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UNSCRIPTURAL HIERARCHY OF RULING CHURCH ‘ELDERS’ 

Renette Vermeulen

 

Subjects 

· Jesus commanded great humbleness not the great important offices or posts of the ‘elder’ hierarchy 

· True ministers are stewards and servants, who have no rank or preference, except in the unbiblical “rise of the bishops” 

· Where did the words “bishop” and “deacon” come from, as these are separate offices for the hierarchical ‘elders?’ 

· Translators of the Bible substituted the concept of the “Servant or [spiritually mature, God-called] Elderly” with the words ‘bishop,’ ‘elder,’ minster’ and “deacon” to make them into different hierarchical church posts for clergymen

· As misogynists, the ‘elders and bishops’ excluded women from the ruling, all-male hierarchy  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 extort money from Jesus’ believers?  

 

JESUS COMMANDED GREAT HUMILITY NOT THE GREAT IMPORTANT OFFICES OR POSTS OF THE ‘ELDER’ HIERARCHY   

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 [so-called hierarchical elders,] bishops [and deacons] 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, (1 Jn. 2:20; 27) not a king [pope, head elder, human high priest] or a special breed of ruling ministers [called ‘deacons,’ ‘elders’ and the bishops that supposedly outrank them.]  True ministers were not called to rule, but to serve… [Therefore,] the act of serving is not an office, [and a ranking order;] 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 bride and 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’ [the so called super spiritual ‘elders’ or ‘ministers’] as ‘the elderly,’ [spiritually mature believers, called by the Holy Spirit Himself and equipped for service by their knowledge of, and personal obedience to the real truth of His Word..]    We recognize that being elderly does not necessarily make one Godly or fit for service in the body of Christ…  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…” 

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 unmistakably clear.  He also demonstrated His humble ministry to all people and especially His disciples by physically washing the disciples feet.  The sins of pride and self-centeredness are the essence of Satan, the mastermind of all religiosity without a personal relationship with God in Christ.  As a result, reborn believers must die to their sinful love of self and religious aspirations to live in a true calling of God: Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17. 

Different from those who are mere church members, truly Scripturally born again leaders must be humble servants to believers and willing “slaves” 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 [or actually serve] 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 focuses our minds and lives on earth and not on heaven, (Mt. 6:24.)  Hence, Paul warned 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, unteachable and ambitious,] but think soberly...”

God’s grace does not differ from person to person, but His calling and gifts do, (1 Cor. 12:11,) 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, honor 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 where arrogant people carry the spear of spiritual independence in their hands.  Independence from God, fuelled by their idolatrous pride and haughtiness. 

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

However, shortly after Jesus’ ascension, religion factions, titles of honour, rank and snobbishness existed among 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.  It all began with the Roman Catholic clergy who believed they were spiritually, even intellectually and of course financially, so much more important than the flock, therefore they pretend(ed) to be gods themselves.  This haughty hierarchy was and still is justified by the ghastly abuse of Mt. 16:18-20, which the Vatican made into a mandate to adore their so-called ‘divine’ priesthood — but in the context of Scriptural truth this is not so.  

In this passage in Matthew, (16:18-20,) Jesus was not exalting Peter as the ‘god or Rock of the Church,’ He was revealing to Peter his own place in God’s Spiritual Kingdom, as well as the form and structure of the genuine body (and assemblies) of Christ.  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 at Pentecost when He used Peter to turn the Gospel-key to unlock heaven’s door for 3,000 souls, (Acts 2:41-43.)  Still, this great miracle says nothing about Peter the ‘most important elder-god’ of the Vatican.  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, Elijah, 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 a priest of My New Testament/Covenant, Melchizedekian 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,”]  (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 and 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 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 “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 promoted 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 priests, the high priest or the pope; the head of the Roman Catholic Church and all her Protestant church daughters, which kept all the most important doctrines and church forms and norms of Rome when they ‘reformed’ (not repented) from Catholicism. 

Because 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 ARE STEWARDS AND SERVANTS WH0 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 of His true believers on Golgotha.  At the moment of His death on the cross, He annulled the physical, Old Testament temple (Heb. 8:13) 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 Scriptural saint, or a holy, spiritually and personally 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 among themselves.  Together, they “are His chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy [spiritual] nation, His own special people, that they may proclaim the praises of Him Who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light,” 1 Pt. 2:9.   By the sincerely accepting the full atonement of Christ in their place, (Jn. 3:16,) “they were qualified to be partakers of the inheritance of the [Biblically believing] saints in the light.  [For] He has delivered [past tense] them from the power of darkness and conveyed them [when they sincerely believed and accepted Jesus, Jn. 1:12-13,] into the Kingdom of the Son of His love.  In Whom they have [present tense] redemption through His blood; the forgiveness of sins,”  Col. 1:12-14. 

God did not submit His blood-bought spiritual nation to human lords or commanders; all His believers must 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, (Eph. 5:21.)  His calling on the lives of His “elderly or servants” is a stewardship, where they “watch out for the souls of believers, as those who must give account [of everything and everyone God had entrusted to them,” Heb. 13:17.       

For far too long, believers have followed false doctrines and unscriptural church authority, justified by uncontextual and twisted Bible verses and passages, which intend to substitute the truth of God’s Word and His Scriptural servant-elderly, to lead His body into deception.  God’s Word is found in the entire Truth of Scripture, not just in a verse here and a passage there, taken out of context by wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

 

Where did the words “bishop” and “deacon” come from, as these are these separate offices for hierarchical “elders?” 

Peter wrote in 1 Pet. 5:1-4, “The elderly [not ruling elders but spiritual mature ministers or servants] among you I exhort, I who am a fellow [elderly or servant] 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, [you are not exalted above them] serving [not ruling] as [prison guards or] overseers [but guiding and protecting as stewards,] not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples [not commanders] to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd, [a human ‘chief elder’ ‘bishop’ or other exalted ruler 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. 

Even more horrendous than the ‘haughty elder’ distortion, is the so-called ‘higher ranking’ office of “bishop” and the alleged “lowest rank” of deacon, 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.’  He wrote, “BISHOP: The Greek word here is “episkopos” which is a compound word made of “over” and “see” or “look” – literally “overseer.” [Not as a prison warden, but a shepherd, steward or care giver.]  Once again, they, [all Protestant and all other followers of such Roman Catholic Church doctrine,] used a word which sanctioned their hierarchical structure inherited from Rome. The use of the word “Bishop” is totally unwarranted. 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 [and not steward, servant or shepherd] in Acts 20:28 creates the impression that this is yet another office [distinct from their elders: the so-called 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 [such as all ’servants’ or elderly do!]  A few times they translated the same word [correctly] as “SERVANT” and a few times as “DEACON” but in the vast majority of cases the word is translated “MINISTER.”  They obviously chose the word “minister” to entrench the clergy/laity [hierarchical] divide which is so typical of the Roman and Anglican [and all Protestant and other divisions or denominations.  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.”

 

Translators of the Bible substituted the concept of the “Servant or [spiritually mature, God-called] Elderly” with the words ‘bishop,’ ‘elder,’ minster’ and “deacon” to make them into different hierarchical church posts for clergymen

In the context of Scriptural truth, the spiritual priesthood of Melchizedek (1 Pt. 2:9-10) only have the ‘elderly’ to shepherd, teach, and ‘equip’ them for servanthood in the body of Christ. Jesus Himself is the Only High Priest and Head of His body.  Thus, it seems practical that the  other members of the Body of Christ should do physical chores among the believers.  They can collect money, etcetera for charity, (not collected by false extortion such as ‘tithing” but as giving freely,’) wait tables, and do other physical chores while also taking physical care of one another as members of the same body to assist the elderly in their spiritual ministry (or service.) Spiritual ‘ministry’ or shepherding the assemblies, is the task of real God-called elderly - all hierarchical ruling elders excluded.  Thus, the “servants or elderly,” uncontextually and unscripturally called “deacons,” “bishops,” and “[church] ministers,” must live Holy-Spirit filled, consecrated lives as examples to the flock, (1 Tim. 3:8-13.) 

It seems logic that God may call those who teach the Word, visit the sick, preach, lead the congregation in prayer, or shepherd home-assemblies, to first serve the body on a physical level, until they are spiritually mature enough to form part of the servanthood or elderly.  “For those who have served well as [servants or elderly] obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus… (1 Tim. 3:13.) Thus, the [elderly] must not be... double-tongued, given to much wine or greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith [the true Gospel of Christ] with a pure conscience.  But they must first be tested, [proving that they are faithful to Jesus and dedicated to serving His body,] then, let them serve as [elderly,] being found blameless…” 

As God’s real, spiritual Kingdom is a Theocracy, He Alone chooses only proved, truly Spirit-filled servants and handmaidens (the elderly,) who live spiritually clean moral 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 Kingdom where Jesus Alone 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…” 

 

AS MYSOGANISTS, THE “DEACONS, ELDERS AND BISHOPS” EXCLUDED WOMEN FROM THEIR RULING, ALL-MALE  HIERARCHY

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 globally for all people, salvation can only be found in personal acceptance of, and obedience to Jesus Christ, Jn. 3:16; 1:11-13.]” 

Gal. 3:28, “[Spiritually, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female; for in Him you are all one.” 

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

That’s why Paul could write in Gal. 3:28 & Eph. 4:24 that the spiritual body of Christ is completely without nationality, social class, or gender. “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, [male or female,] but Christ is all and in all [Scripturally and sincerely born again believer-followers,] (Col. 3:9-12.)

Menservants and maidservants are therefore willing male and female ministering members of the same body, (Eph. 4:11.) 

This is the unchangeable, 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! 

What’s more, if it was really Paul who wrote that women must keep silent in church, wear head coverings while praying and ‘prophesying’ [or ministering,] and bear children to be saved, etcetera, he must have been just as deceived and confused as the misogynist [women haters] who have been abusing women through the ages with these totally uncontextual verses and passages.  It is more likely that the Vatican pressed such nonsense into Scripture, nullifying the truth of God’s contextual Word, (Mrk 7:13; Mt. 15:6,) which states that “whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life,” and that He “poured out His Spirit on men servants and female servants [or ministers,]  etcetera.  (Jn. 3:16; Acts 2:18.)

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