These five rods BINDING BOARD TO BOARD in the tabernacle definitely represent the FIVE human agents God has ordained on earth to keep the saints straight and together. These are specifically mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-12.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors [shepherds] and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
There is one rod in the center, which goes straight through from the first board to the last. This rod represents the APOSTLE. It is 30 Cubits long, which is the number of the matured son. The work of the apostle is therefore like that of a mainspring. It is vital to the construction. It is CENTRAL, and lays down the line for all the other ministries to follow. The true apostle brings the people of God together, and cannot be LOCAL in his operation, but must encompass the whole tabernacle. Once the boards are in their place, they not only feel the power of the apostle’s message, but such a message binds them into the Body of Christ. WOOD never touches WOOD. GOLD touches Gold.
“Deep calleth unto deep.” Psalms 42:7.
Every God-ordained group, or church, must have an apostolic vision. “Without a vision the people perish.” The people of God cannot grow in Him without a vision of what they are, where they are going, and where they are.
The true message of God will bring the people into DIVINE ORDER. There is disorder everywhere, but it is the business of the true apostles to bring order by the power of the message of God in them. This power is now being asserted by the APOSTLES OF THE END TIME, and every false thing is being swept out of the way. That which many call accidents are incidents which God is using to clear his field, and to make way for his true messengers. Someone getting upset and leaving a group or a body might well be a blessing to that group or body. If they were of us, then they would not have left us.
THE LAW OF LIFE
No longer are the people of God bound together by a bunch of carnal laws or church affiliation, BUT as maturity comes to the church, we are bound by LOVE, which is the law of life.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” I John 1:7.
This fellowship is not forced by regulations and “thou shalt nots,” but the LIFE principle that “like things adhere.” We find fellowship one with another. We cannot help it. We have it.
SIXTEEN SOCKETS OF SILVER
The sixteen sockets of silver keep the boards upright or standing in their places on the west side of the tabernacle. These are a type of LOVE kept in place by REDEMPTION. Here again, we see a beautiful lesson. Love needs to be kept in place, but without redemption, love is unfounded and will be everything else but the pure, true “AGAPE,” or God’s love. Without redemption, love becomes SEX love, FILIAL love, that is, love for the family or love of earthly things. Thus the sixteen boards representing love can be described by one word only, “AGAPE.”
THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE
JESUS, THE MASTER OF LOVE, is that board at the right hand corner, binding all the others in love, with a ring of gold binding the whole building together at the corner. AT THE OTHER CORNER, there is another board binding the left hand corner of the tabernacle.
This signifies that Christ would bring forth children in the earth, A PEOPLE like HIMSELF, who would also do the work He is doing in the body. This is represented in Revelation 7 by the 144,000, or in Revelation 12 by the MANCHILD – THE FIRSTFRUITS UNTO GOD.
The apostle, the center rod, is THIRTY cubits long, which shows him to be a more matured son of God. We know, however, that in the past, no man has reached this maturity, which is being just LIKE JESUS. Here we see, therefore, the possibility of man remaining in the Spirit and manifesting absolute PERFECTION, even though he himself is not yet perfect. In the Spirit there is perfection. When we are in the Spirit, we cannot be wrong, and the apostle is expected to remain in the Spirit.
The rods are set in THREE ROWS, as seen in the illustration at the beginning of this chapter. This shows that they are in divine order, which is suggested by the three rows. They are set in of God. They are motivated by God. They are sent of God from place to place. And they carry out the will of God. We know that there are some apostles who do not abide in their calling. At present, many have the tendency of “doing their own thing,” as the phrase goes, but there will be less and less of this in the next few years, as darkness and tribulation settle over the land, and within this time we shall see the people of God coming together more than ever before in the history of the church. The rod is pushed through rings on the boards – golden rings, which speaks of a marriage. The paradox is that although the rod holds the boards straight, it is the rings on the boards which hold the rod in place. This signifies that the apostle, or any of the other ministries, cannot and should not own the church, but the church should hold them in place, and desire them to be there.
On the first row there are two rods. Each of these rods is FIFTEEN CUBITS long. They are covered with gold so they look like long bars of gold. These rods are pushed through rings of gold on the boards, thus forming the connecting link between board and board.
The first rod to the left of the sketch is the PROPHET. The function of the prophet in the body is, in the first place, to help keep the body together by the direct or indirect revelation of the Spirit.
PROPHET MINISTRY OF GOD
The prophet ministry is put into the Body of Christ by God’s divine operation. No prophet can study to be a prophet, and can only enhance his prophecy by the degree of sanctification in which he lives. A Prophet can get his revelation by vision or dreams, or by direct word of God, or by any other means God chooses, BUT he must keep in the will of God, or else he will not know the difference between a revelation from a deceiving spirit, or from God.
THE NECESSITY OF THE PROPHET
The church cannot reach to its height in the Spirit without the function of the prophet ministry. By this, I do not mean prophesying in the church. The ministry of the prophet is one which carries a power and authority in the church next to the apostle.
The mistaken idea about spiritual authority is that men who claim to have authority in the church are mostly those who rule over different sections of the church, BUT authority is from God. WHEN THE WORD SPOKEN is powerful in heaven and on earth, then that is spiritual authority.
An example of this is a situation where a certain minister’s preaching was being challenged, and the brethren decided that they would not have him any more. He said nothing but went away and prayed to God. The result was that they were sorry, and reversed their decision. The authority was exercised in the Spirit.
On the other hand, there are those who speak great swelling words, only to find that the Spirit of God was not with them, and their words did not carry with the spiritual people.
Jesus had this to say of spiritual authority:
Matthew 20:25-27, (RSV) “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but who so ever would be great among you must be your servant, and who so ever would be first among you must be your slave.”
This simply means that God will exalt such a person to a place of authority, so that “whatsoever he binds on earth is bound in heaven.” We can see clearly that God intends a Prophet to speak as the very oracle of God.
The ministry of the evangelist is that which takes to the church the revealed word of God. In doing this, the evangelist must be equipped not only with the power of the Holy Ghost, but with the gifts of the Spirit, sufficient to vindicate the Gospel in the wide range of circumstances into which he will fall.
The ministry of the evangelist is by far above the ordinary, evangelistic outreach of the local church. This ministry must be one of extraordinary power to cope with the hurdles which the enemy will set in its way. Jesus, in speaking to the apostles just before His resurrection, gave them some idea of the preparation which precedes an evangelist going into “all the world.”
Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Jamaica is my Jerusalem, but for you, some of my readers, it might be your Judea, Samaria, or the uttermost part of the earth.
There is a deep revelation in this, which is the reason behind this instruction.
Where you are born is your Jerusalem (where you grew up). The people of your town, county and country who know not God submit to that prince of devils which rules over that part of the world. For you to preach the Gospel effectively in your own hometown, state or country, you must first overcome this devil to a marked degree. After this is done, God will lead you to the area of a neighboring spirit (not necessarily geographically), one allied to the type of sin that overcomes your people.
When you have overcome this Judean spirit, then God will lead you on to also battle and overcome the Samaritan spirit, the spirit of witchcraft.
After you have gained these three notches in your gun, the Lord will lead you into all the World.
Whenever this process of training is not accomplished in the life of the evangelist – that is, he went without being directly sent of God – then he generally makes shipwreck, and sometimes causes a lot of heartache and confusion in the body.
THE MINISTRY OF THE SHEPHERD (PASTOR)
The word in the Greek is “Paimenos,” which means “Shepherds.” The position of “Pastor” was created by the fallen church, and is contrary to every spiritual concept of what a Shepherd should be. A ministry is not a position, but an endowment of the Spirit. In our modern, ecclesiastical terminology, we have made the word “pastor” to mean a person who holds the position as head of the congregation. This in the church is not scriptural, according to Matthew 20:25-27. We cannot make a person Shepherd of a congregation, no more than we can make an apostle. GOD MAKES THE INDIVIDUAL SHEPHERD IN THE BODY OF CHRIST. The word “shepherd” erroneously translated as “pastor” in Ephesians 4:11 is a spiritual endowment, a ministry, or the spiritual ability to seek out and care for God’s sheep. This generally manifests itself in a local situation, but nevertheless the spirit of the shepherd is one which has a care for God’s sheep everywhere.
This is represented in the chart by the left lower bar which is 15 cubits long.
The word “shepherd,” translated “pastor,” does not give any minister absolute charge over any congregation. It gives him the responsible position of being answerable to the “Chief Shepherd” for the ministry to care for the sheep given to him. Therefore, while he is caring for sheep in the congregation, there are others who would be caring for lambs, and others neither sheep nor lambs, but sons – little sons and big sons. Therefore, in God’s Order, we FIND A PLURAL MINISTRY OF ELDERS WORKING TOGETHER.
THE TRUE SHEPHERD
It is very easy to discern the true God-appointed shepherds, as different from the man-appointed ones or the self-appointed ones. In Ephesians 4:11, we notice that the Word says that “He gave some, Apostles, etc.”
A man-made apostle is an alien creature in God’s business, yet all the churches appoint their own trainees to positions. Divine Order is totally rejected in the modern church as recorded in: 2 Thes. 2:3.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (rebellion) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
History is repeating itself. Just as Israel turned away from God to the dumb idols of the nations, even so, 90% of the church has turned from God to worship buildings, and pews, money and status – rebelling against God. Jesus Christ, our Lord, said that this would happen before His return. He gave a parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30. Then from 37-43, He gave the meaning of this parable of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 13:37-43, “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear let him hear.”
The above passage outlines the condition of the church before Christ comes. It clearly shows that there is at this time a rebellion in the church, against the Master of the Vineyard, and that He is waiting for the time of His judgment to separate the wheat from the tares. From what I can observe, the tares have taken up the chief corners of the streets of our cities with magnificent edifices. They occupy the major positions of authority in the vast majority of the congregations of the world. They are the richest institutions on earth, but we understand that the time of harvest is very near, even at the door.
The true shepherd seeks the glory of the Lord. The false shepherd seeks the glory of his denomination, or group, or nondenominational denomination, or something else beside Jesus. The question here arises, what is meant by seeking the glory? The question brings us back to the teaching of the “firstfruits.” Whatever is the focal point of our operation and programs is the thing that is first in order of priority. Are we more interested in holding our members than in their spiritual growth? If we are more interested in their spiritual growth, even if we lose them, then Christ is first. Are the shepherds God-trained, God-appointed men, or man-appointed pastors, herdsmen, cowboys, man-appointed, Seminary-trained after the order of man, Romish? As God-appointed shepherds, they would be laying down their lives and not looking after their own enrichment or status. Then that is putting Christ first. Is the shepherd striving to do the will of the Father, rather than to please his congregation and the other church leaders around? Then he is Christ centered. Is the shepherd making plans for bringing in money in the church? Then he is NOT Christ centered but otherwise centered. Is Christ the whole motivation of the church? If so, then they are putting Christ in His rightful place – first. A shepherd, therefore, is not an hireling. He cannot be bought or fired, because he is working with God Himself who trained and sent him, and he will teach every sheep to follow Jesus Christ. Every God-appointed shepherd knows that the word shepherd is not a title like the “Names of Blasphemy” – Reverend, Pastor, Father, Holy Father, Pope etc., (Revelation 17:5) – but that it is a spiritual endowment, a deep compassion in the heart for God’s children everywhere. It is a gift of the Spirit, and we should only be under-shepherds with Jesus Christ.
This is a warning to those who have human, man-appointed, pastor-shepherds here. Anyone who usurps the position of Jesus in your life is an impostor, for it is written in the word,
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
If you are starving spiritually, then you have the wrong pastor. Make sure that you have “MY Shepherd.”
In the New Testament, the word “shepherd” (“poimne” in Greek), is mentioned about eighteen times. IN ONLY ONE INSTANCE, THIS WORD IS TRANSLATED AS “PASTOR.” – Ephesians 4:11. One cannot help but notice some design by the translators to foster the Roman Catholic position of hierarchy in the church. Jesus said we should not have a hierarchy among us. He said it was for the rulers of the world.
Matthew 20:25-27, “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant). And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (slave).”
THE MINISTRY OF THE TEACHER
A congregation can appoint a teacher, but it cannot give him/her a ministry. God alone sets ministries in the body. The ministry of the teacher must come directly from God. From my own experience, when God tells me what to tell His people, He tells me how to tell it. I teach sometimes with a chalkboard, and the drawings I put on the board are those things which I see in the Spirit.
There are, however, many, many different administrations of the Spirit. Although God deals with me in this way, He may deal with someone else in an entirely different way, BUT with the same result – His people will get the message, and it will be directed by Him.
THE MINISTRY AND THE GIFTS
There are ministries with the same name as gifts of the Spirit, but the ministry is different from the gift. The gift is the manifestation of the Holy Ghost within the believer, working whatever gift God sees fit to bring forth through the individual.
On the other hand, the ministry is a special and more powerful endowment to the church. The minister, therefore, is the gift of God to the church. His endowment is not his own. He cannot preach where he wills, do what he wants, but as an important part of God’s machinery, he must move when and where God wants him to move or go.
Every human being is capable of some gift of the Spirit if he or she surrenders to God, but not everyone is an anointed preacher of Christ. It must be remembered that every believer, as part of a body, is a ministering, functioning part. In a sense, everyone who is born of God is expected to work with the ministry in one capacity or another. Without these sinews of the body, the ministries could not function effectively.
These five ministries are the five bars of the tabernacle.
We should not forget one important observation. The golden rings which hold the bars are attached to the gold on the boards, thus signifying that the nature of God in the body is that which holds the ministry, and not the ministry or minister holding the congregation.
THE FIVE PILLARS
This is the DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE through which only DEAD MEN ENTER: men and women who have died to SELF in the Outer Court, and now are being resurrected in CHRIST. Jesus, speaking to his disciples in John 10:7 said, “I am the door of the sheep,” and intimated that there was no entering in except through Him.
Galatians 2:9 speaks of James, Cephas, and John as pillars of the church. We see here, not only Jesus Christ being a pillar of gold, but God setting men in the body as pillars. Thus the five pillars, representing the ministry which God would set in Christ, have the quality of man, which is the wood, and the quality of God, which is the GOLD. They were nevertheless seated in brass, which signifies that their foundation is in judgment and justice, and that there is no levity of permissiveness in the God-ordained minister. He must abide in that which he preaches and “die daily” as Paul said in 1st Corinthians 15:31.
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