Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:6

Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Ephesus;   Fellowship;   Nicolaitanes;   Sin;   Zeal, Religious;   Scofield Reference Index - Day (of Jehovah);   Life;   Nicolaitans;   The Topic Concordance - Hate;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Alliance and Society with the Enemies of God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nicolaitans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Ephesus;   Hatred;   John, letters of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Nicolaitans;   Patience of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Nicolaitanes;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jezebel;   Nicolaitans;   Revelation of John, the;   Thyatira;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - False Apostles;   Hate, Hatred;   Nicolaitans;   Nicolas;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Gnosticism;   Hatred;   Jude, Epistle of;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abstinence;   Anger;   Brotherly Love;   Gnosticism;   Hating, Hatred;   Hatred;   Love;   Name ;   Nicolaitans;   Nicolas;   Pergamus Pergamum ;   Philosophy;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Unity (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ephesians, Epistle to the;   Nicolaitanes ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Nicolas;   Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ephesus;   Nicolaitans;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Nicola'itans;   Tim'othy;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Nicolaitans;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gnosticism;   Hate;   Nicolaitans;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Balaam;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for March 25;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The deeds of the Nicolaitanes - These were, as is commonly supposed, a sect of the Gnostics, who taught the most impure doctrines, and followed the most impure practices. They are also supposed to have derived their origin from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons mentioned Acts 6:5; (note). The Nicolaitanes taught the community of wives, that adultery and fornication were things indifferent, that eating meats offered to idols was quite lawful; and mixed several pagan rites with the Christian ceremonies. Augustine, Irenaeus, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian, have spoken largely concerning them. See more in my preface to 2d Peter, where are several particulars concerning these heretics.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But this thou hast - This thou hast that I approve of, or that I can commend.

That thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans - Greek, “works” ( τὰ ἔργα ta erga). The word “Nicolaitanes” occurs only in this place, and in the Revelation 2:15 verse of this chapter. From the reference in the latter place it is clear that the doctrines which they held prevailed at Pergamos as well as at Ephesus; but from neither place can anything now be inferred in regard to the nature of their doctrines or their practices, unless it be supposed that they held the same doctrine that was taught by Balaam. See the notes on Revelation 2:15. From the two passages, compared with each other, it would seem that they were alike corrupt in doctrine and in practice, for in the passage before us their deeds are mentioned, and in Revelation 2:15 their doctrine. Various conjectures, however, have been formed respecting this class of people, and the reasons why the name was given to them:

I. In regard to the origin of the name, there have been three opinions:

(1) That mentioned by Irenaeus, and by some of the other fathers, that the name was derived from Nicolas, one of the deacons ordained at Antioch, Acts 6:5. Of those who have held this opinion, some have supposed that it was given to them because he became apostate and was the founder of the sect, and others because they assumed his name, in order to give the greater credit to their doctrine. But neither of these suppositions rests on any certain evidence, and beth are destitute of probability. There is no proof whatever that Nicolas the deacon ever apostatized from the faith, and became the founder of a sect; and if a name had been assumed, in order to give credit to a sect and extend its influence, it is much more probable that the name of an apostle would have been chosen, or of some other prominent man, than the name of an obscure deacon of Antioch.

(2) Vitringa, and most commentators since his time, have supposed that the name Nicolaitanes was intended to be symbolical, and was not designed to designate any sect of people, but to denote those who resembled Balaam, and that this word is used in the same manner as the word “Jezebel” in Revelation 2:20, which is supposed to be symbolical there. Vitringa supposes that the word is derived from νίκος nikos“victory,” and λαός laos“people,” and that thus it corresponds with the name Balaam, as meaning either בּצל צם bàal ̀am“lord of the people,” or בּלץ צם baalà ̀am“he destroyed the people”; and that, as the same effect was produced by their doctrines as by those of Balaam, that the people were led to commit fornication and to join in idolatrous worship, they might be called “Balaamites” or “Nicolaitanes,” that is, corrupters of the people. But to this it may be replied:

(a)that it is far-fetched, and is adopted only to remove a difficulty;

(b)that there is every reason to suppose that the word used here refers to a class of people who bore that name, and who were well known in the two churches specified;

(c)that in Revelation 2:15 they are expressly distinguished from those who held the doctrine of Balaam, Revelation 2:14, “So hast thou also ( καὶ kai) those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.”

(3) it has been supposed that some person now unknown, probably of the name Nicolas, or Nicolaus, was their leader, and laid the foundation of the sect. This is by far the most probable opinion, and to this there can be no objection. It is in accordance with what usually occurs in regard to sects, orthodox or heretical, that they derive their origin from some person whose name they continue to bear; and as there is no evidence that this sect prevailed extensively, or was indeed known beyond the limits of these churches, and as it soon disappeared, it is easily accounted for that the character and history of the founder were so soon forgotten.

II. In regard to the opinions which they held, there is as little certainty. Irenaeus (Adv. Haeres. i., 26) says that their characteristic tenets were the lawfulness of promiscuous sexual intercourse with women, and of eating things offered to idols. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. iii., 29) states substantially the same thing, and refers to a tradition respecting Nicolaus, that he had a beautiful wife, and was jealous of her, and being reproached with this, renounced all intercourse with her, and made use of an expression which was misunderstood, as implying that illicit pleasure was proper. Tertullian speaks of the Nicolaitanes as a branch of the Gnostic family, and as, in his time, extinct. Mosheim (De Rebus Christian Ante. Con. section 69) says that “the questions about the Nicolaitanes have difficulties which cannot be solved.” Neander (History of the Christian Religion, as translated by Torrey, vol. i, pp. 452,453) numbers them with Antinomians; though he expresses some doubt whether the actual existence of such a sect can be proved, and rather inclines to an opinion noticed above, that the name is symbolical, and that it is used in a mystical sense, according to the usual style of the Book of Revelation, to denote corrupters or seducers of the people, like Balaam. He supposes that the passage relates simply to a class of persons who were in the practice of seducing Christians to participate in the sacrificial feasts of the pagans, and in the excesses which attended them - just as the Jews were led astray of old by the Moabites, Numbers 25.

What was the origin of the name, however, Neander does not profess to be able to determine, but suggests that it was the custom of such sects to attach themselves to some celebrated name of antiquity, in the choice of which they were often determined by circumstances quite accidental. He supposes also that the sect may have possessed a life of Nicolas of Antioch, drawn up by themselves or others from fabulous accounts and traditions, in which what had been imputed to Nicolas was embodied. Everything, however, in regard to the origin of this sect, and the reason of the name given to it, and the opinions which they held, is involved in great obscurity, and there is no hope of throwing light on the subject. It is generally agreed, among the writers of antiquity who have mentioned them, that they were distinguished for holding opinions which countenanced gross social indulgences. This is all that is really necessary to be known in regard to the passage before us, for this will explain the strong language of aversion and condemnation used by the Saviour respecting the sect in the epistles to the Churches of Ephesus and Pergamos.

Which I also hate - If the view above taken of the opinions and practices of this people is correct, the reasons why he hated them are obvious. Nothing can be more opposed to the personal character of the Saviour, or to his religion, than such doctrines and deeds.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

The works of the Nicolaitans ... This is not a reference merely to the evil deeds of the group mentioned, but to the promulgation of their evil doctrine, as appears a little later. Who were they? Irenaeus said that, "They are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles."[24] They taught that it was a matter of indifference to commit adultery or eat things sacrificed to idols. "It was an exaggeration of the doctrine of Christian liberty which attempted an ethical compromise with heathenism."[25] The reference to the Nicolaitans and to the doctrine of Balaam in the same passage (Revelation 2:14,15), a moment later, together with the phrase "in like manner" seems to indicate that the teachings were essentially the same. Despite the assertion of Irenaeus cited above, some students refuse to allow the identification of that sect with Nicolas, one of the Seven (Acts 6:5), Lenski complaining that, "It is a moral law not to make a noble Christian man a Judas without full evidence that he turned out to be a Judas."[26] Of course, no one can disagree with that; but Moffatt declares that, "There is no reason to doubt the original connection of the party with him (Nicolaus)."[27] Still it must be confessed that very little is known of this sect except what is revealed here.

[24] Irenaeus, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, Translated by Roberts and Donaldson (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d.), p. 352.

[25] Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957), p. 61.

[26] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 90.

[27] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 351.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans,.... Though these Christians had left their first love, yet they bore an hatred to the filthy and impure practices of some men, who were called "Nicolaitans"; who committed fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness, and had their wives in common, and also ate things offered to idols; who were so called, as some thinkF3Vid. Irenaeum adv. Haeres, l. 1. c. 27. & Tertull. de Praescript. Haeret. c. 46, 47. , from Nicolas of Antioch, one of the seven deacons in Acts 6:5; though as to Nicolas himself, it is saidF4Clement. Alex. Strom. l. 3. p. 436. & Euseb, Hist. Eccl. l. 2. c. 29. , that he lived with his own lawful married wife, and no other, and that his daughters continued virgins all their days, and his son incorrupt; and that these men, so called, only shrouded themselves under his name, and abused a saying or action of his, or both, to patronize their wicked deeds: he had used to advise παραχρησθαι τη σαρκι, by which he meant a restraining of all carnal and unlawful lusts; but these men interpreted it of an indulgence in them, and so gave themselves up to all uncleanness; and whereas, he having a beautiful wife, and being charged with jealousy, in order to clear himself of it, he brought her forth, and gave free liberty to any person to marry her as would; which indiscreet action of his these men chose to understand as allowing of community of wives. Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, that these Nicolaitans were not called so from any man, but from the word נכילה, "Nicolah", "let us eat", which they often used to encourage each other to eat things offered to idols. However this be, it is certain that there were such a set of men, whose deeds were hateful; but neither their principles nor their practices obtained much in this period of time, though they afterwards did; see Revelation 2:15. Professors of the Christian religion in general abhorred such impure notions and deeds, as they were by Christ:

which also I hate; all sin is hateful to Christ, being contrary to his nature, to his will, and to his Gospel; and whatever is hateful to him should be to his people; and where grace is, sin will be hateful, both in themselves and others; and men's deeds may be hated when their persons are not; and hatred of sin is taken notice of by Christ, with a commendation,

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

But — How graciously, after necessary censure, He returns to praise for our consolation, and as an example to us, that we would show, when we reprove, we have more pleasure in praising than in fault-finding.

hatest the deeds — We should hate men‘s evil deeds, not hate the men themselves.

Nicolaitanes — Irenaeus [Against Heresies, 1.26.3] and Tertullian [Prescription against Heretics, 46] make these followers of Nicolas, one of the seven (honorably mentioned, Acts 6:3, Acts 6:5). They (Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 2.20 3.4] and Epiphanius [Heresies, 25]) evidently confound the latter Gnostic Nicolaitanes, or followers of one Nicolaos, with those of Revelation. Michaelis‘ view is probable: Nicolaos (conqueror of the people) is the Greek version of Balaam, from Hebrew “{(Belang Am},” “Destroyer of the people.” Revelation abounds in such duplicate Hebrew and Greek names: as Apollyon, Abaddon: Devil, Satan: Yea (Greek, “{Nai}”), Amen. The name, like other names, Egypt, Babylon, Sodom, is symbolic. Compare Revelation 2:14, {Rev_2:15}, which shows the true sense of Nicolaitanes; they are not a sect, but professing Christians who, like Balaam of old. tried to introduce into the Church a false freedom, that is, licentiousness; this was a reaction in the opposite direction from Judaism, the first danger to the Church combated in the council of Jerusalem, and by Paul in the Epistle to Galatians. These symbolical Nicolaitanes, or followers of Balaam, abused Paul‘s doctrine of the grace of God into a plea for lasciviousness (2 Peter 2:15, 2 Peter 2:16, 2 Peter 2:19; Judges 1:4, Judges 1:11 who both describe the same sort of seducers as followers of Balaam). The difficulty that they should appropriate a name branded with infamy in Scripture is met by Trench: The Antinomian Gnostics were so opposed to John as a Judaizing apostle that they would assume as a name of chiefest honor one which John branded with dishonor.

Copyright Statement
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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

6. Here God again commends their scrupulous orthodoxy in the loyal fight they nobly maintain against the Nicolaitan heresy, which taught then, as now, that sin resided in the body; so their bodies were compelled to sin so long as they lived.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-2.html.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

That thou hatest (οτι μισειςhoti miseis). Accusative object clause in apposition with τουτοtouto (this). Trench tells of the words used in ancient Greek for hatred of evil (μισοπονηριαmisoponēria) and μισοπονηροςmisoponēros (hater of evil), neither of which occurs in the N.T., but which accurately describe the angel of the church in Ephesus.

Of the Nicolaitans (των Νικολαιτωνtōn Nikolaitōn). Mentioned again in Revelation 2:15 and really meant in Revelation 2:2. Irenaeus and Hippolytus take this sect to be followers of Nicolaus of Antioch, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5), a Jewish proselyte, who is said to have apostatized. There was such a sect in the second century (Tertullian), but whether descended from Nicolaus of Antioch is not certain, though possible (Lightfoot). It is even possible that the Balaamites of Revelation 2:14 were a variety of this same sect (Revelation 2:15).

Which I also hate (α καγω μισωha kagō misō). Christ himself hates the teachings and deeds of the Nicolaitans (αha not ουςhous deeds, not people), but the church in Pergamum tolerated them.

Copyright Statement
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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "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

The Nicolaitans

From νικᾶν toconquer, and λαός thepeople. There are two principal explanations of the term. The first and better one historical. A sect springing, according to credible tradition, from Nicholas a proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven deacons of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5), who apostatized from the truth, and became the founder of an Antinomian Gnostic sect. They appear to have been characterized by sensuality, seducing Christians to participate in the idolatrous feasts of pagans, and to unchastity. Hence they are denoted by the names of Balaam and Jezebel, two leading agents of moral contamination under the Old Testament dispensation. Balaam enticed the Israelites, through the daughters of Moab and Midian, to idolatry and fornication (Numbers href="/desk/?q=nu+31:16&sr=1">Numbers 31:16). Jezebel murdered the Lord's prophets, and set up idolatry in Israel. The Nicolaitans taught that, in order to master sensuality, one must know the whole range of it by experience; and that he should therefore abandon himself without reserve to the lusts of the body, since they concerned only the body and did not touch the spirit. These heretics were hated and expelled by the Church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:6), but were tolerated by the Church of Pergamum (Revelation 2:15). The other view regards the name as symbolic, and Nicholas as the Greek rendering of Balaam, whose name signifies destroyer or corrupter of the people. This view is adopted by Trench (“Seven Churches”), who says: “The Nicolaitans are the Balaamites; no sect bearing the one name or the other; but those who, in the new dispensation, repeated the sin of Balaam in the old, and sought to overcome or destroy the people of God by the same temptations whereby Balaam had sought to overcome them before.” The names, however, are by no means parallel: Conqueror of the people not being the same as corrupter of the people. Besides, in Revelation 2:14, the Balaamites are evidently distinguished from the Nicolaitans.

Alford remarks: “There is no sort of reason for interpreting the name otherwise than historically. It occurs in a passage indicating simple matters of historical fact, just as the name Antipas does in Revelation 2:13.”

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "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

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

But thou hast this — Divine grace seeks whatever may help him that is fallen to recover his standing.

That thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans — Probably so called from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5. Their doctrines and lives were equally corrupt. They allowed the most abominable lewdness and adulteries, as well as sacrificing to idols; all which they placed among things indifferent, and pleaded for as branches of Christian liberty.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The Nicolaitanes. There is another allusion to this class in Revelation 2:15. Various traditions and conjectures have come down to us in respect to this sect, whose deeds and whose doctrines, it seems, were alike hateful to God. All that is important, however, for our purpose, is clear, namely, that God is pleased when the church is decided and firm in withstanding every corruption, in sentiment and practice within her pale.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-2.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Nicolaitanes

From nikao, "to conquer," and laos, "the people," or "laity." There is no ancient authority for a sect of the Nicolaitanes. If the word is symbolic it refers to the earliest form of the notion of a priestly order, or "clergy," which later divided an equal brotherhood Matthew 23:8 into "priests" and "laity." What in Ephesus was "deeds" Revelation 2:6 had become in Pergamos a "doctrine Revelation 2:15.

Nicolaitanes, Revelation 2:15, contra,; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Peter 5:3; Matthew 24:49.

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 2:6". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-2.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Ver. 6. But this thou hast] That they might not say, when called upon to repent, Nay, but there is no hope, Jeremiah 2:25; Jeremiah 18:12. Christ picks out that which is praiseworthy in them, and commends it. Despair carries men to hell, as the devils did the swine into the sea; cast not away therefore your confidence, &c.

The works of the Nicolaitans] Who taught a community of wives, and that it was but a thing indifferent to commit adultery. (Irenaeus, Theod.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:6

What was Hopeful in Ephesus.

At a first glance this verse seems out of its place. It looks like a part of the Lord's commendation that had been forgotten at the proper moment, and is now mentioned as an afterthought. A little reflection, however, shows that it occupies its proper place, and it carries force from this very fact. Here is, so to speak, a starting-point for return to first love. This very "hatred" will make the revival of love the easier. Let them be encouraged and take heart and hope accordingly.

I. I do not think we can speak with much certainty about Nicolaitanism. We may set it down as a heathenish mode of life under a Christian designation, turning the grace of God into licentiousness, a reconciling of Christian faith with the practice of fleshly lusts, or Antinomian principles.

II. The Ephesian believers had not been poisoned by that false and deadly charity which speaks smooth and honeyed things to sin, and stands on friendly terms with it. They "hated" the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, and we are to take the word "hate" in its full force as the opposite of love. Coexistent with hatred of their deeds, there doubtless was compassion for the men themselves and some endeavour to save them.

III. Christ hates as well as loves. He would not be perfect if He did not; He would lack one of the most regal qualities of His nature. The angel of the Church of Ephesus was at one with Christ in hating the deeds of the Nicolaitanes; and this, so far as it went, was a token of vitality and vigour in the Church's system, and it formed a starting-point for return to first love. It was not merely a good sign, but a good thing. Once let a Church or an individual cease to be shocked by Nicolaitane deeds, make light of them, wink at them, apologise for them, and the downward course is all but certain. On the other hand, so long as evil is sternly hated, there is not merely the possibility, but the hope, of returning first love, with all that this restoration involves.

J. Culross, Thy First Love, p. 95.


Reference: Revelation 2:6.—W. Arnot, Good Words, vol. iii., pp. 189-191.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:6. The deeds of the Nicolaitans, Some have thought that these heretics derive their name from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons; but that name was so common among the Jews, that no stress can be laid on an argument drawn from thence. The substance of what ancient writers say concerning them is, that they taught the lawfulness of lewdness, and idolatroussacrifices, esteeming those things indifferent in their own nature; and that their practices were suitable to such principles. See Revelation 2:14-15. 1 John 1:3; 1 John 1:10.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] Notwithstanding, this thou hast (this one thing: there is no need to supply ἀγαθόν or the like: of what sort the τοῦτο is, is explained by what follows. We may notice the tender compassion of our blessed Lord, who, in his blame of a falling church, yet selects for praise one particular in which His mind is yet retained. This is for our comfort: but let us not forget that it is for our imitation also. μεταξὺ τῶν λυπηρῶν τίθησι καὶ τὰ πρὸς εὐθυμίαν ἄγοντα, ἵνα μὴ τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ καταποθῇ τὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας. Areth(18) in Cat.) that thou hatest the works (“non dixit Nicolaitas, sed facta: quia personæ sunt ex charitate diligendæ, sed eorum vitia odio sunt habenda.” Lyra. It would have been well with the church, had this always been remembered. τὰ ἔργα, see below, must be referred to the moral delinquencies of this sect) of the Nicolaitans (there has been much dispute who these were. The prevailing opinion among the fathers was, that they were a sect founded by Nicolaus the proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven deacons. So Irenæus (Hær. i. 26. 3(27), p. 105, “Nicolaitæ autem magistrum quidem habent Nicolaum, unum ex vii., qui primi ad diaconium ab apostolis ordinati sunt: qui indiscrete vivunt”), Tertullian (Præscr. Hær. 46, vol. ii. p. 63, “alter hæreticus Nicolaus emersit. Hic de septem diaconis qui in Actis App. allecti sunt, fuit.” He then describes his execrable impurities), Clem.-Alex(19) (in two passages, which are worth citing, as I shall presently have to comment on them: 1) Strom, ii.20 (118), p. 490 P.,— τοιοῦτοι δὲ καὶ οἱ φάσκοντες ἐαυτοὺς νικολάῳ ἓπεσθαι ἀπομνημόνευμά τι τἀνδρὸς φέροντες ἐκ παρατροπῆς τὸ δεῖν παραχρήσασθαι τῇ σαρκί. ἀλλʼ ὁ μὲν γενναῖος κολούειν δεῖν ἐδήλου τάς τε ἡδονὰς τάς τε ἐπιθυμίας, καὶ τῇ ἀσκήσει ταύτῃ καταμαραίνειν τὰς τῆς σαρκὸς ὁρμάς τε καὶ ἐπιθέσεις. οἱ δὲ εἰς ἡδονὴν τράγων δίκην ἐκχυθέντες οἷον ἐφυβρίζοντες τῷ σώματι καθηδυπαθοῦσιν: 2) ib. iii. 4 (25), p. 522 P.: περὶ τῆς νικολάου ῥήσεως διαλεχθέντες ἐκεῖνο παρελείπομεν· ὡραίαν, φησί, γυναῖκα ἔχων οὗτος μετὰ τὴν ἀνάληψιν τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος πρὸς τῶν ἀποστόλων ὀνειδισθεὶς ζηλοτυπίαν εἰς μέσον ἀγαγὼν τὴν γυναῖκα γῆμαι τῷ βουλομένῳ ἐπέτρεψεν· ἀκόλουθον γὰρ εἶναί φασι τὴν πρᾶξιν ταύτην ἐκείνῃ τῇ φωνῇ τῇ ὅτι παραχρήσασθαι τῇ σαρκὶ δεῖ), Euseb. (H. E. iii. 29, citing Clem.-Alex(20), as above), Epiphanius (Hær. xxv. pp. 76 ff., where he gives a long account of Nicolaus and his depravation and his followers): so also Jerome (dial. adv. Lucif. 23, vol. ii. p. 197) and Aug(21) (de hæres. 5, vol. viii. p. 26), and many other fathers, citations from whom may be seen in Stern’s notes, h. 1.: also Areth(22) in Catena, referring to Epiph.

We have already seen, in Clem.-Alex(23), symptoms of a desire to vindicate Nicolaus the deacon from the opprobrium of having been the founder of such a sect; and we find accordingly in the apostolical constitutions, οἱ νῦν ψευδώνυμοι νικολαΐται are spoken of: and Victorinus of Pettau, in our earliest extant commentary on the Apocalypse, says, “Nicolaitæ autem erant illo tempore ficti homines et pestiferi, qui sub nomine Nicolai ministri fecerunt sibi hæresin,” &c. Thence we advance a step farther, and find another Nicolaus substituted for the deacon of that name. So in Dorotheus (cited in Stern) we find him described as a bishop of Samaria ( ὃς ἐπίσκοπος σαμαρείας γενόμενος ἑτεροδόξησεν ἅμα τῷ σίμωνι). And an apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T. i. p. 498 (Stern), speaks of a Corinthian of this name, infamous for licentious practices. We come now to the second principal view with regard to this sect, which supposes their name to be symbolic, and Nicolaus to be the Greek rendering of Balaam, בָּלַע עָם, or, Chald., בְּלַע עָם, ‘perdidit vel absorpsit populum.’ Consequently the name Nicolaitans = Balaamites, as is also inferred from Revelation 2:14. This view seems first to have been broached by Chr. A. Heumann in the Acta Eruditorum for 1712, and since then has been the prevailing one. (There is a trace in ancient times of a mystical interpretation, e. g. in Haym(24), gloss. ord., who says, “Nicolaus, stultus populus, id est, Gentiles Deum ignorantes:” and Ambrose Ansbert, “si a proprietate ad figuram, ut solet, sermo recurrit, omnes hæretici Nicolaitæ esse probantur: Nicolaus enim interpretatur stultus populus.” What this means, I am as unable to say as was Vitringa: it perhaps arises from thus understanding בַּל עָם, ‘non-populus:’ cf. Deuteronomy 32:21.) But this is very forced, and is properly repudiated by some of the best modern Commentators: e. g. by De Wette, Ebrard, and Stern. (See also Winer, Realw. sub voce: Neander, Kirchengesch. i. 2. 774 ff.: Gieseler, Kirchengesch. i. 1. 113 note.) In the first place, the names are by no means parallel, even were we to make Balaam, as some have done, into בַּעַל עָם, lord of the people ( ἀρχέλαος): and next, the view derives no support from Revelation 2:14 f., where the followers of Balaam are distinct from the Nicolaitans: see note there. And besides, there is no sort of reason for interpreting the name otherwise than historically. It occurs in a passage indicating simple matters of historical fact, just as the name Antipas does in Revelation 2:13. If we do not gain trustworthy accounts of the sect from elsewhere, why not allow for the gulf which separates the history of the apostolic from that of the post-apostolic period, and be content with what we know of them from these two passages? There is nothing repugnant to verisimilitude in what Clem.-Alex(25) relates of the error of Nicolaus; nor need all of those, who were chosen to aid the Apostles in distributing alms, have been, even to the end of their lives, spotless and infallible. At least it may be enough for us to believe that possible of one of them, which the post-apostolic Fathers did not hesitate to receive), which I also hate (this strong expression in the mouth of our Lord unquestionably points at deeds of abomination and impurity: cf. Isaiah 59:8; Jeremiah 44:4; Amos 5:21; Zechariah 8:17).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-2.html. 1863-1878.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

As if Christ had said, "Though thou art not what thou shouldest be, yet this thou hast commendable in thee, that thou shouldest be, yet this thou hast commendable in thee, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, (who held community of wives, and ate things offered to idols,) which impure sect I also hate for their licentious doctrine and lewd practices, which tend to the ruin and bane of human societies."

Note here, 1. That it is not unlawful to call heretics by the name of their leaders; the Nicolaitans are here so called from one Nicolas, supposed to be the deacon mentioned, who having a beautiful wife exposed her as common, to avoid the imputation of jealousy.

Note, 2. That Christ hated all licentious doctrines and loose practices, and so should we.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-2.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:6. Not for the purpose of alleviating the pain of the church concerning the reproof of Revelation 2:4,(968) but because the Lord’s love for his church gladly recognizes what is to be properly acknowledged, and once more, but in a new and more definite way, makes prominent in opposition to Revelation 2:4 sqq. ( ἀλλά) the one point of commendation already in Revelation 2:2. Just because the church was rejected for no longer having the first love to their Lord, is it once more expressly acknowledged that it is still so far of one mind with him, as to hate the wicked works which he hates. Thus Revelation 2:6 has enough that is peculiar, as not to appear a mere repetition of Revelation 2:2, and contains no marks whatever whereby Revelation 2:2-3, are to be understood in the sense of Hengstenberg.

With τοῦτο ἔχ. neither ἀγαθόν, nor the like, is used to complete the construction: the explanation of the τοῦτο in ὄτι ΄ισ., κ. τ. λ., shows that the common possession is commendable.

The ΄ισεῖς is not “a strong expression for censuring,”(969) but is just as earnestly meant as the ΄ισῶ.(970) But it is justly remarked already by N. de Lyra,(971) that the hatred is directed not against the persons, but against the works.(972)

Concerning the Nicolaitans,(973) as well concerning their name as also their conduct, it is possible to judge only by a comparison with Revelation 2:14 sqq. Irenaeus,(974) Hippolyt.,(975) Tertullian,(976) Clemens Alex.,(977) Jerome,(978) Augustine,(979) and other Church Fathers derive the sect from a founder Nicolaus, and that, too, the deacon mentioned in Acts 6:5, of whom they have more to relate as they are more remote from him in time. That this is derived entirely from this passage, and is of no more importance than that according to which the Ebionites are represented as springing from a certain Ebion,(980) is shown, first, from the fluctuation of the tradition which also knew how to defend that church officer, so highly commended in Acts, from the disgrace of having founded a troublesome sect,(981) and, secondly, from the circumstance that the patristic tradition, from the very beginning, refers to Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:14 sqq. Nicolaus of Acts 6 was thought of because none other of that name was known.(982) Since Chr. A. Heumann,(983) and J. W. Janus,(984) the opinion has become almost universal, that the designation νικολαἰται (from νικᾶν and λαός) suggests the Hebrew name Balaam (from בֶלַע and עָם, i.e., swallowing-up, or destruction, of the people), whereby the Balaamite nature of those Nicolaitanes is to be indicated. To this Revelation 2:14-15, refer.(985) Yet it cannot be positively decided whether John found the word used already in this sense, or was himself the first to frame it. A comparison may be made with the name Armillus given to antichrist,(986) i.e., ἐρη΄όλαος.(987)

The Nicolaitans are of course not identical(988) with the κακοί mentioned in Revelation 2:2, since the latter expression is very general: yet, at all events, they belong to “them which are evil;” and the idea, which in itself is highly improbable, must not be inferred,(989) that in Revelation 2:2; Revelation 2:6, two entirely different kinds of false teachers are meant, of whom the former may be regarded disciples of John,(990) or Jewish teachers,(991) or strict Jewish Christians,(992) while the Nicolaitans, who, according to De Wette, etc., are again distinct from Balaamites,(993) as those of a more heathen tendency, viz., false teachers who surrendered themselves(994) to a false freedom.(995) Tertullian and other Church fathers, N. de Lyra, and the older expositors, connect the Nicolaitans with the Gnostics; Hengstenb. also regards them identical with the deniers of the Son, in the Epistles of John, by referring the warning in John 5:21(996) to the ethnicizing ways of the false teachers there antagonized. But for all this, there is no foundation. What especially contradicts Hengstenberg’s conjecture is the fact that the (Gnostic) false teachers of the Epistles of John are attacked just as decidedly because of their false doctrines, as the Nicolaitans of the Apoc. because of their evil deeds.(997) That the aberrations are practical, which even Hengstenb. emphasizes, but without ground alleges also of the false teachers in 1 John, is shown already by Revelation 2:2 ( κακούς). We shall therefore have to think of the Nicolaitans as ethnicizing libertines.(998) This is not contradicted by the fact that they assumed apostolic authority; for if they possibly professed to vindicate their Christian freedom in the Pauline sense, they might likewise wish to be apostles like Paul.(999) [See Note XXIX., p. 155.]

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XXIX. Revelation 2:6. τῶν νικολαϊτῶν

The argument in the long and thorough discussion in Gebhardt (pp. 206–216) is to prove the distinction between the Nicolaitans and those errorists mentioned in Revelation 2:2, “them which say they are apostles,” etc., referring to Judaizing teachers, the conflict with whom is now in the background, while, with Dust., he regards the Nicolaitans as ethnicizing teachers of an Antinomian type. He traces the two classes, as prophesied already by St. Paul in his charge to the elders of Ephesus, Acts 28:29-30, the latter verse referring to those here mentioned. Sieffert (Herzog, R. E.): “Gentile Christian Antinomians who abused Paul’s doctrine of freedom.” Schultze (in Zöckler’s Handbuch): “A Gnostic Antinomianism, against which Paul had contended in the Epistle to the Colossians, and especially Jude, and Peter in his Second Epistle; and whose adherents John means in his First Epistle, by the name of antichrists, combining with false gnosis docetic error and a heathen life, as the head of whom Cerinthus appeared (Iren., i. 26; Euseb., iii. 28).”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But this thou hast; thou hast yet thus much to commend thee.

That thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes; thou hatest the deeds of those who teach the lawfulness of a common use of wives, and eat things offered to idols; for these, they say, were the tenets of the Nicolaitanes, so called from one Nicholas; but whether he were one of the first deacons, named Acts 6:5, (who, they say, to avoid the imputation of jealousy, brought forth his wife, being a beautiful woman, and prostituted her), or from some other of that name, I cannot determine.

Which I also hate: God, as a lover of his own order, and of human society, hateth such doctrines and practices as are contrary to the rule of his word, and tend to the confusion of human societies.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". 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

дела Николаитов Это также проблема церкви в Пергаме (ст. 12–15). Эта ересь была похожа на учение Валаама (ст. 14, 15). Николас переводится, как «тот, кто покоряет людей». Ириней пишет, что Николай, назначенный дьяконом (Деян. 6:5), не был истинным верующим и позднее стал отступником, но благодаря своему полновластию он мог ввести церковь в заблуждение. И, подобно Валааму, он вел людей к безнравственности и пороку. Николаиты, последователи Николая, погрязли в пороке и подвергали церковь чувственному искушению. Климент Александрийский сказал: «’Они предавались наслаждениям, подобно ослам, потворствуя своим желаниям’ Их учение неправильно истолковывало милость Господню и подменяло свободу распущенностью».

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Nicolaitanes; a corrupt sect, who seem to have turned Christian liberty into licentiousness.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But this you do have, you hate the works of the Nicolaitans which I also hate.’

We know little about the Nicolaitans but they were clearly influential then in leading astray the churches, and were probably followers of a Nicolaus (variously identified). They apparently taught that it was good to eat things sacrificed to idols and to behave immorally, engaging in self-expression and full release (see Revelation 2:14-15). This meant both a compromise with the Roman religion, with its sacrifices to Roma and its love feasts, and with other religions, thus denying the exclusivity of Christ. This then meant involvement in idolatry and licentiousness.

To openly eat things sacrificed to idols would be seen as acknowledging the gods who were being ‘worshipped’, and licentious behaviour, introducing overt sexual expression outside marriage (often with ‘sacred prostitutes’), was a common feature in many religions of the day. Misused sex and idolatry, two constant enemies of the church, these things Christ hates. But there was none of this in the Ephesian church. They had maintained their purity.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-2.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

8. "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate"--2:6.

The claim that this designation of a sect or a party derived its name from Nicolas, of Acts 6:5, rests on assertion. There is no historical or factual evidence of it. It is more consistent with the code language of Revelation to regard the term Nicolaitanes as a symbolic expression, along with the use of the word Balaam. The two words actually are similar in meaning, one meant a "victor of the people" and the other a "devourer of the people." These meanings of the two words significantly unite the two symbols as signs of the religious seductions of the Libertine party in the Ephesian church.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-2.html. 1966.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:6. The Lord cannot leave them without a fresh word of commendation. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Who the persons thus referred to were we shall best learn at Revelation 2:15. In the meantime it is enough to say that we have here more than a mere repetition of what had been said already at Revelation 2:2; and that the last words, ‘which I also hate,’ appear to be added partly at least for the sake of bringing out the fact that, notwithstanding the declension of the Ephesian Christians, there was still one point on which their Lord and they were similarly minded.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 2:6. But — Or nevertheless; this thou hast — This honour and praise remaining; divine grace seeks whatever may help him that is fallen to recover his standing; that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes — A sect so called, it is thought, from Nicolas, one of the seven deacons mentioned Acts 6:5; according to ancient writers, their doctrine and their lives were equally corrupt. They allowed the practice of the most abominable lewdness and adulteries, as well as sacrificing to idols; all which they placed among things indifferent, and pleaded for as branches of Christian liberty.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-2.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

deeds = works, as Revelation 2:5.

Nicolaitanes. History has no record of these. Tradition says much. They will appear "in that day". All we do know is that they are hateful to God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "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

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

But. How graciously He returns to praise for our consolation, and as an example to us, that we should show, when we reprove, we have more pleasure in praising than fault-finding.

Hatest the deeds - hate men's evil deeds, not the men.

Nicolaitanes. Irenaeus ('Haereses,' 1: 26, 3) and Tertullian ('Praescriptione Haereticorum,' 46) suppose followers of Nicolas, one of the seven (Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5), as there was a Judas among the twelve. They, Clemens Alexandrinus ('Stromata,' 2: 20; 3: 4) and Epiphanius ('Haereses,' 25), confound the later Gnostic Nicolaitanes, followers of one Nicolas, with those of Revelation. Michaelis' view is: Nicolas (conqueror of the people) is the Greek of Balaam, from the Hebrew: Bil`am (Hebrew #1109) `Am (Hebrew #5971), Destroyer of the people. Revelation abounds in duplicate Hebrew and Greek names: Apollyon, Abaddon; Devil, Satan; Yea [ Nai (Greek #3483)], Amen. The name, like other names, Egypt, Babylon, Sodom, is symbolic. Compare Revelation 2:14-15, which shows the true sense; not a sect, but professing Christians who, like Balsam, introduced a false freedom - i:e., licentiousness; a reaction from Judaism, the first danger to the Church, combated in the council of Jerusalem, which, while releasing Gentile converts from legal bondage, required their abstinence from idol meats, and concomitant "fornication;" also in the letter to Galatians. These Nicolaitanes, or followers of Balaam, as Christ designates them by a name expressing their true character, abused Paul's doctrine of the grace of God into a plea for lasciviousness (2 Peter 2:15-16; 2 Peter 2:19; Jude 1:4; Jude 1:11, who both describe such seducers as followers of Balaam). They persuaded many to escape obloquy, by yielding in what was a test of faithfulness, the eating of idol meats: going further, they joined in fornication of the idol feasts, as permitted by Christ's 'law of liberty.' Thus the 'love-feasts' were made like pagan orgies (Jude 1:12).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "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

(6) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds (better, works) of the Nicolaitanes.—The Nicolaitanes were, as has been expressed, the Antinomians of the Asiatic Church. The life and conduct were little thought of, and the faith professed was everything. Some have thought that they were a sect who derived their name, under some colourable pretext, from Nicolas the Proselyte; others hold that the name is purely symbolical, signifying “destroyer of the people,” and that it is no more than the Greek form of Balaam. (See Notes on Revelation 2:14-15, below.) The existence of a sect called Nicolaitanes in the second century is attested by Irenæus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
that
14,15; 2 Chronicles 19:2; Psalms 26:5; 101:3; 139:21,22; 2 John 1:9,10
Reciprocal: Leviticus 14:40 - take away;  Deuteronomy 16:22 - which;  Acts 6:5 - Nicolas;  Acts 20:30 - of your;  Galatians 1:7 - pervert;  2 Timothy 3:8 - resist;  Titus 1:10 - there;  Hebrews 1:9 - hated;  Revelation 2:2 - how

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE NICOLAITANES.

Revelation 2:6. — "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." The doctrinal faithfulness of the Ephesian assembly and its unswerving condemnation of evil have been already matters of warmest commendation (vv. 2, 3), followed by censure couched in terms of severe simplicity (v. 4), and judgment has been finally threatened, a judgment which repentance alone could avert (v. 5). Now one special character of evil is specified, hated alike by the Lord and by the angel. The absence of love has been deplored, but hatred, love's antithesis, was rightly present. The Nicolaitanes were not hated, for they shared in the general love of God (John 3:16), but their works were, and for this the angel is commended. They must have been works of a decidedly evil character which called forth such a stern word of reprobation. Who, then, were the Nicolaitanes, and what their tenets and deeds? A satisfactory answer to these questions is well-nigh impossible. The Nicolaitanes as an immoral and exceedingly impure sect undoubtedly existed, but whether Nicolas of Antioch, the last of the "seven" (Acts 6:5), was the originator of the sect bearing his name cannot be determined with any degree of certainty. Irenaeus is the first Church father or writer who affirms it. Others, however, consider that Nicolas is wronged when charged with the impure teachings and deeds of that sect; all the more evil that it existed under the cover of Christianity. If, indeed, the deacon was the founder of the sect, then he must have seriously lapsed from the faith. But on this we cannot pronounce with certainty. It has been conjectured that the Nicolaitanes are identical with the followers of Balaam.{*"Nicolas (‘Conqueror of the people') is identified with Balaam, according to one etymology of the latter word, as the ‘lord' according to another, as the ‘devourer' of the people. Both derivations are, however, uncertain, and the best Hebraists (Gesenius and Furst, the latter admitting the possibility of ‘devourer') explain the name as meaning ‘not of the people,' i.e., an alien and foreigner." — E. H. Plumptre D.D. But this is difficult to understand in the light of verses 14 and 15, where the evils are separately named. "So thou also hast those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes in like manner." The latter, it would seem, was the grosser evil of the two. All early writers, however, are agreed on the main features of this sect as being of an impure and licentious character.{*Ecumenius says they were "most impious in doctrine, and in their lives most impure." W. Kelly tersely sums up, saying: "The essence of Nicolaitanism seems to have been the abuse of grace to the disregard of plain morality." — "Lectures on the Book of Revelation," page 48.} Nicolaitanism therefore would appear to have combined the profession of Christianity with the impurities of Paganism. Fleshly indulgence is a practical denial of the holy nature of Christianity, and cannot be tolerated by the Lord, nor by any who are faithful to the Name of Him Who is "the holy, the true" (Revelation 3:7).

As to this evil, Ephesus and Pergamos, the first and third churches present a marked and striking contrast. The first turned in holy loathing from these impurities; the third sheltered the propagators of these filthy teachings. What was hated by Ephesus was accepted by Pergamos; the one "deeds," the other "doctrine;" but doctrine, good or bad, ever bears its own fruit. The point is, Ephesus would have none of it. Pergamos permitted it to corrupt and poison the sources of purity and morality.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-2.html.

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

Nicolaitans. There is little definiteness in the treatment of this subject by the histories and lexicons and other works of reference. Thayer merely comments that they were "the followers of Nicolaus," a heretic in the time of the apostles. Robinson makes similar remarks about. the subject. We note that both the deeds and the doctrine of this sect are condemned. It had something to do with a life of fleshly indulgencies. The church at Ephesus rejected this sect which was one other point in its favor stated in the letter written by John.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". 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 2:6

Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

"Nicolaitanes"

The Nicolaitans were so called, either from that Nicolas, { Acts 6:5} a proselyte of Antioch, from whose faith and manners they had degenerated; or rather from some other man of that name (different from Nicolas the Deacon, both in faith and holy life) from whose corrupt doctrine and wicked deeds, those here, and in Revelation 2:15 are called Nicolaitans. Though neither the doctrine, nor the deeds of those Nicolaitans be here named, yet we may conclude they were unsound and damnable doctrines, and ungodly wicked deeds, for Christ again and again testified that he hated them. { Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:15} And so did this church which Christ took notice of, saying "Which I also hate;" and therefore he exercised this great patience towards this church-"this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

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

Revelation 2:6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Where there is room for reproaching any one for the want of love, it too readily happens, that he thinks he should love, where the word and spirit of God command him to hate. Therefore, the commendation given in the earlier part is here again expressly resumed. But it is well to notice, that the recognition has respect to hatred against the works of heretics. This does not exclude love to their persons, and desire for their salvation; comp. 2 Timothy 2:24-26. The more lively the hatred is against the works, the more powerfully will love prompt to do what is possible for their personal deliverance from perdition. That the subject discoursed of is not the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, but their works, is to be explained from the circumstance, that their doctrine had a practical issue and aim, viz., fleshly freedom, unrestricted liberty as to all authority and all law. It was the moral strength of Christianity at which they especially took offence. Their doctrines themselves were works, deeds, as still all antichristian errors are; and works immediately proceeded from them, such as the eating of meat offered to idols, fornication, and a heathenish mode of life. Then in the works the seductive acts of the false teachers are also comprehended, their attempts to spread their pernicious doctrines. The hatred is to be taken in its full force. Disapproval in such matters is not enough. Strong abhorrence is demanded, comp. Psalms 139:21-22, "Do not I hate, O Lord, those who hate thee, and abhor those that rise up against thee? I hate them in right earnest, they are enemies to me." We have a commentary on the hating in 2 John 1:1, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds." The name of the Nicolaitans is an enigmatical one, the solution of which is given in Revelation 2:14-15. According to this the Nicolaitans are those who hold the doctrine of Balaam. The name of Balaam signifies, Destroyer of the people.[Note: The grounds for the derivation of Balaam from בָלַע devouring, and עָם people, have been given in my work on Balaam, p. 20, ss. Against Hoffmann, who after Ewald explains the name as a formation of בָלַע with a as אבים, it is enough to adduce the one consideration, that the city of the same name, 1 Chronicles 6:56, elsewhere occurs under the name of Jibleam, Joshua 17:11, Judges 1:27, 2 Kings 9:27, compounded of the fut. of בלע and עם. But proper names with עם sometimes before and sometimes after are very common; comp. Ewald, § 270, for example, Jeroboam and Jeroboam, people, rich and people increased.]As such Balaam shewed himself especially in the transaction recorded by Moses in Numbers 25, comp. with Numbers 31:16, the seduction of the Israelites through the women of Moab and Midian to licentiousness and participation in the service of idolatry. The Moabites and Midianites had directed their attack against the strong side of the relation, and had been obliged to withdraw with shame and disgrace; Balaam betrayed to them the weak side, and how cunningly his plan was devised appeared in the great success with which it was at first attended. Nicolaus signifies, conqueror of the people. The choice precisely of this name, rather than one that should have literally corresponded to Balaam, was occasioned by the name Nicolaus being one in current use among the Greeks. The point of comparison, by which the prophet was led to name false teachers of that time Nicolaitans, that is Balaamites, appears from Revelation 2:14. It was the smuggling of heathenism into the church of God to the corruption of the latter: "who taught Balak to throw a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication." Balaam and Jezebel were the Old Testament representatives of this ungodly tendency, which revived anew in the false teachers of the time. Ch. Revelation 2:26 serves also as an explanation, "And he that overcomes, to him will I give power over the heathen," in opposition to the power of the heathen over God's people, which they experienced through the Balaam that had risen up anew in Greek clothing. The reasons against a historical explanation of the name of Nicolaitans, and its derivation from a sectarian of the name of Nicolaus, which led some of the ancients to think of the blameless Nicolaus in Acts 6:5, the only person of that name mentioned in New Testament history, have been considered in my treatise on Balaam already referred to. Against the opinion Isaiah, 1. The style of the Apocalypse, which constantly rises above the lower territory, and, with the quite necessary exception of the author's own name, employs not historical, but only symbolical names. 2. The analogy of the woman Jezebel in ch. Revelation 2:20. 3. Had the leader of a party been understood, Nicolaus, the author would have spoken of him at ch. Revelation 2:15, and not of the Nicolaitans, as his name would have been the proper parallel to Balaam's. But he seems to know nothing of a Nicolaus, but only of the Nicolaitans. So also in Revelation 2:2 he speaks not of a false apostle, but of false apostles. There is no weight in the objection, that the name stands here, where it occurs for the first time, without any explanation, and must therefore have been a common one, quite intelligible of itself to the readers of the book. It was perfectly natural that the mystical, enigmatical name should here for the first time have been used by itself, and that afterwards, in what follows, an insight should have been given into its import, for the purpose of confirming or of justifying what had already occurred to the mind of each

If we gather up the scattered particulars, we arrive at the following deliverance regarding the false prophets. The mystical names of the Nicolaitans or Baalamites, and of Jezebel, point to the heathenish origin of the heresy, as do also the fornication and the eating of flesh sacrificed to idols, in Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20, and the promise of the authority to rule over the heathen in Revelation 2:26. The false teachers pretended to have been favoured with higher revelations, Revelation 2:2; Revelation 2:20, and promised to bring people acquainted with profound knowledge and secrets, Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:17, and to raise them to a glorious state, Revelation 2:28. Allusion is made to the name of the Gnostics in Revelation 2:24, and also to their antinomianism and their false, delusive show of liberty. So also to their sensuous indulgences in Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:17.

The first small kernel of these aberrations we find in the church at Corinth. They appear in a more developed form in the two epistles to Timothy. There certain heretical teachers are discoursed of," whose perverse course is thrice described in the same words ("they have made shipwreck of faith, have erred concerning the truth, faith," 1 Timothy 1:19-20, 1 Timothy 6:20, and 2 Timothy 2:16-18, 2 Timothy 2:25), and of whom we learn, that they professed a gnosis falsely so called, and maintained it with vain talk and insolent opposition to the apostle, so that they even pushed their heresy to blasphemous lengths, and were cast out of the church by Paul. Of the principles of their gnosis we are informed only in respect to one point, that held by Hymenaeus and Philetus as to the resurrection being past already—meaning, that it is to be understood only in a spiritualistic sense, that there is to be no resurrection but that which Christians have in their souls undergone" (Thiersch, Versuch, p. 237.) Peter and Jude in their epistles combated the error of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:16), who in abuse of St Paul's doctrine turned the grace of God into lasciviousness (2 Peter 3:16), promised freedom, while they themselves were still the servants of corruption (Jude Revelation 2:4, 2 Peter 2:19), walked after the flesh, and thought themselves raised above all constituted authorities, as well as delivered from the law, nay even denied the Lord Jesus Christ himself (2 Peter 2:10, Jude Revelation 2:4).

The identity of the false teachers, whom John contends against in his epistles, and the Nicolaitans, cannot be mistaken. There also every trace fails of any reference to Judaizing errors; the power that was imperilling Christianity was heathenism veiling itself in a Christian dress. The conclusion of the first epistle, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols," serves as a sort of key. There, too, an entire abandonment of the Christian basis and principles is in question, 1 John 2:19; while the false theories that were propagated carried along with them a bad practice, a walking in the lusts of the flesh; comp. in regard to the intimate connection between the two especially, 2 John 1:6-7. Fleshly indulgence is common to the Apocalypse with the epistles. In a theoretical respect there is a distinction so far, that the denial combated in the epistles of the reality of Christ's life, work and sufferings, is not noticed here. That heresy, however, stands in the closest connection with the antinomianism, which is here also brought into view. The common root of both was the disposition to set one's self free from a power that should control the life, in order to indulge the flesh and walk after its carnal lusts. With this view the law was decried as a Pharisaical yoke, comp. Revelation 2:24, and Christ changed into a shadow. It is worthy of remark, in unison with ch. Revelation 2:24 here, how extremely common is the use of γινώ σκω in the epistles, in opposition to the Gnostics, who had it constantly in their lips. In contrast to their false gnosis John puts the true, comp. 1 John 2:4; 1 John 3:6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.But—An added mitigation of the rebuke, and a directing how to avoid the removal.

Hatest the deeds—The Ephesians hated better than they loved. Severe pietists hate sinners often more than they love goodness. They abhor antichrist more than they love Christ. And these are in danger of mixing an impure passion with their moral antagonism, which may produce a fall from Christian love. After having warned his Ephesians of this danger, our seer reiterates the rightness of their abhorrence of the corruptionists, assuring them of Christ’s authentication therein.

Nicolaitans—The professed followers of Nicolas, one of the first seven deacons of Jerusalem, as we have noted on Acts 6:5. The earliest authorities are decisive on this point. Says Irenaeus: “The Nicolaitans also have Nicolaus as their master, one of the first seven who were ordained to the deaconship by the apostles.” Tertullian: “Another heretic emerged— Nicolaus. He was one of the seven deacons mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.” Later, and so less trustworthy, authorities exculpate Nicolas, under excuse either that he was misunderstood by his followers or that they claimed his authority falsely, or that it was another Nicolas, a bishop of Samaria, who was their real founder. As we have said in our note above quoted, the sexual licentiousness of the sect was based upon a philosophical maxim, namely, that all evil resides in matter. From this principle two opposite inferences could be drawn, and two opposing sects be formed. 1. It could be affirmed that all material indulgence must be avoided, and thence would arise asceticism, with its rejection of meats, monasticism, enforced celibacy, self-flagellation, and denial of the real corporeity of Christ. 2. It could, on the other hand, be affirmed that all material sins could be indulged, and yet the spirit be pure, and thence would arise the most unrestrained inebriety and debauchery. It was this last sect which our Lord gives over to a holy and divine hate. See our note on Acts 6:5; Acts 8:9-12; Romans 14:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Well might the true heart hate the deeds of this sect, for it would have buried Christianity in base licentiousness. But while the Christian would hate their deeds, he would earnestly wish to save the men.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:6. The message ends with a tardy echo of 2 b. The prophet admits that one redeeming feature in the church is the detestation of the N. Not all the spirit of animosity at Ephesus is amiss. When directed, as moral antipathy, against these detestable Nikolaitans (corresponding to the Greek quality of ), it is a healthy feature of their Christian consciousness. The Nikolaitans have been identified by patristic tradition, from Irenæus downwards, with the followers of the proselyte Nikolaos (Acts 6:5, where see note), who is alleged, especially by Tertullian and Epiphanius, to have lapsed into antinomian license, as the result of an overstrained asceticism, and to have given his name to a sect which practised religious sensuality in the days before Cerinthus. The tenets of the latter are in fact declared by Irenæus to have been anticipated by the Nicolaitans, who represented the spirit of libertinism which, like the opposite extreme of legalism at an earlier period, threatened the church’s moral health. But if the comment of Vict. were reliable, that the N[899] principle was merely ut delibatum exorcizaretur et manducari posset et ut quicumque fornicatus esset octauo die pacem acciperet, the representation of John would become vigorously polemical rather than historically accurate. The tradition of the N[900]’s origin may of course be simply due to the play of later imagination upon the present narrative taken with the isolated reference to Nikolaos in Acts 6:6. On the other hand it was not in the interest of later tradition to propagate ideas derogatory to the character of an apostolic Christian; indeed, as early as Clem. Alex. (Strom. ii. 20, iii. 4; cf. Constit. Ap. vi. 8), a disposition (shared by Vict.) to clear his character is evident. Whatever was the precise relation of the sect to Nikolaos, whether some tenet of his was exploited immorally or whether he was himself a dangerously lax teacher, there is no reason to doubt the original connexion of the party with him. Its accommodating principles are luminously indicated by the comment of Hippolytus ( ) and the phrase attributed to him by Clem. Alex, ( ), a hint which is confirmed, if the Nikolaitans here and in Revelation 2:15 are identified with the Balaamites ( - , in popular etymology, a rough Greek equivalent for , perdidit uel absorpsit populum). This symbolic interpretation has prevailed from the beginning of the eighteenth century (so Ewald, Hengstenberg, Düst., Schürer, Julicher, Bousset). The original party-name was probably interpreted by opponents in this derogatory sense. It was thus turned into a covert censure upon men who were either positively immoral or liberally indifferent to scruples (on food, clubs, marriage, and the like) which this puritan prophet regarded as vital to the preservation of genuine Christianity in a pagan city. A contemporary parallel of moral laxity is quoted by Derenbourg, Hist, de la Palestine (1867), p. 363. If Nikolaos was really an ascetic himself, the abuse of his principles is quite intelligible, as well as their popularity with people of inferior character. Pushed to an extreme, asceticism confines ethical perfection to the spirit. As the flesh has no part in the divine life, it may be regarded either as a foe to be constantly thwarted or as something morally indifferent. In the latter case, the practical inference of sensual indulgence is obvious, the argument being that the lofty spirit cannot be soiled by such indulgence any more than the sun is polluted by shining on a dunghill.

[899]. cod. Purpureus. 6th century (fragments of all the Gospels).

[900]. cod. Purpureus. 6th century (fragments of all the Gospels).

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

6. Here... in your favor. The Nicolaitans taught that Christian liberty gave permission to live immorally. They were right to hate what the Nicolaitans did [not the Nicolaitans themselves].

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.