Do You Have the Right Christ?

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Beware of the Nicolaitans, (and Hero Worship!)

Jesus said to the Apostle John in regards to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:6:

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

So who are the Nicolaitans? (This was copied over from biblestudy.org)

When Jesus walked among men, He taught His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, whom He denounced as hypocrites. With them, He classed the chief priests and the temple officials, together with teachers in the synagogues. He declared that they had so corrupted the truth of God with the doctrines of men (the same sin as the Nicolaitans) that the truth, as originally given, was no longer with them. That which these blind leaders of the blind were giving forth as truth was making their converts more the children of hell than they were. The deeds of these false teachers are in the second chapter of Revelation. It states "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands . . . But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." (Revelation 2:1, 6)

The doctrines taught by these false teachers are in Revelation's letter to the church in Pergamos: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword . . . Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.' " (Revelation 2:12, 15)

The Lord not only demands repentance from those who believe and practice the 'doctrine of the Nicolaitans' but also threatens severe punishment if they do not obey: "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent" (Revelation 2:5).


Greek meaning of word:

The Greek word for Nicolaitans (Strong's Concordance Number #G3531) found in Revelation is actually three words combined. As a proper noun, it TRANSFERS, but is not translated, into English. The three Greek words used are Nikos, Laos and Ton.

The first Greek part of the English word Nicolaitans is NIKOS. We use the English equivalents instead of the Greek letters, as we shall also of the other two. Nikos is defined as "a conquest, victory, triumph, the conquered and by implication, those who are dominate over the defeated." Another transferred name in which this word is used is Nicopolis. It is composed of Niko, which means conquest, and polis, which means city. Nicopolis therefore means the city of conquest, or city of victory.


The middle part of the word Nicolaitans, in the Greek is LAOS. This word means people. It also is in NICOLAS, which transfers and composes into 'Nikos-laos.' This means one who is "victorious over the people," the letter "s" being in both words the nominative case ending, which is retained only at the end of the word to denote the case, while "a" short and "o" short are contracted into "a" long. A still further transferred use of LAOS is found in the name LaoSdiceans (Strong's Concordance Number #G2994), compounded with DIKE or DICE.


The last part of the word in question is TON. It is contracted into a long "a," thus making the word TAN which is the genitive case plural in all the genders of the definite article 'the.' We therefore have, without the legal Greek construction, the English hyphenated word NIKOS-LAOS-TON, but which, with its lawful contractions, becomes the English translation found in Revelation.


Real world meaning:

In its ecclesiastical setting, Nicolaitans means the bishops and prelates of the Church have gained a triumphal victory or conquest over the LAITON, the laity. Members are compelled and forced to submit to the arbitrary dominion of men who have become that thing which God hates.

"The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:  Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; NOR AS BEING LORDS OVER THOSE ENTRUSTED TO YOU, but being examples to the flock" (1Peter 5:1 - 3).


The teachings and preaching of the Nicolaitans are in religious and secular dictionaries. When we look for the definition of the term we find it is a "hierarchy: the power of dominion, government by ecclesiastical rulers" we find the following, which is offered as evidence.


"If anyone shall say that there is not in the Catholic Church a hierarchy established by the divine ordination, consisting of bishops, presbyters and ministers, let him be anathema, Council of Trent (translation) XXIII 6." (Century Dictionary)

Let anyone who has the audacity to say there is not a hierarchy, not a collection of human beings who try to exercise authority over others, as ecclesiastical rulers over churchmen, let that man be ACCURSED. Surely, the thing in which that ecclesiastical company is glorying is their shame!


Webster's dictionary defines the word "episcopal" as "the power of government, belonging to, or invested in, bishops or prelates. Government of the church by bishops." It also says, "in episcopacy, the order of bishops is superior to the other clergy, and has exclusive power to confer orders."


The above definition affirms that a certain portion of presbyters (elders) were "in apostolic times superior in authority to ordinary presbyters." It also mentions the fact that episcopacy recognizes "episcopal rank," which is created by the institution thus governed. It all of which affirms that any church in which episcopal government obtains is practicing the very carnal and fleshly iniquity of creating "superiors" in what should be a holy brotherhood. The use of this appellation makes INFERIORS out of brethren who are in the selfsame clergy.


RANK and HIERARCH:

The approbation of "ordinary elders" demands a set of elders who are extra special, thus creating "rank" in the otherwise Divine brotherhood, all of which DESTROYS fellowship, creates division and strife, and fosters envy. It is no marvel that Jesus hates this, condemns it, and demands the guilty repent.


The question is will those who follow the ways of the Nicolaitans repent? Yes, some will when the tribulation is on. Others, however, will stick to their ecclesiastical crowd, vainly imagining that their boasted "superiority" will carry them through that time of the greatest trouble the world has ever known, or will know. They must go down with the rest of the hosts of Antichrist.


(Continued from biblestudy.org from a different page but same subject)


Does God want his church to be ruled "from the top-down?" No!


When the first seven deacons of the New Testament were chosen the BRETHREN chose converted men and took them to the apostles to be appointed. The apostles then REAFFIRMED what the brethren had already decided and laid hands on them (dedicated them publically to serve the church, see Acts 6)


Lording it over the CHURCH:

The New Testament warns that those who serve as overseers should not "lord it over the flock" (1Peter 5:3). In 2Corinthians 11 Paul corrects the Corinthians for them allowing someone to rule harshly (2Corinthians 11:20). The apostle Paul exercised rule by example.

Those who consider themselves ministers and leaders need to yield to members who have more expertise in an area than they do. Church elders do not have the right or authority to dictate how to live your life. A chuch should be led by factors such as knowledge, overall conversion and the gift to inspire others. The goal of any fellowship should be to promote love and peace, not division and strife.

Preachers and Teachers that are exalted instead of God and Jesus are an IDOL that must be destroyed in your life!!!  If you read my testimony page 2 you will see that I idolized my preacher at my Church of God denomination because he was a very eloquent and intelligent preacher and full of dynamic energy, praising God exuberantly throughout his sermons.  I, being such a young Christian, thought to myself, "how can there be a better preacher in all of the world?". But years later I am able to look back and see that yes he had/has orator skills and charisma, but ultimately he has memorized pieces that he uses over and over again, so really no new revelation from God and no depth in his teachings.  Another man I also idolized briefly was Ravi Zacharias and I went to one of his expensive "Summer Institutes" and met him and posed with him in a picture.  He was completely humble and sweet to talk with and he took the time to speak with everyone who lined up to meet him and get a picture with him.  But I hated his Summer Institute, it was a series of classes learning about men like C.H. Lewis and wished I had not spent the money to go there.  The Christians there were worldly and many of them weird like people you would expect to find at a Sci-Fi Convention and the Christian college where they had the event was riddled with New Age, from the other visiting groups there to the books found in the book store.  They also had an auditorium sized venue full of Billy Graham memorabilia and tribute films to him, so there was man idolization going on there more than just this Summer Institute I went to.  I realized afterwards that I had been lured there by my own lusts of the world, my idolization of man's intellect since Ravi Zacharias is touted as super intelligent and a gift to Christianity in how he can lead the super-intelligent of the world to Christ.  I had to repent of my "hero worship" and idolization of man's intellect and realize I had a hidden lust to gain "super knowledge" so I could affiliate with and maybe someday be one of the spiritual intellectuals.  I want to point out something here too, both Billy Graham and Ravi Zacharias are loved and respected by the saved and unsaved, so that should be a warning to us already because Jesus says in John 15: 18&19 that since people hated Him, they will hate us too.  So, how is it that these two men are lifted up in societies all over the world and embraced by the godly and ungodly?  Read on and you decide.
On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s time to say what needs to be said, written by Elizabeth Prata of The End Times and found on bereanresearch.org:

Ravi Zacharias is an Indian born,  Canadian-American Christian whose ministry is apologetics. Zacharias speaks at large gatherings, conferences, and events on the topics of Christianity and defending the faith. He also has a radio program, “Let My People Think.” He is well known for being intelligent, philosophical, and an excellent speaker in his command of the English language.

Even though there are some towering men of the faith, we must continue to do our duty and test all things against scripture. No one is immune from potential apostasy, error, or sin. Let us examine Mr Zacharias.

The link below brings you to an essay written in 2008. Since that time Ravi has descended further into questionable associations. At one point he praised Catholic Mystic Henry Nouwen, in addition to compromising on Mormon theology as you will read in the link below of that and other compromises.


2009: Ravi signed the ecumenical document called the Manhattan Declaration which calls for Catholics and Protestants to partner on moral issues (source). This is a violation of 2 Corinthians 6:14 and Ephesians 5:11.

2012: Ravi appears on Joyce Meyer Today, and says to Meyer, “God has used you” and calls her a ‘great bible teacher’ (youtube clip). This is a violation of one of the qualifications of elders, that they protect the sheep and remain in sound doctrine according to the biblical qualifications of teaching elders as per 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. His endorsement of Meyer was also a violation of the advice on Proverbs which says leaders use their wisdom to guide and lead. (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).

Ravi Zacharias calls false teacher Joyce Meyer a great teacher?


2014: Ravi waffles on age of earth, Ken Ham has response. This denies the clear and straightforward text of Genesis and is a setting aside of Romans 15:4.


2015: Credible allegations were made that Ravi has allegedly  inflated/exaggerated/misrepresented his scholarly credentials. (NOTE: Patheos is not a site we would ever recommend.)  Proverbs 19:9 says he who breathes out lies will perish. When the allegations surfaced, certain information was immediately removed from the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) website. The allegations claimed,


-He was not a visiting scholar at Cambridge.
-He refers to himself as Dr Zacharias yet has no earned doctoral degree, they are all conferred.
-He claims to have lectured at the world’s most prestigious universities.
-He claims to be a scholar yet has published nothing in scholarly journals and does not have peer reviewed research.

 

Next, sadly, from the RZIM FAQ page,

Ravi Zacharias Ministry holds no official theological position on:

Creation: "RZIM does not have an official ministry position on the age of the earth. The focus of RZIM is apologetics and evangelism, and thus we do not address particular questions about creation..."

Calvinism v. Arminianism: "RZIM does not have an official ministry position on the doctrines of Calvinism or Arminianism, and we have staff members holding to a variety of views in both of these doctrinal traditions." (PS you'll notice errors in their explanation of Calvinism on the linked page)

Eschatology: "Dr. Zacharias has not spoken on matters relating to the end times, nor does RZIM endorse any official view on matters of eschatology."

Catholicism: "RZIM does not have an official ministry position on the doctrines of the Catholic tradition; RZIM focuses its ministry on evangelism and apologetics and strives to stay true to that vision. Some of Ravi Zacharias's favorite authors are Catholic (namely G.K. Chesterton and Malcolm Muggeridge), yet he recognizes that there are significant doctrinal differences between Protestants and Catholics." [doctrinal differences?!?!]

ERM, kind of hard to engage in solid apologetics without an official position on 3/4 of the bible's doctrines.

2016: In April 2015, Ravi Zacharias was part of a conference which was set to scrutinize The New Apostolic Reformation, during the Worldview Apologetics Conference held at Antioch Bible Church in Redmond. The co-authors of two books outing the NAR (R. Douglas Gievett, professor of philosophy in the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, and Holly Pivec, journalist) wrote the following at their blog:


My co-author, Doug Geivett, will speak alongside other high-profile evangelicals–including Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, and Calvin Beisner–who will present on other important topics. Doug will give two presentations on the NAR, titled “The New Apostolic Reformation: What You Need to Know” and “God’s Super-Apostles: Where They Fall Short.”

And yet in January 2016 Ravi will partner with Domininist/NAR teachers at a conference called Synergize, the very movement a previous conference which Ravi attended that had sessions exposing these people as false teachers.

Finally, the smooth talk. If you listen to enough of Zacharias you notice he uses mostly rhetorical contrivances, philosophy, and looong anecdotes but not a whole lot of Bible. He is an ecumenical philosopher, not a solid apologist. The reason he uses fine sounding arguments and rhetorical tricks is that he is the kind of man Paul is describing being the opposite of himself, in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5,

and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, (like Ravi) but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, (Ravi again) but on the power of God. (as Paul does).

Now, I mentioned before that immediately after salvation and before I got into a church I listened to Joel Osteen every week and I loved it. I used to take notes on Osteen's speech from a rhetorician's point of view, noting the tone, cadence, speed, and specific language used to hold the audience in his hand. He is a wonderful speaker. I stopped thinking it was so wonderful when I finally got a clue and opened my bible and compared what Osteen was teaching to the Word. Then the scales fell off.

I also personally attended a Ravi Zacharias speech in Athens GA soon after I was converted and I loved that too. Why? Same reason I initially liked Osteen. I have a particular affinity for men who can speak eloquently. I have always loved language, rhetoric, persuasion, metaphor...both my undergraduate and graduate degree are in literacy. When a smooth talking man comes along who uses language so well, it bamboozles me and I get starry eyed for the language, not the ideas behind the language. I was a Romans 16:18 gal.

I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (Colossians 2:4)

What does everyone say when they mention Ravi Zacharias? "The Spirit is powerfully using Ravi!" No, but they do say, "Ravi's so smart!" What would people say if they had heard Paul preach, who is just as smart as Ravi if not smarter? "Paul's so smart!" or would they say, "Paul preaches in the power of the Spirit of God!" They would say the latter, and they did (1 Corinthians 2:4).

THINK about it........