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UNSCRIPTURAL HIERARCHY OF RULING ‘ELDERS’ 

Renette Vermeulen

 

Subjects 

· Jesus commanded great humbleness not great importance 

· True ministers or pastors have no rank or preference, except in the unbiblical “rise of the bishops” 

· Where did the word “bishop” come from, as it does not fit in the context of Scriptural truth? 

· True scriptural ‘elderly’ and not unbiblical ‘elders,’ have the real anointing of the Holy Spirit 

· The “Jezebel spirit” does not mean ‘women in ministry’ but ‘male and female seducers who call God’s servants to follow strange spirits!’  

· “But someone has to take control!” 

· Was it Paul and the other “elderly’s” ‘right’ to claim tithing and other extortions from Jesus’ believers?  

· Deacons — did they merely collect the money? 

 

JESUS COMMANDED GREAT HUMBLENESS NOT GREAT IMPORTANCE 

To be great and important in the sphere of religion, is not a new aspiration.  It stems from the fallen nature of sinful man without GodA religious mother once asked Jesus, (Mt. 20:21-28,) to seat her two sons in His kingdom, one on His right and one on His left.  But Jesus replied: “You know that the princes of the [unbelieving] Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto…”

Jesus’ teachings on pride and ungodly ambition are crystal clear.  He also clearly demonstrated His humbly ministry to men by physically washing the disciples feet.  These sins of pride and self-centeredness are the essence of Satan, the mastermind of all religiousness without a personal relationship with God in Christ.  As a result, reborn believers must die to their sinful love of self and their religious aspirations to live in a true calling of God: Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17. 

Compared to those who are simply religious, truly Scripturally born again leaders must be humble servants to believers and willing servants of Christ, which is not a prohibition to better oneself as God Himself opens opportunities to broaden our  giftedness, as Jesus also explained in the parable of the talents.  It is a ban on reckless ambition, and the love of money, selfish control over people and prohibited power.  A totally different attitude should reign in those who live in a Scriptural relationship with God, and especially in those who minister in His Kingdom: 1 Cor. 7:20-23. 

Consequently, Paul instructed in 1 Tim. 6:6-12, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  Having food and shelter, let us be therewith content. [Because God and NOT Mammon, the god of money and other materialism, must be our highest priority.] But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare…  and pierce themselves with many sorrows.”

We cannot serve God and Mammon; neither can we serve God and idolatrous Kingdom-Now religion, which focus our minds and lives on earth and not on heaven, (Mt. 6:24.)  Hence, Paul implored in Rom. 12:3-5: “Do not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, [do not be puffed up, arrogant, proud, religiously unteachable and ambitious,] but think soberly...”

God’s grace does not differ from person to person, but His calling and gifts do, which does not make anyone ‘better’ or ‘more important’ than another, as everything we have received is from God.  Therefore, He Alone is worthy of all glory, honour and power! 

Paul knew this, therefore he wrote in Rom. 2:11: “God does not show partiality, undue favour or unfairness; with Him one person is not different from another.”

The only place where so-called ‘importance’ among believers exists is in the religious system that carries the spear of spiritual independence in their hand.  Independence from God, fuelled by their idolatrous pride and haughtiness. 

“Be not called Rabbi… and Father, [titles of honour],” Jesus commanded the apostles in Mt. 23:8-12, “for One is your Master: Christ, and you are all brothers.”

However, since the early days after Jesus’ ascension, religion factions, titles of honour, rank and snobbishness existed amongst believers.  Even in the same church and denomination, so-called ‘importance’ divided believers into stuck-up groups that had little in common with one another.  And it all began with the Roman Catholic religious clergy who believed they were spiritually, even physically, so much higher and more important that the flock; in fact, they were and are gods themselves.  This haughty, man-made, hierarchical clergy was and still is justified by the gross twisting of Mt. 16:13-23, but in the context of Scriptural truth it is certain that it was hatched in hell.  

In this passage in Matthew, Jesus was not exalting Peter as the ‘god or Rock of the Church,’ He was revealing to Peter his own place in God’s kingdom, as well as the form and structure of the genuine body (or assemblies) of Christ in this world.  The footnote in the Spirit Filled Bible explains, “The Rock is not Peter as an individual, since Jesus substituted petra, a foundation rock or boulder, for petros, a fragment of the petra,” for all believers individually are ‘bricks’ of that great dwelling of God: the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit.   Though Peter was an ordinary member of His body, Jesus fulfilled this promise on Pentecostal day when He used Peter to turn the Gospel-key and unlock heaven’s door for 3,000 souls, (Acts 2:41-43.)  Nonetheless, this great miracle says nothing about Peter the ‘most important servant.’  It says everything about Jesus the most important Christ! 

In the context of Scriptural truth, Jesus actually said to Peter in Mt. 16:13-23, “[You are the one that could say that I am not John the Baptist or Elijah, Jeremiah or any of the other human prophets, but the Christ,] because flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but My Father Who is in heaven.  [Therefore, you have nothing to boast about.  If you want to boast, boast in God.]  Your name Peter, means ‘rock’ [and to you AS AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF MY NEW COVENANT PRIESTHOOD] I give the keys of My Kingdom, [which means that I will delegate the spiritual authority of My kingdom to you AS AN EXAMPLE OF MY NEW TESTAMENT, MELCHIZIDEKIAN PRIESTHOOD.]” Then Jesus must have pointed to Himself, saying, “For on this Rock, I will build My true bride and body of believers, and you and all your descendants of sincere believers will be My instruments in achieving this,”  [See 1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.] 

Peter was merely ONE of Jesus’ instruments in this world to found His New Testament bride or body - a little rock of the Great Rock, a humble little temple of the Grand Temple, a trowel in the Hand of the Greatest Builder; the Creator of heaven and earth and everything that lives on earth and in heaven. 

These spiritual keys of authority to unlock the Kingdom of God for everyone who would sincerely believe in Jesus and accept His Gospel as truth, testify to our right standing with God through Christ Alone, as John explained in 1:12-13: “To [all] those who received Him, He gave the power, [keys of authority, privilege, spiritual right], to become the children of God.” These keys of power do not prove human importance of any kind.  It speaks of the Master Who trusts His servants with the keys of His house.  It conveys Jesus’ commission to His New Testament disciples: “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them, [the disciples], in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you…” - Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. 

Nevertheless, during the church-building era of Roman Catholic Caesar Constantine, Satan pretended that Jesus said the following, “O great and important Peter, you are the rock of your church and you will build your church.  To you I give the keys of heaven, [not merely “the keys of the kingdom”].  You may allow entry to whomever you please, and you may send to hell whomever you choose.” Rev. 20:11-15.

With this falsification, the devil extolled Peter to ‘saint, god, and Pope Peter, gatekeeper of heaven’.  This false Peter is a Christian replica of the pagan god Janus who holds the keys to the underworld.  This impostor also became the most important among the Roman Catholic bishops, the high priest or the pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and all her Protestant church daughters.  As only Jesus is the Head of the His spiritual bride and body on earth and in heaven, this idolatrous view of ‘Pope or god Peter’ placed ‘saint’ Peter as a false christ on the stage of Christian religion.

 

TRUE MINISTERS OR PASTORS HAVE NO RANK OR PREFERENCE, EXCEPT IN THE UNBIBLICAL “RISE OF THE BISHOPS” 

When Jesus cried, “It is finished!” He became the One and Only High Priest and spiritual Temple of His true believers on Golgotha.  At the moment of His death on the cross, He annulled the physical, Old Testament temple with its physical order of Levitical priests and inaugurated His spiritual New Testament nation, His royal priesthood, as His only, everlasting,  spiritual temple - Heb. 9:8; 8:1-6; 10:19-22; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 2:9-10. 

Since that day, every sincere believer is a king of the King, a priest of the High Priest and a really Scriptural saint or a holy, spiritually and Scripturally born again child of the Most High God: Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2. 

The New Testament priesthood of Christ has no rank or preference.  

God did not submit them to human lords or commanders; all His believers have to submit to the Scriptural authority of God above all else — and then to real Godly human authority in the marriage and in other personal relationships, as well as in the assemblies of believers. 

For far too long, believers have followed false doctrines, justified by uncontextual Bible verses, which intend to substitute the truth of God’s Word, but only lead to great deception.  God’s Word is found in the entire TRUTH of Scripture, not just in a verse here and there, taken out of context by wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

The true meaning of I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh... [and] on My ‘menservants’ and on My ‘maidservants,’ and they shall prophesy… [or preach, teach, pastor, build assemblies, etc.]” (Acts 2:17-18,) is as follows: 

Footnote, Spirit Filled Bible on Joel 2:28-29, “All flesh refers to every race, class, age, and gender of person, not every individual on earth.  [As salvation can only be found in personal acceptance of, and obedience to Jesus Christ.]” 

Hebrew Strong’s Concordance, no. 5650 and 8198 clarifies, “Men and maidservants are men AND women [ministers]...” 

As a result, Paul could write that the spiritual body of Christ is completely without nationality, social class, or gender, for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you [true believers] are all ONE in Christ Jesus…” (Gal. 3:27-28.)  “Put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the Image of Him Who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all [Scripturally and sincerely born again believer-followers,] (Col. 3:9-12.)  Menservants and maidservants are willing male and female ministering members of the same body, (Eph. 4:11.) 

This is the contextual truth of New Testament, New Covenant truth in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Oh, I can hear those evil misogynists now, “You are twisting the Scriptures and ignoring everything Paul has said because, as all women who try to teach God’s Word, you have the spirit of Jezebel in you!  Go read what Paul said about women like you who do not know their place!” 

Yeah?  Well, according to the truth of Scripture, the misogynist ‘spirit of Jezebel’ dogma is another ‘neat’ piece of male witchcraft, which has nothing to do with women per say, or women teachers and preachers in the Kingdom of God - just read this whole passage in Rev. 2 in context.  In fact, misogynist male witches have the spirit of Jezebel in them, according to the truth of God’s Word, for they “call themselves prophets, but they teach and seduce God’s servants” to follow false doctrine and to cling to Christianized, pagan norms and forms.  ALL false teaching in the traditional church, both in Catholicism and in Protestantism, originated from, and was carried forth by men not women!  The women who spread fallacies in churches such as in Seventh Day Adventism are in the VAST minority! 

However, this truth of God is not the truth on which all church systems, (Roman Catholic, Protestant and non-denominational) were built on!  But to try and build Jesus’ blood-bought body on anything but His “entire truth of Scripture,” is to commit gross witchcraft and idolatry towards God! 

In their wonderful, free book, ‘The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy,’ Davis and Clark wrote, “The early believers followed the Lord’s example and instruction on this all-important matter [of ecclesiastical leadership,] and they viewed servanthood as the highest vocation.  But by the close of the first century, the subtle signs of the rise of the bishops began, ever so cunningly, to corrupt the simplicity of the faith and to defile the example of the humble Christ…  The anointed consists of ALL those whom God has sanctified to be His people, not a king or a special breed of ruling ministers.  [Leaders] are not called to rule, but to serve… [Therefore,] the act of serving is not an office, it is not a clerical job, nor a seat of authority, but the labor of love, of a life laid down…  

To them a woman could not ‘hold an office,’ and the idea of serving being an office was what they were trying to justify…  Throughout the entire New Testament, the word “office” is found nowhere in the Greek text in connection with the ecclesia, [the body of Christ, the called out assembly.]  Yet it is used five different times in the KJV…  We do not deny that there were those whose lives were set aside to serve the [true Biblical] saints in the first century ecclesia.  However…  they were simply following the example of Jesus Who ‘made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant…’ (Phil. 2:7.) 

“What in the world is a bishop…  There is that word office again!  ... It is amazing how much one little word can change the meaning of a passage of Scripture…  [Jesus forbids His disciples to lord over people!, 1 Pet. 5:3.]  Frank Daniels interpreted ‘PRESBUTERION’ AS THE ELDERLY, [NOT RULING ‘ELDERS’ BUT SPIRITUALLY MAUTRE BELIEVERS, CALLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF.]   

“We recognize that being elderly does not necessarily make one Godly… 

“The elderly in reference here are the Godly elderly who laid down their lives for the flock, who followed in the footsteps of the serving Christ…” 

 

Where did the word “bishop” come from, as it does not fit in the context of Scriptural truth? 

Peter wrote in 1 Pet. 5:1-4, “The elder[ly] among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder[ly] and a witness of the suffering of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed.  Shepherd [and do not drive or rule] the flock of God which is AMONG you, SERVING as  overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as lords over those entrusted to you, but being EXAMPLES to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd, [a human ‘chief elder’ does not exist!] appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 

John the Beloved also called himself a mere elder[ly] in both 2 Jn. 1 and 3 Jn. 1. 

However, even more horrendous than the ‘elder’ distortion, is the so-called ‘higher ranking’ office of BISHOP found in the Bible

Anton Bosch explained the religious reasoning behind the deliberate omission of the word ‘elderly’ in favor of the word ‘elder,’ and the addition of the position and office of ‘bishop’ in ‘The King James Only Controversy,’ “BISHOP: The Greek word here is “episkopos” which is a compound word made of “over” and “see” or “look” – literally “overseer”. Once again, they, [all Protestant and other followers of the Roman Catholic Church] used a word which sanctioned their hierarchical structure inherited from Rome. The use of the word “Bishop” is totally gratuitous. In fact, they correctly translated the word as “overseer” in Acts 20:28.  Not only does the use of the word give license to introduce an office which did not exist in the New Testament [ecclesia or called out assemblies of Christ,] but the use of overseer in Acts 20:28 creates the impression that this is yet another office [distinct from their elders: the office of bishop]. Instead of clarifying a very simple matter, the translation has brought much confusion. 

“The word “MINISTER” (either the verb or the noun) appears 34 times in the KJV. “Minister” has, since the 14th century, been a religious word meaning a clergyman. Several Greek words have been translated as “minister” but all the Greek words have a common meaning – a servant. The most common Greek word is “diakonos” which means a servant specifically in the context of menial work. A few times they translated the same word (correctly) as “servant” and a few times as “deacon” but the in the vast majority of cases the word is translated “minister”.  They obviously chose the word “minister” to entrench the clergy/laity divide which is so typical of the Roman and Anglican [AND ALL PROTESTANT] churches. [In these churches,] the word “minister” is used in the sense of a master, manager or lord when the Greek teaches the exact opposite – that the leaders are to be servants and not masters or lords (1Peter 5:3).  Our understanding of how [the body and bride of Christ] should function would be vastly different if the KJV had correctly translated the word “servant” but the translators’ agenda will distort the view “ministers” have of their self-importance until the Lord returns.”

As God’s real, spiritual Kingdom is a THEOCRACY, He Alone chooses only proved, truly Spirit-filled servants and handmaidens who live spiritually clean lives: 1 Tim. 3; Acts 13:2-4.  Above all, this elderly should be “doers of the Word” and disciples who “rightly divide the word of truth.” – 2 Tim. 2:15.  They are supposed to be faithful stewards, who understand the truth of the Word contextually and constantly apply its commandments and principles to their own lives first. 

True, Scriptural ‘elderly’ are completely different from the ‘elders’ of the Christian church hierarchy, which is a democratically elected top-structure.  Real Biblical elderly, chosen and ordained by the Spirit Himself, function from the ‘bottom’ or from amongst ‘ordinary’ members of the body of Christ, where all the elderly [spiritually] “wash the feet,” or humbly minister to their fellow believers in conjunction with one another: Jn. 13:14; 1 Cor. 4:1-2. 

This is so because the kingdom of God is a spiritual THEOCRACY where Jesus reigns as High Priest and King. 

Paul explained this important principle in 1 Cor. 4:8-16: “We, [the servant-elderly], are looked upon as fools on account of Christ, but you, [the glitzy religious ‘elder’ clergy], are supposedly so amazingly wise and prudent in Christ!  We, [the servant-elderly], are weak, but you, [the religious hierarchy of elders], are so strong!  You are highly esteemed, but we are in disrepute and contempt!  [While you are being kept in luxury through your abuse of the Old Testament ceremonial temple Law], to this hour… we still toil unto weariness for our living, working hard with our own hands…” 

 

TRUE SCRIPTURAL ELDERLY AND NOT UNBIBLICAL ELDERS, HAVE THE REAL ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

At creation, God gave male and female joint rule in everything that does not pertain to their personal marriage covenant

God did not submit all women on all spheres of life to all men — or to anyone else. 

Apart from the marriage covenant, where our secular and spiritual lives are concerned, “there is no more male and female…” 

Every sincerely and personally born again child of God is a spiritual king and priest in Christ and a spiritual worker in his or her own territory as God allots.  Firstly in their own home, then among family and friends, at work, and in the secular world: Acts 1:8. 

From this spiritual royal priesthood, who ministers jointly as male and female in the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit Himself chooses, sets apart and teaches the “elderly:” not necessarily old people but sincere, spiritually and emotionally mature believers of Christ, who still remain ordinary spiritual kings and priests as Christ the King Alone is the High Priest.  The true elderly serve the body of Christ as apostles, (who plant assemblies of believers,) prophets, (who make known God’s will supernaturally in extraordinary situations,) evangelists, pastors, and teachers to “equip” the [truly Scriptural born again saints for their personal work in the Kingdom of God, (Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Cor. 4:1-2.) 

In contrast, the democratically elected, hierarchical elder clergy of the religious Christian stream are unscrupulous rulers, who think it is their ‘right’ to rule and lord over Jesus’ blood-bought believers as they please. 

It might sound paradoxical, but this serving elderly - all of them together and on the same spiritual level, are also the highest human authority in the spiritual body of Christ.  They minister to the body of Christ in a Holy-Spirit anointed, spiritual position without human glory or human importance.  They do not have superior ‘authority,’ ‘hyper’ anointing, ‘high esteem’ or any type of unscriptural power over the congregation.  God did not call His elderly to control, use, and oppress His believers but to lead them in His truth and grace.  Therefore they are five God-called servants, all on equal footing, who, with equal non-status in this world, have to do the extraordinary spiritual job that God had allotted to them.  Not for selfish gain but because they love, honour, obey, and glorify Him above all else. 

Therefore, it is the task of the five elderly of Eph. 4, (proved servants leading sincere, consecrated lives), to also anoint the sick with oil, (simply as a symbol of the Holy Spirit,) and to minister a prayer of healing over them, (Jam. 5:14-16.)  But because their spiritual authority pertains only to the spiritual world and not to any manmade norm, form, or structure, the Scriptural elderly serve without the believers’ reverential admiration of their personhood, work and calling, although we all have to respect, consider, and submit to one another in everything Scripturally true and good, while bringing God all the glory. 

The only One with ‘superior’ authority is the Lord Jesus Christ. 

He Alone is the Chief Shepherd or “Chief Elder”: 1 Pet. 5:1-2. 

A human chief elder, chief elderly, or chief shepherd does not exist. 

God did not anoint or ordain a chief leader to rule the other leaders, or the other members of the body of Christ: 1 Tim. 3:1-2. 

To put a human in Jesus’ place is shameless idolatry, to say the least.  Yet, this is exactly what the Roman Catholic papacy and the hierarchies of Protestantism have been doing for centuries.  According to Scripture, Reverend Doctor So and So, Bishop this and that, Chairman or Whatever of such and such a church, society, consistory or council, simply does not exist — except in the church-indoctrinated minds of people, who remain unknowingly enslaved to dreadfully false and therefore dangerous church systems: Heb. 3:1; 12:2. 

 

But someone has to take control!”

To some, criticism of the hierarchical ‘elder’ clergy might sound unimportant and to others it seems ‘blasphemous,’ although most complain of “spiritually powerless leaders”.  They believe that appointing ‘elders’ as church secretaries, treasurers, etc., is irrelevant.  Yet, in this way, many more unbiblical ‘elder’ offices are being created.  Bible schools train job-seeking men for their systems and send them out as elders.  A democratic election chooses popular friends as elders and deacons, and every other kind of church-post, and they function under the authority and leadership of most important priests, pastors, ministers and ‘reverends’, while God never instructed them to do so

Is it still strange that chaos and a lack of spirituality overcame the church? 

An elder said to me, “No you are wrong.  To maintain order someone has to take control.  Therefore there must be a chief elder...” — meaning a

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