|The Truth Which Sets Free - Destiner Press|
For free online reading simply click on the Chapters listed below.
An exposure of the false teaching of Christianity concerning the reason for evil and suffering. This is one of the most challenging and deepest areas in the Word of God.
The following four booklets are now also included in the Addendum of The Truth Which Sets Free.
Chapter 8. Clergy & Saints
It has already been noted that since the coming of Jesus the true Priest is Christ; all earthly priests, temples made with hands and sacrifices of old have clearly been rendered obsolete. (Hebrews 4:14; 7:23-28; 8:1,2,6,13; 9:1,11) The man Jesus, the Word made flesh, in whom the whole fullness of deity was pleased to dwell, is the only one authorized to mediate between God and man. (John 1:1,14; Colossians 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15) Be assured that Gods wrath is reserved for any who claim to have usurped this power or teach that there are other intermediaries, such as church priests, church saints or the "perpetual virgin" Mary and her supposed intercession. Only Christ, the Lamb without blemish, is able to represent His elect, to open the Book of Life and save. (Revelation 5:3-5,9,10) However, there is a sense in which His elect are also intermediaries, since they carry the Word to others, and because they are counted by God as being "in Christ." Hence every single elect disciple is a member of a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:9,10) These are the predestined sheep, whose names are in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world, those saved by grace and not by invitational gimmicks or human effort. (John 1:13; Ephesians 1:4,5; 2:5,8; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:17) In case you are unfamiliar with this term, the Book of Life refers to a scroll in heaven, written in eternity, before the creation of the world; not to be confused with the earthly Scriptures, the "word of life" or "word of truth" which brings forth the elect on earth. (Ephesians 1:13; James 1:18) The Bible is, literally, The Book (from the Greek word biblios), meaning the one true revelation of God Himself and His message to man. The Book of Life is the pre-existent list of the elect, the ones ordained to eternal life and who will therefore believe. (Acts 13:48) This is the real ordination, by God alone, limited solely to His elect. This must not be confused with the ordination of the goats of churchdom, which is an ordination by man, for man, and of man. Churches today are embroiled in whether to ordain women, homosexuals and who knows what next. As far as the elect are concerned it matters not a whit whom the church ordains. Let them ordain a man or a woman, a lesbian or transsexual, a pedophile or thief, a theological graduate or a chimpanzee, it will not change their terrible destiny.
It is relatively easy for non-Christians to see the direct pagan roots of most church orders such as nuns (vestal virgins, perpetually chaste clones of the Christian version of Mary), monks and priests (the supposedly celibate ones whose sexual perversions have soiled the news in every century since their creation). But churchmen are willingly blind to this, or conceal it. Yes, the church has constantly applied cover-ups to hide these vile facts, whole books being written on this disgusting subject. When the skirts of the bishops are blown open what do they hurriedly seek? Not repentance, not coming out of the sty that spawned them, just damage control so they can stay in. Do they rend their clothes in conviction and cry out to God? No. They dress in public finery and employ eloquence to speak to men, pretending to discipline while ever seeking to excuse themselves. The same old confession box ploy, men imagining they can forgive sins. They are deceived. Only Christ can forgive them, because sins are against God, not men. "Against You, You only, have I sinned," wailed King David. (Psalm 51:4) What was he saying? Had he not sinned against Bathsheba and her husband? No, he had done them terrible harm and wrong, but the sin was against God. Men can forgive and undo wrongs, some at least, but not sin; they cannot go back in time and erase the breaking of any commandment. That is what sin is, falling short of the commands and only God can forgive it, or "give for" it. He does so in the manner of any forgiver, by absorbing the required debt and penalty Himself. In His Son He created a credit account so great it could swallow up the sins of the whole world from the first to last day a trillion times over. All this through and by the Man from whom He extracted the toll in the vat of wrath that pressed out His blood. That is the one true priestly sacrifice beyond price or estimation. Outside of repentance, fleeing from sin to Christ, getting out and into His protection, there is absolutely no escape. All substitutes go into the fire. Yet the clergy will not leave the house of sin, nor give up their gross perversion of human sexuality.
This problem has been around from the very creation of the church. Celibacy was recommended by many church fathers, including Eusebius, Tertullian and Jerome, some even suggesting that virgins were superior to married women, and that married clergy should abstain from sex to be "more holy." They practically worshipped the notion. "No fruitfulness of the flesh can be compared to holy virginity of the flesh." (Augustine, On Virginity) In the apocryphal and so-called Acts of Peter, counterfeited by early Christians (c.150-200 AD), the apostle supposedly heals a young woman and then returns her to bodily paralysis to protect her from the defilement of sexual union, and in prayer for his own daughter she is slain by God for the same "expedient" reason. What utterly repulsive rot! This was nothing like the real Peter, nor the apostle Paul teaching that celibacy was "not a command," that the elect could remain single if they wished, but if not should simply have one wife with mutual sexual rights. (1 Corinthians 7:1-9; 1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6) Paul predicted this very falling away into pagan orders, people who "depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:3) Here is the first century church founder, Ignatius of Antioch, doing just that, " use Christian food alone, and abstain from strange herbage, which is heresy." (Letter to the Trallians)
Many of the church fathers, like Jerome and Hilarion, subsisted on absurdly strict diets which caused onlookers to consider them "holy men," when in fact they were no different from the celibate monks, Hindu ascetics, fakirs or Buddhists with begging bowls we see today. Base superstition, even from the time of the apostles, and their church "piety" and "chastity" have instead been a constant stream of moral degradation. All these "brothers" and "sisters" and abbots and mother superiors cloistered away in their insular cells are copies of heathen models, and by using His Name they create an utter perversion of the Way. Christ did not teach his elect to be celibate or physically separate from the world but distinct from the ways of the world, especially the religious world. He did not take them out, but exactly the opposite, sending them into that world. (John 17:6,15-18) Early Christians went in the reverse direction, toward religion. Particularly bent sects of the early churches in Arabia and Africa even dressed all their women, not just their nuns, in head-to-toe garments and veils, a repression later copied by Islam. All this, right up to the College of Cardinals (priests of the "hinge", Latin root word cardinis) serving the very Anti (Substitute) of Christ can be exposed with only a basic knowledge of history. Church "saints" are straight copies of pagan intermediaries, supposedly enlightened ones who died having lived lives so righteous they acquired powers to intercede for others. This is all too obviously heathen (literally "ethnic" religion, Greek root word ethnos). God accepts no mediator except His sinless Son. These Christian saints are portrayed in the same fashion as the pagan icons with sun-disks or halos around their heads. Even pictures in church Bible editions (like the ones from Lindisfarne, so called Holy Island) show the apostles adorned with these sun-disks, and with the Egyptian sacred calf beside them. This was the common form of deification of men around the whole pagan world, from Egyptian god-men to Buddhas, to depict them within the circle of the sun-god. In Africa "holy men" wear a gourd or sphere on their heads to signify this same power. A few really ridiculous writers, whose "studies" are sillier than fiction, have even claimed this halo was a space helmet, evidence of galactic visitors.
In fact that is exactly where modern day priests belong, in the fantasy of science fiction, another realm of superstition and make-believe, and a major form of neo-pagan faith, the Chapel of Hope in the Flying Sorcerer. Their Christ is little better than an ET who comes, dies, rises and returns without a solution to decay and death, without mention of sin and the coming wrath, leaving man "feeling good" but unrepentant and still in the darkness of religion. Waiting for radio signals to come from "intelligent life" in the stars is just as void as listening to an earthly clergy for enlightenment. The millions of dollars spent by Microsoft founding partner Paul Allen and others on such ludicrous space "research" could have been put to something worthwhile right here on earth. The real Extra Terrestrial has already been here, and made the message dramatically clear. Imagine these words at a science fiction convention. "You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He you will die in your sins." (John 8:23,24) To whom was Jesus actually speaking? The clergy! And he really piled it on. "You know neither Me nor my Father. If you had known Me you would have known My Father also I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent me Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to hear My word You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do He who is of God hears the words of God, therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." (John 8:19,21,42,43,44,47) The churchmen to whom Jesus was speaking then took up stones to kill him. Let all clergy read these words and tremble. You may fool the world, but you cannot fool God, nor deceive His elect for long.
Because they are dead to God, having no ears to hear or eyes to see, churchmen are always blind to their own subtle ways of creating layers of clergy and laity. The church meanings of these words are unbiblical. The Greek root word laos in scripture simply means "people" or "nation." The word kleros means "portion" or "inheritance," as in a share in the kingdom of God. All the elect are equally in the royal priesthood which receives this inheritance, but the goats divide themselves into ordinary pew sitters and ministers, their clergy differentiating themselves in all kinds of special clothing, exactly like the pagan priests, gurus and devotees who need to be "seen of men." The apostles and disciples never engaged in this fancy dress sham, these cloaks and vestments of churchdom, not even so much as changing a collar. Neither did Jesus himself, who had to be distinguished from his disciples with a kiss from the fake apostle, the goat Judas, when he was betrayed into the hands of the church. The disciples looked and sounded like quite ordinary Galileans to others who met them. But churchmen love this dressed up game of division, whether visible or invisible, even dividing themselves into tiers of carnal and spiritually superior Christians, the same old pagan and catholic doctrine of sainthood. These higher goats imagine they have the Son of Almighty God enthroned in a puny seat in their hearts while their lowly brethren have kicked him off this inner stool! Scripture teaches that all the elect, even apostles, are to some degree both carnal, caught in the worlds sin, and at the same time spiritual, redeemed in Christ. (Romans 7:14,25; 8:9) The righteousness of the sheep is not in their hearts, it is in their Shepherd, held for them "in Christ" whose throne is at the right hand of God the Father. (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3)
The goats think they can train men in an earthly institution, and ordain them for the service of God, when all they are doing is training more churchmen for the church. I once talked to an elect disciple in a small fellowship who had recently graduated from a noted Bible College. I asked him if he thought I would benefit from enrolling and he almost fell backwards. He said, "What on earth for? With all you have here? With all this direct teaching from the Master and you would go in there to debate against all those unbelieving professors? I just wasted three years!" And then he showed me the scriptures where God says of his elect, "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:10,11) Churchmen may need college training for their destiny, but the elect have a different Teacher and calling. "I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in Him." (1 John 2:26,27) This direct instruction from the Spirit of God as opposed to the teachings of the church is exactly what Jesus promised to his elect, "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me they will put you out of the synagogues (churches); yes the time is coming when whoever kills you will think he offers service to God. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me He will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgement He will guide you into all truth He will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 15:26; 16:2,3,8,13,15)
God has had quite enough of the clergy who deceived and prospered at the expense of His sheep. Here is His Old Testament prophecy of the coming of the Good Shepherd. "Prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the sheep with force you have ruled them the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; therefore you shepherds hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths that they may not be food for them Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out rescue them from all places they have been scattered bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep I will save my sheep and they will no longer be a prey And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David shall be Prince among them; I the Lord have spoken." (Ezekiel 34) King David had long been dead, some 500 years. This is a direct prediction for Christ, another 500 years ahead, the expected royal descendant, the Prince of Peace, many times called the "Son of David." (Matthew 1:1; John 7:42) Jesus used this scripture of Ezekiel directly in identifying himself as that One Shepherd who rescues his sheep from the "hirelings."(John 10) Make no mistake about this. God has no church priests. He tolerated earthly clergy before Christ, but now he has abolished them. Jesus keeps his sheep for himself, that royal priesthood who also freely give and feed each other in fellowship. (John 21:15; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2) For the clergy to keep themselves hired, to eat off the backs of others, they must create another manmade house and fill it with another flock altogether, the goats.
This is not good news for those trapped in theological colleges, but the ground can be stated and defended with clarity, bringing freedom for the ekklesia, leaving the church in its chains. This knowledge can bring resolve and peace, break invisible bonds and even make the clergy run away, as it often did from Christ. First they came to entangle him (Matthew 22:15) and soon they dared not ask him any more questions, because he spoke with authority and not as their scribes. (Matthew 22:46; 7:28,29; John 7:45,46) This is how it should be. Sometimes when the country preacher George Fox arrived in towns in the north of England various ministers were seen to flee. He called them priests, but they were actually Presbyterian ministers, Fox seeing all substitutes for Christ as variations of the same goat. These Christian ministers called Fox a "Quaker," but the crowds who heard him commented that it was in fact the clergy who were seen to physically shake in dread when Fox spoke. So too the high churchmen shrank from merciless exposure by John the Baptist. What a timeless message to the church, "You think you are the children of promise, but God is able to raise his children from lifeless stones, and even now you are being chopped off, prepared for the fire!" (Matthew 3:7-10) Jesus absolutely confirmed Johns opinion of churchmen, "the blind leading the blind." (Matthew 15:12-14) The clergy feared even the opinion of the common folk who embraced John and Jesus (Matthew 21:26; 26:3-5), and because they knew their livelihoods were threatened (as is the income of any clergyman faced with this truth), their trepidation was mingled with hatred. How many times the priests plotted to silence Christ, desiring to do their evil fathers will. This is not a battle against mere men but also very ugly principalities. Sometimes I wish I was permitted see them, as Elishas servant was granted. (2 Kings 6:17) But he viewed the good side. The other host is terrible. The evil one is, for the time being, given reign, albeit fettered, on this planet, and he is wild to destroy, knowing his time is short. He is still the lord of this world, and how viciously he and his servants have dealt, when permitted, with those who exposed him in times past. He rages for souls, especially those of the elect, and demands to sift and break them like so many stalks of wheat. (Luke 22:31,32)
It is noteworthy that men like Fox or Bunyan were untutored yet taught of God, and how the churchmen reacted to them. As Jesus put it to the disbelieving religious goats, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Therefore everyone who has heard from the Father comes to me." (John 6:45; 8:47; Hebrews 8:10,11) Both Fox and Bunyan were hounded and spent time in prison. Bunyan was incarcerated for a total of 12 years, during which he penned the famous Pilgrims Progress, an exposure of Christianity that is hard to equal. The people loved to hear him, but the church locked him up. On occasion his jailer permitted him to go out, upon his word of promise to return, in order to speak to the waiting crowds. When Bunyan, a humble tinker, received his jail sentence his pregnant wife miscarried at the shock and prospect of poverty, and lamented on the coming judgment for the oppressive churchmen. Indeed, it is hard to imagine their present torment. This is not to say that God does not also choose the educated. Tyndale was a noted scholar and master of languages. But the point is that once he received the Word of God instead of the church gospel he soon became a target for the clergy, not an ally. And this has always been the way. Note this, from another scholar rarely read by churchmen: "We profit from the Word when we evoke the hatred of the world Which world is specifically in view here What world hated Christ and hounded him to death? The religious world, those who pretended to be most zealous for Gods glory. So it is now it is a healthy sign, a sure mark that you are profiting from the Word, when the religious world hates you. But if, on the other hand, you still have a good standing in the churches or assemblies there is grave reason to fear that you love the praise of men more than of God." (Arthur Pink, Profiting from the Word, Banner of Truth, p.87)
It should be obvious, from preceding chapters, that since the clergy and temples of old are obsolete, so too are tithes. A whole chapter could be devoted to this, like many a long essay that has been written to scripturally prove that tithes are totally eradicated by the New Covenant of Christ, but in fact little needs to be said. Tithes go with priests, and priests are booted down the stairs, right out of the house not made with hands, according to the book of Hebrews. Giving is not obsolete, but tithing is abolished. "Freely you have received, freely give," says the Lord Jesus to his chosen. (Matthew 10:8) Yes, that freedom from the church again. This does not mean that the priests are out of business. Far from it. They will receive tithes (tenths of income) from their flock of goats until Christ comes to wipe them off the planet. But the sheep must stay with the Shepherd. The elect may and should be "good Samaritans," giving to the poor and needy, or to any God-ordained cause (the prophets list these at length: such as seeking justice, helping orphans, widows or the sick) as long as it is discreet. The elect are not constrained to a tenth. They may give more or less as they are able. But giving visibly, especially to some objective which gets your name on a public plaque or a park bench or published in the local paper, is absolutely against the will of God and to your detriment on the last day. That is how the Pharisees loved to give and pray, to be seen by others. (Matthew 6:2,5,16) The elect must never be like that. And giving to the church is absolutely out. Let the goats support the church hirelings (John 10:12) who work for money, but let the sheep follow the free giving of their Shepherd and Master. It is as simple as that.
Now let us examine what the early ekklesia had for its leadership as opposed to the clergy of the church, and how the division occurred. This did not happen overnight. The apostles were still very much Jews, steeped in the knowledge that God had revealed Himself only through this single little nation for a full two thousand years, and that all other nations were "without God and without hope in the world." (Amos 3:2; Ephesians 2:12) This was always a cause for false pride amongst Israelites, a belief that other nations were inferior, a classic misunderstanding of grace which is salvation of the undeserving. God is not obligated to reveal himself to anyone, much less save them, and he may pass by entire nations and civilizations. He did of course oblige Himself to save his elect, those given by the Father to the Son, the Israelites by spiritual birth and not by physical descent. (Matthew 3:9; John 8:37-39; Galatians 3:7; Romans 9:6) Even the apostles did not shake this off easily. That is why they were taken aback at Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman (John 4:27), why the ever-fallible apostle Peter had to be shown that non-Jews were equally included in the message of Christ. (Acts 10:28,44,45; 11:1-18) They still considered uncircumcised non-Jews to be so unclean that they would not sit down and eat with them! That is why Paul had to correct Peter, calling him a hypocrite for the huge blunder of going backwards to the Jewish tradition of circumcision (Galatians 2:11,12; 1 Corinthians 7:18,19), and why they failed to abandon Jewish festivals right away. Even Paul could not totally escape from his former Jewish priestliness and racial bias, saying that the message was for "the Jew first and then the Greek," and boasting, "We are Jews by nature and not Gentile sinners." (Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:15) Though Paul repeatedly emphasized that circumcision was obsolete, that real Israelites were in spirit, not flesh, he himself still circumcised Timothy to appease the Jews! (Romans 2:28,29; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Acts 16:3) In describing the unique position of the Jewish nation Paul even wished himself "accursed and cut off from Christ" if it could mean Israel being saved. (Romans 9:3-5) That was an incredible statement. But in fact Jesus taught that the oil (of salvation) in ones own lamp should never be given to someone with none, that the survival of ones own soul in eternity was to be absolutely guarded, one of the very rare times to exercise righteous selfishness. (Matthew 25:8-12)
It is impossible for us today to imagine what the early disciples felt like, to be so inherently Jewish, and so lost without their culture. Yes, in the first few days after the resurrection the apostles were totally at sea! And for weeks afterwards they were confused. They had already received the Spirit directly from Christ (John 20:22) but were not yet empowered to speak the clear message, starting in Jerusalem (the city, not the temple) and then out to the world. (Acts1:8) Even after Pentecost, when thousands heard the Word in their own languages, and the early disciples started meeting in houses, they still could not be rid of their fixation regarding the Jerusalem temple. (Acts 2:46) After all, their Master had not just taught the common folk in the fields but also visited the temple, albeit to the fury and hatred of the clergy, and especially as his time for execution by the church grew near. After his sacrificial death and resurrection the temple was obsolete for all time, but not yet destroyed, and in their zeal to communicate Christ to Jews the apostles continued going there. It was still physically present, a huge distraction, and would not be erased until the end of that generation in 70 AD. Even after God dispersed the disciples to far off places they still went to the synagogues first, when possible. That was how hard it was for them to let go of their natural and religious bias, for God to wean them from their churchdom. There is a direct parallel in this. It is no less a miracle for any Christian today to let go of the church, as the early Jewish disciples of Christ had to forget their traditional temple and clergy forever, to be saved from the "house made with hands" and begin again from scratch because God has utterly destroyed that foundation, leaving "no stone left standing on top of another." (Matthew 24:2) Remember too, these early disciples were operating in a time before the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament letters which confirmed that temples and priests were finished for all time (for the sheep that is, the goats will have them to the end). They had no book of Hebrews yet, or clarifying letters from Peter, John or Paul for easy reference.
Jesus had taught his apostles to shun the lordly leadership loved by worldly people, "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28) Again, he told them not to be like the clergy, who love to be called father and teacher (who not only fail to enter heaven but also try to keep others out as their woeful doom approaches) but instead to be servants in order to be great. (Matthew 23:8-13) And again, even at their last supper, when he caught his apostles squabbling in a childish power play, he admonished and corrected them, "The greatest shall be the servant." (Luke 22:24-26) Try telling that to a bishop as his goats bow to kiss his hand or foot! What the early church (the sham, paganism in disguise) did with its hierarchy was based on their traditions and organizations, not what was being revealed to the disciples of Christ. The body which arose amongst the apostles and disciples was a far cry from that which the early church fathers created.
At the very beginning, there was no clear structure because there were so few disciples. Given the smattering of the remnant this situation remains similar for small fellowships today. The apostles did not go out to plant churches or fill pews because all that would have done was produce classic temples requiring a church organization for unbelievers. The body of the elect is never an organization, it is a living organism, and it is brought forth by the Word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; Ephesians 1:13) never by church planning or construction. Churches filled with goats are easy to spawn; large crowds of the elect in one place are extremely rare in history. However, unlike the scattered remnants today, we know that God had placed a great number of His chosen in Jerusalem at that particular time who were given ears to hear, to escape the religion of their "perverse generation," and soon there were thousands of them. (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14) Such numbers naturally required some form of orderly handling. They did not always go about this the right way. The apostles appear to have jumped the gun early on, to fulfill a scripture, drawing lots (primarily pagan) to select a replacement for Judas. (Acts 1:26) They should have waited for God. The twelfth apostle needed the authority of a direct commission from Christ himself, namely Saul/Paul of Tarsus. (Acts 9:15,16; Galatians 1:1,12; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1) But the early ekklesia also did the right thing in bringing order to potential chaos, in a natural progression, in choosing men to serve tables to free the apostles to teach. (Acts 6:2-4) Imagine that, the apostles must have been serving in every way up to this point; very draining. And they chose not just anybody for the tables either but those noted for wisdom in the Spirit, esteemed servants indeed! "Ministers" from theology colleges, take note.
This cannot be stressed enough. True ordination does not come from the church or any institution of man, it comes from God, "The Spirit will teach you the truth, take what is Mine and show it to you," and is evident enough for others in a true assembly to recognize it. After this came further appointments to service in the early ekklesia, service in the way the Master served his own, even as their footman. The Greek words episkopos and diakonos referred to one as an overseer, who looked after the interests of others like a shepherd, and another who attended to matters of aid and charity, both a far cry from the Deceivers officialdom, his versions of bishop and deacon. According to the apostle Peter, true helpers are in the image of the Shepherd, setting an example, "serving" not "domineering," and not in it for "shameful gain." (1 Peter 5:1-4) The apostle Paul also lists crucial qualifications for such overseers, especially that they be faithful and "not greedy for money." (1 Timothy 3:2,3,8,9) This is critical for the ekklesia of today to learn from scratch. I have been in a few small fellowships and seen this in action. Such shepherds are not appointed by some distant hierarchy but chosen out of their own number because of the evident marks of the Helper and Counselor par excellence, the Spirit of God Himself. (John 14:25; 15:26; 16:13-15)
Jesus said that such workers are "worthy of their meat," that is food offered by those whom they visit with the Word, which he and his disciples accepted. (Matthew 10:10) But never are they to be a financial burden on the ekklesia; they should have their own employment. (Acts 18:3; 20:34,35; 2 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 9:3-12) These scriptures show that the apostle Paul echoed the same teaching, that while a helper could rightly receive food while working (not muzzling the ox while it treads the grain) he and other close disciples made their own living. If the apostles themselves worked for their own support then by no means are lesser counselors to be salaried. Their commission is not to feed off the sheep, like the hirelings described by Ezekiel, but to "feed the sheep" without being an encumbrance. God brings his shepherds into the service of His Son to tend his called and chosen flock, the ekklesia, never to serve the church, which is not his creation. Gods "calling" is nothing like the "vocation" of the man-made clergy, which is a paid profession: of the world, by the church, and for the goats. Jesus did not teach such people to address God as, "Our Father." He had already told them who their demonic father was. The Lords prayer was taught to his sheep alone, not the priests.
If your ears are open yet, be sure to tell your salaried "minister" about his present wages and coming recompense as you escape from the church. George Fox did, quoting directly from the Word and leaving the Presbyterian clergy speechless in front of their own "congregations." Tell it to the new Archbishop of Canterbury, displaying the classic spirit of Christendom by also accepting inauguration as a Druid, himself ordaining a known homosexual and pandering in timid political correctness toward same-sex "marriage" (as though there was such a thing in the Eye or Word of God). Tell it to that grand Substitute (Vicar) in the luxury of the Vatican. Why is such a devotee of the Madonna hiding this from the crowd? Why is he dressed in Egyptian high priestly finery and waited on hand and foot? When did the real Shepherd ride around in a bulletproof pope-mobile surrounded by bodyguards? When did He worship his mother? Never. Such are lords of the earth only; nowhere will they be seen in heaven. They believe in what they can see and feel now; the elect believe in what they do not see but will soon be permitted to touch, as Thomas did, even His scars which bought them. The goats wait in vast numbers to hear and kiss Satans right hand, but whatever you do, get away from them. (Revelation 18:4, 21:8, 22:15) If you are given the fiber to read to the end of this book you will indeed see that you cannot afford to share their everlasting and ecumenical destiny no matter how subtle their excuses, clever their decoys or smooth their enticements in the name of Christ. "Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no help" (Psalm 146:3) "Cursed is the one who trusts in man...Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord." (Jeremiah 17:5-7).