catastrophic doctrine? This question is less perplexing than understanding how Judas Iscariot, who walked with Jesus for three years, could betray Him.

Here’s the critical point: the most dangerous defilements often originate within the Church. Introducing false teaching by someone within the ministry is a grave concern. Such inner corruption amplifies the impact, making the repercussions vast and severe. This pattern is a recurring warning in the scriptures and is so pervasive that even the Antichrist and his false prophet will have deep connections within the Church.

Brethren, be aware that deceptive forces are at work within the Church. Satan used Nicolaus as a deacon to defile the Church, leading Jesus to condemn the doctrine. Today, he is raising teachers, prophets, and pastors with similar corrupt influences.  Our only defense is to be firmly grounded in the truth of God’s Word.


Are you prepared to discern between heresy or false teachings and the truth?

Apply the Word

In the face of the resurgence of deceptive doctrines like the Nicolaitan teaching, cultivate discernment to recognize and reject false teachings. This attitude pleases Jesus (Revelation 2:2).


Entreat the Father to protect His Church from the relentless corrupting influences in our time.

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  1. Thank you, Brother Patrick, for telling the truth. Continue to proclaim boldly the truth of the Gospel. May God bless and keep you.
    -Elizabeth E. Coleman
    Saint Petersburg, Florida

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