Blood on the Altar–Part 14: WHY ANTICHRIST BELIEVES — WITH HELP FROM CHRISTIANS — HIS WAR ON THE "BORN AGAIN" WILL SUCCEED
BLOOD ON THE ALTAR
The Coming War Between Christian vs. Christian
PART 14 – WHY ANTICHRIST BELIEVES — WITH HELP FROM CHRISTIANS — HIS WAR ON THE "BORN AGAIN" WILL SUCCEED | By Douglas W. Krieger and S. Douglas Woodward
At the time he was rising to global power, Hitler’s audience was Catholic, but his announcement of the Concordat with Rome (the papal agreement, July 5, 1933) had meaning to Protestants as well.
The message was obvious and clear: Friendly relations—relations that are inclusive of the church—must be the norm in a resurgent Germany. “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.”[i]
Hitler was even more effusive about the value of Nazism to benefit the church:
While we destroyed the Center Party [a Catholic political party[ii]], we have not only brought thousands of priests back into the Church, but to millions of respectable people we have restored their faith in their religion and in their priests. The union of the Evangelical Church in a single Church for the whole Reich, the Concordat with the Catholic Church, these are but milestones on the road, which leads to the establishment of a useful relation and a useful co-operation between the Reich and the two Confessions.[iii]
Furthermore, it was essential to separate the realms of personal faith from political action. Hitler’s “spheres of function” were altogether essential insofar as the church’s dominion was concerned, for without the spiritual health of Germany, there would be no political health. But he also took a hard line to distinguish their responsibilities: The church was to look after the spiritual and moral health of the flock—the state would tend to its material need:
The German Church and the People are practically the same body. Therefore there could be no issue between Church and State. The Church, as such, has nothing to do with political affairs. On the other hand, the State has nothing to do with the faith or inner organization of the Church.[iv]
The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today.[v]
So long as they concern themselves with their religious problems the State does not concern itself with them. But so soon as they attempt by any means whatsoever—by letters, Encyclical, or otherwise—to arrogate to themselves rights which belong to the State alone we shall force them back into their proper spiritual, pastoral activity.[vi]
In other words, both church and state must reassure its denizens the institution exists to provide for their well-being. But it is, from Hitler’s perspective, necessary that they split duties. Keep the church’s message personal and positive while the state should keep on its message of economic welfare for all (sound familiar as of late?). And of course, the supremacy of the state must be upheld. It was never to be questioned. The state dictated the role of the church. Furthermore, it mandated that any criticism of the state would not be tolerated.
Movement afoot for a new National Socialism between politics & religion?
Moreover, upon close inspection, Hitler would “gerrymander” the territory of the state whenever it suited him. Some theological modifications would be necessary. In a Germany liberated from the “old-fashioned” faith, the church should dismiss any talk of humankind’s sinful inclinations and its need for repentance. Evil must be mitigated—more specifically, downgraded—and reduced in substance to “mistakes” and not the more menacing notion of sin.Defects in human behavior amount to little more than “poor choices.” Thus, with sin redefined and evil eliminated as a “metaphysical reality,”[vii] the gospel was compromised and the church complicit. It could then pray reverently with the Führer:
We want honestly to earn the resurrection of our people through our industry, our perseverance, and our will. We ask not of the Almighty, “Lord, make us free!”—we want to be active, to work, to agree together as brothers, to strive in rivalry with one another to bring about the hour when we can come before Him and when we may ask of Him: “Lord, Thou seest that we have transformed ourselves, the German people is no longer the people of dishonor, of shame, of war within itself, of faintheartedness and little faith: no, Lord, the German people has become strong again in spirit, strong in will, strong in endurance, strong to bear all sacrifices.” “Lord, we will not let Thee go: bless now our fight for our freedom; the fight we wage for our German people and Fatherland.”[viii]
Furthermore, while the Führer did not directly confront Christian sensibilities, his prayer led one to conjecture as to what “positive Christianity” involved, and exactly what its opposite—“negative Christianity”—would entail. No doubt his listeners let the matter drop without questioning the meaning behind his exhortation for accentuating a “positive Christianity.” In contradistinction, like observing a lit firecracker failing to pop, we should be very alarmed when such a loaded phrase lies dormant for too long. Observers must be asleep if they have no apprehension about when the firecracker will detonate.
To the wary spectator, Hitler’s statement anticipated a pause “for the other shoe to drop.” And yet, assuming nothing but good intent from the Führer, the audience did not worry one iota that another shoe would hit the floor. Instead, they were enraptured by Hitler’s acclamation:
MY LORD AND SAVIOR…IN THE BOUNDLESS LOVE AS A CHRISTIAN…HE HAD TO SHED HIS BLOOD UPON THE CROSS. My feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them [Peter should take up his sword, rather than put it away]. This is God’s truth! He was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.[ix] (emphasis added)
The notion that the Messiah was himself NOT Jewish was a view propounded by Richard Wagner, the famous German composer whose operas were expressions of the nineteenth-century German zeitgeist (the “spirit of the age”). Unquestionably, Hitler’s favorite composer, Wagner, stirred Hitler’s soul to envision a revived, irrepressible, and vengeful Germany. During World War II, Wagner’s legacy lived on as his music filled the putrefied air of Holocaust death camps. As a result, survivors would forever associate Wagner with Auschwitz. This was no disservice to Wagner—for he believed that Christ was Aryan, not Jewish. And like Friedrich Nietzsche, the “Philosopher Emeritus” of the German people (a good friend of Wagner until their falling out), he believed the German soul must not be dragged down by the “slave mentality” of the Jew. Consequently, it logically followed that Jesus could never be considered a Jew. To the aspiring German mindset, the Jews were a millstone about their necks. The Hebrew religion bestowed nothing but restrictive laws and depressive guilt. It was time for Germany to cast aside the Jewish mentality and its stifling effect upon the soul of humankind, but especially their Aryan race!
As to Nietzsche, he famously asserted a philosophy known as the will to power. To the extent Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified, to that same extent Jesus was Himself the anti-Christ. For Nietzsche, Jesus’ commitment to die for the sin of the world was nothing but a death wish to be condemned and repudiated. For him, Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life remains the source of so much nonsense contaminating the true purpose for religion. Instead, a “true confession” encourages struggle! (Mein Kampf, of course, means “My Struggle.”) For Nietzsche, suffering saves no one. Moreover, this must be the stalwart creed of all true believers. The gospel of Wagner, Nietzsche, and especially Adolf Hitler held in common a disdain for the Jew.
The duty to be a fighter for truth, justice, (and the German way) comprises, of course, the motto of Superman, the quintessential American superhero. Indeed, less feted translators often seek to convey the meaning of Nietzsche’sÜbermensch with the expression “superman.” However oversimplified this one-word translation (especially vulgar to the sophisticated), nonetheless, it likewise urges those loyal to Old Glory—the red, white, and blue—to stand and be counted! America boasts the greatest military ever assembled. Any concept of redemptive suffering preached from the Bible by ignoble vicars of Christ surely misses the mark. Turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:39) cannot be what Christ actually meant. “Fight back! Don’t get mad—get even!” Of course, the German people in the 1920s and 1930s were a frustrated, defeated people, wearing anger on their sleeves right below their swastikas.
Americans do not feel compelled to take such overt military action. Discretion is the better part of valor. We much prefer to keep our battles on the “down low,” equipping our intelligence services to act covertly (witness the current, 2013 conflict regarding the National Security Agency’s mining of private phone and Internet data, spying on multiple foreign [friendly] governments, accessing and cataloguing private data of one hundred million Americans, as well as the intrusive behavior of the Treasury Department’s Internal Revenue Service), requiring our special forces to operate in darkness, and necessitating US sorties of the aeronautical kind be carried out in stealth mode. As the military is wont to say, “We own the night.” Unlike the saints to whom Paul addressed his letters, one could argue, that in the last one hundred years, the US government has seldom sought to be mistaken for children of the day.
Hating in the Name of Christ and Country
The unity of the church was important to Hitler. He could not consummate his grand plan without the support of the church. He required his backside be covered. Consequently, it was crucial that disputes in the church be silenced, if for no other reason than to keep quarrels from bubbling over into matters of state and distracting the populace from the bellicose but sacred duty before them.
It will at any rate be my supreme task to see to it that in the newly awakened NSDAP [Nazi Party], the adherents of both Confessions can live peacefully together side by side in order that they may take their stand in the common fight against the power, which is the mortal foe of any true Christianity [as Hitler would define it].[x]
This is for us a ground for satisfaction, since we desire that the fight in the religious camps should come to an end…all political action in the parties will be forbidden to priests for all time, happy because we know what is wanted by millions who long to see in the priest only the comforter of their souls and not the representative of their political convictions.[xi](emphasis added)
Furthermore, Hitler required that the church’s energy contribute to the Fatherland’s fighting spirit. Christ must not be seen as the Prince of Peace. Religious fires must burn brightly on his (Hitler’s) behalf.
So far as the Evangelical Confessions are concerned, we are determined to put an end to existing divisions, which are concerned only with the forms of organization, and to create a single Evangelical Church for the whole Reich… And we know that were the great German reformer [Martin Luther] with us today he would rejoice to be freed from the necessity of his own time and, like Ulrich von Hutten [1488–1523, an outspoken German scholar, poet, and reformer], his last prayer would be not for the Churches of the separate States: it would be of Germany that he would think…and of the Evangelical Church of Germany [Hitler loved putting words in the mouth of Martin Luther].[xii]
After all, to Hitler, the real enemy was the “international Jew.” Christianity must unite, Catholics and Protestants, laity and priesthood—“against the power”—i.e., the international Jewish conspiracy that, he argued, warred against the church of Jesus Christ and the German people. Not that this tactic was especially risky. His approach was tried and true: Unite around a well-defined, mutual foe. Foment hatred against the scapegoat. Exaggerate images to make plain their villainous ways. Build the faithful into the “hammer of God”—make it an instrument of righteous indignation such as is developing now against the viewpoints of Born Again believers around the world.
“And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.” (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 174)
Impulse for a New Hitler-Style Christian Ecumenism?
The pathway to co-opt the church in America today first requires the encouragement of unity within the varied hallowed institutions, then secondly, aligning them according to the preferred political agenda. The broad strategy for managing religious institutions has not changed all that much over the past eighty years—although selected tactics do differ.
So what is the method to achieve an ecumenical union? It involves reconstructing the Christian message. Building unity in the contemporary church comprises a modern-day equivalent to building the tower of Babel. The most relevant message, what will really bring us together as one, requires the church to substitute the content of the gospel with a message of confusion, which is what “Babel” means. How can this be accomplished? By creating confusion over the nature of good and evil. We could say that reaching new heights in cooperation with other beliefs and faiths is not based upon clear communication and seeing things eye to eye. It is about not seeing things at all.“Coming together” necessitates closing one’s eyes to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. The less said the better. Indeed, regarding traditional Judeo-Christian values, the nature of sin, and the reality of evil in particular, stand out like sore thumbs. Therefore, church leadership in its aspiration seeks to be mainstream. Americans must paper over the notion of sin and evil with platitudes of self-improvement, overcoming self-doubt, as well as proclaiming health and wealth to magically make their congregations (and especially them) wealthy. In today’s evangelical church, it is most certainly about expressing a positive Christianity! Hitler would feel especially vindicated if he attended the typical mega church and listened to the sermons there.[xiii] Christianity has been effectively shorn of biblical discernment and blinded to the reality of evil as it presents itself in our world today.
Diminishing doctrine as an essential element in “confessional Christianity” is hardly new. Liberal Christian churches dispensed with meaningful theological content decades ago. They embraced a social gospel, replete with platitudes of pluralism, while promoting the practice of social good works, unwittingly leading to greater government intervention and involvement in the church. When American theologians sentenced God to death in the 1960s, they simultaneously (albeit unwittingly) assigned their own ecclesiastical institutions to death row. Fifty years ago, they reduced the gospel to what was left over after so-called science ravaged the Bible. Theology became nothing more than existential philosophy. The meaning of being a Christian amounted to repeating holy words in ritual ceremonies. It did not matter how far out (i.e., how “supernatural”) the notions of the original creeds or “Psalters” were. Theology became applied psychology. It was reconstructed to be a frame of mind or, better yet, a mental state. Once the creeds had been ransacked of all calls to spiritual transformation and relieved of all genuine miracles recorded in the Bible, what remained was Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “feeling of absolute dependence,” Paul Tillich’s ruminations about God as the “ground of being,” or Karl Jaspers’ yearning for an “ultimate experience.” Consequently, today’s mainstream churches are now so emaciated it is a wonder they have not already given up the ghost.
In contrast, today’s evangelical churches (that proclaim that oh-so-positive message) swarm with “believers.” But the question is, “What do they believe in?” To be sure, there are many assemblies of faithful, believing Christians who keep science in its place and rightly esteem spiritual reality; who regard the Bible as God’s Word; and rely upon the Spirit of Christ to be an ever-present reality in their daily lives―not so much as an emotional impulse stimulating a mystical faith, but as an enabling power to conquer the challenging circumstances of everyday life. On the other hand, as we contend, the most well-known churches appear guilty of depriving their congregations of meaningful content—biblically based content. It is almost as if the gospel so successfully preached there today is derived from aphorisms in Poor Richard’s Almanac: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Or to misquote a famous mega-church preacher: “It IS about you!” Or worse yet, the evangelical message transforms spirituality into a transaction: You do “x” and God does “y.” “Give and it shall be given to you”—not out of need but out of greed. Godguarantees our destiny to be healthy, wealthy, and wise (although the last item in this threesome is not always requested). At issue is only whether you count yourself entitled to merchandise from the heavenly commissary, stocked wall to wall to assure your material needs are met in full.
Betraying the Meaning of the Kingdom of God
After the death of Pope Pius XI in 1939, the electoral procedure to seat another pope began. The election favored Eugenio Pacelli (1876–1958), and four days later, Pacelli made it clear that he would handle all German affairs personally. He proposed the following to Hitler:
To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich! Here at the beginning of our Pontificate, we wish to assure you that we remain devoted to the spiritual welfare of the German people entrusted to your leadership.…During the many years we spent in Germany, we did all in our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and State. Now that the responsibilities of our pastoral function have increased our opportunities, how much more ardently do we pray to reach that goal. May the prosperity of the German people and their progress in every domain come, with God’s help, to fruition![xiv]
Pacelli was crowned pope on March 12, 1939 (becoming Pius XII). The following month, on April 20, 1939, at Pius XII’s expressed wish, Archbishop Orsenigo, the nuncio (ambassador) in Berlin, opened a gala reception for Hitler’s fiftieth birthday. The birthday greetings thus initiated by Pacelli immediately became a tradition: Each April 20 during the few years left to Hitler and his Reich, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin would send “warmest congratulations to the Führer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany,” to which he added “fervent prayers which the Catholics in Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.”[xv] The walls of the kingdom of God were thoroughly breached. The homogenization of church and state was complete.
In 1939, Adolf Hitler summarized why he was so confident that the Third Reich was imminent: “The National Socialist Movement has wrought this miracle. If Almighty God granted success to this work, then the Party was His instrument.”[xvi] In retrospect, the reader would be hard pressed to find a historical leader who levered faith, however skewed, more effectively as a power tool for REALPOLITIK. Hitler was almost unparalleled in the annals of leadership as a champion for the relevance of spiritual belief. He saw man created by God, rewarded for his reliance upon God, and sustained when cooperating with Him on a grand scale. In Hitler, we confront a leader who abandoned all self-consciousness—he was so tightly coupled with his constituency that they became of one mind. Yes, he learned the craft of public speaking like few others—maybe better than anyone. But we are dangerously mistaken if we regard his fervor as only an act. NO, he believed in what he was doing. He lost himself in his cause.
He was not tepid in faith, darting hither and thither, equivocating whenever the opportunity afforded itself. To the contrary, the leader of the Third Reich was a champion of conviction that was so “in your face” it was contagious. If faith wavered, Hitler reinstated it, bolstering public confidence in his program for a new Germany. His power hinged on claiming that a brilliant destiny lay at Germany’s feet. God’s providence guaranteed success. In every darkened pathway, he claimed God would enlighten the path and keep National Socialism on track because it fulfilled the Almighty’s plan. Hitler pleaded it, believed in it, and “owned” what he stridently confessed. All doubt concerning Germany’s mission fled from his presence, because, as far as he was concerned, God mandated that the German people be ultimately victorious. History would demonstrate divine preference. God would honor Hitler’s unfeigned devotion to his people. Listen to his confident faith:
In this hour I would ask of the Lord God only this: that, as in the past, so in the years to come He would give His blessing to our work and our action, to our judgment and our resolution, that He will safeguard us from all false pride and from all cowardly servility, that He may grant us to find the straight path which His Providence has ordained for the German people, and that He may ever give us the courage to do the right, never to falter, never to yield before any violence, before any danger…. I am convinced that men who are created by God should live in accordance with the will of the Almighty…. If Providence had not guided us I could often never have found these dizzy paths…. Thus it is that we National Socialists, too, have in the depths of our hearts our faith. We cannot do otherwise; no man can fashion world history or the history of peoples unless upon his purpose and his powers there rests the blessings of this Providence.[xvii]
In the final analysis, the Antichrist may be dangerous not because he is the best actor ever to mount the world stage or that he will hide insincere intent and cloak satanic motive. He will be exceptionally treacherous because, like Adolf Hitler, he will be utterly convinced that defeat is inconceivable. The thoughts of his mind will swim with confidence of triumph over Born Again believers in the upcoming war between Christian vs. Christian . . . and for a while it will appear he is right:
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:7-8).
EDITOR’S NOTE: This series has been based on portions of the new investigative blockbuster, Blood On The Altar: The Coming War Between Christian vs. Christian
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[i] Adolf Hitler, July 22, 1933, writing to the Nazi Party (quoted from John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope.)
[ii] “The German Centre Party (German: Deutsche Zentrumspartei or just Zentrum) was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. In English it is often called the Catholic Centre Party. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussiangovernment launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church. It soon won a quarter of the seats in theReichstag (Imperial Parliament), and its middle position on most issues allowed it to play a decisive role in the formation of majorities. “When the Nazis came to power the party dissolved itself on 5 July 1933 as a condition of the conclusion of a Concordat between the Holy See and Germany.” See en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Centre_ Party_ (Germany).
[iii] Adolf Hitler, in his New Year message on January 1, 1934.
[iv] Adolf Hitler, answering C. F. Macfarland about church and state (in his book, The New Church and the New Germany).
[v] Adolf Hitler, on June 26, 1934, to Catholic bishops to assure them that he would take action against the new pagan propaganda.
[vi] Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered in Berlin on the May Day festival, 1937.
[vii] By this we mean a reality in its own right, although C. S. Lewis was likely onto something by describing evil not as essential to reality as “good” is, but akin more to “spoiled goodness”—lest we inadvertently fall into the conundrum of a Zoroastrian dualism in which good and evil are on equal footing.
[viii] Adolf Hitler, giving prayer in a speech on May Day, 1933.
[ix] Adolf Hitler from his speech of April 12, 1922.
[x] Adolf Hitler, in an article titled “A New Beginning,” February 26, 1925.
[xi] Adolf Hitler, in a speech to the men of the SA at Dortmund, July 9, 1933, on the day after the signing of the Concordat (agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, the Papacy).
[xii] Adolf Hitler, in his Proclamation at the Parteitag at Nuremberg on September 5, 1934.
[xiii] Indeed, evangelical spiritual sentiment may be content to connect with nothing more than the name “Jesus.” Without specific assertions, we possess nothing distinct or definite. Thus, the name of Jesus may stand for nothing. It is the ultimate use of the Lord’s name in vain. There are those in leadership within the church who would prefer to pray only to Jesus and talk about nothing but Jesus to avoid any sectarian debate. After all: dogma divides; love abides. Of course, that adage presumes intuition replacesreason as the sole religious faculty or means to discover reality. As Francis Schaeffer once conveyed, Evangelicals have their own form of religious mysticism that is just as elusive and ineffable as Buddistkoans. In the final analysis, only true truth prevails (an awkward Schaefferian tautology meant to convey truth that is objective and universal—i.e., the opposite of relative “truth” or truth that is “caught” not “taught”). “Doctrineless sound bites” bite us all in the end.
[xiv] BBC News, “Pope Defends WWII Pontiff’s Role,” September 20, 2008, Red Ice Creations, http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=4837.
[xv] John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Viking, 1999) 209.
[xvi] Adolf Hitler, in his proclamation to the German people on January 1, 1939.
[xvii] Adolf Hitler, in a speech at Wurzburg on June 27, 1937.
BLDW Episode 8: Understanding the Kingdom Within and Without
Biblical Life Deep Waters – Episode 8: Understanding the Kingdom Within and Without.
There are giants and roadblocks the enemy has placed within our souls to keep the Kingdom of God that was released into our spirits when we got saved to flow into the world around us. Discover new secrets in Luke 17:20-21 from the Greek. Learn how to move to victory within so you can maintain victory without. This is your year to become all God wants to you be for His Kingdom!
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Is the Spirit of Nicolaitans Alive and Well in the Church Today?
by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.
I usually spend some of my free time on the weekends in the Word of God. I am finding that, as the moral light in both the world and the institutionalized church grows dim, the Word of God has become more precious in my life!
This weekend, the Holy Spirit led me to begin reading through the Book of Revelation. As I was reading, the word “Nicolaitans” jumped off the page. Although the text remained unaltered in my bible, it was as if the Holy Spirit had highlighted, underlined, and used bold letters on the word. I knew that I had to dig a little deeper to find what God wanted to show me.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about the Nicolaitans:
Revelation 2:6 (KJV)
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
What is interesting is that Jesus places this commendation right in the middle of a stern rebuke for leaving their first love.
Revelation 2:1-7 (KJV)
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
In fact, the letter to the Church of Ephesus is a “commend, commend, rebuke (get it right or else), and commend” narrative. Doesn’t it make you wonder about what narrative the Church of America would receive if the Book of Revelation was being written today?
Anyway, let’s focus back on the Nicolaitans. There is much debate on who they were and what they were teaching. I want to take a look at several biblical authorities and extrapolate vital information from their works that we can use today.
The first resource that I want to examine is the study notes in the New Pilgrim Student Bible. We find on page 1775 in the notes on the Book of Revelation:
2:6 Nicolaitans. We have no certain information about these people. The word “Nicolaitans” comes from two Greek words, meaning “to conquer” and “the people.” It seems to indicate that there were some church leaders even in these early days who wanted to hold office and get power over the people. They distinguished between themselves and the people as “the clergy” and “the laity.”
Although I do understand where they are coming from in their study notes, I do not believe that the concepts of “clergy” and “laity” had yet found their way into the Church. Since the Church in Ephesus was commended for testing those that said they were apostles and were not, it would seem that the Ephesians were still strong in their understanding of the five-fold ministry (taught to them by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 4:11-12, as he drew from the synagogal model of leadership).
Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
There may be something more that we can learn from their notes.
There is a doctrine that is making its rounds in many Christian circles today. Most know this teaching as “Dominion Theology” or “the Manifested Sons of God.” This theology believes that the true Church will take over the world (and all governments), bring all evil under its feet, and then hand a conquered world over to Jesus when He returns. In my opinion, one cannot honestly read the Book of Revelation and come to that conclusion.
Regardless of our eschatological views on the timing of the rapture and the return of Christ, we must see in God’s Word that only Messiah will conquer the antichrist and his ungodly army. It is the task of the Messiah alone to kosher this planet as it is referred to throughout Scripture as “the Day of the LORD,” not “the Day of the Bride.” Jesus is the One riding on a white horse and destroys the armies of the antichrist with the word of His mouth.
I do believe that the Church is called to be light and salt in the earth, which includes the political arena. It takes a special calling to be a preserving influence in an area so corrupted by the influences of Babylon and the Spirit of this World. We need to keep our politicians (especially Christian ones) in our prayers.
I believe the greatest task in the life of the believer is to take dominion over his own flesh and carnal nature. He is called of God to bring even every thought into subjection of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). We are almost continually bombarded with headlines that have ministers falling into sin that are involved in Dominion theology. It seems to me that they are losing the greater struggle from within!
Many also confuse the army in the Book of Joel as the Body of Christ. There are two separate groups in Joel 2.
Joel 2:1-11 (KJV)
1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. 4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Although the Scriptures call this army “his army,” we need to realize that God called Nebuchadnezzar “a servant of God.”
Jeremiah 27:6-8 (KJV)
6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. 7 And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. 8 And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.
God used Nebuchadnezzar and his armies for divine purposes. God will do the same with the armies of the antichrist.
In Joel 2:1-11, I took the liberty of highlighting important segments. I believe that there is a connection to this army, the end-time army of the antichrist, Nimrod, the Nephilim of Genesis 6, and transhumanism today. There is a Hebrew word that is used to express both a subdivision of Nephilim and what Nimrod became: it is “gibbowr.” This is the same word used in the Book of Joel for this approaching army.
We need to understand that both the United States (through DARPA) and other industrialized nations are beginning a new arms race; it is for the super soldier. They look to create the “Human 2.0” that Hitler was never able to create. This goal is shared by scientists worldwide in the transhumanist movement. (Transhumanists represent “Human 2.0” as “H+” in their publications.) They seek to use GRIN (Genetics, Robotics, artificial Intelligence, and Nano-technology) to create the perfect super human. It will be like X-Men, Dark Angel, and the Nightmare on Elm Street all rolled into one. Concepts displayed by this army (hive mentality, superhuman strength and agility, and accelerated healing) are all goals of both DARPA and the transhumanist movement.
Genesis 6 teaches us that when you begin tampering with the DNA of mankind that you can begin releasing untold demonic powers. This army in Joel 2 is empowered by the dark forces of the antichrist and is moving against God’s people.
(For more information on transhumanism, I would recommend Dr. Tom and Nita Horn’s well researched book “Forbidden Gates: the Dawn of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare.” You can purchase this book online at www.survivormall.com.)
The second group in Joel 2 is God’s people that sound an alarm because of the approaching army. These people gather together to pray and fast. It is the second group that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit falls upon. Then Messiah comes back to deliver them out of the hands of the approaching army. My question is: “Which group are you claiming to be a part of?”
Now let’s examine what Finis Dake has to say regarding the Nicolaitans in his Annotated Study Bible:
Followers of Nicolaus, a heretic. They are thought to have been a sect of Gnostics who practiced and taught impure and immoral doctrines, such as the community of wives, that committing adultery and fornication was not sinful, and that eating meats offered to idols was lawful. This was similar to the doctrines of Balaam and Jezebel of Thyatira (Rev. 2:6,14-15,20).
Dake describes this movement as one that attempts to take the Gentile portion of the Church away from the instruction given to them by the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 5:19-21.
Acts 15:19-21 (KJV)
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
I believe that the ruling of the council in Jerusalem established the observance of Leviticus 11 into the dietary habits of the Gentile Church. (I will be covering not only Acts 15, but just about every verse of Scripture dealing with God’s wisdom regarding our diet in my upcoming book “Eating God’s Way.” This book will be an eye-opening hermeneutical experience for many!) At the very least, the basic instruction for the Gentile Church was not to eat anything knowingly that was sacrificed to an idol and to abstain from sexual impurity. It is easy to see in the Body today that both our appetites for food and sex are getting out of control! This is a manifestation of the Nicolaitan Spirit influencing the Church today.
I found the final commentary that I want to reference not only enlightening, but I was a bit taken aback by where I found it. The Preacher’s Sermon and Outline Bible is a consolidation of some of the greatest spiritual minds in the Protestant movement over the last several centuries. I not only recommend this powerful series for any minister’s library, I require many of their volumes in the studies at Biblical Life College and Seminary. Here are the comments from the PSOB:
They had stood ever so strongly against the Nicolaitans. Just who the Nicolaitans were is not known. It is thought that they stressed two things:
⇒ that Christ had done away with the law of the Old Testament and had instituted the law of Christian liberty.
⇒ that the soul and spirit of man was far more important than his body.
The results of this doctrine are clearly seen. If there is no law to govern us, then we can do what we like just so we profess to believe in Christ. And if the spirit is what really matters, then I can do what I like with my body just so I take care of my spirit.
⇒ Think how many people feel that they can live like they want just so they attend and support the church. If they attend church, they feel they can live like they want during the week.
⇒ Think how many people believe they are eternally secure because they believe in Christ, have been baptized, and belong to a church. Yet, they live like they want during the week. They continue to seek the pleasures and possessions of the world, banking and hoarding and neglecting the spread of the gospel and a world of desperate needs. There is no evidence whatsoever of repentance and of a changed and holy life—no evidence of self-denial, of the sacrifice of all one is and has.
The point is this: the Ephesian church had preached and taught against the error of the Nicolaitans. They had refused to allow the error to enter the church. They were doctrinally sound; they stood staunchly for the truth of Christ and the Word of God. But they lacked the main thing: love for Christ. They had lost their love for Christ.  (Emphasis mine.)
The POSB is considered by most to be a Baptist publication. Yet it stresses that the Nicolaitan Spirit wants to replace God’s commandments and separate them from what is to be considered Godliness in the Body of Christ!
I can testify that this spirit is alive in Christian theology today. I have had ministers of the Gospel about spit on me for bringing up the Commandments of God. The Nicolaitan Spirit tells us that Jesus conquered and did away with God’s Law. Nothing could be further from the truth. Listen to the Apostle John (the Apostle of Love):
1 John 2:3-6 (KJV)
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1 John 3:4-10 (KJV)
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
The Apostle John considers sin the violation of the Law (or God’s Commandments) and acts of righteousness as the keeping of the Commandments. I guess John did not get the memo that Jesus conquered and nailed the Law to the Cross! It was not the Torah that was nailed to the Cross; it was our long list of violations against it.
It should also be noted that the “doing away with the Law” is not only what the publishers of the PSOB would call “Nicolaitanism,” but is known historically as “Marcionism.” During the second century Marcion rejected the Old Testament and the commandments of God. He was the first to group together very carefully edited versions of Paul’s writings that seemed to be expressing an anti-Torah view. He took the position that Jesus did away with the Law and conquered it by the Cross. Around 139 A.D., Marcion went to Rome to present his teachings to the Church fathers there (along with a rather large love gift). The elders in Rome rejected his teachings and his love gift. In fact, Polycarp (a direct disciple of the Apostle John) called Marcion the “first born son of Satan.” Later on, the Catholic theologian Augustine embraced Marcion’s ideas about grace and opposing God’s Law and made it a part of his theology. This position was later adopted by theologians in the Reformation. Few today question the origin of this teaching and embrace it as orthodox theology. They are also quick to rebuke any believer that would return to God’s commandments as an expression of walking in holiness.
The Word tells us:
Ephesians 5:27 (KJV)
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Jesus is coming back for a people that have won the war within against the old sin nature and are walking in true biblical holiness. He is not coming back for some pseudo-Christian ubermen (“The Übermensch” or “Overman, Above-Human, Superman” is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra) that are ruling the world with an iron fist and saying “Come on back now Jesus, we’ve got this all under control!”
The only true way to prepare for the soon coming of the Lord is to return to biblicity. We must be living the Word from within and manifesting the resurrected King through our thoughts, words, and actions!
Copyright 2010 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D.
 The New Pilgrim Bible: KJV Student Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY. © Copyright 2003.
 Finis J. Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, (Lawrenceville: Dake Publishing, Inc., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Chapter 2".
 The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Revelation, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "B. The Message to Ephesus: The Orthodox Church, But A Church Without Love, 2:1-7".
 Moseley, Dr. Ron. Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. Messianic Jewish Publishers, Baltimore, MD. © Copyright 1996. Page 40.
 Ubermensch. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Cbermensch
Profile on Author
Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
Chancellor and Founder
Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. and founded Biblical Life Publishing. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s "Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans," Sterling’s "Who’s Who Executive Edition," and the "Who’s Who Among American Teachers" for his accomplishments in ministry.