Deliverance From Bondage
Wade E Taylor
"Where the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty" Paraphrase
of 2 Cor 3:17b.
At this present time, many are feeling an intense burden
for the Body of Christ and sense that something very special
is about to unfold. It is very important that the mistakes
of the past not be repeated during this coming visitation.
The Word of the Lord to the seven Churches (Rev 2:1-3:22)
prefigures the progression of events that span the entire
Church age. Indications as to why past visitations did not
come into the fullness of all that was intended or, why they
did not last can be found within the word of the Lord to these
The first of these, the Church at Ephesus, was told that
it had departed from its "first love" Rev 2:4. This
was the Church that witnessed the power and zeal of the early
Apostles who had personally been with the resurrected Christ.
The Lord expected them to maintain this experience of His
personal (manifest) presence, but they had already begun to
Yet this Church was commended because it "hated the
deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate" Rev 2:6b.
There is no explanation given in Scripture as to who these
Nicolaitanes were. However, we can come to an understanding
of their identity through the meaning of the word itself.
"Nikao" means to conquer or consume the "Laos"
or laity. These Nicolaitanes advocated a compromise with the
world system so Christians would be able to take part, without
embarrassment, in the social and religious activities of the
society in which they lived. They attempted to harmonize heathen
practices with the Christian faith. In the time of the Church
at Ephesus, their teaching allowed Christians to participate
in the Roman civil religion.
Thus, the Nicolaitanes represent a clergy that departs from
the "presence and power" of the supernatural and
substitutes "form and ritual" in its place. The
compromise that they advocate causes the "dulling of
the spirits" of the Lord's people as they respond to
this teaching and become conversant with the society and practices
of their time.
In His message to the Church at Ephesus, the Lord clearly
said that He hated a clergy that causes His people to depart
from the operation of the supernatural within the Church and
from experiencing His manifest presence. This Nicolaitan doctrine
was probably the reason why the Church at Ephesus fell away
from their fervent "first love" for the Lord.
In Ephesus, these Nicolaitanes were present, but hated.
In the third Church, Pergamos, they are again mentioned by
the Lord, "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine
of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate" Rev 2:15. Here,
they were firmly entrenched. Then in the forth Church, Thyatira,
the Lord said, "But unto you I say, and to the rest in
Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine," Rev 2:24.
Now the Nicolaitanes were in control and only a remnant was
This teaching of "compromise" by the clergy lead
to a progressive spiritual declension that culminated in the
"Dark Ages." During this time of intense spiritual
apostasy and darkness, a spark of revelation concerning "Justification
by Faith" came to Martin Luther. This began a progressive
restoration that developed within the fifth Church, Sardis,
and found its full outworking in the last two Churches, Philadelphia
Concerning the fifth Church, Sardis, the Lord said, "I
know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and
art dead" Rev 3:1b. This Church had returned to right
doctrine, but did not experience the restoration of the fervent
"first love" that had been lost at Ephesus. Apparently,
the Nicolaitanes still exercised considerable control and
hindered the Lord's people to the extent that they were not
able to experience the "quickening" of the manifest
presence of the Lord, or the "power" of the Holy
Spirit moving in their meetings.
The sixth Church, Philadelphia, speaks of an overcoming
Church that is presently experiencing this manifest presence
and power of the Lord. They have contended for and gained
an open door into this operation of the supernatural in their
meetings. Of this Church the Lord said, "I have set before
thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a
little strength" Rev 3:8b. Here, the Nicolaitanes were
totally defeated and lost all of their influence and control.
This Church has cultivated the presence of "He that
hath the key of David, e that openeth, and no man shutteth:
and shutteth, and no man openeth" Rev 3:7b. Again the
Lord's people are possessing this same fervent "first
love" for the Lord that had been lost at Ephesus. His
manifest presence is burning within them, and all bondage
is melting away as the Holy Spirit is having His way in their
lives and assemblies. Much will be accomplished through this
present day "Philadelphia Church" that is allowing
an open display of His presence and power.
The seventh is the Church of the Laodiceans. The word of
the Lord to this Church is, "Because thou sayest, I am
rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and
poor, and blind, and naked" Rev 3:17. This present day
Church has received more prosperity, gifts, and ministry than
any previous Church. Though it is quick to testify about these
blessings, this Church is exposed by the Lord as being spiritually
immature ("blind, and naked").
However, this prosperity is not the primary cause of their
spiritual blindness and nakedness. Their problem rests in
the fact that they do not recognize their spiritual need,
"... AND HAVE NEED OF NOTHING," Rev 3:17a. They
are satisfied with the things that they possess and are not
seeking after the one who gave all this prosperity.
The Lord is revealed as standing outside of this prosperous
Laodicean Church, knocking upon its door, seeking to attract
their attention. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in
to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" Rev 3:20.
Because this Church has lost its sensitivity to His voice,
the call of the Lord has changed to the individual, "IF
The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes has caused this Church
to become "dull of spirit." Their acceptance of
and adjustment to material prosperity has effectively hindered
the visitation of the Lord within this end time Church. This
is one of the primary causes of the failure of the "Charismatic"
Thus, the Nicolaitan spirit that sought to bring about compromise
with the world system in the early Church is still present
within the Church of our day. Jesus clearly said, "My
Kingdom is not of this world," John 18:36a. James told
us that "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the
world is the enemy of God" James 4:4 b.
Notice the contrast between these two present day Churches.
In Philadelphia, the Lord has set before them an "open
door" into the revelation of His manifest presence and
into the operation of the Supernatural in their midst. In
Laodicea, He is outside of the Church knocking upon a "closed
door" seeking out any individual that is still able to
hear His voice, inviting them to turn aside to commune with
The Lord counsels these, who willingly open the door of
their being to Him, to "buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich" Rev 3:18a. This "gold"
speaks of the divine nature as being of far greater value
than all of these external riches that they possess and rejoice
A glorious promise is given to the individuals who choose
to turn aside from this materialistic spirit within the Laodicean
church. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down
with My Father in His throne" Rev 3:21. This is the greatest,
yet most difficult to attain, of the promises that were given
to each of these seven Churches.
This is because the many subtle deceptions that must be
discerned, the intensity of the temptations that must be resisted,
and the hindrances to true spirituality that must be overcome
are greater than the pressures that any other generation had
to face. It is popular to compromise, but the cost is high.
Those who do will not able to hear the gentle knock of the
Lord. "If any man hear my voice,"
The Lord is looking for those who are willing to pay the
price in order to be a part of the "Church at Philadelphia"
and gain the spiritual life and strength that is available
therein. Few do, because the "Church at Laodicea"
is very popular. It knows and uses the techniques that bring
about Church growth and material prosperity.
A passage of Scripture that is very real to me at this time
is: "I love them that love me; and those that seek me
early shall find me ... that I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasure"
Prov 8:17, 21.
This speaks of overcomers who have entered this open door
and are experiencing a new "first love" for Jesus
Himself. These are seeking His Kingdom by submitting their
lives to the rule of His government and are purchasing gold
that has been tried in the fire. These are finding an eternal
treasure they had little anticipated.
Those who turn aside to enter "The Church at Philadelphia"
will never be disappointed as they pass through this open
door into His presence.