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Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Surrounded by Evil?

The angel looking at the church of Pergamum wrote:
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells” (Revelation 2:12-13).

You can’t get any closer to evil than being in Satan’s presence!
But what is said about this church?
“But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality” (Revelation 2:14).

Remember Balaam?
He was the “true” prophet called by King Balak to curse the people of Israel.
God told Balaam these people were His and Balaam was not to curse, but bless them.
But King Balak promised Balaam riches and honor if he would curse them.
Balaam looked at the riches that could be his, and asked again whether he could curse God’s people (as if God would change His mind.)
God said, “No.”
Balaam sent the messengers back to King Balak, but he couldn’t forget the riches.
The king sent Balaam another group with more riches.
Balaam asked God again. Did he think God would change?
God said, “Return with them, but speak only My words.”
On the way, Balaam’s donkey even reminded him of what God wanted.
So Balaam blessed the people.
But Balaam couldn’t forget the riches. He proposed a plan, that wouldn’t disobey God, but would get him the riches anyway. He told King Balak how to destroy God’s people.
The king rewarded Balaam.
And God’s people fell into immorality and idol worship, and were judged.

A long story to explain the doctrine of Balaam.
Balaam followed the letter of God’s law: he certainly didn’t curse God’s people.
But Balaam didn’t follow the spirit of God’s law: he helped God’s people sin.
He wanted to feel like he had obeyed God (who wants to feel guilty?), but he wanted riches too.
​Balaam didn’t want to be poor. He was tired of living like a prophet, who depended upon God for every meal. Didn’t he deserve more than that as God’s spokesman? God wouldn’t want him to struggle, Would He? This must be God’s answer to his poverty!Are we any different?
How close can we get to looking like the world, but not “be” the world?
Balaam didn’t want to be poor. He was tired of living like a prophet, who depended upon God for every meal. Didn’t he deserve more than that as God’s spokesman? God wouldn’t want him to struggle, Would He? This must be God’s answer to his poverty!

Don’t we do the same?
We want to enjoy what the world offers, but still obey God.
We justify what we do, even as God’s Word pricks our heart.
We obey the letter of the law, but we stretch the rules to do what we want.
We follow the teaching of Balaam.

What happens when we do?
We put a stumbling block to younger believers who are looking at you for an example.
Maybe even, hindering someone from knowing God.
If the church does it, why can’t I?
If my church allows women to teach men, or lead in worship, why must I submit to my own husband?
We want to look like a Christian, but not commit totally to do what it takes to live like a Christian.
We follow the teaching of Balaam.

What else was this church doing, that the angel had “against them”?
“So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans” (Revelation 2:15).

What is the teaching of the Nicolaitans?
Nicolaitans means “the conqueror of the people.” The word conquer implies force and control over someone. In this setting, the church leaders were controlling the laity.

Peter warns of this dominion.
“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you. . . shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3).

Bear with me as I give a bit of background of this word: “Nicolaitans.”
It originated with Nimrod in Genesis.
“Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. . . . The beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Genesis 10:8-10).
In the next chapter we see what became of Nimrod’s leadership over people.
Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).

This directly opposed God’s command, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over (the fish…birds…every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

Nimrod ruled over the people.
Nimrod’s plan was to bring a one-world government and set himself up as ruler.
This is the heart of Nicolaitan teaching.

God changed his plans. Towel of Babel is known today for God's judgment. He confused their languages.

This Nicolaitan ideology of “ruling over another” came again during the Babylonian empire with King Nebuchadnezzar. He proclaimed himself as “god,” to be worshipped.

“You, O king are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold” (Daniel 2:37-38).

God again intervened and showed Nebuchadnezzar that He alone was God and worthy to be praised. Nebuchadnezzar spent some time in the fields eating grass like an ox. When he returned to his throne, he changed his agenda.

Mankind's history shows over and over how man seeks to control other man. [We are never content with dominion over just the other created beings.]

The teaching of Nicolaitans in Revelation applies to religious leaders controlling their own people.
God put no man between Himself and man.
Adam and Eve talked with and listened to God.
God talked to Moses, yet Moses didn’t rule over the people. He told the people what God told him.
God didn’t even want His people ruled by a king.
But His people begged to be like the rest of the world. So they got one.
They found the king took more from them then they could imagine.

Today in the Church, God gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, not to rule over His Church but to serve its members.
The Greek word for apostle means messenger or sent one.
Prophet was someone sent by God with a divine message.
Teacher taught the things of God and duties of man.
None of these spiritual gifts functioned as rulers but rather servants for His people—to help know Him better.

This Nicolaitans teaching controls God’s people, dictating what they should believe, what they should do, and how they should act.
The leaders decide what God’s Word says for their people.
The leaders may allow their people to “vote,” but they manipulate the vote to gain what they believe is “God’s will” for the people.

Notice this chart.

Table 1: Similarities between a king and minister who rules over God’s people

What happens when you allow a king to rule over you and not YHWH? 

What happens when you allow ministers/priests and churches/religious institutions to rule over you and not YHWH?

Family: Take sons away from the home to work for the king. The work includes serving in the army, and in the king’s farms.

Take daughters away to look after the king and to work for the king.

Family: Take sons from their family so that they can help in the ministry of the church as volunteers and to help the church grow.

Many churches don’t allow people to marry someone from outside the church. For instance, a member of the living church of God is only allowed to marry another member of the living church of God. 

Land: Best produce of your land is for the king and his people who serve in his courtyard.

Land: The church encourages people to give their inheritance after they die to the church. “…If you would like to donate your house/property to the church, please do contact us”.

Household: Your servants and your friends he is going to take for his own work.

Household: While the ministers enjoy their comfortable life, they expect you to come and help in the church, like cleaning the church, kitchen duties, usher duties and other duties as commanded by the ministers.

Livelihood: Your grains, winery and your sheep, a tenth of them he is going to take for his own need.

Livelihood: These ministers rob you of your livelihood under the banner of tithes and donations. For instance, under the donation section on their church website, you will be surprised to see the number of tithes they require from you:

First Tithe (Living Church of God)

Second Tithe (Living Church of God)

Third Tithe (Living Church of God)

Festival Fund (United Church of God)

Assistance Fund (United Church of God)

Youth Program Fund (United Church of God)

Good Work Program Fund (United Church of God)

Building Fund (United Church of God)

International Work Fund  (United Church of God)

 

<http://messianicjews.com.au/articles/details/13/Doctrine-or-Teaching-of-the-Nicolaitans-and-Church-Government>.


In considering just the first box, the father’s authority was given by God. No one—government or religious leader—should take that God-given authority from the father.
When they do, they are following Nicolaitan teaching.

This is what the angel says will happen:
"Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16).

God wars against them.
These religious leaders are not even FOR God.

We see this Nicolaitan teaching in the Roman Catholic Church. The pope sets himself as God’s mediator for His message.
We also see this in the Mormon “Church.”
But we also see this in many so-called Christian churches.
Our churches look more like clubs. We act the same, but we don’t follow God. We follow our pastor or elder.
The leaders dictate what the people believe.
The members follow blindly as sheep.

Evaluate your church leaders.
Do they impose unity by rules not found in the Bible?
Do they undermine a “vote” when it doesn’t result in what they want? (To “instruct” those erring members in what is "right.")

You defend them by saying, “I'm not learned in the Bible, how am I to know?”
Search the Scriptures.
God's truth is simple enough for a child to understand. So are His commands. Samuel, when a child said, “Here am I, Lord, Your servant listens.” Samuel was used as a child by God to instruct Eli of his disobedient sons.

Some may even say, "My husband decides."
You are to submit, that is true. But you will also stand before God alone (without your husband by your side) and be judged by how you obeyed the truth that you knew and should have obeyed.
 
Listen to God's Spirit as you read His Word.
Then Obey.
Even if that means, you don't act like everyone else in the world or the church.

What more does the angel say?
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, to him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it” (Revelation 2:17).

Manna was given to the Israelites when they traveled through the desert. It kept them alive.
In like manner, the hidden manna keeps us alive eternally.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35).
That manna is Christ Jesus Who gives us eternal life.

What about the white stone?
In ancient court times, the verdict was given: a black stone meant guilty, a white stone meant innocent.

When we took of the manna, (accepting Jesus’s work on the cross), our sin debt was paid by Him on the cross.
The righteous Judge declares us innocent and shows a white stone. Praise God!

And the new name?
Your name represents your reputation. We were enemies of Christ, known for our evil deeds, but when we accept His substitute on the cross for our sin, He gives us a new name, a fresh start, a new reputation, untainted by our sin. What a gift!

When standing against Satan, God's Spirit helps you discern truth from lies. He gives strength to keep you standing for truth, even when tempted to choose the riches of this world.
God created you to have no man control or dictate how you should obey Him. He is our sole Leader in control.
When we stand for truth, He gives us the manna that last eternally, declares our innocence of what really matters (His rules) and gives us a new name.

Standing against Satan?
Expect it.
But never alone when you are following Him.
God's got your back.

Bibliography
Bible Study Org. "Who Are the Nicolaitans." n.d. Bible Study Org. 10 October 2018. <http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/why-does-god-hate-practices-of-the-nicolaitans.html>.
Got Questions. "Why is GOd going to give us a white stone with a new name?" n.d. Got Questions. 10 October 2018. <https://www.gotquestions.org/white-stone-new-name.html>.
Longtom Radio. "The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans." 2015. The Longtom Radio. 10 October 2018. <http://www.ltradio.org/articles/?admin=linkto&link=77>.
Messianic Jews Natsarenes. "Doctrine or Teaching of the Nicolaitans and Church Government." 2018. Messianic Jews Natsarenes. 10 October 2018. <http://messianicjews.com.au/articles/details/13/Doctrine-or-Teaching-of-the-Nicolaitans-and-Church-Government>.
"Nicolaitans." n.d. Bible Study Tools. 10 October 2018. <https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nicolaitans/>.
Quinn, Jon W. "Hidden Manna "...a white stone...a new name"." March 2011. The Expository Files 18:3. 10 October 2018. <http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-revelation-2-17.htm>.
Renner, Rick. "Who Were the Nicolaitans and What Was Their Doctrine and Deeds?" 17 August 2016. Renner: Teaching You Can Trust. 10 October 2018. <https://renner.org/who-were-nicolaitans-what-was-doctrine-deeds/>.
Study Light Org. "Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary." n.d. Revelation 2:17. 10 October 2018. <https://www.studylight.org/commentary/revelation/2-17.html>.

When you stand before God's judgment will you be one of His, or will He war against you?
 

I write about what matters...to you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
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               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
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