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II “1 For the messenger of the assembly in Ephesos, write: Thus says He commanding the seven stars in His right hand, He walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works and your toil and patience, and that you are not able to bear evils, and have tried those calling themselves ambassadors yet they are not, and you have found them liars, 3 and you have patience and have endured on account of My Name and have not grown weary. 4 But I hold against you that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen and repent and do these first works. But if not, I shall come to you and I shall remove your lampstand from its place, if you should not repent. 6 This other thing you have: that you hate the works of the people-conquerors, which I also hate. 7 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies! To he who prevails I shall give to him to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of Yahweh.
Ephesos: The word is apparently from ephesis, which is a word with a wide variety of meanings. It may be a throwing, hurling or shooting, or in another sense permission or license. The name may also be appetite or desire, and so it may mean desirable. There was a famous festival held there in honor of the idol Artemis from the earliest times, and the town may have grown up around that, since if the name does refer to throwing and hurling, it seems to be named after the games. This town was long famous for its large but roofless temple of Artemis, whom the Romans called Diana.
Yahshua tells us that the Ephesians hated evil works, and rejected false apostles. Yet they were criticized for having “left [their] first love”. Since it is explained by the Book of Acts in chapters 18 and 19 that it was Paul of Tarsus who founded the assembly at Ephesus, then the Christianity which Paul brought to Ephesus must have been what Yahshua was chastising them for having left! Paul had even warned the elders of Ephesus, at Acts 20:29, that “I know that after my departure oppressive wolves shall come in to you, not being sparing of the sheep! ” This statement to the assembly is therefore also a recognition of the legitimacy of Paul's mission by Yahshua Christ Himself.
Yet even though the Ephesians rejected false apostles and would not put up with evil, they were chastised for somehow departing from the Gospel, although we are not told exactly what that departure entailed. In Paul's one epistle to the Ephesians which we have in our Bibles, Paul talks about fornication and other sins, yet he is exhorting and edifying them, and not chastising them for any particular transgression, so their departure must have come later.
The Ephesians are then noticed for hating “the works of the Nicolaitans”, and in the Christogenea New Testament the word was translated - rather than being merely transliterated - as “people-conquerors”, since that is what it means: those who would overcome the people, from the verb niko, or the adjective nikos, and the noun laos meaning people. The Nicolaitans are, evidently, that professional priesthood which would strive to rule over the people through heresies of sacramentalism, seeking to control them for the purpose of filling their own lusts and their own bellies.
About the Nicolaitans:
There are several accounts, none of them complete, of the sect of the Nicolaitans in the early Christian writings. I have said in the past that I doubted the existence of this sect at all in reality, and I believed that the word described a class of people. I still do, however now I realize that there may have at one time been such a sect, but it seems that it could not have existed for long if it indeed did at all, and the word still defines certain behavior found among a certain class of people.
As for such an early sect, Irenaeus believed that they existed and in his Against Heresies, Book 1 Chapter 26 says that “they lead lives of unrestrained indulgence”, however the Greeks had more than their share of hedonists who did that, and therefore there must be more to the story, and there is, for Irenaeus also said that to them “it is a matter of indifference to practise adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols”. Later in his treatise, in Against Heresies, Book 3, Irenaeus gives us this in Chapter XI: “John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that 'knowledge' falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word; and not, as they allege, that the Creator was one, but the Father of the Lord another; and that the Son of the Creator was, forsooth, one, but the Christ from above another, who also continued impossible, descending upon Jesus, the Son of the Creator, and flew back again into His Pleroma; and that Monogenes was the beginning, but Logos was the true son of Monogenes; and that this creation to which we belong was not made by the primary God, but by some power lying far below Him, and shut off from communion with the things invisible and ineffable.” So we see that Irenaeus answering all of these things against the Nicolaitans, the sect had far more problems and arguments with Scripture than having simple hedonist tendencies.
Ignatius in his early Epistle to the Trallians says “the impure Nicolaitanes, falsely so called, who are lovers of pleasure, and given to calumnious speeches.” In his Epistle to the Philadelphians, in Chapter VI, which is titled “Do Not Accept Judaism”, we find this: “If any one confesses the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and praises the creation, but calls the incarnation merely an appearance, and is ashamed of the passion, such an one has denied the faith, not less than the Jews who killed Christ. If any one confesses these things, and that God the Word did dwell in a human body, being within it as the Word, even as the soul also is in the body, because it was God that inhabited it, and not a human soul, but affirms that unlawful unions are a good thing, and places the highest happiness in pleasure, as does the man who is falsely called a Nicolaitan, this person can neither be a lover of God, nor a lover of Christ, but is a corrupter of his own flesh, and therefore void of the Holy Spirit, and a stranger to Christ. All such persons are but monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of dead men.”
Now these are only two of the earliest witnesses, and both Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria also discuss the Nicolaitans on several occasions. While some early Christian writers, notably Tertullian, took for granted the story that they were founded by the early Christian, Nicolaus, who is mentioned in Acts Chapter 6, Clement in his Elucidations, Book II Chapter XX relates that the sect consisted of men who actually perverted the instructions and precepts of that same Nicolaus, and became known by his name. While I will not go into all of the details here, the citations are indeed included in the notes at the end of this chapter. The other writers do, however, agree that there is much more to the Nicolaitan creed than mere hedonism. About the mention of the Nicolaitans in the Revelation Tertullian does relate that the assembly at Thuateira was infiltrated by “an heretical woman, who had taken upon herself to teach what she had learnt from the Nicolaitans.”
The Tree of Life is Christ Himself and His race. As He told the apostles, “I am the vine, you are the branches”. This phrase first appears in Genesis Chapters 2 and 3, and especially at 3:22 which is properly the first Messianic Prophecy. It appears again later in the Revelation in Chapter 22 (John 15:5).
“8 And to the messenger of the assembly in Smurna, write: Thus says the First and the Last, He who was dead and lives, 9 I know your tribulation and poverty (but you are wealthy), and the blasphemy from those saying for themselves to be Judaeans and they are not, but are a congregation of the Adversary. 10 Do not fear the things which you are going to suffer. Behold, the False Accuser is going to cast some from among you into prison, that you may be tried, and you shall have tribulation for ten days. You must be faithful until death, and I shall give to you the prize of life. 11 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies! He who prevails shall not be harmed by the second death.
Smurna is ointment, used for anointing. This assembly was not criticized by Yahshua. In fact, only two of these seven assemblies were not criticized at all, those of Smurna and Philadelphia. Since Smurna refers to the ointment used for anointing, and only the people of Israel – along with Christ Himself – are the anointed (see the paper at Christogenea. Yahweh's Anointed, the Children of Israel), and since Philadelphia means brotherly love, it is fully apparent that those who recognize the scope of the covenants and then put to practice that recognition by loving their fellow Israelite brethren, will not be criticized or condemned by Yahshua Christ at the judgement!
It also happens, that these are also the only two assemblies to which Yahshua mentions the Adversary, the synagogue of Satan, who are those children of Satan who claim to be Judah, and they are not. These are the Kenite-Canaanite-Edomite tribes who had infiltrated Judaea in the centuries before Christ, adopted Judaism in name, became circumcised and were left to be known as Jews in the Christian era. These people have actually and literally descended from the tribes of the enemies of Yahweh our God. Ezekiel explains this in chapters 35 and 36 of his prophecy, Paul explains this, in part, in Romans Chapter 9, and Yahshua Himself explains it in Luke Chapter 11 and John Chapters 8 and 10. Therefore it is evident that the “synagogue of Satan” is only mentioned to these two assemblies indicates that the adversary would persecute these assemblies above all others, because they observed the racial aspects of the Covenant.
The assembly at Smurna is poor, but they are wealthy. This means that while they have no earthly riches, they have stored up riches in heaven through their behavior here in this world. Surely this was through keeping those last instructions of Yahshua, the admonitions that we love one another, found in John Chapters 13 and 15.
The Ten Days:
The ten days of verse 10 are often interpreted as pointing to the ten persecutions of Christians under the empire. These occurred with the following emperors and years: Nero (64 A.D.) , Domitian (c.90-96), Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138), Marcus Aurelius (161-181), Septimus Severus (202-211), Maximus the Thracian (235-251), Decius (249-251), Valerian (257-260), Diocletian (303-305). But there were also persecutions under Galerius (305-311), and it is clear from the record in Acts and from Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians that there were also earlier persecutions of Christians under Claudius, for which cause Paul advised against marriage at 7:26 thus: “Really then I suppose that to be such is good, because of the present violence, that it is well for a man to be so.” Yet without the persecutions of the time of Nero and Claudius, there would be ten – except that John is very likely writing (but not receiving) the Revelation around 96 to 98 AD.
“12 And to the messenger of the assembly in Pergamos, write: Thus says He having the sharp two-edged sword, 13 I know where you dwell, where the throne of the Adversary is, and you possess My Name and you did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas My witness, My faithful one, who was slain before you, where the Adversary dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those holding the teaching of Balaam, who had taught Balak to put a trap before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. 15 Thusly you have also those holding the teaching of the people-conquerors in like manner. 16 Therefore repent, but if not I will come to you quickly and I shall make war with them by the sword of My mouth. 17 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies! To he who prevails, I shall give to him the hidden manna, and I shall give to him a white stone, and written upon the stone a new name, which no one knows except he receiving.
Pergamos was originally the name of the citadel of ancient Troy, but later the word came to describe any citadel. This later Pergamos was the seat of the famous Attallid Kingdom of the third and second centuries BC. Towards the end of the third century BC Pergamos defeated the invading Galatae, who then negotiated a deal with its king by which they settled in a portion of the ancient land of Phrygia, which then became known as Galatia. The Attalic kings were very wealthy, and Pergamos was the treasury of great riches. It was also a center of worldly learning, and Strabo states that it was well-populated with all sorts of Philosophical sects. Marc Antony allegedly once sent 200,000 volumes to Alexandria from the library at Pergamos. Pergamos was the capital of the Roman district of Asia, and it had a large and famous altar which was recently excavated, believed to be dedicated to Zeus. With certainty it dates to the time of the Attalic kings. The staircase up to the altar was 20 meters wide. The structure is over 35 meters wide and 33 meters deep. The base is decorated with a frieze depicting the battle between the gods and the giants, a famous Greek story probably handed down directly from the Old Testament scriptures. The city was the administrative center of a very rich province. Pergamos was also a center of the worship of Asclepius, the ancient Greek pagan god of medicine and healing, and was therefore a center for pharmakeia. There were, however, more famous temples of Asclepius in Epidauros and in Kos. But the Asclepius cult of Pergamos was very large, strong and influential. Yet with all of this, I could not find a meaningful reference to Pergamos, or any reference to the martyr Antipas, in the early Christian writings. Neither did Livy, Diodorus Siculus or Strabo have anything of especial significance to say about Pergamos that may give deeper insight into Yahshua's statements here, so far as I have been able to tell.
The Teaching of Balaam
Here in the message to the assembly at Pergamos we see a warning concerning fornication – race-mixing – very much like the one to Thuateira which is the next of these messages. It is evident in the account of Numbers Chapters 24 and 25 that Balaam was hired to curse the Children of Israel, but that every time he tried, he could only utter blessings. Then we see that Balak the king of Moab had the women of his tribe go out to seduce the men of Israel, but the entire account – that Balaam had actually instructed Balak to do this, is not related to us in Numbers, except later where it is alluded to in Numbers 31:16: “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” Further details are filled in by later Scriptures:
Micah 6:5 5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.
2 Peter 2:15 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
Jude 1:11 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
Revelation 2:14 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
And here we can clearly see the references to a race-mixing event having taken place, which was counseled by Balaam. Paul also affirms this in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10, where he also explains that the crime behind this episode was one of “fornication”. Paul says in verse 8: “Neither should we commit fornication, just as some of them had committed fornication, and in one day twenty-three thousand had fallen.”
Antipas the Martyr
Comparet made the error of interpreting the name Antipas as meaning “against the father”, and extending that to mean “against the pope”. While it is quaint, it is also novel: the word has no such meaning in Greek. The meaning was assigned by unknown lexicographers, but not until at least 1150 AD in a work known as the Etymologicum Magnum. I do not trust that work not to have had an interpretative clerical influence. There is no known earlier evidence that such a meaning of the word, and it should not be readily accepted. Rather, the more natural meanings are in place of all, or against all. It may be indicative of the true Christian martyr withstanding all opposition to Christ. There is no specific records in the early Christian writings of an actual martyr named Antipas.
The Pontifex Maximus: A Reformer and Identity Error
Another error that Comparet and many others in Christian Identity make is to follow Alexander Hislop in his book, The Two Babylons, especially where he claims that the title pontifex maximus came to Rome through Pergamos, inheriting it from Eumenes II upon his death in 159 BC. This is easily disproven from the classical writers, and here I shall offer one example, Diodorus Siculus, and two citations of his. The first is found in his 7th book, at 7.5.8, where he explains that Iulius, the legendary founder of the Julian line and ancestor of the famous Gaius Julius Caesar and his kindred, gained the title pontifex maximus after he was bested in an election for the kingship by Silvius, after the death of Aeneas. So we see that Diodorus believed the title to have been in Rome since its inception. Whether one wants to accept the myth or not is of no consequence, since Diodorus' second testimony is a historical citation which is from about 202 BC, in the fragments of his 27th book (27.2) where he stated that “As pontifex maximus he [meaning P. Licinius Crassus Dives]was obliged by reason of his religious duties not to absent himself from the vicinity of Rome.” Furthermore, the Roman historian Livy mentions the title pontifex maximus in many historical contexts before the death of Eumenes II of Pergamos, the first being in connection with one Quintus Furius, who held the office circa 447 BC, This is from Livy's Book III, Chapter LIV (3.54).
“18 And to the messenger of the assembly in Thuateira, write: Thus says the Son of Yahweh, He having His eyes as flames of fire and His feet like fine brass, 19 I know your works and your love and faith and righteousness and patience, and your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have against you that you allow that woman Iezabel who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I have given her time, in order that she would repent, yet she did not wish to repent from her fornication. 22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation if they do not repent from her works, 23 and I shall slay her children with death, and all of the assemblies shall know that I am He who examines minds and hearts, and I shall give to each according to your works. 24 Now I say to you for the rest of those in Thuateira, as many who do not have this teaching, whoever has not known the depths of the Adversary as they speak: I do not cast upon you another burden, 25 but hold fast that which you have until when I should come. 26 Now he who prevails and who keeps My works until the end, I shall give to him authority over the Nations, 27 and he shall shepherd them with an iron staff as it breaks ceramic vessels, 28 as I also have received from My Father. And I shall give to him the morning star. 29 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!
Thuateira apparently means heavenly sacrifice. In Greek, thua- is a prefix form of thuos, or sacrifice. The word teira may be from the noun teiros, “found only in the plural [teirea], the heavenly constellations, signs.” (Liddell & Scott), or it may be from the verb teirô, which means “to rub hard, ... to wear away, wear out, distress” (L&S). So in Greek, thuáteira may mean “heavenly sacrifice”, or perhaps “distressed sacrifice” or “sacrifice of distress” or something similar. Strong’s simply lists the word as being “of uncertain derivation” (2363), not venturing a meaning, and neither does Thayer.
This assembly, like the one at Pergamos earlier, was castigated by Yahshua for having tolerance for fornication. The word fornication can be used to describe various illicit and deviant sexual acts, however it can be fully demonstrated, from 1 Corinthians Chapter 10, Jude 7, and elsewhere in the Bible, that fornication is race-mixing. We have seen that especially in Numbers Chapters 24 and 25, discussed above in the message to the assembly at Pergamos where this same admonishment was issued in a different manner. In the Old Testament, idolatry associated with fornication was a full indication that race-mixing was the committed offense, and that can be established from Paul's statements concerning the account, cited here, and from the account itself, of the events found in Numbers Chapters 24 and 25.
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, who is known as Ithobalus in the histories of Josephus. Having had Menander's now-lost translation of the ancient Chronicles of Tyre as his reference, Josephus related that Ethbaal was a priest of the idol Astarte, the Ashtoreth of scripture (cf. 1 Kings 11:5, 16:31) who had taken the throne of Tyre by force from the descendants of the famous King Hiram. While there is no convincing proof that Ethbaal was of the stock of the Canaanites, that is a possibility, however we see here that even Jezebel had the opportunity to repent. It is apparent here, that Jezebel is the model whore, as Yahshua describes her. This is a fitting analogy. When Israel plays the harlot, the nation is eaten by metaphoric dogs (cf Psa. 22:16, Phil. 3:2, Rev. 22:15). Likewise the body of Jezebel the harlot, upon her death, was eaten by dogs, as Yahweh had pronounced would happen to her (2 Kings 9:36). Because of their acceptance of race-mixing, this assembly will suffer great tribulation. We also see in verse 24, that race-mixing comes from “the depths of the Adversary”, or Satan. All through the ages, it has been the Edomite jew who has been the promoter of the integration and mixing of the races, and this is even by their own admission, for they are proud of it. This is the first light in understanding mystery of iniquity!
The Early Christian Writers on the Nicolaitans:
Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 1 Chapter XXVI.—Doctrines of Cerinthus, the Ebionites, and Nicolaitanes.
The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practise adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Wherefore the Word has also spoken of them thus: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” 303
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. The apostolic fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. (ECF 220.127.116.11.1.27). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 3 Chapter XI—Proofs in Continuation, Extracted from St. John’s Gospel. The Gospels are Four in Number, Neither More Nor Less. Mystic Reasons for This
John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word; and not, as they allege, that the Creator was one, but the Father of the Lord another; and that the Son of the Creator was, forsooth, one, but the Christ from above another, who also continued impossible, descending upon Jesus, the Son of the Creator, and flew back again into His Pleroma; and that Monogenes was the beginning, but Logos was the true son of Monogenes; and that this creation to which we belong was not made by the primary God, but by some power lying far below Him, and shut off from communion with the things invisible and ineffable.
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. The apostolic fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. (ECF 18.104.22.168.3.12). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, Chapter XI.—Avoid the Deadly Errors of the Docetae.
Do ye also avoid those wicked offshoots of his, Simon his firstborn son, and Menander, and Basilides, and all his wicked mob of followers, the worshippers of a man, whom also the prophet Jeremiah pronounces accursed. Flee also the impure Nicolaitanes, falsely so called, who are lovers of pleasure, and given to calumnious speeches.
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. The apostolic fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. (ECF 22.214.171.124.0.11). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
If any one confesses the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and praises the creation, but calls the incarnation merely an appearance, and is ashamed of the passion, such an one has denied the faith, not less than the Jews who killed Christ. If any one confesses these things, and that God the Word did dwell in a human body, being within it as the Word, even as the soul also is in the body, because it was God that inhabited it, and not a human soul, but affirms that unlawful unions are a good thing, and places the highest happiness 54 in pleasure, as does the man who is falsely called a Nicolaitan, this person can neither be a lover of God, nor a lover of Christ, but is a corrupter of his own flesh, and therefore void of the Holy Spirit, and a stranger to Christ. All such persons are but monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of dead men.The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chapter VI.—Do Not Accept Judaism.
Clement of Alexandria, Elucidations, Book II, from Chapter XX.—The True Gnostic Exercises Patience and Self-Restraint.
Such also are those (who say that they follow Nicolaus, quoting an adage of the man, which they pervert, 247 “that the flesh must be abused.” But the worthy man showed that it was necessary to check pleasures and lusts, and by such training to waste away the impulses and propensities of the flesh. But they, abandoning themselves to pleasure like goats, as if insulting the body, lead a life of self-indulgence; not knowing that the body is wasted, being by nature subject to dissolution; while their soul is buffed in the mire of vice; following as they do the teaching of pleasure itself, not of the apostolic man. For in what do they differ from Sardanapalus, whose life is shown in the epigram:—
“I have what I ate—what I enjoyed wantonly;
And the pleasures I felt in love. But those
Many objects of happiness are left,
For I too am dust, who ruled great Ninus.”
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. II : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Fathers of the second century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire) (ECF 126.96.36.199.2.20). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Tertullian, Against All Heresies, Chapter I.—Earliest Heretics: 2 Simon Magus, Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Nicolaus.
A brother heretic 21 emerged in Nicolaus. He was one of the seven deacons who were appointed in the Acts of the Apostles. 22 He affirms that Darkness was seized with a concupiscence—and, indeed, a foul and obscene one—after Light: out of this permixture it is a shame to say what fetid and unclean (combinations arose). The rest (of his tenets), too, are obscene. For he tells of certain ¦ons, sons of turpitude, and of conjunctions of execrable and obscene embraces and per-mixtures, 23 and certain yet baser outcomes of these. He teaches that there were born, moreover, dµmons, and gods, and spirits seven, and other things sufficiently sacrilegious. alike and foul, which we blush to recount, and at once pass them by. Enough it is for us that this heresy of the Nicolaitans has been condemned by the Apocalypse of the Lord with the weightiest authority attaching to a sentence, in saying “Because this thou holdest, thou hatest the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I too hate.” 24
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. (ECF 188.8.131.52.0.1). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Tertullian, The Five Books Against Marcion, Book I, Chapter XXIX.—Marcion Forbids Marriage. Tertullian Eloquently Defends It as Holy, and Carefully Discriminates Between Marcion’s Doctrine and His Own Montanism.
Now, such a scheme as this must no doubt involve the proscription of marriage. Let us see, then, whether it be a just one: not as if we aimed at destroying the happiness of sanctity, as do certain Nicolaitans in their maintenance of lust and luxury, but as those who have come to the knowledge of sanctity, and pursue it and prefer it, without detriment, however, to marriage; not as if we superseded a bad thing by a good, but only a good thing by a better. For we do not reject marriage, but simply refrain from it. 356
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. (ECF 184.108.40.206.1.29). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Tertullian, Elucidations, Book VII. On Modesty, Chapter XIX.—Objections from the Revelation and the First Epistle of St. John Refuted.
For (the angel of the Thyatirene Church) was secretly introducing into the Church, and urging justly to repentance, an heretical woman, who had taken upon herself to teach what she had learnt from the Nicolaitans. For who has a doubt that an heretic, deceived by (a spurious baptismal) rite, upon discovering his mischance, and expiating it by repentance, both attains pardon and is restored to the bosom of the Church? Whence even among us, as being on a par with an heathen, nay even more than heathen, an heretic likewise, (such an one) is purged through the baptism of truth from each character, 235 and admitted (to the Church).
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. IV : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second. (ECF 220.127.116.11.0.18). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies, Book VII, Chapter XXIV.—The Melchisedecians; The Nicolaitans.
While, however, different questions have arisen among them, a certain (heretic), who himself also was styled Theodotus, and who was by trade a banker, 97 attempted to establish (the doctrine), that a certain Melchisedec constitutes the greatest power, and that this one is greater than Christ. And they allege that Christ happens to be according to the likeness (of this Melchisedec). And they themselves, similarly with those who have been previously spoken of as adherents of Theodotus, assert that Jesus is a (mere) man, and that, in conformity with the same account (already given), Christ descended upon him.
There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion; but we have decided that it would not be worth while to enumerate the silly doctrines of these (heretics), inasmuch as they are (too) numerous and devoid of reason, and full of blasphemy. Now, even those (of the heretics) who are of a more serious turn in regard of 98 the Divinity, and have derived their systems of speculation from the Greeks, must stand convicted 99 (of these charges). But Nicolaus 100 has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. He, as one of the seven (that were chosen) for the diaconate, 101 was appointed by the Apostles. (But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. 102 And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols.
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus,Cyprian, Novatian, Appendix. (ECF 18.104.22.168.5.25). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Victorinus, from his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John
From line 6. “This thou hast also, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes.”] But because thou thyself hatest those who hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes, thou expectest praise. Moreover, to hate the works of the Nicolaitanes, which He Himself also hated, this tends to praise. But the works of the Nicolaitanes were in that time false and troublesome men, who, as ministers under the name of Nicolaus, had made for themselves a heresy, to the effect that what had been offered to idols might be exorcised and eaten, and that whoever should have committed fornication might receive peace on the eighth day. Therefore He extols those to whom He is writing; and to these men, being such and so great, He promised the tree of life, which is in the paradise of His God.
From line 14: “Thou hast there some who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught in the case of Balak that he should put a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat and to commit fornication. So also hast thou them who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes; but I will fight with them with the sword of my mouth.”] That is, I will say what I shall command, and I will tell you what you shall do. For Balaam, 22 with his doctrine, taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the eyes of the children of Israel, to eat what was sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication,—a thing which is known to have happened of old. For he gave this advice to the king of the Moabites, and they caused stumbling to the people. Thus, says He, ye have among you those who hold such doctrine; and under the pretext of mercy, you would corrupt others.
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. VII : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily and Liturgies. (ECF 22.214.171.124.0.2). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VI, Chapter VIII, Who Were the Successors of Simon’s Impiety, and What Heresies They Set Up.
VIII. But when we went forth among the Gentiles to preach the word of life, then the devil wrought in the people to send after us false apostles to the corrupting of the word; arid they sent forth one Cleobius, and joined him with Simon, and these became disciples to one Dositheus, whom they despising, put him down from the principality. Afterwards also others were the authors of absurd doctrines: Cerinthus, and Marcus, and Menander, and Basilides, and Saturnilus. Of these some own the doctrine of many gods, some only of three, but contrary to each other, without beginning, and ever with one another, and some of an infinite number of them, and those unknown ones also. And some reject marriage; and their doctrine is, that it is not the appointment of God; and others abhor some kinds of food: some are impudent in uncleanness, such as those who are falsely called Nicolaitans. And Simon meeting me Peter, first at Caesarea Stratonis (where the faithful Cornelius, a Gentile, believed on the Lord Jesus by me), endeavoured to pervert the word of God; there being with me the holy children, Zacchaeus, who was once a publican, and Barnabas; and Nicetas and Aquila, brethren of Clement the bishop and citizen of Rome, who was the disciple of Paul, our fellow-apostle and fellow-helper in the Gospel. I thrice discoursed before them with him concerning the true Prophet, and concerning the monarchy of God; and when I had overcome him by the power of the Lord, and had put him to silence, I drove him away into Italy.
Roberts, A. 1997. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. VII : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily and Liturgies. (ECF 126.96.36.199.6.10). Logos Research Systems: Oak Harbor