Now that you have learned there is only one unified, organized Church that Jesus leads, a related, towering subject must be addressed: How is peace, unity and organization maintained in the Church? What is the entity that allows these qualities to thrive and for everything to be done “decently and in order”
Let all things be done decently and in order. (I Cor. 14:40)?
Government is the key!
In fact, it is central to everything in life. Government is the glue that keeps the world together. Families cannot properly function without it. Neither can nations, armies, institutions, companies, churches, schools, teams, organizations or clubs—nor virtually any entity of more than one person. Where there is no government, there is no order—only chaos, confusion and everyone doing “that which [is] right in his own eyes”
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Jdg. 17:6).
Institutions without a governing body do not—cannot—last for long.
God preserves His entire creation through government and law—and both the earth and the universe reflect this.
Government, in the right form, brings structure, order, organization, stability, peace, protection and a host of other benefits to groups of every kind!
The Bible, above all else, is a book about government. Though space does not permit detailed examination, briefly consider just these biblical accounts—all of which relate to government: Lucifer’s rebellion against God’s government, Adam’s similar decision when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, how God governed ancient Israel (Moses, Joshua, the judges, kings and prophets, etc.), Korah’s rebellion, Saul’s rebellion, how Christ qualified to replace Satan, why the governments of this world do not and have never worked, and the coming of God’s world-ruling supergovernment, administered by Christ and the saints, to replace men’s governments and bring peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity to all nations. All of these examples—and more—make this subject central to the Bible!
Furthermore, the gospel of the kingdom of God is a message entirely about government under the ruling Family of God. And this subject is the absolute bedrock centerpiece of the entire Bible. (The entirety of the next chapter is devoted to making this clear.)
If government is central to everything in life, it should not be a surprise to learn that Jesus designed and established a specific form of government to lead His Church.
Two of the great hallmarks of the true Church are that Jesus Christ built it and He is its Head. As its Founder, He is at the top of the governmental structure. This is not the case in other churches. Since Jesus built only one Church, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that men have built all other churches in existence today. Jesus is not in control of the world’s churches—people are!
Men have devised various means to govern their churches. Generally, the top leaders in the large mainstream churches are elected by lower-ranking ministers, and these ministers are hired and fired by deacons or members of the church they purport to lead.
How exactly does Jesus head—lead, guide, direct—His Church? How is His Church governed?
In the last chapter, we briefly saw that there are various ministerial offices in the Church, as indicated in
Ephesians 4:11-13. Let’s re-read: “And He [Jesus] gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Let’s add another scripture that brings further understanding. Paul told the Corinthians that
“God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers [evangelists, pastors and elders]…” (I Cor. 12:28).
Combining these two passages, a number of points emerge. We see that there are specific ministerial positions (apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc.) in the Church, and the words “first, secondarily” and “thirdly” indicate each office carries a different level of authority. Apostles are first, directly under Christ, followed by prophets, who are second, then evangelists, who are third, and so forth. Each successive rank is subordinate to those above it. The office of apostle carries the most authority of any human office in the Church. Authority flows from Christ, through the apostle, and then down the list of ministerial ranks.
These scriptures also reveal that Jesus Himself calls and appoints, after necessary training, some in His Church to the various ranks in His ministry. This is made plain by the word “gave.” As Head of the Church, Jesus has the authority to do this. Just like the Father calls people into the Church, Christ calls members of His Church into the ministry. It is not up to the individual lay member to decide whether he should become a minister.
Lay members and ministers alike in Christ’s Church recognize that God’s government is from the top down, not the bottom up, as is found in all democratic governments of men, in which the people are ultimately in charge.
You may be familiar with the phrase “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” The true Church is different. While the government that runs it is for the people, it is not run by the people, nor is it of them—it is by and of Christ. For the Church to operate smoothly and efficiently, no other way would suffice.
Peace, unity, harmony and doctrinal purity cannot be maintained under a government that rules from the bottom up. Also, it cannot be maintained in an organization where Christ is not the Head! Just because a church may operate from the top down, and have some correct ranks of the ministry, does not mean it is God’s government. Christ must be in charge for it to be such—and we have seen that He can lead only one group, else He is divided!
In Chapter Seven, you learned that God’s form of government has always been from the top down. Someone is always in charge in a given situation, even when both Beings are God! The Father has always been supreme in command and Christ, formerly the Word, has always been number two.
To prevent separate, independent and competing factions, which would lead to confusion and division, driving many out of the Body of Christ, God has organized government in His Church. That government is the government of God, and it results in teamwork, not division! God knows that cooperation multiplies and competition always divides.
Recognize that the Church is the kingdom of God in embryo, meaning members are being formed—daily preparing for the kingdom—in the womb of the Church, begotten, but not yet born, into the kingdom. God’s government is similar—it is now only present in the Church, not yet over all nations.
The following is a general overview of the functions of each office in the Church. Space does not permit a full description of the duties of each.
(1) Apostles are charged with announcing Christ’s gospel message to the world, and supervising the proclaiming of that message. This office also oversees the entire Church and within it all administrative functions.
(2) Prophets are those who foretell future events before they happen. Their mission in the first century was to receive messages or prophecies directly from God, and to convey these messages to the apostles. They evidently played a key role in the formation of the New Testament. But no prophets are mentioned as having either administrative or preaching functions in the New Testament Church. Also, there is no evidence of the existence of any prophets in the Church since the New Testament was written. Certainly, none are in the Church today. However, there will be two extraordinary prophets who will arrive just before the Great Tribulation: the Two Witnesses.
(3) Evangelists are senior ministers who proclaim the gospel to the public and in some cases raise up local churches. Under an apostle, they sometimes supervise a number of congregations. Evangelists also can hold top executive duties under an apostle at Headquarters.
Instructive for all that it says about how Christ’s ministers work in His Church
II Timothy 4:2-5 states this about the duties of an evangelist: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch you in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry.”
Pastors generally serve locally over one or more congregations overseeing day-to-day operations. This responsibility is central to the overall unity, stability and spiritual growth of congregations, individually, and the whole Church, collectively. In fact, certain parables given by Christ, such as the “wheat and tares” and the “sheep, wolves and hirelings,” basically center on laborers in the field—pastors!
The word “teachers,” found in
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. I Corinthians 12:28
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Ephesians 4:11,
refers either to an evangelist, pastor or elder, but the apostle Paul also referred to himself as a teacher. The word in the Greek simply means “an instructor (general or specific), doctor, master, teacher.” So a teacher is simply one who dispenses spiritual knowledge.
An elder is one who is under a pastor in a particular congregation. He assists in the overseeing of the local congregation.
Deacons (men) and deaconesses (women) are the only physical offices in the Church. Those who hold this office are physical or material helpers. For example, these are servants who wait on tables, set up halls for Sabbath services, perform other forms of assistance, among many other physical duties
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 6:2: Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 6:3: Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 6:4: But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 6:5: And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6:6: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.. Acts 6:1-6
details how this office came into existence, and the qualifications for it.
Through His Church, Christ is training people to fill positions in God’s future world-ruling supergovernment. Members understand that to be born into the kingdom of God and to rule with Christ, they must first obey God and follow His government now in the Church. God will not hand ultimate power and authority in the Millennium to those who have not built holy, righteous character under God’s government in the Church.
Paul gave further instruction regarding Christ’s government in His Church. Notice what he told the Hebrews:
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” Acts 6:13-17.
In Acts 6:24, he added, “Salute all those that have the rule over you.”
He said this to the Thessalonians: “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you” (I Thes. 5:12).
These are basic scriptures that members in the churches of men largely ignore. But in the Church of God, Christ actively works through offices that He has placed in His Church for its good.
I emphasize: Even the all-powerful Christ submits to the authority of the Father—the supreme in command of the kingdom of God. Notice an example of submission while He was in the flesh:
“And being found in fashion as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). As a result,
“God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” Phil. 2:9-10.
Jesus had to first submit to power and authority—government—before He could qualify to rule during the Millennium. Would anyone think that Jesus’ servants are exempt from what He Himself had to do? Of course not! True disciples of Jesus follow His example and come under His authority. They submit themselves to the government of God now—in His Church. The whole world will do so in the world to come!
Now that you have basic understanding of how the Church of God is governed, we must examine in detail the crucial elements of power and authority, and their role in how Christ governs His Church.
Let’s begin by looking at the world’s struggle to find the balance between authority and power. There are few things more frustrating than a government having authority, yet lacking the power to carry out its policies. This applies either to its administration or to the citizenry that it serves.
Consider for a moment the American president with his policies regarding foreign nations, Social Security, abortion, tax cuts, same-sex marriage and judicial appointments. No matter what the administration tries to accomplish within these areas, there are various constitutional “checks and balances” in place that often spell “checkmate” to the president (also true of prime ministers) in a democracy. Of course, America has always proudly trumpeted to the world that it practices “controlled power,” meaning with the consent of “the people” through their elected representatives, and with this the case on governmental policies and matters of almost every size.
Teachers in schools and ministers in nearly all churches are additional examples of authority without power. They can teach and preach, but generally lack the “teeth” to tell their students and parishioners what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear, let alone actually enforce school policies and church teachings without enduring miles of red tape due to the cumbersome mechanisms of bureaucracy. But they are still unfairly held accountable—kept under the gun—to “educate” students or “feed” their churches.
Ask any president or chief executive officer of a corporation who faces important decisions for which he must give account if he can do his job without the power to carry out those decisions. He will tell you, “No!” Ask the coach of a football team the same question, and you will hear the same answer. Husbands in marriages, as well as parents with children—and leaders of almost any kind of organized endeavor—will say the same.
There can be the very frustrating circumstance of authority without sufficient power to administrate it.
However, there can be a worse problem, and it is probably the greatest problem with men’s governments. There can be governments possessing complete unbridled power, but without proper, responsible authority and control. This is a description of dictatorships or totalitarian forms of government at the other end of the political spectrum from democracies.
Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany demonstrate what can happen when power is unrestrained. So do Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein—and so did Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Without control, nations can be destroyed. So can economies. And millions can die in the crossfire of world wars. Of course, this is the legacy left by most of the governments of men.
The problem of unrestrained power without control is easier to understand. There must be control, the properly channeled use of authority in the function of any governmental entity—or disaster can result.
What about Christ’s Church? Does it have power without authority, authority without power, neither or both?
And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.Luke 4:36
states that the highly political Scribes and Pharisees “were all amazed” at Christ’s ability to cast out demons, remarking, “What a word is this! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Here are both terms together, and those observing recognized both at work.
Five chapters later, in 9:1, Jesus transferred this capability to His disciples. Notice what they received:
“Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.” Luke 9:1
Again, both terms together. Yet in the churches built by men, leaders derive their power from those under them—with those who can exercise “the power of the paycheck” upon them if they preach other than the usual diet of “love, grace,” and “forgiveness,” etc., along with the other generally comforting subjects that they want to hear.
Ten days before Pentecost, as Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, He told the disciples, about to formally receive office as apostles,
“But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Later, inActs 4:33, it confirms, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord…”
In fact, the apostle Paul wrote regarding all Spirit-led minds, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7).
Now notice what Christ had received from the Father, and would shortly give to His soon-to-be-apostles:
“And Jesus said unto them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age”’ (Matt. 28:16-20, RSV).
The end of Jesus’ statement explaining that authority would come to the disciples— He had “all authority,” and thus could give it—carries a promise that He would be with them always. Not only would His authority be with them, but there is clear evidence that very real power would accompany it. The Greek word translated “authority” in this passage is exousia, and it means both power and authority. In fact, the King James version states, “All power is given unto Me…”
It is certainly consistent then that in more of the Matthew 28 conversation, found inActs 1, Christ explained that “power” would be given to the apostles. He was simply reiterating the equation of power accompanying authority, and vice versa, referenced in
And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.Luke 4:36
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. Luke 9:1
Both of these most crucial elements in the apostles’ ministry were to be given to them on the day of Pentecost. This was the Holy Day when the Holy Spirit was to be first given to large numbers of people. Of course, this meant that there would be an immediate need for responsible authority with power to be in place over the governance of the Church, as well as in the preaching of the gospel to every nation. The day of Pentecost symbolized this remarkable beginning, as Christ built His New Testament Church. He had to simultaneously give it the two most important keys to its survival through the ages—power and authority!
Imagine the administrative challenge of managing 3,000 converts (plus children) arriving on the Church’s first day in existence. Sound government would be necessary!
Jesus instituted, actually re-instituted from the Old Testament, a special ordinance that would symbolize forever the transmitting of authority and power from one person to another. In fact, it happened 3,000 times on the first day of the Church.
All power within God’s Church is governed under strict authority, and this is revealed through the doctrine of the “laying on of hands.” Therefore, it is not a strange thing that this doctrine finds its place in
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 6:2: Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2
among the six most basic doctrines of the Church.
The physical ordinance of the laying on of hands represents or symbolizes the transferring of authority, with power. At the same time, this ceremony shows that all who may be involved in it—for any reason—are coming under authority. In addition, this ordinance shows that God works through human servants, and that His people are to obey and humbly submit to Him through these human instruments. In fact, Pentecost, when truly understood, pictures God’s perfect balance between power (the Holy Spirit) and authority (His government) through the laying on of hands.
It is no accident that this physical ceremony would have been witnessed so many times that day (with the other 3,000 converted). The point would have been ingrained to all observing.
In the Pentecost account, when the Holy Spirit entered all those present (the initial 120), it states,
“Cloven tongues like as of fire…sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:3-4).
This was, in effect, God’s own supernatural laying on of hands, probably on the heads of the recipients.
Beginning in this section, we will examine how the laying on of hands is seen to be the way God transfers government or authority within His Church. In fact, we will see that this physical ceremony can involve the transferring of gifts, special status, blessings, and even curses.
One of the most important functions of the laying on of hands occurs with appointment—ordination—into Jesus’ ministry. There are a number of New Testament passages where ordination occurred with this ceremony involved. But the ceremony first appears in the Old Testament.
And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: 8:10: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: Numbers 8:9-11,
the Levites were ordained by the entire congregation of Israel through the laying on of hands. Later in Numbers, as Moses was nearing the end of his life, he laid hands on Joshua
And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 27:19: And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. Numbers 27:18-19,
with God instructing Moses to “put some of your honor upon him.”
The first seven deacons in the New Testament era received this physical office of service through the laying on of hands
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6:6: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:5-6).
Paul and Barnabas were ordained to the highest human office of apostle by “prophets and teachers” under authority from the apostles in Jerusalem.
InI Timothy 5:22, Paul instructs Timothy to “lay hands suddenly on no man,”
With so much at stake when one is to be vested with power and authority upon ordination, it is easy to see why Paul would give such instruction. Where there is a true minister of God—an apostle or one under that apostle— there is real authority and real power.
Immediately after the Levites were ordained in Numbers 8, the context continues explaining that these priests carried the authority to
“lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks” for sin and burnt offerings Numbers 8:12-15;
And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; 4:14: When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. 4:15: And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD. Leviticus 4:13-15).
In Leviticus 24, the young man who “blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed” was stoned to death, but only after all those who heard him “lay their hands upon his head”
And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp; 24:11: And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) 24:12: And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them. 24:13: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24:14: Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 24:15: And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. Leviticus 24:10-15
The Azazel goat of Leviticus 16, representing Satan on the Day of Atonement, had the sins of Israel—a cursing—confessed over him during the laying on of hands by Aaron and high priests who followed.
But blessings were also accompanied by the laying on of hands. When Israel (Jacob) blessed Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48, it records that he laid his hands on these young grandsons and passed both the birthright blessing and his name to them.
Mark 10 records, with similar accounts in Matthew and Luke, that the blessing of little children in the Church of God occurs with the laying on of hands.
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 8:15: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 8:16: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 8:17: Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 8:18: And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Acts 8:14-18
records the account of the apostles coming to lay hands on the Samaritans (who had been baptized by Philip) so that they could receive the Holy Spirit—and power! The apostle Paul received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands in
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 9:17,
and Paul himself is shown in
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 19:2: He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 19:3: And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 19:4: Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 19:5: When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19:6: And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Acts 19:1-6
to have baptized and laid hands on those who had received John the Baptist’s baptism, yet had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Every baptized member of the true Church understands that receiving the Holy Spirit follows the ceremony of the laying on of hands, which follows repentance and baptism.
The miracle of healing also involves the laying on of hands.Mark 16 records that Christ explained that His servants
“shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” Mark 16:18).
This statement is in accord with
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: James 5:14,
which describes how the elders of the Church are called to “anoint the sick” for healing. Finally,
And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. Acts 28:8
speaks of a man who “lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux, to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him and healed him.”
The Bible also records— in both Old Testament and New— that certain special gifts came by the laying on of hands.
Joshua “was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him” (Deut. 34:9).
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 12:9: To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 12:10: To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: I Corinthians 12:8-10
lists “wisdom” as one of the nine gifts of the Spirit (not the nine spiritual fruits of
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23,
which also includes faith as a fruit, something different than this).
Immediately after the ordination of Stephen to deacon, with the other six, God’s Word states that he was
“full of faith and power,” which involved doing “great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:6,8).
We see in this account that even a deacon was able to perform extraordinary miracles, but only because there was special power vested in the office of the apostles for God, through them, to confer it upon Stephen with the laying on of hands. But he also received the gift of faith. Also, Philip, ordained with Stephen to the same office, was granted special power under the authority of the apostles
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 8:7: For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. Acts 8:6-7.
Further, Paul stated that Timothy had received a gift, probably that of prophecy, “with the laying on of hands”
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Tim. 4:14).
Another fascinating account has to do with “special miracles” done “by the hands of Paul”
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12).
This is where it explains that “handkerchiefs or aprons” (anointed cloths), which Paul’s hands had anointed, were sent to people so that “diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”
Even marriages between believers involve the laying on of hands during the prayer at the end of the wedding ceremony. During this prayer, the minister asks God to not only bind the marriage, but to bless it and to grant the couple children, happiness, and so forth.
It is evident that the ceremony of laying on of hands carries special meaning within God’s Church and government. This service always relates to the receiving of power and authority in some way. In every case, it was seen to confer something important from God through one human instrument to another.
When the kingdom of God arrives, the saints will begin their rule with Jesus Christ—the government of God will be established over all nations. Truly, this government will have all power and all authority under it. The Feast of Trumpets pictures this event, with the other fall Feast days picturing other events from this point forward that occur through the rest of God’s Plan over the next 1,100 years.
The governments of men will be replaced by the governing Family of God, called the kingdom of God. But Paul describes this in a way that puts all that we have just examined in a very different light. And it has everything to do with how the government of God works—from the outset of the Millennium forward and within the Church that Christ built 2,000 years ago!
Here is what was written to the Corinthians in the “resurrection chapter” about the first order of business with the arrival of the kingdom of God. Note well this extraordinary passage:
“Then comes the end, when He [Jesus Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (I Cor. 15:24).
This is a fascinating verse. It reveals that Christ, with the newly resurrected saints, must dispel or “put down”—Daniel 2 states, “break in pieces”—all the ruling governments of men, wherein rests power and authority derived solely from human origin (backed by Satan).
We will focus on the words “rule, authority” and “power.” The word translated “rule” comes from the Greek word arche, from which comes arch. Of course, an arch is a bridge or structure above something. The word translated “authority” is exousia— and the word translated “power” is dunamis. This is the same word translated “power” in
Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. II Timothy 1:7,
describing what Christians receive at begettal of the Holy Spirit in their minds. In summary, it is certainly true that the overall rule of men, with their governments, does “arch” above every form of human authority and power held today.
All of men’s governments, whether over nations (including the United Nations) or religions, the returning Jesus Christ and the glorified saints will “put down,” meaning to “abolish, cease, destroy, do away, make of no effect, bring to naught, vanish away and make void.” From that time forward, there will be no more authority ever again in the universe other than God’s government. Unlike competing supposed “churches of God,” there will be only God’s marvelous, wonderful government across the world.
With government, power and authority in mind, we are ready to examine how the government of God is tied to the gospel…