Saturday, April 6, 2013

Divine Authority

Good day sister Doxsey

This morning i was reviewing some of the articles you have written this far and as i was reading the one about the governing body - i could not help but wonder as to who the "older men" mentioned in Acts 13-15 are.

If the governing body exist because of what happened in the first century, is it not supposed to be arranged in the very same manner?

So my question is, who were the older men? Should there be no "older men" in today's governing body? (Rhetorical question)




Hello Modise,

Thank you for your patience in waiting for this reply.
The designation of "Older men" was a Jewish tradition (Mark15:1; Acts24:1). This arrangement was not in harmony with the teachings of Christ (Matt.23:2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12). "Elder"/"Older man" may not be as familiar to us, growing up in our world. It was a respectful designation given to one considered to have greater wisdom and experience in life, and this respect was in harmony with a solid family orientation...respect for elders and family heads (Exo.20:12; Eph.6:2). These things have eroded in most of today's world. The place of "elder" in Jewish society, gradually took on more religious significance, as is seen by the regard these are given among the Scribes and Pharisees of the first century. Those considered "elders" were considered such, by age and good repute (Prov.16:31; Lev.19:32; Ps.71:18) and they were therefore consulted for their opinion and guidance as a normal part of Jewish society. This respect for older men (1Tim.5:1; 1Pet.5:5) was a proper and deeply ingrained part of life, both to Jews and then to early Christians.

We today have lost our sense of the original concept of what the biblical elder is. Among "Jehovah's Witnesses", the only ones respected as such, are those designated and officiated as Society-endorsed...often in spite of a lack of true maturity, integrity, humility, wisdom, or compassion.

In the Christian congregation, it was Paul who wished to make certain that anyone to whom Christians would respect, consult, or seek support from; would be good Christian models for others. This is why he set a standard as to whom the followers of Christ would seek support from (1Tim.3:1-13)...according to a prevalent Jewish tradition, and common practice of all their society at the time. It should be noted that the Greek word for "elder"/"older man", is not the same as anointed "overseer". This distinction today has been lost.
The "office" of elder (as it is viewed today), is not a true part of Christ's teachings. I'm confident that if you search all of Christ's recorded words, you will not find reference to it.

God's Temple administration does contain those anointed who receive symbolic designation as "elders" (Rev.4:4,10; 5:8,14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4; Acts2:17). But these are those considered such according to God's estimation of who is experienced, exemplary and wise. This has nothing to do with the arrangement seen within the Organization of "Jehovah's Witnesses". Within that arrangement, men are chosen, not only using Paul's guiding words; but many expectations regarding subjection to the organization itself and the men who rule it (field service hours, obedience to "overseers", meeting attendance, grooming habits, etc.). These same expectations are held to those chosen to be on the governing body, even more so. These are men chosen to care for the interests of an organization.... not the interests of Truth, nor the real needs of the sheep. Such is evidenced by the ever-vacillating doctrines, published to contain harm to their image as infallible, and to maintain protective legalities. 

Regarding the situation in the first Century, and those called "older men in Jerusalem", I believe it would help you to read Gal.1:1,11,12,15,16,17 and these two articles:

which articles show scripturally, why Paul and Barnabas had to go to Jerusalem (Acts15:24,19), as well as who it was that contributed to the decisions that resulted (Acts15:12,22,23,25).

Christendom places men into positions of priest, pastor, bishop, pope, cardinal, saint, etc.

This has absolutely no correlation to divine assignment. All these are Satan's counterfeit replacements of God's chosen ones.  It is the same with the elders and governing body of "Jehovah's Witnesses". The arrangement of God's Temple and it's designated positions are clearly outlined in the scriptures. These bear no resemblance to these arrangements of prideful, self-assuming, rebellious men. (1Cor.6:2; 12:7-31; Eph.2:20,21,22; 4:11; Rev.21:9,10,12,14,15,17,22,23,24,25,26,27; Heb.13:14)
Remember, those who are prominent are said to "take the lead"...not to be given, nor assigned the lead by God (Matt.23:10,12). This original designation of spirit-appointed "lead", belongs to the apostles and prophets (Eph.2:20), neither of which are filled by the governing body, or the un-anointed elders. Those who were  "appointed by Holy Spirit" are anointed ones, not the spiritual Gentile elders of today (Acts20:28; 1Cor.12:18; 1Pet.2:5). Such an appointment, is counterfeit (Rev.9:3; 13:15; 19:20) In fact, those spiritual Gentiles are forbidden to serve in the Temple as priests (2Chron.23:6; Num.3:10). Their violation in doing so is a part of prophecy. (2Thess.2:4; Matt.24:15; Rev.11:2; Luke21:24)
Even among the chosen priests (1Pet.2:9); only those proving to be faithful slaves of God, should be heeded (1John4:1; 1Tim.4:1; Matt.7:20; John7:17,18; Matt.7:18; Heb.13:17), 
...Not because of the authority they claim for themselves, nor due to authority given by men; but due to their proven loyalty and faithfulness to God's Word and an exclusive devotion to YHWH. These are the only ones deserving of the true designation of "elder". Jesus was a true witness for God (Rev.3:14; John8:29; John1:18) because he faithfully bore God's words (John8:28; 5:19,30; 12:49). The anointed are held to the same standard (John7:18; Rev.14:5; 2Cor.3:5).

Now we do need to consider how the arrangements of God do impact the existence of the governing body today. Jesus has assigned all anointed to faithfully feed one another (1Cor.4:1; 12:27; 1Cor.10:17; Eph.4:12). One of those assignments is defined as "abilities to direct"/"guidance"/"administration" (depending on translation) (1Cor.12:28). This was highlighted by Jesus as the role of household Steward (Luke12:42; 16:2) who is to oversee and coordinate the dispensing of all provisions. A literal steward can not properly feed a household on his own, but depends upon the contributing services of the other anointed slaves of Christ's body, should he be humble enough to accept them (Phil.2:3; 1Cor.4:7; Heb.6:10; Matt.25:35; Rom.2:8; 12:10; Eph.5:21)

Of such positions, Jesus said that more would be expected from those responsible for more (Luke12:48; James3:1). Punishments for failure would be more severe for these (Matt.24:51). Those wishing to hold "greater" positions, would need to be especially concerned with serving the others (Mark10:43; Matt.23:11)....not abusing their authority (Mark10:42,43; Matt.24:48,49).
According to Jesus, this abuse was an open opportunity in Satan's world (Matt.24:48,13; Luke21:36; 13:24).

Jesus gave many warnings to his followers about those taking the lead and proving false (Matt.7:15; 24:4,5,11,24,25). He insisted that this would be the climate during the Great Tribulation, and he warned his followers to remain awake to this threat, lest they be overtaken by this great deception (Eph.6:18; Mark13:33; Luke21:36; Rev.12:9,15,17; 13:7,8,9,10,14; 9:5,10; Eze.2:6; Luke10:19).

This clearly tells all of us, that we do not subject ourselves to any man, merely because they hold a self-proclaimed position (1Cor.3:4,5; 7:23; Gal.1:10; Col.3:24; Psalm146:3; 118:8; Isa.2:22; Jer.17:5). Whether or not there were those considered "older men" in first century Jerusalem or not.....whether these were looked to as the apostles of Christ (which they actually were), or not; God does not compel us to sell our souls to those claiming to be replacements or equals to Christ and the twelve (2Thess.2:2; Mark13:22; 2Cor.11:13). What we are under compulsion to do, is to heed Christ's warnings about such men and their existence in our day (Matt.24:24,25; 7:20,24; Rev.3:22).

An anointed man designated "elder"/"older man" by an organization, who takes the Steward position over God's chosen household and Temple; is not to be automatically subjected to. Even less so, those Gentiles he appoints as priests (2Chron.13:9; John16:2; Eze.44:6,7,8,9) Only those with a circumcision of the heart may serve as priests (Rom.2:29; Heb.8:10; 1Pet.2:10,9). No scripture compels us to respect an authority who defies this law of God; but many scriptures compel us NOT to respect this. We are told to examine such men (1John4:1; 1Thess.5:21; Matt.7:16; John7:17). If their proven deeds establish that their conduct is worthy, we are given permission to imitate their demonstrated faith (Heb.13:7)......not to surrender our faith, actions, and will to them (1Cor.7:23; Luke4:8; Rev.13:16). That worship is reserved for God, His Holy Word, and Christ alone (1Pet.4:11; John14:6; Acts17:11; Ps.119:105; Rev.5:13). the essence of the test upon us now. The Great Tribulation will test all those claiming to worship God. Are they directed by, serving, obeying, and worshiping God? (Rev.14:7)...or a wicked steward and the Gentile Organizational Wild Beast under "his" command? (Rev.13:8,9) (Rev.11:7; Jer.11:19; Ps.83:4; Rev.6:9)

We are under no obligation to worship them, regardless of their claim to being "older men".
(Rev.13:2,4,11,13,14,15,18; 16:13,14,15)
"Are elders spirit-appointed?"
"Should we obey Men?"



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