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.
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
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).
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
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........
If you want to get born again in Christ Jesus, please take this time now to talk to God. You can say something like this: God I know I am a sinner and I need a Savior and I believe Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. I believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin mother, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that He lived a sinless life because He was God in the flesh, and that He was crucified as the once for all sacrifice for mankind's sins. I believe he was buried and rose from the grave and was witnessed alive before ascending to heaven where He now sits on the throne as King of Kings. I repent of my sins and accept Jesus' gift of salvation today and I ask Him to be my Savior and Lord. I ask the Holy Spirit to come and make a dwelling in my heart and to lead me into all righteousness. Thank you God for hearing my prayer and for sending your Son to save me by dying in my place at the Cross so I can be in the family of God. And Father, I understand that while I am saved by my confession of faith, it is also Your will for me to get water baptized to show my private confession in a public way, and so I ask you to lead me to the church or baptismal situation you have for me so I can get baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!