Category Archives: Nicolaitans


The “Nicolaitans” encouraged believers to compromise with the idolatrous rites of the surrounding pagan society, including its imperial cult

The seven letters to the “churches of Asia” commend faithfulness and endurance, expose sin, correct shortcomings, and provide promises to all saints who persevere in testimony, and thereby, “overcome.” Several groups of deceivers are active within the congregations, the “Nicolaitans, those who “have the teaching of Balaam,” and the followers of the “prophetess Jezebel.”

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The church at Pergamos received correction for tolerating the teachings of “Balaam” – Revelation 2:12-17

Pergamos lay sixty kilometers to the north of Smyrna and twenty kilometers from the sea. Though not a major commercial center, occasionally, it served as the seat of the Roman provincial government and the provincial center for the imperial cult. The first temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar in Asia was built at Pergamos in 29 B.C.

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The “angel” at Ephesus was commended for rejecting false apostles but chastised for losing his “first love” – Revelation 2:1-7. 

The first three letters form a distinct literary unit, which is indicated by the order of the concluding exhortation and promise at the end of each for “he who overcomes.” Each of them ends with the exhortation to “hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches,” followed by the promise to overcomers. This sequence is reversed in the final four letters.

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