XLV. THE TEST OF SOME IN PERGAMOS
HOLDING THE TEACHING OF THE NICOLAITANS—
The Nicolaitans should be a group of people who esteemed themselves higher than the common believers. They constituted a hierarchy that was versus the building up of the Body of Christ, like the hierarchy in Catholicism and Protestantism. Such a hierarchy is hated by the Lord (v. 6) because it destroys God’s New Testament economy concerning the church.
To deal with such a complicated case as the case of the church in Pergamos being one with the world and some of its members holding the teaching of Balaam and the teaching of the Nicolaitans requires us to be one with the Lord in standing against the world as the satanic system of darkness, and requires us to hate idolatry, spiritual fornication, and the sin of hierarchy—the evil system of organization in religion.
XLVI. THE TEST OF THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA
TOLERATING THE WOMAN JEZEBEL, WHO
TAUGHT AND LED THE LORD’S SLAVES ASTRAY
TO COMMIT FORNICATION AND TO EAT
REVELATION 2:18a, 20
Jezebel was the pagan wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). She was a type of the apostate Catholic Church and a figure of the woman prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 13:33, who brought evil, heretical, and pagan things as leaven into the teaching concerning Christ, and who became the great prostitute in Revelation 17, who mixes abominations with the divine things and who leads the Lord’s slaves astray to commit fornication and to worship idols. Of all these she is not willing to repent, and for all these the Lord will destroy her (Rev. 2:21-23).
To handle such a great case of the apostasy of the degraded church, we need to be equipped with the knowledge of the history of the church’s degradation and with the knowledge of the divine revelation concerning the church in God’s New Testament economy.
XLVII. THE TEST OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS
HAVING A NAME THAT IT WAS LIVING,
BUT IT WAS DEAD—REVELATION 3:1
This depicts the real situation of the present Protestant churches—seemingly living but actually dead.
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)