The Mosaic priesthood was to be the moral leaders of the physical nation, and today the ministry are to be the moral leaders of the brethren, the spiritual nation.
The very first responsibility of the ministry or priesthood is to set a proper godly example by living by every Word of God themselves.
Their second responsibility is to diligently teach the brethren to live by every Word of God.
Physical Israel is to live by all the words that God had given Moses to teach the people.
Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
God gave his Word to Moses who in turn taught the priesthood of Aaron and the entire congregation the entire Word of God. The concept that there is some hidden or secret words from God which Moses did not tell the people, is a fiction intended to enable the use of Hellenic reasoning to justify departing from God’s Word as given to Moses
4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you [the Word of God which Moses was given to teach the people was not to be added to or diminished by some non existent oral tradition], neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day [Moses gave the entirety of the commandments of God to the people in writing and there is no such thing as an oral tradition from God or from Moses], that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
Israel is sent away while Moses hears the Word of the LORD, which Moses then gives to Israel. These are not the laws of Moses; they are the Word of Almighty God given through the messenger, the intermediary, Moses.
5:30 Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. 5:31 But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
Brethren, no man has any right to change add to, or diminish anything from the Word, commandments, laws, statutes, ordinances and judgments that God gave us through Moses!
Neither the pope nor the Rabbinate nor ANY other person has the right to loose the Word of God; they are to bind and loose judgments in human disputes according to the Word of God: NOT to try to change God’s Word according to their own opinions.
Jesus also said:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you [and Jesus commanded us to live by every Word of God the Father Matthew 4:4]: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The third responsibility of the priesthood or ministry is to enforce the Word of God and reprove all evil doers in the congregation.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear [to sin].
A fourth responsibility of the priesthood or ministry is to pass godly judgment in disputes between brethren, judging all things by the Word of God.
Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;
We are to go to the priests for just judgment because they are to know God’s Word and they are to judge fairly by the Word of God. When the priests go astray, justice departs from the land; and when the elders and priests are zealous for the Word of God there is justice.
17:9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment:
17:10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:
The priests were the ultimate judges in Israel; as the overcomers in spiritual Israel shall teach and judge humanity when they are resurrected to become the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God.
ALL judgments MUST be made based on, consistent with, and according to; the whole Word of God.
Jesus taught the same thing for the New Covenant assemblies
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Here we are commanded to do our best to work out our own problems.
If we are offended by any person; we are to go directly to them, and seek to resolve the matter privately in humility. Do not go and say: “you evil man, you did such and such;” no, rather go to him and say “there is a matter that I do not understand, why did you do this?” Speak softly and seek peace.
It is better to cool off a little if angry and then think the matter through while taking the matter to God in prayer first, and then do not delay and allow the matter to fester and grow out of all proportion in your imagination but work to resolve the issue quickly.
18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church [the elders of the Assemblies]: but if he neglect to hear the church [rejects the scripture based instructions of the ministry], let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
If he/she will not respond to a personal entreaty, then go to the Ekklesia for a judgment; and if a scripture based judgment is rejected, let the offender be accounted wicked and rejected until he repents.
The authority of the ministry is limited to:
- To live by every Word of God, setting an example for others,
- Teaching, expounding and explaining the truth of the Word of God; and when any teacher departs from the Word of God they have departed from the source of their authority, and therefore that authority is forfeit! If people do not speak the truth of the Word of God they have absolutely NO moral authority!
- Making judgments based on the Word of God,
- Rebuking any departure from the Word of God and rejecting wilfull sinners from the assemblies. Justice must be seen to be done and hearings on disputes or wilful sin are to be open to the brethren: No secret courts. 1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin [including elders] rebuke before all, that others also may fear [to sin]. Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition [warning] reject; For reasons of mercy a person should first be warned in private as per Matthew 18 and if he is persistent in sin he or she is to be brought to a public hearing before the congregation and publicly rebuked.
The sole purpose of authority in the ministry is for the good of the brethren, to perfect them in godliness. The ministry has absolutely no authority to depart from the Word of God in any thing or in any way.
To help perfect the brethren certain offices were established in the New Covenant ministry for this time. These offices are primarily difference of responsibilities, divisions of labor so that different people could make best use of their particular talents and gifts for the building up of the brethren.
Ephesians 4:11 And, he gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers 4:12 for the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
God has given us teachers and helpers and guides to help us to become perfect; to help us to become like God the Father and Jesus Christ.
They are older brothers in the faith whose job is to focus us on God the Father and Jesus Christ, to teach us God’s ways and to help us to internalize every Word of God; which defines what God is; so that we can internalize the very nature of God and become just like God is in our own attitudes, words and actions!
The minute anyone says “tolerate sin”, or “a little compromise doesn’t matter Christ understands and will overlook it”: Such men have ceased to be men of God; and HAVE BECOME FALSE PROPHETS AND FALSE TEACHERS; seeking to steal our lives and lead us into the path of destruction!
It is our calling to become FULLY like God the Father and Jesus Christ: “unto a perfect man and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.
We are not to seek excuses for failing to become like Christ, who lived by every Word of God; we are to diligently WORK to achieve our goal and seek that Christ would fully dwell within us and lead and strengthen us to overcome, all evil as HE overcame.
What did Christ do? He KEPT HIS FATHER’S COMMANDMENTS! Without a shadow of compromise! To be like him we must do what he did!
Christ said, I have kept the Father’s commandments; I have kept my Father’s law. And, we are to become like Christ: We are to “fulfill the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”.
We are to keep God’s commandments as Christ kept them in both the letter and the spirit.
Jesus Christ kept the whole Word of God as our example; so, that we can learn from his example and fill up the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. So that we can become like him. And, therefore, we can be good children to God the Father, as Jesus Christ was [and is] a good Son. And being good children we would also be acceptable to God the Father.
The various offices and gifts given to members of the body are merely responsibilities to be helps in various areas, to better assist the brethren to become LIKE God the Father and like Jesus Christ.
People in such positions are to be respected as our helps; they are not to be exalted as some kind of grand idol or little god above God our Father and his Word! And they are to be followed ONLY as they faithfully follow God the Father and Jesus Christ. If they do not live by every Word of God, they forfeit all moral authority; and are to be rejected as anathema from God.
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are offices of responsibility and not necessarily a hierarchical system of authority.
Yes, the offices do have some authority as long as the holders are acting and teaching according to the whole Word of God and are not departing from God’s Word; but the authority resides in God and the Word of God and not in the person.
If any religious leader departs from God’s Word, then his authority has departed from him!
True apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers will stand firmly upon the whole Word of God. False leaders will claim to be godly as they try to deceive us away from any zeal for the whole Word of God to follow themselves.
We are not to be foolish and follow the cunning craftiness of false teachers into every false way like ignorant spiritual children, we are to be filled with and stand unshakably on the whole Word of God.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
The true people of God speak the TRUTH of the Word of God, and stand on God’s Word, to internalize the very nature of God the Father and grow to become holy as God is holy (Lev 11:45, 1 Pet 1:16); to become like Jesus Christ our espoused Husband and God our Father in heaven.
4:15 But speaking the truth [which is the Word of God]: in love, may grow up into him [Jesus Christ and God the Father] in all things, which is the head [the head of the Ekklesia under God the Father], even Christ:
The way to avoid being tricked and deceived by cunning men and by the tares sowed amongst the wheat, is to stand on the solid foundation of the whole Word of God and the Chief Cornerstone Jesus Christ.
We must test the words of all men against the words of the scriptural apostles, and prophets and Jesus Christ. And by the apostles and prophets, I am referring to the written Holy Scriptures. I am not referring to some fellow, who comes along saying;“ I am an Apostle” and is doing that to get your attention and excite our admiration so that he can deceive us with cunning craftiness to follow himself. Remember that God calls things what they are: men seldom do.
There may be some people who are truly sent by God as messengers and as apostles. But, if they are, they will be utterly consistent with the Word of God and they will have no fear of, and no concern about anyone testing what they say against the Word of God.
The only reason for a fellow not to like you testing what he says, is because he is not consistent with the Word of God. Such false men who say “Questioning me is questioning God;” are liars: for we are commanded not to blindly follow men, and instructed to question all men by the whole Word of God.
If we hold men up to the standard of God’s Word: We are NOT questioning God at all! We are questioning the man to discern his faithfulness to God!
A true man of God will say; go ahead and check up on me. Absolutely, I will be consistent with the Word of God and if I am not, then there is a problem and you better believe the Word of God, first.
All elders and leaders are charged to be faithful to live by every Word of God; and to faithfully teach, apply and enforce the whole Word of God
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.