Back to the Basics
“And he (Christ) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Yahweh, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole Body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the Body for the edifying of itself in love,” Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJ).
If I am just a part of the Body, I would really prefer to be an apostle; being a top person sounds very prestigious and impressive, a good sound to the natural ears. But Yahweh did the choosing for me. I am what I am in the Lord because he placed me where he wanted me to be. If he has placed me to be a watchman, I will still be a watchman, even if I nickname myself apostle. As the Spirit of the Most Holy moves upon me, I will function as a watchman even if I should choose to be an apostle.
The Lord places us in his Body according to our ability and need. If Yahweh places me in the Body as a shepherd, when I minister under the anointing, my gift will manifest itself as that of a shepherd’s ministry. We only fool ourselves if we try to place ourselves contrary to the Spirit’s placing. If we are called as an apostle, we will act in the office of an apostle, even if our peers see us unworthy of any title. We minister according to our calling, and not according to what we are called.
Yasha, our first living example of an apostle, was usually given the title of “the carpenter’s son.” If he was ever addressed as an apostle in the days of his flesh, we have no record of it. But his ministry was not hindered by the lack of a verbal title. It upset the religious leaders of his day because he refused to allow them to tell him how he was supposed to operate and under what title.
Some may glance at my heading, and refuse to read this study because they are persuaded that the gift realm has passed and body ministry is outdated. Some are persuaded that the Melchizedek Priesthood has replaced body ministry. If you agree with this line of thought, I challenge you to go with me to First Corinthians 12:28-31.
“And Yahweh has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”
Please notice that the ministering and spiritual gifts are set in “one Body” and each is part of the functioning of that Body. We cannot embrace part and do away with the rest. The question is, Can we split the gift-realm? Can we say the gift realm that is manifest as faith, miracles, healing, knowledge, wisdom, languages, interpretation, discerning of Spirits, and prophecy has passed away, while the ministry gifts are still functioning? Some people are calling themselves apostles or prophets, and truly some of them are, but this is a bit confusing to me. If the body ministry has truly passed away, why are they still functioning in the gift realm as prophets, apostles, evangelists, teachers, pastors, etc?
I know the answer to this question. They are still functioning in the gift-ministry because nothing has replaced it. The part realm will vanish when the lack that created the part is overcome. The knowing and understanding in part will vanish when we no longer know and understand in part and truly have the mind of Christ. The trouble seems to stem from not knowing how the long awaited Melchizedek Priesthood is supposed to be manifested. What is it? How will it manifest itself? If we really accept the principle Christ taught and act it out just as he did and said we could, would that be the manifestation of the Son’s of Yahweh? I am certain it would.
Please listen for a moment; the priests that prepared the Passover Feast were the same ministers that prepared the Feast of First-fruits (Feast of Pentecost). They were also the ministers that prepared the Feast of Tabernacles.
Yasha was a minister from Galilee that went about serving the Passover Feast, but he also served first-fruits, that is, he healed the sick, worked miracles, prophesied, and he had faith, wisdom, knowledge, and discerning of Spirits. I am sure he had the interpretation of tongues also. We must say he did function on that realm, and all this happened after he had experienced Tabernacles (the indwelling of the Father).
The forth chapter of Ephesians tells us that the gift ministry was set in the Church by Yahweh himself, but for what purpose? To edify the Body? But what is the long-term goal, or objective, of the Church? Is it not to produce the “perfect man?”
Please read Ephesians 4:11-13 again and pay close attention to what the gifts are for. Are they not given to edify the Body of Christ? “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Yahweh, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Paul did not say until some of us come unto perfection and acquire an exalted position above the Body and then do away with the Body. He said, until we “all” come to the unity of faith. Some Christians may have attained to that glory, but I have not! So they cannot take away my hope, in the absence of their lack, as long as I am lacking. My development obviously depends on my participation in the Body. Some believers may have surpassed me in their growth, but if they are no longer connected to the Body they are disconnected from Christ because the head (Christ), though he is the head, he is still joined to and functions in union with his Body.
One part of the Body may be a newly created cell; therefore, compelled to function in the spiritual gifts as the Spirit moves, while another is a very successful minister operating in apostleship. They have one thing in common; they are both operating in an imperfect body, and yet they hold equal membership in it. I should say, they are members of a growing body and each a part of one unit. The gifts, whether ministerial or otherwise, are set in one Body—the Church.
Paul reminded us that certain parts of our Body appear to be more honorable, though in truth, the oneness of the Body demands equality of its parts. The gates of sheol will not prevail against the Church. But, if something or someone could do away with the Church, the ministry gifts (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher) would vanish with it. The Church is not the building, nor is it just the congregation that assembles in one building. The headship of the Church is in the heavens; the Church is the feminine part of Christ, it is his wife by whom he births his children. Though the congregation that assembles in the church buildings are members of the Body, they are far from being the whole Body, because every obedient believer that dares to follow on to know the truth, is part of that Body.
The Body was birthed on Pentecost and every born-from-above believer since, whether here or in the unseen realm, is a part of that Body. The Body of Christ is one with its head. Its head is Christ and it would be as easy to do away with the Father and Son, as it would be to do away with the Body of Christ. It is one with the Father and the Son, and they are one with us.
Now some folks are saying that some believers are predestinated to be losers, while others are predestinated to attain an exalted position. If some are favored and chosen to be exalted while some were created to be abased and losers, on what foundation are we to build unity in the one Body? Some Christians have said we could have unity in the Body on these terms if each member was willing to accept their own predestined election. I suppose there could be a small degree of acceptance, but not one that would produce unity.
I accept the queen of England, but I feel no union with her. When she has a birthday, I do not try to attend her party. Not that I would not enjoy birthday parties; her exalted position would make mine appear abased. There is no more of an existing union between the laity and an exalted clergy than there are between the queen and me. Yet, in reality we are all members of the same Body if we are born from above.
Our faith in the deity of Christ was the first principle required in the acceptance of our salvation. We understood that Christ was the Son of Yahweh; this was our first step toward development. He is deity, but the above scripture tells us that we must come to the “knowledge of the Son of Yahweh.”
Also, in another scripture, Paul told the Corinthians that they were weak and sickly because they did not discern the Body of Christ. Is that our problem? We, too, are weak and sickly, and many are sleeping. Do we need a revelation that enables us to discern the Body of Christ? If this is our need, and if we receive this revelation and act upon it, would it cure all our ills and awake the sleeping Christians? I am certain it would.
A few decades back, my dining room was filled with little children. We had four daughters when our twin boys arrived; our oldest daughter was eleven. We usually had other children in our home and mealtime for me was bouncing from demand to demand; I seldom sit more than a few minutes. I was dipping food into dishes and out of dishes and scooping it into little mouths. I was sometimes wiping spilled food or drink off the table or floor.
If my joy had not been achieved in serving my loved ones, I would have had very little joy in those days, for most of the time I had to depend on how full my stomach felt to know if I had actually eaten a regular meal. Some of the children were tearing chicken from the bone with their teeth, while the toothless ones had to have someone (me) to mash their vegetables and fruit and then spoon it into their mouths, while I struggled to keep from being smeared.
Gradually some of the children grew and became mother’s helpers. But they would not have been any help if the vessels we poured and dipped from had been empty. If my joy of life had not been achieved in serving, my family would also have suffered from my lack. I must be blessed and filled before I can bless and feed others. I shared this to say, we have similar situations in healthy churches. We do not get our platter filled with satisfying meat by listening to others minister, which is the dessert, but when we find joy in serving, we will find the meat of the word.
In every sonship meeting that I have attended, I have observed unleavened bread and bitter meat being served by some, while others served the wholesome leavened bread and sweet wine of communion, that is, the Feast of the Firstfruits. Others peeked behind the veil and drew the curtains far enough back so that those of us, who were looking, glimpsed a flicker of Light from the Holiest Place shining through. Yet each ministered from where they stood and each ate the fruit they supplied and grew in their own garden, for we must eat what we have sown no matter who is serving. We hear through our own spirit and interpret the words according to our present understanding, not according to the speaker’s meaning.
We must not only serve, but our main objective should be to teach others to serve. Those who refuse to participate in the moving of the anointed Body soon dozes off to sleep and withers away. Those who refuse to participate usually complain that they are not being spiritually fed. We need to teach them how to tend their own gardens. They will not be fed if they do not know that they must feed their spirit by serving others. It is hard to believe that a person can sit night after night in services where the Spirit is moving powerfully and dry up in their spirit. Their garden is too full of weeds to grow food for his or her soul. Remember the man that buried his talent and lost everything (Matt. 25:14-30)?
I do not worry about my position in the ministry, for Yahweh is Spirit. Flesh and blood (our natural abilities) cannot minister or even participate in the Kingdom realm; it is a spiritual thing.
I love having ministers who motivate the Body, sharing the light they have so that we can see the realm of glory he or she possesses. Some may find themselves slowly sliding back down to their status quo, but now they know that realm exists and can set higher goals because of that knowledge. But they cannot attain to a higher realm of truth than they willing to walk in, in their everyday life.
We feast together, but not everyone drinks from every pitcher nor eats from all the varieties, but, all are served to a satisfying portion if they are hungry.
This is what it is all about. We will be disappointed if we are waiting for a pompous priesthood that is decked in gold and purple to appear on the horizon. The truth is, if they did, they would be worshipped by the hungry multitudes that are starving because they will not till their own garden. But the glory that shall appear in Tabernacles will glorify the reality of Love, and no flesh will be glorified.
When the fullness comes, we may not see exactly what we have envisioned. For what we will see will be a powerful priesthood of humble servants, anointed with the very breath of the Creator and overflowing with the River of Life. The Water of Life will gush out even when they are standing with their mouths shut, for they will know how to open the flood gates of others. They will not only minister, but they will promote the participation of every member of the Body. They will serve for the love of serving without standing in the spotlight. I doubt that they will recognize themselves as operating in the fullness. I say this because the manifested Son will be seen as the Spirit of Christ flows out through the fruit of the Spirit, that is, love, joy, faith, peace, etc. Yahweh is Spirit; you can bet his Son will appear in Spirit form. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Yahweh.
If the perfect Son (masculine) is going to be birthed out of the perfect Body (feminine), then the Body will be here to birth her Son. We may be a little disappointed when we examine that perfect Body. I am convinced it must have many body parts, but each of those body parts have unequal functions in the Body, each is playing a different part and acting in a different manner. They will not resemble one another, but each must be supplied with a steady stream of life as it flows through the Body, and each part must participate in the birthing pains that produce the Son.
As long as there is one child or one unsaved person in the world, there will be a need for a Passover feast, which will demand a Pentecostal revival. Then we hope that they will eventually be ready to appear at the Tabernacle feast also.
We have always said that the Church is the people, not the building. That being so, it is not hard to figure that the law that leads us to repentance is still in tact, and it is still the child conductor that ministers to those who have developed to that realm of understanding—do not, kill, do not steal, etc. Passover is needed for the one that needs to drink from that cup and to taste the bread of the heavenly sacrifice for the first time.
There are always dear souls that are waiting to experience every feast that was given for the edifying of the Body. But I do not need a child conductor; I am not a child. I do not need someone to persuade me that Christ died on the cross for me and arose the third day. Though I have drunk of his Spirit that lifted me above condemnation, I will respect the child conductor and not attempt to interfere with his operations, because there are lawless ones that need to be convicted of their trespasses against Yahweh and their fellowman; sin produces death.
I will attend the three feasts, and throw in Atonement for good measure. If we hunger for Tabernacles, the table is spread; the veil stands only in the mind of man. The veil was ripped away almost two thousand years ago. If we are ready and willing to function in Tabernacles, all the powers in sheol cannot stop us unless it is through our own thinking. Don’t wait for me; go on ahead, but mark your trail as you go so I can see to follow on.
If you prophecy, if you heal the sick, if you give words of knowledge, or if you work miracles, it is a good sign that the gift realm is here and the Spirit is still operating for our good. Let us be thankful.
Let us stop judging the administration of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others by our own needs, and realize if Passover had been withdrawn before we heard the word, the door of salvation would not have been standing open for us. Let us not take away the part that we have, but strive to supersede it by receiving the whole.
The 1950’s are to be remembered—rivers of Life were flowing. In those days, we were taught to come to church with joy in our soul and expectation on our minds. We were told to concentrate on yielding to the flow of the Spirit and leave our worries at the door. It worked. It will work again.