[Note: it's best to always read at least a chapter at a time to get the full context]
The Nicolaitans were an early church group known for their heresy. Over history, their heresies have been adopted into mainline Christianity and other practices have been added. Here are some of the things they practiced and things that have been added later - see if they have a familiar ring:
- Sunday as the “commanded” day of worship. (... do you ... "Remember the Sabbath"!?!)
- Veneration of Church leaders. (... whoever would be first must be last!)
- Hierarchical church Government. (the individual church, Jesus, and the 12 - that's all there's supposed to be folks! We individuals have direct access to the Holy of Holys. Massive Church organizations are contrary to Jesus' teaching))
- Use of idols such as the Cross and Making the sign of the cross.
- Prayers to the dead.
- Use of statues to bow and pray to such as what is named the Virgin Mary. (During the first centuries of the church, no emphasis was placed on Mary whatsoever." - Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 14, p. 309.) (... "no other gods before thee"?)
- The pagans baked cakes to offer to their female deity who they called "the queen of heaven" 1000 years before the birth of Christ. Today they're called "cross buns" and are offered in the name of, "The Queen of the Universe"; Mary. (... "abstain from food sacrificed to idols"?)
- Use of old pagan Feasts such as Christ-mass, and Easter. (December 25 was the "celebration of the victory of the unconquered Sun". - Gieseler's Ecclesiastical History; Edinburgh, 1846.)
- Yule log burning on Christmas Eve and a Christmas tree appears the next morning. The tree represents Zero-Ashta (a pagan god). The Yule log also represents the dead stock of Nimrod, cut down by his enemies, but is reborn the next morning to shine again. Represented by a tree carrying lighted candles.
- Use of Halos around the heads of statues and pictures of those considered Holy.
- Sun Rays coming from behind what is considered holy such as statues and pictures of people, crosses, doves, and even the bible.
- Infant baptism.
- Worship of angels.
- Mass instituted. (vain rituals)
- Extreme unction (Last Rights).
- Doctrine of purgatory which the Catholic Church ~ instituted in 593 A.D.
- Use of Holy Water.
- Rosary (prayer beads instituted).
- Good Friday being taught as the day Jesus was slain.
- Teaching that the dead go to heaven at death.
- Teaching that without baptism even an infant cannot enter into heaven.
- Tradition granted equal authority with the Bible ~ instituted in 1545 A.D.
- Engaged in sexual immorality (pedophile priests? "gay priests?)
Jay Atkinson has written a terrific primer on the subject of the Nicolaitans.
I offer it here as a reference read! It's well worth the time. Folks, we need to wake up and smell the heresy!