Revelation 2:15: Christ's Hatred of False Doctrine

Verse 15:[1] So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine (Rev. 2:6) of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.



[So hast thou also, etc.] Namely, thou holdest them as members of thy Church, although thou wert obliged to eject them (Durham). Thou wert obliged to use the sword of Christ against them, just as that Angel, having a sword, had resisted Balaam, Numbers 22:22, 23 (Grotius). The overseers of the Churches that tolerate heretics in the Church, sin: their subordinates do not sin less, when they familiarly converse with them without necessity, for from them a great and manifest danger to faith and manners is at hand, which danger they are required by divine and natural Law to flee (Estius).


So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans; so, saith he, thou sufferest in thy communion filthy persons, who maintain fornication lawful, and the lawfulness of eating meat offered to idols, which exactly corresponds with Balaam’s doctrine or counsel given to Balak, in order to his weakening the Israelites by separating them from God. His counsel took place, to the destruction of twenty-four thousand Israelites.


[ὃ μισῶ] Which (that is, thy deed [Camerarius]: or, which men [Vatablus] [as if he had read οὕς/whom]) I hate. As in Revelation 2:6 (Brightman). Here thou hast the doctrine of the Nicolaitans; in Revelation 2:6, the works of the Nicolaitans. Thus they were both most corrupt in manners, and were turning manners into doctrine (Cotterius). That ὁμοίως [similarly, which the Vulgate places at the beginning of the following verse] in a manuscript[2] pertains to verse 15, so that there might be a Pleonasm in οὕτως, in this manner,[3] and ὁμοίως/similarly. Thus ὁμοίως καὶ ὡς, likewise and as, in Luke 17:28.[4] And because that Pleonasm was offending some, it happened that in certain Codices ὁμοίως/similarly was changed into ὃ μισῶ, which thing I hate (Grotius).


Which thing I hate; I am the same God still, and hate such doctrines, as much as ever I did in the time of Balak.

[1] Greek: οὕτως ἔχεις καὶ σὺ κρατοῦντας τὴν διδαχὴν τῶν Νικολαϊτῶν· ὃ μισῶ.


[2] This reading is found in Codex Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Rescriptus Ephræmi; and in the majority of Byzantine manuscripts, but not in the Textus Receptus.


[3] Revelation 2:15: “So (οὕτως) hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans similarly (ὁμοίως).”


[4] Luke 17:28a: “Similarly and as (ὁμοίως καὶ ὡς) it was in the days of Lot…”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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