Sheol and the Nicolaitan Church Jesus hates

Published by Rob Skiba June 16, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Revelation 2 (ASV):

To The Church of Ephesus

1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:

2 I know thy works, and thy toil and patience, and that thou canst not bear evil men, and didst try them that call themselves apostles, and they are not, and didst find them false;

3 and thou hast patience and didst bear for my name’s sake, and hast not grown weary.

4 But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.

5 Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.

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

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

To The Church of Smyrna

 8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and lived again:

9 I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they art not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

To The Church of Pergamum

 12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword:

13 I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. [which is to go against the laws – Torah – of YHVH]

15 So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner.

16 Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

The Nicoladean Model Jesus HATES:

Nicolaitans were one of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, according to Revelation 2:6,15.

The name “Nicolaitans” is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, a compound of the wordsnikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word that means to conquer or to subdue. The word laos is the Greek word for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people. It seems to suggest that the Nicolaitans were somehow conquering and subduing the people. Thus, as a symbolic reference, many believe that the “teaching of the Nicolaitans” refers to domination of the people (or lording over them). Dominating the people goes against the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28.

This being the case, I found it quite interesting that this last week’s Virtual House Church Bible Study (see/hear at: ) dealt with Korah and his rebellion against the leadership of Moses. While it is true that Moses was appointed by YHVH to be the leader of the people, he was not “lording over them.” Rather, he was acting as the mediator between God and man, revealing the Father’s will and giving His instructions (Torah) to the people.

Of even further interest, is the fact that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism, which makes the fatal mistake that man can freely partake in sin (which is defined by the Bible as lawLESSness) because – supposedly – the Law of God is no longer binding. In our study of Numbers 16, we saw how the people of Israel often rebelled against Moses and the laws (instructions – i.e. Torah of YHVH) he was giving to the people direct from God.

Antinomianism comes from the Greek meaning lawless. In Christian theology it is a pejorative term for the teaching that Christians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality. Few, if any, would explicitly call themselves “antinomian,” hence, it is usually a charge leveled by one group against an opposing group.

Antinomianism may be viewed as the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. In this sense, both antinomianism and legalism are considered errant extremes. It held the truth on the gratuitous reckoning of righteousness; but supposed that a mere intellectual “belief” in this truth had a saving power.

Nicolaitans of the 2nd century seem to have continued and extended the views of the 1st century adherents, holding to the freedom of the flesh and sin, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh had no effect upon the health of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation.

Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made God’s law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation.

Korah’s rebellion and the Last Days:

Note that Korah and his followers were against the Law (Torah) of YHVH and Moses and they were therefore “cast alive into Sheol” (Numbers 16:33).

Sheol is found in the Bible sixty-five times. It is translated “the pit” three times, “the grave” thirty-one times, and “hell” thirty-one times. Hades is used eleven times, being rendered “hell” ten times and “grave” once. Adding to the confusion is that two other words are also translated hell in the New Testament. These are Tartarus, which is found once and Gehenna, which is used twelve times.

The online Jewish Encyclopedia has this to say about Sheol:


Position and Form.

Hebrew word of uncertain etymology (see Sheol, Critical View), synonym of “bor” (pit), “abaddon” and “shaḥat” (pit or destruction), and perhaps also of “tehom” (abyss).

— Biblical Data:

It connotes the place where those that had died were believed to be congregated. Jacob, refusing to be comforted at the supposed death of Joseph, exclaims: “I shall go down to my son a mourner unto Sheol” (Gen. xxxvii. 36, Hebr.; comp. ib. xlii. 38; xliv. 29, 31). Sheol is underneath the earth (Isa. vii. 11, lvii. 9; Ezek. xxxi. 14; Ps. lxxxvi. 13; Ecclus. [Sirach] li. 6; comp. Enoch, xvii. 6, “toward the setting of the sun”); hence it is designated as  (Deut. xxxii. 22; Ps. lxxxvi. 13) or  (Ps. lxxxviii. 7; Lam. iii. 55; Ezek. xxvi. 20, xxxii. 24). It is very deep (Prov. ix. 18; Isa. lvii. 9); and it marks the point at the greatest possible distance from heaven (Job xi. 8; Amos ix. 2; Ps. cxxxix. 8). The dead descend or are made to go down into it; the revived ascend or are brought and lifted up from it (I Sam. ii. 6; Job vii. 9; Ps. xxx. 4; Isa. xiv. 11, 15). Sometimes the living are hurled into Sheol before they would naturally have been claimed by it (Prov. i. 12; Num. xvi. 33; Ps. lv. 16, lxiii. 10), in which cases the earth is described as “opening her mouth” (Num. xvi. 30). Sheol is spoken of as a land (Job x. 21, 22); but ordinarily it is a place with gates (ib. xvii. 16, xxxviii. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 10; Ps. ix. 14), and seems to have been viewed as divided into compartments (Prov. vii. 27), with “farthest corners” (Isa. xiv. 15; Ezek. xxxii. 23, Hebr.; R. V. “uttermost parts of the pit”), one beneath the other (see Jew. Encyc. v. 217, s. v. Eschatology). Here the dead meet (Ezek. xxxii.; Isa. xiv.; Job xxx. 23) without distinction of rank or condition—the rich and the poor, the pious and the wicked, the old and the young, the master and the slave—if the description in Job iii. refers, as most likely it does, to Sheol. The dead continue after a fashion their earthly life. Jacob would mourn there (Gen. xxxvii. 35, xlii. 38); David abides there in peace (I Kings ii. 6); the warriors have their weapons with them (Ezek. xxxii. 27), yet they are mere shadows (“rephaim”; Isa. xiv. 9, xxvi. 14; Ps. lxxxviii. 5, A. V. “a man that hath no strength”). The dead merely exist without knowledge or feeling (Job xiv. 13; Eccl. ix. 5). Silence reigns supreme; and oblivion is the lot of them that enter therein (Ps. lxxxviii. 13, xciv. 17; Eccl. ix. 10). Hence it is known also as “Dumah,” the abode of silence (Ps. vi. 6, xxx. 10, xciv. 17, cxv. 17); and there God is not praised (ib. cxv. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 15). Still, on certain extraordinary occasions the dwellers in Sheol are credited with the gift of making knowntheir feelings of rejoicing at the downfall of the enemy (Isa. xiv. 9, 10). Sleep is their usual lot (Jer. li. 39; Isa. xxvi. 14; Job xiv. 12). Sheol is a horrible, dreary, dark, disorderly land (Job x. 21, 22); yet it is the appointed house for all the living (ib. xxx. 23). Return from Sheol is not expected (II Sam. xii. 23; Job vii. 9, 10; x. 21; xiv. 7 et seq.; xvi. 22; Ecclus. [Sirach] xxxviii. 21); it is described as man’s eternal house (Eccl. xii. 5). It is “dust” (Ps. xxx. 10; hence in the Shemoneh ‘Esreh, in benediction No. ii., the dead are described as “sleepers in the dust”).

— God Its Ruler.

God’s rulership over it is recognized (Amos ix. 2; Hos. xiii. 14; Deut. xxxii. 22; I Sam. ii. 6 [Isa. vii. 11?]; Prov. xv. 11). Hence He has the power to save the pious therefrom (Ps. xvi. 10, xlix. 16, the text of which latter passage, however, is recognized as corrupt). Yet Sheol is never satiated (Prov. xxx. 20); she “makes wide her soul,” i.e., increases her desire (Isa. v. 14) and capacity. In these passages Sheol is personified; it is described also as a pasture for sheep with death as the shepherd (Ps. xlix. 15). From Sheol Samuel is cited by the witch of En-dor (I Sam. xxviii. 3 et seq.). As a rule Sheol will not give up its own. They are held captive with ropes. This seems to be the original idea underlying the phrase  (II Sam. xxii. 6; Ps. xviii. 6; R. V., verse 5, “the cords of Sheol”) and of the other expression,  (Ps. cxvi. 3; R. V. “and the pains of Sheol”); for they certainly imply restraint or capture. Sheol is used as a simile for “jealousy” (Cant. viii. 7).

Getting back to Korah and his rebellion…

Paul called the Antichrist the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3). He is Nimrod, the man whose very name means, “the rebellious one.” John defines sin as lawLESSness (1 John 3:4). Thus, the Antichrist is one who is against God (which is rebellion) and against His Torah (which equates to sin). Those who oppose the Torah/Moses are operating under the rebellious spirit of lawlessness just as both Korah did and the Antichrist will.

In like manner to what became of Korah, note what happens to the Antichrist and False Prophet:

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who wrought miracles in his presence, by which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone.

I don’t know about you… but I’m thinking – especially in these Last Days – that it is much better to come out of the lawless/lording Nicolaitan model of church doctrine and practice and get back on YHVH’s page. So much the more as we see the “day” approaching.

– Rob Skiba


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