God led the Church to see the need for His government to be more firmly established in local regions where people were being called. Such structure is necessary in order to better serve the needs of new members, to help serve in the protection and guarding of God’s flock, and to provide a better flow of communication throughout the Church. In this post, we will look at some of this structuring process more closely as we began to touch upon the introduction to it in the last post where Paul was addressing “why” God established His ministry, through Christ, to the Church.
Over the past several years, not only were individuals ordained in many regions where God was calling more people, but also God revealed the need to expand His ministry and teach them how to fulfill their roles so that they would be ready for a “future work.” God led His Church to see that there would soon be a time when He would begin calling large masses of people into His Church, once the final Trumpets begin being fulfilled. Today, God’s Church is prepared to baptize large numbers, even hundreds of thousands, over a short period of time. Also, God has since revealed that although this process will begin just before the Millennium is established, the greatest impact of this will be accomplished in the very beginning of the Millennium.
Although some who are in the ministry today will be part of the 144,000, they will not be involved in baptizing once they are in the Kingdom of God. The job of performing baptisms is for ministers who are physical, as it would not be spiritually healthy for people to be baptized by members of the God Family, Elohim.
Trying, Testing, Cleansing, & Refining
Over the past 2,000 years, God’s ministry has worked to help serve, teach, lead, guide, and protect God’s people. The focus of some of these duties has varied from time to time depending on God’s purpose and the uniqueness associated with specific periods during the different eras of the Church.
One of the most unique periods for God’s Church has been this very end-time due to the remnant which was drawn out of the scattering that followed the Apostasy and those who have been added since. Technology has provided a means for God to more fully solidify His government in the Church and to unify it in closer oneness (agreement) of spirit among members. This ability to more fully unify people in belief also gave rise to God revealing many more new truths to His Church. This power to enhance such unity in the midst of God adding so much more truth to His Church has been accomplished by Him speaking (in sermons and in writing) through a single, primary voice that His people worldwide could hear Sabbath to Sabbath. God has done this through His apostle. God also provided three evangelists to help assist in this preaching (teaching) on some Sabbaths and during Holy Day periods, and who currently carry a far greater role in such teaching.
Such a process of teaching people in so many regions and in such a unified manner never occurred before this. All this is a prelude to even greater changes that will occur in God’s ministry through physical human beings, once the Millennium has been established.
As a result of “how” God structured His ministry during this final end-time, especially in the larger number He added to it, a way was built whereby an accelerated process for growth could be accomplished in all the Church. The means for transforming the mind, the building of strong faith, and the very process of the creating of Elohim was powerfully and speedily enhanced. At the end of 6,000 years, the pinnacle of God’s “new creation” has been magnified to such a level that it has now “prepared the way” for a vastly larger creation of Elohim during Christ’s reign in God’s Kingdom.
In the midst of this final work God has been doing to firmly establish the whole foundation, the building blocks, and the very process of creating Elohim, is “how” God has used “ordinations” to complete this final phase of 6,000 years of work. In this final end-time phase, ordinations have served as one of the most powerful tools ever used to enhance and accelerate the creating of God’s Family. Ordinations have worked as a magnified process to “try, test, cleanse, and refine” God’s Church.
Choices Follow Ordination
There is much more to be learned from what Paul described concerning God giving His Church a structured ministry. As it was pointed out in the first post, God gave a structured and orderly ministry to His Church. Then Paul went on to explain the purpose of such ordinations, which is “for the perfecting (maturing) of the saints” (Eph. 4:12). God’s overall purpose of ordinations is to bring people in the Church to a mature state so they can in time “be changed into Elohim” (the process of “perfecting of the saints”).
A most basic reality and truth concerning all who are “called” into God’s Church is that not all will yield themselves to this maturing (perfecting) process. Not all who are ordained yield themselves faithfully to greater service to God any more than all of those who are baptized faithfully yield themselves to God’s creating process. This is akin to the example Christ gave in the parable of the “Sower and the Seed” (Mat. 13).
Some who are ordained become lifted up in greater pride and self-importance as a result of being ordained. As one then becomes spiritually weakened due to such a response and unrepentant spirit, then in time, Satan comes along and feeds that spirit to a level of pride that leads one to raise himself or herself above God’s government (those ordained to be over them) and above truths God has established in His Church.
Paul reminded Timothy of two ministers who responded to their ordination in such a manner. Paul had ordained Timothy and was admonishing him on how to be a good minister to God’s people and that he should stir up the gift God had given to him (Timothy) by Paul having laid hands upon him. Then he went on to tell Timothy of these two men who turned from the truth.
“Shun profane and vain (spiritually empty) babbling (rambling), for they will increase unto more ungodliness. Their word will eat away as gangrene (like a cancer), of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is already past and have overthrown the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:16-18).
A minister (or even any member) can become so lifted up in pride that they can take themselves away from being under the authority of God’s government. This begins by the individual finding some self-perceived fault or error of doctrine in the one (or ones) God has placed over them. This then leads the way for the conscience to even be justified to change doctrine (truth) God has established in His Church. Through some kind of justification, ordained individuals (or any member of the Body) can begin to believe that God is working through them to reveal different matters (truth, doctrine, or even prophecy) to others in the Church.
Two other ministers who had turned away from the Church in Asia, Phygellus and Hermgenes, used Paul’s imprisonment and being bound as part of their justification to turn against the leadership of Paul that God had given to him for the gentiles. Although these two ministers left the Church, Onesiphorus is mentioned as one from that region who remained faithful and was not ashamed by Paul being bound by chains (Gk.- fetters, chains, or other restraints: Acts 28:20, 2 Tim. 2:15-17). It is in the context of these struggles and battles in the Church that Paul went on to clarify an important lesson concerning ordinations, directly after Paul warned Timothy about ministers like Hymenaeus and Philetus.
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earth. Some are to honor and some to dishonor” (2 Tim. 2:20).
This is very much like the example of baptism. Being called by God and then baptized into the Church is a most awesome occurrence in one’s life, but that act of baptism and God personally having called the person does not insure one’s place in Elohim. There are life-long choices that must then be made by the one baptized. Being called into God’s ministry also does not insure one’s place into Elohim, regardless of the level of ordination (although there is no record of any prophet or apostle in the Church who has turned against God). All who are baptized and all who are ordained have great weaknesses, faults, and pride. These simply occur at different levels of growth and maturity, but selfish human nature is still there and must be conquered. That is why Paul goes on to show that there is still much work to overcoming that must continue even when one is ordained. But sadly, it has been all too often that after being ordained it could simply fuel one’s pride (either quickly or much later) and one then becomes blinded to the true picture of “self” that must always be battled.
“If a man will therefore purge (rid) himself of these (the things of dishonor), he shall be a vessel unto honor, and sanctified (set apart for holy use and purpose) and meet (profitable) for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).
The instruction from Paul to purge oneself of those things that produce dishonor was in the context of instruction to a minister, but it applies to all. The reality is that everyone is to continuously work to purge themselves of all impurities or they themselves will be purged. This is just as Paul instructed the Corinthians concerning the observance of Unleavened Bread when he told them to “purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may become a new lump” (1 Cor. 5:7).
Not a few, but many members through time and those who were ordained have failed to purge themselves of spiritual leavening that has directly concerned the ordination of others or that of themselves. In this final end-time, God has used the ordination of many to more quickly cleanse and refine His Church. For those who actively addressed a continuing process of ridding their lives of the things of dishonor, especially in this one specific area where God’s government expanded so quickly in the Church, there was great spiritual growth and strengthening of living faith.
For those who let ordinations “eat away” in their life, either through elevated pride and/or attitudes of jealousy and envy, they were purged by God. Those who unrepentantly let such a thing “eat away” at their spiritual lives simply became weaker and weaker spiritually. They came to the point of being purged as God gradually removed His spirit from them, which led to their own actions of removing themselves through rebellion to His government and truths. Thankfully, such numbers have been proportionally small compared to many other periods in the past. But in all such cases in recent time, this has worked as a powerful means of refining and cleansing of the Church.
The “perfecting (maturing) of the saints” as part of God’s purpose in giving a firm structure of government, and to provide many levels of service to His people, and a strong means of teaching that comes through His ministry, does not come about by a “perfect” ministry. On the contrary, it is God’s purpose that people “learn” from and through an imperfect ministry. This is what “tries, tests, cleanses, and refines” God’s Church to a very large degree and has been the primary tool of doing so at this end-time. There is no such thing as a perfect ministry in human flesh. Understanding this has much to do with what God is teaching His Church and preparing to give to the world – a ministry of priests who are spirit and fully perfected – matured and in Elohim.
(This series will be continued in Pt. 3.)