The Lord Jesus says to two of the seven Churches in Revelation chapter 2 (vs. 6 & 15) that He hates the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The meaning of the word 'Nicolaitan' is all we need to know of what the Nicolaitans believed and taught.
Nicolaitan is a compound word comprised of 'nichol' -- to conquer, and 'laity' -- the people; that is 'conquest of the people'. The Nicolaitans instigated the idea of a religious caste system within the Body of Christ with those in the "know" versus the "ignorant masses". It was essentially a separation of groups within the Church body. Jesus says He hates this! For the Lord shed His precious blood so that all Christians may be one and be His "kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. 1:6.
Man has always wanted to dominate and control at the expense of the innocent and ignorant masses. But Jesus came with the heart intentions of the Father which was to have a people of His own, who are called the sons and daughters of God, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name". St. John 1:11 & 12.
One of the principle cries of the Reformation was "the priesthood of the believer", but history has proven that this was only in word and not in action. The Nicolaitan spirit permeates the non-Catholic and orthodox Churches alike. There is a drawing of importance from position over God's people. But hear the cry of the Spirit of the Lord -- The days of pastor-centered Churches are over. True Church will now be centered in the entire Body of Christ and not a single man !
Pay attention to what's happening in the larger 'mega Churches' in America today -- there is a growing movement and attitude of nepotism among Church leadership. Key members of the pastor's family are on the Church payroll and/or they're on the Church board of directors. This is a stacked deck! Where are the checks and balances? Where is the accountability against power abuse and greed? It all boils down to "the love of money (which) is the root of all evil" 1 Timothy 6:10. When the money is pouring in the temptation to hold on to it, all of it, is too great for most Church leaders.
Will Church leadership in America let go of the Church and allow the people of God to rise to their God-called destiny as "priests and kings" (Rev.1:6)? The "priesthood of the believer" was what essentially got the Reformation going but these are still just nice words, the implementation thereof is missing. Will leadership see the Church first as a spiritual family made up of brothers and sisters and not as an institutionalized religious business? Except for a few notable exceptions it really hasn't happened yet and really can't when there is a conflict of interest between religious professionalism and the 'laity'. The Church is not a religious career center! Those in leadership will have to reevaluate the attitude towards religious paychecks and how it conflicts with the overall biblical model of how we have Church. The popular scripture used to justify and rationalize religious professionalism is I Corinthians 9:14, "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." The apostle Paul is not referring to religious careers here but the reality of his day where those in leadership were itinerant preachers and church planters that needed money for their travels and support. We've had 2000 years of Christianity and pastors now stay put in one place. It's the traveling evangelists and foreign missionaries that need ongoing full-time support where it's impossible for them to hold any kind of steady job.
The bottom line is this -- there is a conflict of interest in Church body life when financially reimbursement is lopsided with few check and balance controls. Invariably what happens is the pastor is overworked and over burdened and the rest of the Church are passive spectators, "Let the pastor do it, it's his job." The other side of this picture is the response and involvement of the non-leadership people of God who need to step up to the plate and relieve the pastor of all his non-pastoral duties. Many Christians simply want to be involved in "churchianity", which only entails occupying a pew space, putting some money in the basket, singing some songs to Jesus and going home until next Sunday when the process is repeated all over again.
What is it going to take to bring the aforementioned changes? An economic collapse
! It is through the coming economic trials and 'Church money wars' that a major transformation of the Church will take place (see the section The Solar Eclipse of Division
for an elaboration on the "unity through division" and also Capitalism is Finished
). The true priesthood and prophethood of the believer will be released in astonishing glory! But watch out, there will be those leaders who will fight it tooth and nail. The accusations will come, the desperate pleas will be cried and quite likely Church "civil wars" of conscience will be fought.
The Lord Jesus Christ is coming for His bride, a virgin girl that is spotless, pure and prepared. The changes to the Body of Christ are before us dear saint. Expect them, for they will surely come.
"And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Hebrews 12:27