OYB December 10

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Amos 1-3
NT: Revelation 2:1-17
Ps: Psalm 129
Pr: Proverbs 29:19-20

Today´s notable verses:

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7 (NIV)

You know, it is pretty amazing to think that God actually would do nothing without revealing His plan to his servants the prophets. First, to know that we serve a God who is still actively involved with His creation, and second, to know that He reveals the plans of that involvement - these thoughts are almost beyond imagination.

But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Revelation 2:6 (NIV)

I never took the time to consider who the Nicolaitans were, nor why their practices were so detestable to God. In the second chapter of Revelation, we see that the church of Ephesus hated the practices of the Nicolaitans, while some from the church of Pergamum followed them. One interpretation - and one which I am inclined to accept - is that the word translated "Nicolaitan" is a contraction of three Greek words: Nikos, Laos, and Ton: Nikos-Laoston. The first part, Nikos, means "conquest; victory; triumph; the conquered; and by implication, dominancy over the defeated", and the second part, Laoston, means "the laity" - the latter part being a a contraction of Laos and Ton. The author concludes (emphasis in original):

Therefore, we have, without the legal Greek construction, the English hyphenated word Nickos-laoston, but which, with its lawful elisions and contractions, becomes the English name: Nicolaitanes, the full meaning of which, in its native tongue and in its ecclesiastical setting, is that the bishops and prelates of the Church have gained a triumphal victory or conquest over the laiton -- the laity -- until they have been compelled to submit to the arbitrary dominion of men who have become that thing which God hates: "Lords over God's heritage."

Others agree here and here, though the Roman Catholic church refers to the Nicolaitanes only as "a sect", and others believe the Nicolaitanes to refer primarily to a Gnostic/antinomian heresy. However, the connection between the name "Nicolaitan" and an early deacon, Nicolas - and further, the connection between this Nicolas and Gnostic/antinomian heresy - is unproven. Thus, I am likely to accept the former definition of abusing church hierarchy to lord over the "laity".

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which include this question from Revelation 2:

Verse 17 is intriguing! "Everyone who is victorious will eat of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it." The second sentence is very intriguing to me - a white stone will be given with a new name upon it. I need to do some more research on what exactly this means. If anyone has thoughts on the white stone / new name, please post up in the comments below.

I found this reference, which theorizes that the "white stone" could refer to either the practice of ancient courts giving a black or white stone to a convicted or an acquitted defendant, respectively; or to the practice of the ancient olympics awarding victors a white stone. The former symbolizes our unearned acquittal through God's grace, and the latter symbolizes our hope for future reward in heaven for faithfully serving our Lord. This reference adds to these two also the theory that the "white stone" refers to another ancient practice of using white and black stones to cast votes in elections, with the white stone being acceptance, or a "yes" vote; and also the ancient practice of a host offering to a house guest a "white stone" that conferred upon the guest all the rights of the host in the host's home.