x527.....Hierarchy--only in the OT

 

Lu 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
Lu 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
Ac 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.
Ro 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Ro 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:


only in the 3 verses below , the word "office" is "hierarchy"........

Lu 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
Lu 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Greek:

hierateia {hee-er-at-i'-ah}

AV - priest's office 1, office of the priesthood 1; 2

1) the priesthood, the office of a priest


These 3 references are all speaking about the OT Levitcal priesthood--they are all in reference to the priesthood--the "office" the designation of the authority of the Levites to be the only people who could minister within the temple. The Levites absolutely had an office of ministry--they were the hierarchy--the official people who were allowed to do ministry in the temple--according to the old covenant.

The word hierarchy is used only on these occasions in the new testament--there is specifically NOT any mention of the word hierarchy in regard to the new covenant ministries.

the King James translators, (in fact following the traditional Roman way of Bible translation) saw fit to try to add in the word "office" to new testament ministry--but the fact is that these translations of the word office are NOT the word "hierateia"--rather they are the word "diakonos"--meaning minister or servant. New covenant ministry was always--for everyone--service and NOT authority over others or an "office" of rulership in any way at all. The ministry gifts were the descriptions of the different jobs that any Christian should operate by---annointings--NOT "official" designations of rulership or titles--as tradition strongly tells us.

Let's note the other translations of the word office--

Ro 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (diakoneo)

Here Paul is NOT saying that he has a special office--a special type of hierarchal ministry--a ministry that rules--Rather he is saying the exact opposite---to "magnify mine office" does NOT mean that he is saying he has a better, superior, ruling ministry over others--Rather he is saying that since he is an apostle to the Gentiles--he has taken on a greater service (diakoneo)--he is serving more people--since the Lord has lead him to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles and not just the Jews.


1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The term translated here as "office of a deacon", is in the Greek, one word--diakoneo--again, new testament ministry is service--NOT hierarchy! the truth is that this is where the 5-fold ministries of apostle prophet evangelist pastor and teacher fit in. If we study the uses of the word diakoneo, we will find that these gifts--these anointing are the operational gifts that God has given (unto every one of us) to carry out service to Him--to be ministers. (the word minister is variously translated as minister--servant--slave--or in this case--"office of a deacon").

Ro 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

The word translated here as office is the Greek:

praxis {prax'-is} n f

--- - deed 4, work 1, office 1; 6

1) a doing, a mode of acting, a deal, a transaction
1a) the doings of the apostles
1b) in a bad sense, wicked deed, crime, wicked doings
(our practices i.e. trickery)
2) a thing to be done, business

This verse is saying exactly what we are saying---not everyone has the same work to do for God--yet all have a work to do--in the body--in the church. Again, there is no use of the word hierarchy--the Bible is again speaking of the ministry--the work that all of have to do--as equals--as brothers and sisters in Christ--NOT by hierarchy--office--rulership or exercising authority over one another.


1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

Now, what exactly then is the "office of a bishop"? This may seem to be a designation of authority, a designation of rulership within the church--an office. First let's look at the Greek definition--

episkope {ep-is-kop-ay'} n f

AV - visitation 2, bishoprick 1, office of a bishop 1; 4

1) investigation, inspection, visitation
1a) that act by which God looks into and searches out the
ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them
their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad
1b) oversight
1b1) overseership, office, charge, the office of an elder
1b2) the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian church

(note: defintions 1b1 and 1b2 come from strict tradition and not from pure Greek meaning!)


Notice the true meaning of this word--it is speaking of a Godly visitation--a choosing by God of someone, for His purposes. this is the simple meaning of the office of a bishop---it does not undo the intentions and purposes of God in ministry--it is still a servant position (again the word "office" is servant--"dikaoneo")--NOT a rulership position. It is simply a position of leadership--and thus greater service to others.

But if we a look at all the verse which use this term, perhaps we can attain an insight into what is being said...

Ac 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 (episkope) let another take.

This is speaking about the replacement of Judas among the 12 apostles. Certainly the 12 were chosen by the Lord for their ministry--but there were other apostles and all the church was in apostolic ministry. Ministry is a special called out function in God. God has a different ministry for all of us. There were specific functions which the 12 were doing--and they needed someone to help them in this--so they chose someone to replace Judas--they needed to be at full strength. (it is interesting to note that they drew lots for this position---there is some suggestion in this that anyone could have filled the position--they certainly did not go by education or seniority or special abilities--if they were relying on the drawing of lots to choose someone!--imagine picking the leader of your church by casting lots!).

A large misconception that is often taught, is that the church began with apostles--that the apostles were "church builders". The idea is that the aposltes went out and "established" the church--but the established church had a different form of government. Writers then immediately read in the common experience of church tradition, beleiving that we are the established church--and in the Bible, once the church was "established" a hierarchy of bishop and deacons were the "church government". Most people put the "pastor" of the church into the "bishops" shoes---as the hierarchal "ruler" of the church. All these ideas are wrong--when we see that the Bible calls Judas a bishop! Think about it--was Judas the "ruling" apostle? Of course not! But he certainly was "called out" by the Lord, to minister--to serve others--thus he had a "bishoprick". The fact is that the "office of a bishop" simply refers to those people who are called out to organize and serve others--to organize the "deacons"--the 5-fold ministers.


The "office of a bishop" was a term which the translators of the King James Bible were very familiar. Rulership with authority over others was the definition of ministry at that time--an authority which lead by a strict hierarchy to the king himself. The translators were attempting to describe the government of their world in that day. They took their clues from the already established concepts of church rulership and authority that the Roman church had operated by for over 1,000 years before.

But now, today, us common folk can finally look at the Greek Bible through our computers, and ask the questions about exactly what ministry is--and understand that there is NOT hierarchy meant to be within the Christian church.

We are here simply to challenge all Christiasn to study ministry--and authority--and the operational plan of the church. But be warned!! Don't just pick up a book on ministry from your church library! Look in the Bible yourself---learn to study the Greek through your own computer software! Look up for yourself words like pastor and minister and deacon and bishop and apostle. Look for yourself and see what you find!!