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To Him the porter openeth
by Daryl Thies
11/20/2018 / Book Reviews
To Him The Porter Openeth
To John G. Lake who labored without ceasing
as my forefather a century before me.
2000 Latter House International Inc.
The Porter Ministry Defined.......................................................
Porters and their Watch
The Changing of the Guards...............................................
To Him the Porter Openeth.........................................…….
I am the Door..................................................................….
Porters are Shepherds Too...............................................…..
Foundation Distorted, Foundation Restored................................
Restoring the Five-Fold...............………………………….
Ordained or Elected?........................................................
The Choice is Yours...........................................................
I Stand at the Door..........................................................………..
God, throughout His word, has established and then defined the term porter. He set in order angelic porters in the heavenlies, and later made His first man Adam, the porter, or keeper of the earth. From angels to man and even in the animal kingdom, God has set in place the porter ministry. Please note that the animal world is not called the “animal democracy”. In order to have a kingdom, you must first have a king. A king would then have lords that oversee divisions or wards. From the lion as king of the jungle, to the wolf pack leader who functions as the porter, or keeper of that pack, the animal world is “the animal kingdom”. Maybe in all of God’s creation, the animal kingdom is the only pure example of the porter ministry still operating in present day as God had first established it. When the word of God created animal life, with each species, God also instilled in them a chain of command and a plan for survival. Without schools to teach each new generation, God’s foundational plan of survival for each species has kept and preserved them until this present hour. The mere survival of each species was dependent upon their unlearned submission to Gods original plan.
The modern Christian church, however, is not operating as a kingdom. Therefore, church government is not according to God’s plan, but rather man’s invention. We must return to God’s original plan before we can be raptured away in His Glory. This book will examine that plan by looking at the New Testament church in the beginning. To understand this teaching, you must first empty yourself of that which you have already learned and experienced. Reading my book in this manner, and having your mind set on God’s kingdom will open revelation of the porter ministry to you. I sense that if the Church has a palatable, working knowledge of the porter ministry, this will be a giant step towards the restoration of God’s original Church foundation, His government and plan.
In the beginning, the original Apostles laid and then maintained the integrity of the foundation that the church was built upon. Although they were also elders and shepherds their sole responsibility was not to the sheep, but rather to keep the integrity of the foundation of the church. All other elders and shepherds were subordinate and submitted to their worldwide leadership of the church. Church government was theocratic rather than democratic. Thus, the title of the fifth book of the New Testament: “The Acts of the Apostles”. Any unity, any power or demonstrations of God’s Glory in the beginning were accredited as the direction through these original apostles.
All this unity and authority; all of the foundation and church government was changed and tainted by the formation of the first two denominations, around 250 AD. The five-fold ministry gifts found in Ephesians 4:11 were changed. The very mantle of the apostle was removed. From that age until the present hour, this foundation and these five-fold gifts have never been restored. In general, the church was ruled by the state. Bribery and task master-like rulers weakened the authority of church leaders. Thus when there was absence of state-rule, theocracy was replaced by democracy. Election replaced ordination. In the modern church, differences of opinion have divided and subdivided this original foundation of the church into separate tenets of faith for over two thousand denominations and non-denominations.
Church leadership must change for God’s kingdom to operate, in all of His glory. Bishops or overseers in our modern church can never replace the apostle. Elders in general are now men and women that give the most financially or seem to be the most successful in business. This person is then voted in as church board member. Many stay in this democratically elected position “till death do they part”. Yet this position is to be assigned by God. It is not through the election of man. Therefore, church boards, pastors, or denominations control the local church’s plan of operation and function. God has very little to do with it. For God’s kingdom to come in all of His Glory, church as normal must be restored back to God’s leadership and original plan.
I believe that the stage has been set for God to restore, once again, the operation of all five gifts found in Ephesians 4:11. The first is the apostle. He is the first in line of authority, answering to God for Christ’s church operating on the earth. The second is the prophet, working in unity with, yet not usurping authority over the apostle. Together, they first laid the foundation of the church. The apostle of this hour is the keeper of this original plan. The foundation is not to be laid again in every generation yet today’s apostle must keep the integrity of this original plan of operation. Next in God’s order are the evangelist, pastors and teachers. They are not to change around the vision and foundation, but to reinforce what has already been laid.
Today, we see the operation of the last three gifts. These are the evangelists, the pastor and teacher. Christian churches are pastor controlled, board controlled or denomination controlled. The only solution that God desires is the functioning of all five submitted to one another as He has ordained. The church must also return to an understanding of and functioning of God’s porters. Restoration of this magnitude can only be fulfilled with the next verse: Zech. 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” This is not only Gods word to Zerubbabel, but unto Christ’s Church of this age.
The Porter Ministry Defined
The word porter, defined, is one who keeps, maintains, and preserves the integrity of a portal, gate, or door. God Himself established the principal of the porter by setting it up first in heavenly places. He first chose angelic porters who kept the gates of heaven. God never lifted a finger against Lucifer’s rebellion. He had in place mighty warring angels keeping the gates at the side of the north.
Adam was the first human porter. His duty was to maintain, or dress the garden, and to keep the “door” to the Garden of Eden. Next, Adam’s son, Abel was the example of a human porter that simply kept sheep. Jesus even tied this type of porter into His parable in John 10. Later on, I will refer to this parable.
From Adam until today, the duties of God’s porter are to oversee a spiritual domain. Adam was so in tune with his spirit that he didn’t even realize that he was naked. Next to Jesus and while Adam was yet in the garden, he was the most spiritually minded human that walked the earth. The duties of Adam were to keep the soulish realm from getting through the door. In other words, the porter keeps that which he oversees, spiritual. He keeps the mind and emotions from ruling or taking dominion of the oversight of his domain. Man is a three part being. The real you is a spirit. You live in a body and have a soul, which are the mind, intellect, and emotions. Therefore, this porter is responsible to God for keeping his domain, or ward, spirit ruled. Romans 8:2 “ For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 13-14 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Therefore, the porter keeps his domain by the leading of the Spirit of God who in turn leads his own human spirit. Some say, “You’re so heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly good”. Well, if Adam had been “heavenly minded” the day that serpent spoke to him, he would not have fallen.
Adam was God’s first spiritual porter. However, he failed to keep the mind, intellect and emotions out of his garden. This garden was his spiritual domain, ward, and kingdom. In other words, he was the king of or the small “g” god who had the supreme oversight of the garden. Eve was not the porter, Adam was. Adam did not keep the door closed to his spiritual domain from the “reason and logic” that was introduced by the serpent. Flesh-rule took Adam’s position as porter. Therefore the kingdom of this world, at this present hour, is still a kingdom with Satan as its king. From that day, until this present hour, Satan’s kingdom is a soulish, flesh ruled kingdom. God’s human porters must take the oversight of God’s kingdom rule. They must keep and guard against soulish manipulations. Gal. 5: 16 “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
The Porter ministry was a vital key in the early years of the church age. Having a “working knowledge” of this very important ministry caused the world to be turned right side up with the gospel by the year 200 AD. At the birthing of the church, all were in one accord. The apostles and prophets laid the foundation that the other three gifts, the evangelist, pastors and teachers, built upon with submission to these porters who ordained them and set them in their office.
The early church submitted to their apostles as God’s chosen spiritual overseer of the foundation of His church. The apostle worked with, but was not subject to the prophet, as the foundation was laid. As I stated in the introduction, the early church entrusted the very integrity of the foundation and church doctrine to these first Apostles of the Lamb and the others with them. Gnostic’s and many other cultic (flesh ruled) ideas were stopped-at-the-door, by these apostolic porters. Ephes. 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Of course, this foundation was built with Christ as the chief cornerstone.
Peter and John addressed Gnosticism in their epistles. Paul brought correction to many gentile churches. Paul was responsible to lay, and keep the foundation of the church to the gentiles. Because of his call to the gentiles, the council at Jerusalem was necessary. This council is where all the five gifts found in Eph. 4:11 united as one to formulate the unique message that must be given to gentile believers. The church leadership united to decide on the gentile believer’s issue, but the apostles were responsible to God for their conclusion. All of these acts of the original apostles are very important examples of the duties in which our modern day apostles must pattern after. They are examples of God’s porter keeping and preserving God’s foundation.
Does this terminology offend you? If so, it is an example of how far away we have fallen from God’s original foundation. Today’s church is more democratic than theocratic. When spiritual leadership is the invention of and the choice of men, the foundation becomes weaker. Yes, even with every new “non-denominational denomination”, as a church, we are drawn further away from the foundation. All are examples of the lack of unity Christians have today. They all exemplify the lack of proper acknowledgment of the porters of the modern church. I believe that the church must once again return to, and submit unto the porter ministry, with apostles and prophets restored. Prov. 29:18 tells us; “ Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law happy is he.” This book describes the vision I have of the porter’s return with all five-fold gifts restored in unity one with another.
Porters and their Watch
Look in Mark 13:34-37, “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and (commanded the porter to watch). 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch,” In this passage Jesus gave authority to all His servants, “And gave authority to his servants.” He gave work to every man, “And to everyman his work.” In God’s house, no one has the privilege to just sit and watch. All Christians are called of God to do something. In the final verse, we all are commanded to watch. Yet God seems to give the porter oversight of all Christians.
To the porter, however, was given a command that also bore witness to a responsibility over all other servants of God. The porter had an oversight of every other man’s work here in this
household of God. In verse 34, Jesus’ command for the porter to watch, was a special command, with greater responsibility. In Greek, the word porter is thuroros, thura and ouros (a watcher),
a gate-warden; one that keeps the door; porter. God gives all servants the same authority. The specific work that God gives varies. There are no other verses in the New Testament that give us a clearer understanding of the duties of the porter than here, in Mark 13:34. These verses also reveal the responsibility given to the porter, above every other spiritual gift that is in the modern “house of God”. Do you remember the serious responsibility and charge of the “watchman” in the Old Testament? Well, in the Gospels and the Epistles, this watchman is not found. The responsibility of this Old Testament watchman is now given to the New Testament porter.
After Adam, the first human porter was his son, Abel. Even though the bible does not call him a porter, by definition, Gen. 4:2 defines his duty as a “keeper” of sheep. Later, the shepherds advanced to having three watches in the field. Now we have three shepherds, watching the sheep in the open field. As generations passed, the first crude sheepfold was made. Sheep owners would hire full time porters that slept by day and worked by night. Now this porter is, in the natural the type of the Old Testament watchman, and the type of porter that Jesus referred to in this verse in Mark. I repeat, Mark 13:34 tells us that a porter is recognized, and given command by God here that is different than all other workers in the house of God. This worker, I believe, is the gift of the Apostle. This parable shows us the very spiritual gift that the Church today denies.
My question to the church today is this—“Where is this porter today in modern Christendom?” Just like the Disciples who Jesus had already called Apostles, every born again disciple of Christ must keep his own soul. We all are porters over our own souls. Therefore, the first level of the porter is that each Christian must keep his or her own soul. Each Christian must take the oversight of his own spiritual domain. 1 Cor. 9:27 “ But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. Paul was responsible for keeping Paul’s body. Your
spirit, or your soul keeps the body. Paul was saying that his human spirit was keeping his body under.
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Only we can keep ourselves unspotted. Philip. 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Each of us must work out our own salvation. We have a porter oversight over our own mind, emotions, personality and body. Our human spirit, by the Holy Spirit is the portal of our senses. It keeps our mind-emotions and personality and finally rules over our flesh. This is the first level of a porter.
The husband is the porter of his own house. This is the second level of a porter. His responsibility is to oversee and keep the soulish realm from operating in his domain, or house. In a Christian home, the husband stands in the office as shepherd of the smallest level of the church-local. Ephes. 5:22-24 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” I do not want to open a can of worms, but will simply say that lack of unity in the church, the lack of porter authority in the church, first starts in each member’s home. Then, if each leader’s house is out of order, strife and division is at the door of the church!
Mark 3:25 “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” This verse is our Lord responding to the leaders in the house of Israel who were claiming that He had demons. It is so interesting to me that the Lord concludes His defense of their charges by speaking of the single-most unit of the church local. Satan has studied, carefully, these verses in planning his attack on the modern family. He knows that the key to destroying the House of God, is in first destroying the family unit and family values. This is why the wives must submit to her-own husband- (porter) in everything. Please note that this is speaking of domestic matters. Jesus is Lord of the house and each member therein!
The third level of the porter is the shepherds of the church. Please understand that each church has multiple shepherds, with Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. In God’s order, these four gifts must also be submitted to the mantle of their apostle. Thus the whole Church, as an entire unit, will enter through Jesus, “the door”.
“The Changing of the Guards”
My wife and I have spent over ten years in the former Soviet Union. When I first came to Moscow, I visited the tomb of Lenin. The soldiers formally shifted positions each watch. These new guards replaced the former with extreme speed and precision. As I stated in my intro, the entire foundation of the church was changed when the first two denominations were introduced. The apostolic was changed to the “Popostolic”. Later in what is now known as Istanbul, King Constantine weakened the new birth experience by commanding his entire kingdom to be baptized. Instead of a personal decision & relationship to ask Jesus to be Lord, all followed the king’s commands or die.
God’s holy foundation; God’s five-fold leadership was changed as swiftly and completely as the guards at Lenin’s tomb. According to the bible, these guards are like earthly, flesh ruled porters. Never has God’s foundation and leadership been restored. Most that are reading this book can define the duties and mantle of modern day Apostles because churches don’t even recognize this gift! If these words are convicting and tugging at your heart, you maybe leaders in the end of times Glorious church.
In the beginning, churches were simply addressed as our Lord’s church in each city. Paul wrote “to the church” in Phillipi or at Corinth or to the church at Ephesus. Each apostle ordained elders in their specific churches where they had the oversight. With the prophets, they also laid the foundation and together with them, maintained its integrity. The smallest segment of each church in every city, met in a home. There were multiple shepherds and multiple local bishops or overseers. Yet with the conception of the first two denominations, there was a “changing of the guards”!
If you are a student of the bible and have the average of two or more versions in your family library, simply go to the complete Old and New Testament index of that bible version. Now read out loud the fifth book of the New Testament. Your voice now testifies of the weakened and undefined hero of the modern church. The full title of this fifth book is “the Acts of the Apostles.” This book tells the powerful story of how the original apostles first laid the foundation of the church! I believe that the one keeping the door is an apostle. This five-fold gift of God, today, is so misunderstood. But now he is being restored in the modern church, whether we like it or not. What he must keep is this original foundation of the Church. He is restoring once again this foundation that was laid in the beginning.
He is also restoring the five-fold gifts. Ephes.4:11“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” Verse eleven list God’s order of authority. The first on the order that God has decreed is the Apostle. Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; The apostles and prophets let the Church in the beginning and He never changes, man has. These two leaders have first been weakened, then undefined with each denomination that followed.
In today’s church there seem to be three forms of government. The first form of government is the pastor ruled church. The pastor is the chief gift. The pastor is also a teacher. Normally, he has the un-challenged authority to channel the tithe to the special interest of that small local church. Thus, many five-fold gifts are neglected. Under the Levitical priesthood, no ministry gift was left out of the distribution of the tithe. Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. This type of rule, the Pastor is submitted to no one. The pastor also chooses if the church is to be a part of this denomination or that non-denomination.
The second form of government comes by the church submitting to a denomination. Every denomination since the first two have rejected God’s original foundation and leaders. So submitting to a denomination that is out of order and left uncovered, leaves all those submitted to it uncovered. (If you want one that sugar coats the truth, you’ve started reading the wrong book.) The only salvation is that when a congregation submits one to another Ephesians 5:21 is fulfilled. Yet when the church returns to God’s original foundation and leadership, “which I am confident that it will, the glory of the Lord will fill His church, His house and temple once again. (read Hag 2: 5-9.) Hag 2:5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
The final example of church authority is when a strong board controls that church. As I said in the intro, Elders in general are now men and women that give the most financially or seem to be the most successful in business. This person is then voted in as church board member. Many stay in this democratically elected position “till death do they part”. Yet this position is to be assigned by God. It is not through the election of man. Therefore, church boards, pastors, or denominations control the local church’s plan of operation and function. God has very little to do with it. For God’s kingdom to come in all of His Glory, church as normal must be restored back to God’s leadership and original plan.
All three of these above-mentioned church government plans are inventions of man. They are not derived from God’s original foundation and plan of operation for His church. Yet where is the understanding and authority of the apostle and the prophet today? Today, a mere three of the five-fold gifts; the pastor, teacher and the evangelist are recognized in modern church. I am keenly aware that there will be misunderstandings and abuses during the restoration period that is soon coming. I fear that many will turn away from what God is doing instead of embracing it. In spite of all opposition, God will restore the five-fold before we are raptured home!
It is my belief that this mantle of authority has been given to the apostle. This mantle and five-fold gift have been virtually stricken from the list of the five in modern Christianity. If recognized, the modern apostle has been renamed. We have chosen names like bishop, father, overseer and director, while the word apostle is undefined. If we do not use the bible term for this gift of God, then his authority and mantle, to say the least, is weakened.
If you were suffering with symptoms of cancer, your search for an oncologist, may take hours or days if in the yellow pages all doctors were listed under one heading. Your first call might be to a veterinarian doctor, then to a dentist, then to a doctor of theology and so on. Impatiently, you start asking one of these doctors, “Why don’t you just list in the phone book the specialty in which you were given this doctorate?” They reply, “We just don’t believe in titles”. If they don’t believe in uttering the special gift in which they trained and sacrificed to receive, then how can we trust the treatment that they would give?
This example may sound absurd, yet in the church today, the only five-fold gift that is recognized by title is the “pastor”. Matthew 10:41 “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.” In this entire chapter, Jesus was teaching the authority He was imparting to them. In verse 40, Jesus told them that anyone that “receives you receives me”. Many say, “I don’t believe in titles”. In verse 41, Jesus strongly opposes this un-belief! He proclaims that if the “seeker” looks beyond the humanity of that prophet or righteous man, and by-faith, embraces God’s gift in that person, he then receives the reward of God’s gift! Do not be ashamed to call an apostle, an evangelist or prophet by the gift of God that’s in them. Jesus believes in the title He gives to man, and so should we!
So let’s learn to receive this unknown hero that stands at the door of the sheepfold. The porter ministry needs to be studied and then received by the modern church. The porter ministry is being restored back to the church. It will be restored back to the church as the restoration of the five-fold gifts comes.
To Him the Porter Openeth
John 10:1-3 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”
Please note that in this entire chapter, only five simple words are devoted to the word “porter”. John 10:3 “To him the porter openeth .” Have you ever heard a sermon preached on the porter ministry based on this verse? I know that your answer is no. Your answer is the very reason that this book is written. Throughout the bible and even from the foundation of the world God had set in place the porter ministry. In this chapter I want you to understand that the porter is one of the shepherds. He has a very specific responsibility. He works by night, watching and keeping safe the door.
The word porter defined, is one who keeps, maintains, and preserves the integrity of a portal, gate, or door. This chapter’s parable is speaking of a porter that is a five-fold ministry gift to the church, or here, to the sheep. His specific job is keeping and guarding the entrance to the sheepfold. He is called of God to determine which shepherds, and which folds are to repose by night in his sheepfold. This book is devoted to the undefined shepherd that keeps this door by night.
I have traveled through the countryside of Greece. In modern time, you can still see the very sheepfolds in the fields of Greece that were depicted in this chapter. Sheepfolds are big enough to hold many folds of sheep. A small stonewall surrounds the sheepfold. The top of this wall has glass and sharp pieces of steel built into it with mortar. Most of the time, a large lean-to was built on one side of the wall to keep the sheep dry in rain and snow. In the center of one side is an opening, which either has a door, or is simply open. This is where the porter stands. The porter’s authority comes from God Himself. In modern business terminology the porter has more executive authority than the shepherd who stands with his “church” or sheep, outside of the door. Although a shepherd, his sole responsibility is to keep the door thus, indirectly, he is a keeper of sheep.
In verse 14, Jesus proclaims that He is the Good Shepherd. If even the Good Shepherd was outside the door, Jesus could not and would not usurp the authority given to the porter who is at the door. I say again, the porter’s authority comes from God Himself. It was from our Lord’s submission and obedience to the Fathers plan for Him that He was given a name above every name. Because of Jesus’ obedience, we have our salvation “ in Him”. Philip. 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
The porter in chapter ten, is like God’s “CEO”, who keeps and maintains the revelation of God’s plan of operation and foundation for His Church. The porter found in chapter ten of John, is the gift of an apostle.
Look at verses one and two again. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” Speaking of sheep, and according to verse one, who would climb up another way? Predators, like wolves, would. In fact, a wolf would wait until night before he would attack. He would have the greatest success at night, when sheep and the shepherd are sleeping. In fact, this is the reason that sheepfolds were built. God gave the laws of nature to all created beings. God gave the five senses to all of the animal kingdom. Also, humans that desire to steal the sheep would climb up another way. In verse eight we might ask, “who came before Jesus”? Immediately, I would say Lucifer. He stole the kingdom of this world from Adam in the Garden of Eden. Then after Lucifer, there were other humans that were of the devil’s kingdom.
Let’s go one more step. If we use this parable as a reference what would be the door of the sheepfold called “humanity”? Well, the only legal entrance into the human race is by way of natural childbirth. The devil did not come through this door, but our Jesus did! Because He was one hundred percent man, and one hundred percent God who knew no sin, He could become our perfect substitute and the champion of our salvation. However, chapter ten is a parable about His spiritual sheepfold and His Kingdom on earth. Whosoever that is born by natural childbirth can be born-again and enter legally into God’s spiritual sheepfold through Jesus, the door.
Again, the porter here is one who keeps, preserves and maintains the integrity of the door to the sheepfold. God has chosen him. God has positioned him. Therefore, for those in this hour who receive him, verse 40 applies; Matthew 10:40 “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” When we receive this gift of God in this hour, we receive our Lord. We also receive the reward of this five-fold gift, 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. The rewards that you receive are the benefits of this mantle. Very few churches today are submitted to and covered with this mantle. Now, let’s learn about the very door that he is keeping.
I am the Door
In John 10:7&9, Jesus proclaims himself to be the door.
Jon 10:7“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” Did you notice that Jesus was saying this again to his chosen twelve? I can’t find where Jesus spoke it the first time. However, please note how He emphasizes the importance of his words. What is Jesus speaking here? How is He represented as the door? What kind of door is the porter guarding? It seems that the church is blind to what Jesus was speaking here.
Then once again he repeats it in verse nine, John 10:9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Jesus is speaking of the door to be born-again. He is emphatically speaking of the door of entrance into the church universal. I believe, according to God’s word that many denominations disagree with how to enter through this door. To say the least, denominations cannot even unite on how one is born-again, or if we even must be born-again. The bible tells us “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” This very doctrinal difference is the reason our Lord is emphasizing, “I am the door”.
I want to make this perfectly clear. Jesus is telling us that “I am” the entrance into My spiritual sheepfold. The only legal way to enter is through Him and In Him. Thus the only entrance into His sheepfold is to be born-again! Furthermore, the only way for church leaders to lead their flocks into God’s sheepfold is through the porter at the door. This means they must submit to God’s original plan of operation and foundation.
The devil has even stolen the very doctrine that permits denominations to come through the door of God’s sheepfold. If God gave Judaism to Israel, and Jewish leaders corrupted the foundation of Judaism, why is it hard to believe that denominational leaders are not doing the same thing today? When denominations elect to distort the foundation of the church and to climb up another way, then there needs to be a door, Jesus, with porter-like apostles that keep this door. John 10:1 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
If the church fails to recognize and does not submit to this porter, then it is difficult to determine those who come through the door and those who climb up another way. God Himself has placed this porter as the keeper of this door but not as judge of one’s salvation. Our Lord is the only just judge of ones salvation. The porter keeps and maintains the integrity of the door. He also gives, or denies entrance through the door to the shepherds at the door that he is keeping. How can the porter let denominational shepherds into the rest of God’s sheepfold, when they disagree on the foundations of the church?
Only God is the judge of whether one is born again or not. Yet I fear that this parable teaches us that just as Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders of His age, some leaders of denominations are not capable of entering through the door in today’s Christian church. The sheepfold is a place for true born-again believers to rest in this life on earth. Jesus is saying here that the only way to enter into God’s rest on earth is through the door, and I am the Door. “You only enter my sheepfold my way!” We must “let the peace of God, that passes all understanding rule…”
If your denomination’s beliefs keep you from opening the door of your heart to let the Prince of Peace into your heart, you cannot enter in through this door of the sheepfold. John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” God’s sheepfold is a place of rest for His people. The porter is the keeper of this rest from God. The way that church leadership is today, I am afraid that many of the sheep will enter in through the door of the sheepfold, while the shepherd is left standing outside.
Jesus Christ is the door, and as such He leads the sheep “in and out.” There are many denominational leaders, who will not be let into the sheepfold by the porter. I believe that you are beginning to understand the missing link in the modern church. John ten is a parable that even those that followed Jesus could not understand. However after the day of Pentecost, they understood and submitted to the apostolic leadership. In the church today, this type of submission is not present. First, the foundation must be restored to the church before submission to God’s form of theocratic leadership can be realized.
What is our Lord trying to tell us here? John 10:7 “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” “Verily, verily” is an attention getter. What point is He making by calling Himself the door to the sheepfold? I believe that he is saying to us “I AM the revelation of the foundation of the church.” This is the reason that I believe this porter is an apostle. This porter is the guard of this “foundational door” of the church. Church unity must not come by compromising and weakening the very foundation upon which our Lords church was placed.
Matthew 16:18-19 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This porter, in John 10, is the keeper of “this rock” of this chapter. Notice here that Jesus said, “I will build my church”. “This rock” is the revelation of the foundation of “my church”. Upon this revelation; upon this foundation, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. It seems that the gates of hell are prevailing against the church today. In verse 17, Jesus told Peter that “flesh & blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven”. It seems that hell’s gates are prevailing against the church today. It also seems that “the keys of the kingdom” are out of the grasp of the church’s hands! These keys, these heavenly kingdom principals will return to the church when, like Peter, Our Father in Heaven reveals this same revelation to His united end-times church. These will return when this revelation of the church’s foundation is restored back to the church.
Porters are Shepherds Too!
I want you to get a picture of the position of the shepherd that is standing outside of the door. Sheep are not herded, like cattle. The shepherd leads the sheep and the sheep follow his direction. Do you get the picture? The shepherd is standing at the door of the sheepfold. The sheep are behind the shepherd. There is also a shepherd whose sole responsibility is to guard and keep safe the door to the sheepfold. As he keeps safe the entrance to the sheepfold, he is also keeping safe the sheep that are inside. In modern terminology the porter’s duties classifies him as a shepherd. It is to this man and to his responsibilities that I dedicate this book.
The porter is also a shepherd. The duty of a shepherd is a keeper of sheep. The porter’s responsibility is to keep the door. While fulfilling this duty, he is keeping the sheep, while they are in his sheepfold safe. Again, there are one or more shepherds with each fold found in a sheepfold. This tells us that there was plurality of Shepherds in a church. They stay alert, taking watches or sleeping lightly with their own fold. However, if an enemy invades the sheepfold at night, by coming up another way, the porter will stay guarding and keeping the door. Shepherds of his fold will answer to Jesus, “the Good Shepherd”, for the safety of their own sheep. Whether their sheep are in or out of the sheepfold, these overseers of their own sheep are accountable to God for their safety.
All shepherds in the local church are porters. However, most Shepherds are not Pastors. The pastor is one of five gifts found in Eph.4:11, therefore standing alone, this gift is in a minority. The duty of a shepherd is to keep the sheep. The Bible mentions shepherds and shepherding over two hundred times. However, the Hebrew and Greek word for shepherding is often translated, “feeding.”
Shepherds led sheep to pasture and water (Ps. 23) and protected them from wild animals (1 Sam.17:34-35). Shepherds guarded their flocks at night whether in the open (Luke 2:8) or in sheepfolds (Zeph. 2:6) where they counted the sheep as they entered (Jer. 33:13). They took care of the sheep and even carried weak lambs in their arms (Isa. 40:11). The New Testament mentions the word “Pastor” only one time. This reference is found in Ephesians 4:11.
Lets look at the Apostle Peter. John 21:16-17 “He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” Peter never pastored a church. The word “feed” is translated “Shepherd” in the original Greek. Every five-fold ministry gift is responsible to feed the sheep.
I am not saying that a congregation should not submit to their own shepherds. In John ten Jesus is not defining the church with their pastors, but rather the universal church with The Good Shepherd as its head. In general, the only shepherd acknowledged in today’s church is the pastor. I cannot find one verse in the Bible, which clearly indicates that pastors are the only shepherds of the church. In contrast, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, our Lord, Moses, Abraham, the Apostles and elders are called shepherds in the Bible. In the Epistles, all five-fold gifts are also called shepherds. Again, all five gifts; apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers are shepherds of the church. Therefore, we must not conclude that in this parable, Jesus is referring only to Himself and other human pastoral gifts.
Let us now look at Jesus, the Good Shepherd. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” The fact is that our Lord never was a pastor of a church. He is the Chief Shepherd of “The Church Universal”. Our Lord is called the Good Shepherd.
1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (NKJ) Other translations read here Bishop or Guardian instead of Overseer. The Bible translation called The Message only mentions the word Shepherd in 1 Peter 2:25. Now, we see from this very verse a key to better understanding five-fold gifts. You see this translation’s void of the word Bishop, Guardian, or Overseer confirms that all five of the gifts found in Eph.4: 11 are shepherds. Every church shepherd also bishop, guards and oversees God’s church. Are you still with me? By definition of the word, a shepherd also oversees, feeds and guards their flocks. This means that all the gifts found in Eph.4:11 are shepherds and bishops. I like to think that bishops are preaching elders.
Now let’s look at Acts twenty. In verse 17, Paul calls all the elders in Ephesus together to speak to them. In verse 28, I want
to compare two translations; the King James, with the New International version. Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.)” These two translations, coupled with whom Paul called together in verse seventeen (elders), is the key to understanding this whole chapter. It also further defines the word porter. In the beginning of this verse, we see that “take heed & keep watch” further defines what an overseer, bishop or guardian does. This is also what porters, shepherds, all five-fold gifts and preaching elders do.
I believe that Paul gathered all of the preaching elders together that were at Ephesus. In the middle of verse 28, we see that the Holy Spirit called these elders overseers. We see that these elders were of God’s choosing and not of any man’s. This further brings light to a new movement in the modern church. There are elder-ruled assemblies. This movement is more in line with God’s original plan of operation. Yet many elders in this movement are chosen by election. I have also found some that even reject the five-fold gifts of God. But before throwing the baby out with the bath water, I say again, this movement is close to God’s original plan.
In general, the Bible reveals to us two kinds of elders. They are administrative-deaconing elders and preaching elders. Every church must have preaching elders and deaconing elders. In other words, verse 28 tells us that the Holy Spirit gave the oversight of the church of God to the preaching elders or five fold ministry gifts. If boards- either made up of man assigned elders or board members, pastors or denominations substitute this God-given oversight then the door is open to the devil in that local assembly. Every five-fold gift in the church is a bishop, overseer and guardian of that local assembly. These “preaching elders” must also have the final word on who is assigned as deacons, helps and administrators in the church. Taking this God-given oversight away makes this church an invention of man instead of the ordinance of God through the Holy Spirit.
We must use the Bible’s definition of what shepherds are, not just what is acceptable to the modern Church. In this age, local churches are either pastor-ruled, board-ruled, or denomination ruled. All of these are unscriptural. According to the bible, every church must have a God-appointed apostle that the local shepherds submit to. This submission causes that local church to be covered and kept safe by uniting with this mantle of the apostle. Without this, the local church is out of God’s order of church government. The church must return to the revelation of the foundation upon which it has been built. The foundation of the church and the operation of the five-fold gifts must be restored before God’s glory can be poured out! I believe restoration must happen before the rapture of the church can take place.
Why does this sound so unusual? I’m not saying that in a church of one or two hundred people that all five-fold ministry gifts would be present. In God’s eyes every believer in every city in the entire world are one. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not establish denominations and non-denominations—we did. God didn’t call two to three pastors to start a church on every city block. He also did not impart in each one a differing vision and plan of operation. As I said before, He sees the church as one.
I have a dream that the end time church will be addressed as Paul addressed, “to the church at Antioch,”; “to the church at Phillipi,” and so on. I dream that soon we will say “the church in New York,” or “the church in Chicago.” God’s restoration of the five fold will not come before the restoration of the foundation.
Foundation Distorted and Foundation Restored
When the first denominations were established, church unity was lost. The revelation of Jesus as the door was lost. The very foundation of the church was weakened and then apostolic leadership was lost. Terms like high priest, and pope replaced the apostolic gift. During the dark ages, many church leaders were imprisoned and even burned at the stake as witches and warlocks. Even governments assigned men that were not called of God as ministry gifts. In worse case scenario, kings of nations ruled church leaders instead of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the first revival, when Martin Luther’s declarations were nailed to the door of the Catholic Church, to this present day, there has never been any revival that has restored the foundation. I believe that this revival is soon coming!
In Ephesians2:20, we can see what was done at the beginning of the church age. Verse 20 “and are built upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone”(KJV). 2:20 “You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone” (Gods Word) From these two translations, I don’t feel the foundation has been built. Yet with every generation, we are continually built upon this same foundation. In the beginning, the apostles laid the foundation and kept the foundation safe as the “keepers of the door”. The door is the revelation of the foundation of the church. Christ Jesus is this revelation. 1 Cor. 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Our Lord is the foundation that the original apostles laid. Please note the order of verse 11 here. The order is apostles and prophets and not prophets and apostles. I feel that the foundation must be restored before true restoration can come of the five-fold gifts. 1 Cor. 12:28 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” No, the restoration of the prophetic in the absence of the restoration of the apostolic first is out of order. This foundation cannot be restored by the prophet only. There is a clear danger in getting ahead of God.
Originally, the apostles of the Lamb laid the foundation, with Paul and the others with him. God is not calling apostles of this hour to lift the building that is the church off of the foundation that has been first built and rebuild it. I see the apostles of this time as skilled masons. Their job is not to rebuild, but rather to restore. Again, let’s define a porter. The word porter, defined, is one who keeps, maintains, and preserves a portal, gate, or door. Well what does a preservative do in a jelly or a jam? It keeps the fruit from spoiling. It maintains the consistent color and flavor of the original fruit.
My dad bought rental houses. When he first looked at a prospective house he was considering to buy, the very first place that he went was to the basement. He knew that the roof could be leaking. The walls and windows could need repair or replacement. But if he detected cracks in the foundation, or if the floor was wet and there was moisture on the walls, he knew that this house was not to be purchased by him. My dad would look no further. He knew that he would have to jack the house up. Then he would restore the foundation, let it cure and then gently lower the building down again. If the damage were extreme, he would have to tear down the original foundation and build another. Both of these options were too costly to consider.
Matthew 13:46 “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Saints of God, we are this pearl, but yet more specifically, the church is this pearl of great price. The church has been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ! Therefore rebuilding the foundation is not an option; rather this foundation must be restored. Apostles of this age must unite together to redefine, restore and then keep the foundation that is restored as good porters of Jesus-the-Door. These apostles are not to be demolition experts, but rather master masons who gently lift the house of God up and skillfully restore the original foundation.
Church leaders are teaching their people how important it is to be accountable and this is admirable. They cover their church by being a member of a ministerial organization or denomination. This organization or denomination identifies themselves with tenets of faith and doctrinal beliefs. Have you ever read these? Most seem to be written up by a lawyer who wraps the very tenets and foundation upon which they stand in such legality that only a court of law could understand them!
Paul the foundation builder, said it this way, in 1 Cor. 2:4 “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” The foundation of the church is powerful. God does not need legal jargon and enticing words of man to protect and preserve His foundation. He is calling His apostolic gifts to unite together as one. In this hour, He is calling apostolic porters as keepers and restorers of His original foundation. They are to stand with the same demonstration of God’s Spirit and God’s Power!
In the absence of such porter-like apostles, I fear that this hour’s movement to redefine and restore the prophetic is out of sync and out of God’s timetable. The foundation must first be restored in order for true restoration of the five-fold gifts to come. I repeat, prophetic gifts must unite with, yet not to usurp their authority over their apostolic cover. The cover of all five-fold gifts is the apostle. Also, any school of the prophets, which is teaching and preparing the five-fold gift of a prophet to function must include in their curriculum this vital fact. A prophet that is not united with and working in submission to God’s cover for them is not submitted to God. Only then can these two-ministry gifts unite-as-one to restore the foundation of the Church.
Restoring the Five-Fold
Let’s take a look at 1 Chron. 26:12 “Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the Lord.” In Hebrew, the word “wards” defined is safety or safeguards. In other words, the porters are not one against another, but set in place by God to act as “fail-safes”. God has ordained porters to be “safeguards against failure”. Denominations and non-denominations have failed to place apostles as chief men or CEO-types of their denominations. In general, pastors, denominations, and church boards have failed as well. This is the very reason that God cannot pour out His Glory upon the church the way He wants. “ Because the glory of the Lord is just as destructive of evil as it is constructive of good!” The five-fold gifts or the chief men of verse 12, are to be in position “having wards one against another” as guards against their ministry gifts failing in their function. These “chief men” should also be placed in their “specific ward” as safeguards so the foundation of the church does not weaken or fail.
Eph 4:11-16 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into
him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” (KJV). All the gifts found above are shepherds and must unite together to perfect the saints according to the measure of that gift God has given them. They all are “preaching elders”. Can I continue? You see, the qualifications of a deacon, elder and bishop are similar. The church has deaconing-elders and preaching-elders. Again, I say that five-fold gifts are “preaching elders”.
All five while ministering to the local church, are bishoping their gift in this local church. The word bishop is the Greek word meaning relief. It is used with the Christian “episcopate” the office of a “bishop”, bishoprick, or visitation. There are only four verses in the New Testament where this Greek word is translated bishop. These verses are Acts 1:20, I Tim. 3:1-2, Titus 1:5 7, and I Peter 2:25. Let’s look in Acts 1:20, “ For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.” Inspired by God, many years before Judas was chosen of Our Lord as an apostle, David described Judas’s duties as a bishoprick. Judas was the treasurer for the Lord’s ministry. His work as accountant and treasurer was always local ministry. You see, bishops, today, have replaced the apostle. Bishops were never to be overseers, placed in a geographical region or location. Man has chosen this. Denominations have defined this office in this way. Yet a bishop’s function is to be in the local assembly, not over a geographical area.
In the next two references where the word bishop is used let’s look at “the Word of God” translation: 1Tim. 3:1-2 “This is a statement that can be trusted: If anyone sets his heart on being a bishop, he desires something excellent. 2A bishop must have a good reputation. He must have only one wife, be sober, use good judgment, be respectable, be hospitable, and be able to teach. Titus 1:7 Because a bishop is a supervisor appointed by God, he must have a good reputation. He must not be a stubborn or irritable person. He must not drink too much or be a violent person. He must not use shameful ways to make money.” These verses give us the qualifications of this office. Note that in Titus, this translation makes a point that a bishop is a supervisor.
Acts 20:28; “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.: 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.” The very men whom Paul terms “bishops” or “overseers” in Acts 20:28 is the same group that is in Titus 1:5, 7. The term “elder” applied to Christian ministers first appears in Acts 11:30 in Jerusalem and reappears in Acts 15:4, 6, 22 and together with the apostles and the church. The “elders” are not “apostles” but are termed “bishops” (cf. Phil. 1:1) and with “deacons” constitute the two classes of officers in the early churches. Each church, as in Jerusalem, Philippi, and Ephesus, had a number of “elders” and “bishops” in the one great city church.
Saints of God, do you see what I am saying? The church has weakened the foundation upon which it was first built. The mantle of the five-fold has been reduced to a weak three-fold, at the most. The foundation of the church and then, the five-fold gifts must once again be restored, and then kept and guarded by the modern apostolic porters.
We must return to that which was in the beginning. We have mega-churches today, numbering in the thousands. Yet when the five-fold is restored back as it was in the beginning, the denominations will dissolve. The church in each major city in the world would be addressed as the church in Atlanta, or Paris, or New York. John 17:20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Our Lord’s prayer for unity will be fulfilled. This prayer must be fulfilled before we are taken home. With all my heart, I believe that the rapture of the saints is soon. I know that God will be with us in this restoration, but the bride has a part! Rev. 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
So let’s make ourselves ready, we also have a work. We also have a preparation. I believe that the restoration is coming! Yet we must not believe that we can just sit back and enjoy what God is doing!
Ordained or Elected?
Now that we have defined a bishop as a “preaching elder”, we must find if the bible gives any examples of elders being elected. Let’s begin with Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Paul and Barnabus had ordained, them, with prayer and fasting.
Let’s look at Titus 1:5 “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:” Here, Titus was called upon as Paul’s ambassador. Titus was sent to ordain elders, in Paul’s stead. There are no examples in the entire Bible where elders were elected. These references give witness to how New Testament elders were ordained with apostolic oversight. Man did not elect these elders.
Look closely at several verses from The Acts of the Apostles. Acts 15:2 “When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” Acts 15:4 “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” Acts 15:6 “And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” Acts 15:22-23 “Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barnabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:” Acts 16:4 “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.”
In the last paragraph, we find six witnesses to the apostles and elders being listed separately. These verses bear witness to the Holy Spirit inspiring Luke to separate the apostles of that hour from all the other church elders. I personally believe that the elders spoken of here are “preaching elders” but no clear evidence can prove this. I like “The Living Bible’s” reference to Acts 15:6 “ So the apostles and church elders set a further meeting to decide this question”. In this chapter, I am not only proving that elders were ordained instead of elected but that “shepherd-bishop-elders” in each church were plural. We see that in today’s church, man has chosen the pastor as the un-challenged leader of the local church. We have no proof of this in these six references. We cannot find proof in all of the New Testament.
The definition of an apostle is: “A delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent.” In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what “He, Himself would do if He went”. The verses above separate the Apostles from the church elders because in God’s plan, the Apostle oversees all the elders in the churches that God places under him. For example, all the churches that were made up of gentiles were under the apostolic covering of Paul. The Jewish churches were under Peter, and so on.
I have been told that “a church that has more than one head is a multi-headed freak!” But the Jesus tells us “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!” A single Pastor that rules his church without the mantle of the apostle covering the church and without plurality of leadership is not able to quote this verse. This church and pastor is in danger of singled-out attacks of the gates of hell. Do I think that this pastor or this church is in rebellion? I do not. They are only acting with the knowledge that they learned. But the winds of change are coming from the throne of God! The five-fold gifts are being restored.
Peter, in the following verse, further defines apostles as being elders too. Please note that the elders whom Peter addressed here were “witnesses of the suffering of Christ”. They were “preaching-elders”. 1 Peter 5:1 “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” “The elders which are among you”, indicates that the local church had plurality of leadership. Also Peter declares himself as an elder. Again, bishops are the same as “preaching-elders”.
“The Choice is Yours”
I know that almost every point that I am making seems foreign to most Christians in America. Yet one must only go with a missionary to a third world country to better understand what I
am now saying. In most of these countries, nominal Christian denominations that are in the majority bring the greatest persecution to the missionaries. Have we, in America forgotten the premise upon which our nation was founded? Our democracy wants God out of the schools, and “In God we trust” off of our currency. We are guilty of forgetting that the first pioneers that founded this country came because of the great religious persecution they experienced in their motherland. This persecution started when the first denomination was established.
King Constantine built, what he thought, was a Christian Kingdom. He decreed that his entire kingdom must convert to Christianity. This decree created Christianity-by-force and not by the new birth. His command also formed the Orthodox Church. This king also placed himself as the head of the church. Church leaders were the choice of the King instead of being God’s choice and therefore could be influenced and controlled by him.
Our mission field is the Republic of Georgia. In this country, all Mafia and government functions are under the control of the Orthodox Church from Greece. To get a visa, we must be registered. Yet we cannot register as a Christian organization. The Orthodox Church has united sects from their group, trained and equipped with unique means of persecution to non-Orthodox
Christian missionaries. Our bones are broken, we are imprisoned, and persecuted under the direction of this right-arm of the mother-church. Therefore mission work must be covert and even contrary to these unspoken laws of the land. This persecution from Georgian-Orthodox sects is not just isolated to this former Soviet Union republic.
Do you remember hearing the news, in early June 2000, about a military attaché from England that was assassinated in Athens, Greece? My wife and I landed in Athens the very day that this occurred. Less than a week later, we witnessed a demonstration in Thessalonica, Greece. The High Priest of the Greek Orthodox Church told tens of thousands demonstrating that day; “Down with the Christian Sects!” He continued by advising faithful Orthodox to dismember those that resists the Church. He proclaimed that God would sanction such actions as righteous deeds of faith! I had no idea what motivated this demonstration, but because we knew that we had to still travel through the rest of Greece and Turkey to get to our mission field of Georgia, we kept a low profile.
When I ask the question to a native Georgian, “are you a born-again Christian?” Their immediate response is that “I am an Orthodox Christian!” It is very clear to me that in these countries, Christian leaders are putting more emphasis in membership of the church than to be “In Christ or a member of the Church Universal”. Many people in these countries volunteer to take you to their ancient temples, not knowing that “we are the temple of God”. Clearly, these Christian leaders are already making a precedent for others to follow. Fear of excommunication is replacing a Holy fear of God. Jesus spoke of this hour: Mark 13:22 “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” Well, the seduction has begun. The signs and wonders will soon follow!
The choice is clear. The stage is set. The persecution has already begun. Clearly, the foundation of the church must be redefined, then restored. Almost simultaneously, the apostle, with the prophet must take their place as master masons and restore the foundation of the church. Haggai 2:7 “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.” This word “desire” in verse 7 is “the object of all desires”. Each nation is waiting to see this very thing occur. The return of the power and the glory and the authority of the book of Acts Church must come first. Then will the nations see the manifestation of the sons of God, (Romans 8:19).
The Muslim faith has divided into about ten sects. Their Koran was not followed when they first imposed their faith with two choices: “convert or die”. The attacks in New York on 9/11/01, and on Israel in this very hour totally contradict their faith. Yet Muslim leaders are powerless to stop these acts of violence committed by their radical sects. If these few sects in the Muslim faith make Muslim leaders powerless to stop these radicals, what does this tell us as a church? We must repent of our “split personality” and unite again as one. We must welcome the restoration of God’s five-fold and original foundation.
I sense that only during the advent of the rapture of the saints can the foundation and the five fold gifts be restored. When restoration comes, many nominal Christian denominations will resist this restoration and the tribulation will soon follow. Yet ours is not to fear this coming, rather to cry Maranatha “even so Lord come quickly”! It will come to pass that in this hour, nominal Christian denominations will rebel against God’s movement and persecute the true Christian Church until the Bride is taken-up by rapture! Denominational and non-denominational walls must fall at the presence of this restoration.
The prayer for unity and oneness of the church that our Lord prayed in John seventeen, will be fulfilled. John17:20-22 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” This prayer, and especially verse 20 must be fulfilled before we can be raptured as a church!
I Stand at the Door…
Rev. 3:13-20 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
In the second and third chapter of Revelation, the Spirit repeats seven times word for word the statement made in verse thirteen above. These consistent repetitions emphatically scream out to use all that today’s church, in general, does not have an ear to hear! Since John wrote this at the end of the first century it seems the church was already getting deaf. So if church was already getting lukewarm back then, then what is the temperature of the Lord’s church today? Do you have an ear to hear?
If you have read this book so far and confess, “I don’t understand a single point that you have made”, then maybe you have not yet legally entered through the door into the Lord’s sheepfold. If that’s you, Jesus is standing at the door of your
heart, as in verse twenty above. He is patiently waiting for you to open up the door and let Him in. Will you open the door right now?
Please, from your heart, repeat this prayer: “Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus. Jesus, you died for me; you took my place and went to hell for me. But I am so glad that you didn’t stay there! With great power from Father God, you were raised from the dead! I ask you for that power. Forgive my sin, I open the door and invite you in. I confess you as my Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen!”
Now I invite you to read this book again. God has given you a new spirit and His understanding. Now your heart is open to understand what you read. You have just now been made as if you have never sinned in your whole life. Jesus has now given you His life, abundantly!
Then there are those who have read to this point and know that they are already born again. Yet you also do not understand the contents of this book. Can I humbly suggest that you stop and take the time to meditate on the words of God in this book? For you, there is 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Prejudice, lukewarmness, and even not buying from the Lord gold tried in the fire are all sins that must be confessed. Now I also suggest that you read this book again. The Lord is coming soon. I sense with all my heart that which this book explains will soon happen. These events will happen whether you want them to or not…
Apostle Daryl can be reached at [email protected]
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