Ephesians 4:11, He gave some to be apostles.(See notes at Exod 28:1.) Did the so-called five-fold ministry offices cease after the New Testament era, or do they continue function in the body of Yeshua to this day? In our day, most people agree that the ministries of the evangelist, teacher and pastor are still in operation today, but many say that the offices of apostles and prophet have ceased to operate. Yet in verse 13, we read that these offices would operate “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah…,” which hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, it would stand to reason, that all these ministry offices are still needed today.
He. It must be kept in mind that Yeshua is the epitome of and over all (authoritatively) ministry offices that follow in this verse. When we ascended to heaven, he spread his own abilities out, as it were, among those he called to be leaders over his spiritual flock below (see Eph 4:8). Collectively, these ministry offices should be doing the work that Yeshua himself would be doing were he here on this earth presently.
Apostles. In addition to the twelve original apostles (including Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot, Acts 1:26), here is a list of the other apostles, which might be called Continue reading →
1 Timothy 3:3, Violent. This passage (vv. 3–7) lists the qualifications of an elder or leader of a congregation. One of the of character traits that he is not to possess is that of being a brawler (KJV), violent (NKJV) or pugnacious (NAS). What do the words brawler, violent or pugnacious mean here? It is the Greek word amachos meaning one who is by nature “a fighter, contentious, quarrelsome, one who causes strife, or one who is combative.” In modern terms, he’s a bully. Perhaps you remember the neighborhood bully from your years as a school child? An elder, overseer or shepherd of a congregation is not to be such a person. This is what Paul had in mind when he gave these instructions concerning the qualifications of an elder.
So let’s now explore this issue a little further. Is there ever a time when spiritual leaders may need to resort to forceful words or even forceful actions to protect YHVH’s spiritual sheep? What, for example, did David mean when he asks the following question in Psalm 94:16?
Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
What did Yeshua mean when describing a good shepherd versus an evil hireling shepherd when he said that unlike the evil shepherd, a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep and protects them from those who come to kill, steal and destroy the sheep? He says that the good shepherd defends the sheep, while the evil shepherd runs away (John 10:7–15). Another example of an evil shepherd is found in Ezekiel 34 where such a shepherd fails to protect the sheep from the beasts of the field (Ezek 34:7–10). How does a shepherd protect his sheep from the wolves who want to kill them? With nice words and platitudes, while singing Kumbaya, holding a candlelight vigil and then begging the wolf to leave and go elsewhere “pretty please, with cream and sugar on top”? Hardly, for the twenty-third psalm speaks of a shepherd who is armed with a rod and staff—and such brings comfort to the sheep (Ps 23:4) who know that the good shepherd has their best interests in mind. The staff was for leading and guiding the sheep, while the rod was for protecting the sheep against predators. On the sheep farm I was raised on, we used a rifle instead of a rod to protect our sheep. It’s interesting how the Bible prophesies that Yeshua, our Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 2:25; 5:4), will rule the world with a rod of iron in the Millennium (Rev 20:7–10). Continue reading →