Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:15

So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Balaam;   Church;   Lukewarmness;   Minister, Christian;   Nicolaitanes;   Pergamos;   Sin;   Scofield Reference Index - Day (of Jehovah);   Life;   Satan;   The Topic Concordance - Hate;   Repentance;   Teaching;   War/weapons;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Doctrines, False;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nicolaitans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Ephesus;   Pergamum;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Jezebel;   Nicolaitans;   Pergamos;   Holman Bible Dictionary - False Apostles;   Nicolaitans;   Nicolas;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Gnosticism;   Jude, Epistle of;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Peter, Second Epistle of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abstinence;   Brotherly Love;   Gnosticism;   Jezebel;   Manna ;   Name ;   Nicolaitans;   Nicolas;   Philosophy;   Tares ;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Unity (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Nicolaitanes ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Heresy;   Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Nicolaitans;   Pergamos;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Nicola'itans;   Per'gamos;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Nicolaitans;   Pergamus;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Doctrine;   Gnosticism;   Nicolaitans;   Nicolaus;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Balaam;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes - See on Revelation 2:6; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

So hast thou also them … - That is, there are those among you who hold those doctrines. The meaning here may be, either that, in addition to those who held the doctrine of Balaam, they had also another class who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes; or that the Nicolaitanes held the same doctrine, and taught the same thing as Balaam. If but one class is referred to, and it is meant that the Nicolaitanes held the doctrines of Balaam, then we know what constituted their teaching; if two classes of false teachers are referred to, then we have no means of knowing what was the uniqueness of the teaching of the Nicolaitanes. The more natural and obvious construction, it seems to me, is to suppose that the speaker means to say that the Nicolaitanes taught the same things which Balaam did - to wit, that they led the people into corrupt and licentious practices. This interpretation seems to be demanded by the proper use of the word “so” - οὕτως houtōs- meaning, “in this manner on this wise, thus”; and usually referring to what precedes. If this be the correct interpretation, then we have, in fact, a description of what the Nicolaitanes held, agreeing with all the accounts given of them by the ancient fathers. See the notes on Revelation 2:6. If this is so, also, then it is clear that the same kind of doctrines was held at Smyrna, at Pergamos, and at Thyatira Revelation 2:20, though mentioned in somewhat different forms. It is not quite certain, however, that this is the correct interpretation, or that the writer does not mean to say that, in addition to those who held the doctrine of Balaam, they had also another class of errorists who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.

Which thing I hate - So the common Greek text - ὅ μισῶ ho misōBut the best-supported reading, and the one adopted by Griesbach, Tittmann, and Hahn, is ὁμοίως homoiōs- “in like manner”; that is, “as Balak retained a false prophet who misled the Hebrews, so thou retainest those who teach things like to those which Balaam taught.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans,.... These impure heretics sprung up in the time of the apostolic church, but their doctrines were not received, and their deeds were hated, see Revelation 2:6. This seems to design the doctrines of the church of Rome, which in this period took place; which forbid marriage to the priests, and recommended celibacy and virginity to others also; which were the source of all uncleanness and abominable lusts; for which pardons and indulgences were given, and, in process of time, brothel houses were set up, and licensed and encouraged by authority,

Which thing I hate; the doctrine of these men, as well as their deeds.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the 13 Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

(13) Which follow the footsteps of Balaam, and such as are abandoned to all filthiness, as he showed in the verse before, and is here signified by a note of similarity, and thus also must (Revelation 2:6) be understood. For this matter especially Ireneus must be consulted as well.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Nicolaitanes, with this important difference, Ephesus, as a Church, hates them and casts them out, but thou “hast them,” namely, in the Church.

doctrine — teaching (see on Revelation 2:6): namely, to tempt God‘s people to idolatry.

which thing I hate — It is sin not to hate what God hates. The Ephesian Church (Revelation 2:6) had this point of superiority to Pergamos. But the three oldest manuscripts, and Vulgate and Syriac, read instead of “which I hate,” “IN LIKE MANNER.”

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

So thou also (ουτως και συhoutōs kai su). Thou and the church at Pergamum as Israel had the wiles of Balaam.

The teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise (την διδαχην των Νικολαιτων ομοιωςtēn didachēn tōn Nikolaitōn homoiōs). See note on Revelation 2:6 for the Nicolaitans. The use of ομοιωςhomoiōs (likewise) here shows that they followed Balaam in not obeying the decision of the Conference at Jerusalem (Acts 15:20, Acts 15:29) about idolatry and fornication, with the result that they encouraged a return to pagan laxity of morals (Swete). Some wrongly hold that these Nicolaitans were Pauline Christians in the face of Colossians 3:5-8; Ephesians 5:3-6.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

So

Even as Balak had Balaam for a false teacher, so hast thou the Nicolaitan teachers.

Nicolaitans

See on Revelation 2:6.

Which thing I hate

Omit.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

In like manner thou also — As well as the angel at Ephesus.

Hast them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans — And thou sufferest them to remain in the flock.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Ver. 15. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans] {See Trapp on "Revelation 2:6"} In the year 1067, the popish synod of Milan made laws against simony {a} and the heresy of the Nicolaitans; by which latter they meant priest’s marriage. Brutum fulmen, novum crimen. Heavy blow, new sins.

{a} The act or practice of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferments, benefices, or emoluments; traffic in sacred things. ŒD

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

15.] Thus thou also hast (as well as those of old: not, as the Church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:6 (De W.). “Sicut Balac tenuit doctrinam pestiferam Balaam, sic apud te sunt aliqui tenentes doctrinam Nicolai erroneam.” Lyra) men holding (see above) the teaching of the Nicolaitans (the art. though not expressed, is in fact, in this later usage, contained in the proper name) in like manner (viz. in eating things offered to idols, and fornication. We may remark, 1) that it is most according to the sense of the passage to understand these sins in the case of the Nicolaitans, as in that of those whom Balaam tempted, literally, and not mystically. So Victorin(34), Andr(35), Areth(36), Ribera, Calov., Beng., Heinr. (doubtfully), Ewald, De W., Hengst., Ebrard, Düsterd., Trench, al.: 2) that the whole sense of the passage is against the idea of the identity of the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans; and would be in fact destroyed by it. The mere existence of the etymological relation is extremely doubtful (see above on Revelation 2:6): and even granting it,—to suppose the two identical, would be to destroy the historical illustration by which the present existing sect is described).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-2.html. 1863-1878.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes; so, saith he, thou sufferest in thy communion filthy persons, who maintain fornication lawful, and the lawfulness of eating meat offered to idols, which exactly corresponds with Balaam’s doctrine or counsel given to Balak, in order to his weakening the Israelites by separating them from God. His counsel took place, to the destruction of twenty-four thousand Israelites.

Which thing I hate; I am the same God still, and hate such doctrines, as much as ever I did in the time of Balak.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Так и у тебя Учение Николаитов вело к такому же поведению, как и замысел Валаама.

учения Николаитов См. пояснение к ст. 6.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:15. So thou also hast some that hold fast the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner. The chief point of inquiry connected with these words is, whether they introduce a second group of erroneous teachers, or whether they constitute a second description of the Balaamites already mentioned. Various considerations may be urged in favour of the latter view:—(1) Of the Nicolaitans as a separate sect nothing is known. Some of the early fathers derived the name from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons mentioned in Acts 6:5, and supposed that a sect, of which they knew nothing more than they found in this passage, had sprung from him. But the tradition varied; it is in itself in the highest degree improbable; and we may safely regard it as a mere conjecture intended to explain the apparent meaning of the words before us. (2) In Revelation 2:20-24 this same sect is obviously compared to Jezebel, a mystical name, making it probable that the name used here is also mystical. (3) The position of the word ‘also’ in the verse is to be noticed. It is to be closely connected with ‘thou,’ not ‘thou hast also,’ etc., as if a second class of false teachers were about to be spoken of, but ‘thou also hast,’ etc.: the ancient church had its Balaamites, thou hast thy Nicolaitans. (4) The addition of the words ‘in like manner’ is important, showing, as they do, that the second class of false teachers is really identical with the first. In these circumstances, it becomes a highly probable supposition that the word Nicolaitans is a rough translation into Greek of the Hebrew term Balaamites, destroyers or conquerors of the people. Nor is there force in the objection, even if well founded, that such a derivation is not etymologically correct. The popular instinct, so strong amongst the Jews, which took delight in noting similarities of sound, did not concern itself about scientific etymology. Similarity of sound was enough. Nor does there seem cause to be perplexed by the use in the compound Greek word of a verb signifying to conquer rather than to destroy. Evil is ever in the writings of St. John the counterpart of good. Christ is constantly the Overcomer, the Conqueror; and in like manner His enemies are the would-be conquerors, the would-be overcomers of His people. We are thus led to the conclusion that these Nicolaitans are no sect distinct from the followers of Balaam. They are a mystical name for those who in the church at Pergamos imitated the example and the errors of that false prophet of the Old Testament; and we have another illustration of the manner in which St. John delights to give double pictures of one thing (comp. chaps, Revelation 1:20, Revelation 2:14-15).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

which . . . hate. The texts omit, and read "in like manner".

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Thou - `so THOU also hast,' etc. As Balac and the Moabites of old had Balaam's followers literally, so hast thou also them that hold the same Balaamite or Nicolaitane doctrine spiritually. Literal eating of idol meats and fornication in Pergamos were accompanied by spiritual, idolatry and fornication. So Trench. I prefer, "THOU also," as well as Ephesus ("in like manner" as Ephesus), hast ... Nicolaitanes, with this important difference, Ephesus hates and casts them out, THOU 'hast (retainest) them.'

Doctrine - teaching (note, Revelation 2:6): tempting God's people to idolatry.

Which thing I hate. It is sin not to hate what God hates. Ephesus (Revelation 2:6) had this superiority to Pergamos. But A B C 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Syriac, read, instead of [ ho (Greek #3588) misoo (Greek #3404)] 'which I hate' [ homoios (Greek #3664)], 'IN LIKE MANNER.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes—i.e., thou, as well as those of old, hast such teachers. There is little doubt that this is the connection between the verses, but opinions are divided whether we are on this account to identify the Balaamites with the Nicolaitanes, and to suppose that both names point to the same sect. The simplest meaning of the passage seems to be that the temptation to which the Israelites were exposed, is used to illustrate the temptations of the Pergamene Church, through the teaching of the Nicolaitanes. Both temptations lead in the same Antinomian direction. Such a tendency was early seen (comp. Romans 6:4; Galatians 5:13; Jude 1:4), and is not extinct now. “Is there not,” writes Dr. Vaughan, “a vague, unavowed, unrealised idea that the Atonement has made sin less fatal, that even sin indulged and persisted in, may yet not work death?” To such and all who countenance them the warning is, “Repent; but if not, I am coming for thee, and will war with thee (note the change of person and number) with (literally, in—i.e., armed with) the sword of My mouth.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
the doctrine
6
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 16:22 - which;  Matthew 5:19 - shall teach;  Matthew 18:7 - but;  Matthew 22:10 - both;  Acts 6:5 - Nicolas;  2 Corinthians 2:17 - which;  Galatians 1:7 - pervert;  1 Timothy 6:10 - coveted;  2 Timothy 3:8 - resist;  Hebrews 1:9 - hated;  James 3:6 - a world;  Revelation 2:2 - how

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

See the comments at verse6 on the Nicolaitans.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-2.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 2:15

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

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans

Touching "the doctrine of the Nicolaitans," and their deeds, See KNOLLYS: Revelation 2:6. It's probable their doctrine allowed of spiritual and corporal whoredom, both which Christ hateth; and that which Christ chargeth upon this church and her angel, as their sin, which he was offended with them for, was because they were suffered in the, and not cast out, and put away as wicked and ungodly persons.

It is a sinful fault in any church to suffer those ministers or members to continue in their society, and to have communion with them who teach such doctrines, or practice such deeds as Christ hateth. { 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 5:13} See KNOLLYS: Revelation 2:20

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 2:15. So hast thou also those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans likewise. The sense is, So and in like manner as Balaam formerly taught and his disciples found, hast thou also those who hold fast by the doctrine of the Balaamites of the present time. The likewise (which many copyists did not understand, and hence out of ὁ μοί ως made ὁ μισῶ; Luther: which I hate, as for a similar reason some expositors would connect it with the following verse), corresponds to the so, and it is added for the purpose of rendering prominent the abnormal, the surprising and frightful nature of the fact, that now again an evil should have become rife, which had formerly and for all times been so decisively marked with the divine judgment. According to some expositors the angel must here be reproved for having, beside the Balaamites, a second class of heretics, the Nicolaitans, in his church. They explain so, by just as well as the Balaamites, and thou hast also, by not less than the angel at Ephesus. But this exposition is on every account untenable. What sort of writing would it be: So (as the Balaamites) hast thou also (as the angel at Ephesus), and then again the likewise, which must refer back to the Balaamites! The so and the likewise would be a mere Pleonasm, if the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans were different. The reference of the also to the angel at Ephesus is inadmissible. For not to mention, that the epistle to the angel of the church at Smyrna comes between, the angel at Ephesus had no Nicolaitans, but had driven them out of his community, and nothing more remained for him to do in this respect, he is charged with no blame, nor is any call addressed to him to repent. According to the view in question, we should know only the doctrine of the Balaamites, only the name of the Nicolaitans, which cannot possibly be supposed. The next verse too decides against it. The with them, there shews, that in Revelation 2:14-15 it must be the same enemies of the truth that are spoken of. For, it would be quite unsuitable to have two different parties abruptly thrown together, and one of them thrown out again. The sword mentioned there has reference to the fate of Balaam, and loses its significance if the intervening Nicolaitans are different from the Balaamites: the Balaamite doom shall follow the Balaamite guilt. So that it is quite plain, from the whole passage, that the Nicolaitans are those who hold by the doctrine of Balaam, and consequently that we are right in the explanation we formerly gave of the name.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.So hast thou also—Observe that the Nicolaitans are different from, and additional to, the holders of the teachings of Balaam, and not identical. They very much agreed in the ultimate of licentiousness they reached, but from different historical and doctrinal starting points. The doctrines of Balaam were a remnant of the old Canaanite or Phoenician Baalism, and were Shemitic; that of the Nicolaitans was Aryan, derived from India, and based on the dogma of the residence of all evil in matter. See notes on Acts 6:5, Judges 1:11, and Introduction to John’s Epistles. The active existence of these heretics at the time of the writing of this book proves it later than the reign of Nero.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:15. . . . Are the N. put parallel to, or identified with, the Balaamites? The latter becomes more probable when the symbolical sense of N. and B[902] (see above, on Revelation 2:6, and Kalisch’s Bible Studies, i. 23) is adopted. In this event a single class of errorists is in view; they are instigating and seducing the local Christians much as Balaam managed (by means of Balak, in rabbinic tradition, cf. the slight play on ) to get the Israelites enticed to ruin (Sanh. 105 a). Josephus explains that Balaam showed Balak how to win a victory over the Israelites ( ) by enticing them to lust, and such a symbolic allusion is quite in the manner of the Apocalypse. The Niko-laitans, who probably resembled Cerinthus or Carpokrates in their tenets, are no better than a Balaam. And the Jewish dictum was (Sanh. 106 b) that whenever one discovered anything bad in Balaam’s life, one should preach about it.

[902]. Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

15. In the same way. Nicolaitans – see Revelation 2:6.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:15". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.