Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pentecost Teaches Hierarchy

As with the other feast and holy days, Pentecost has many lessons to teach.

Many people outside the Church of God do not understand why God requires that we observe the holy days. But God is in the business of shaping our character and teaching us lessons. God is the great Teacher, and He uses physical means to teach spiritual lessons. Each feast and holy day can teach us lessons.

One of the lessons of Pentecost is that only the first fruits are being called to salvation in this age, and that in turn teaches the lesson of hierarchy in God's kingdom.

The majority of mankind is not being called to salvation at this time. God is not trying to save or convert the world right now. He wants mankind to experience the full effect of Satan's way of life for 6,000 years so there will be no doubt that Satan's way does not work.

But God is calling a few now to salvation to prepare them to rule the earth with Christ in the millennium and beyond. Those few are us, those in God's true Church.

We have a harder test and trial than the majority of mankind will have when their opportunity for salvation comes during the millennium or the white throne judgment period. We have to overcome Satan now in this life, but Satan will be put away at the beginning of the millennium, and those who are called later will not have to struggle against his influence as we do.

But we who overcome Satan in this life, the first fruits represented by Pentecost, will also have greater rewards and higher positions in the kingdom of God. We will rule with Christ on His throne.

"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations" (Revelation 2:26).

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21).

"So Jesus said to them, 'Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel' " (Matthew 19:28).

"Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities' " (Luke 19:16-19).

There will be hierarchy and organization in the kingdom of God. We will not all be at the same level of authority. The Church is a model. Just as there are different positions or ranks of authority in the Church (Ephesians 4:11-17, 1 Corinthians 12:27-28), so it will be in the kingdom of God.

Pentecost, by teaching us that there are first fruits today who will rule over mankind in the millennium, is a reminder of the lesson of hierarchical government and organization in God's kingdom.

Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:

Pentecost - the Gift of the Holy Spirit, Chapter 2


John D Carmack said...

This showed up twice in my feed, for some reason, but I digress.

I guess I don't understand the arguments "for" or "against" "hierarchy". All government by definition requires a hierarchy. No one can govern unless they are "over" someone else.

It seems to me rather that the discussions should center around the type of government and perhaps even how flat it should/should not be. said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Sorry about showing up twice in your feed. When I submitted the post I had an error in a link in the text that caused Blogger to give me an error message, but it published the post. I corrected the post and republished, then I had to delete the first one with the error.

You are right that with government there is always hierarchy. What I am saying is that, Pentecost, along with all the holy days that show the plan of God, remind us that the hierarchy is not completely flat under Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God. Consider that if there were no first fruits, if everyone came into the kingdom of God at the same time and at the same level of authority and reward, then one might think that the hierarchy under Jesus Christ would be completely flat, that is, the only one having authority over anyone else in the kingdom is Christ - no Christian would have authority over any other Christian except Christ.

Of course, there are many scriptures that show this is not the case, not all relating to Pentecost directly, but Pentecost is a reminder of this.

Tig1 said...

Thank you for the article. One of the greatest problem in the COG is a lack of submission to those who by their fruits are obeying Christ and preaching the Gospel with zeal, and warning the nations to repent of their sins. An Apostle(I don't believe there are any today) and Evanglist have that comission, but if there is no top down leadership from Christ then the results will be little if any. Paul pointed out in Eph 4:11 their is this type of authority coming from Crist to lead the church and the Gospel work of the church.

MTCOGSM said...

Why do most in the COG today completely dismiss the second in "rank" (if you want to call it that) and go from first to third?? I have never been able to figure that out, because the word of God shows this second highest office for the COG in two places and one clearly says it is second--so would be higher than evangelist.
Just a curious question digging for an answer.
The Editor said...

I don't think most in the Church of God want to dismiss the rank of prophet. My understanding of scripture is that a prophet is higher rank than an evangelist. But most people do not discuss it as much as evangelist because they think we have no prophets in the Church today.

MTCOGSM said...

That is a very good answer and I thank you for your honesty in it.
However, I have proven over and over to many that will accept truth on this subject that HWA had to have fulfilled all of those offices listed, though he was ardained an apostle. yet he also taught that there were no prophets in the COG today, which I believe to have been in error. What is your take on this?
the Editor said...

I think that Mr. Armstrong was an apostle.

As far as prophets are concerned, there may be prophets in the Church of God in our time yet ahead, but before I could be sure that someone today is a prophet I would have to see the proof, and for me that proof would have to be a track record of teaching the truth PLUS at least one message direct from God given to the prophet in the form of a dream, a vision, a voice, or a face-to-face meeting with God or an angel giving a prediction that comes to pass that could not be explained by coincidence or by the wisdom and insight of a man.

I will use Bob Thiel as an example of what I mean about a prediction. Dr. Thiel has discussed the possibility that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (I can never remember how to spell that name, I must always copy it) will be the beast of Revelation. Now, suppose that turns out to be true. Does that make Bob Thiel a prophet? No. God did not give Dr. Thiel a miraculous message via vision, dream, voice, or face-to-face meeting telling him who the beast is, nor is the idea that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg will be the beast, if true, something Dr. Thiel could not correctly estimate based on knowledge of the Bible and current events. It might indicate that Dr. Thiel has a certain measure of wisdom and insight into current events, or he is a lucky guesser, but that would not make him a prophet.

The only person I know of in modern times that I might consider a true prophet of God might be Loma Armstrong, in my opinion. I have heard no one call her a prophetess. Yet according to Mr. Armstrong's autobiography, she received a dream in which an angel told her that her husband would be busy doing God's work, and this happened before Mr. Armstrong was converted while he was still in the advertising business. She heard a voice telling her to move her child from the bed moments before a picture fell and crashed on the bed. She somehow knew that Mr. Armstrong would not be returning from the west coast when he thought he was just moving there temporarily. In other accounts, she told her husband that God had revealed to her that enemies were plotting against him, but I don't remember the details. And in one account Mr. Armstrong gave in a sermon, he said that she prayed all night about a scripture and told Mr. Armstrong in the morning that God had revealed to her that there was a mistranslation, and Mr. Armstrong checked that out at the library and found out it was true.

By the way, concerning Bob Thiel, to my knowledge he has never openly and directly claimed to be a prophet. He has implied either that he is a prophet or that he will be a prophet. He has implied these things by stating that Dr. Meredith said he thought Bob Thiel either is a prophet or might be a prophet, and he implied this in his account of a minister praying that he receive a double portion of God's Spirit. But to my knowledge he has never said, "I am a prophet, and here is what God has revealed to me by prophetic revelation. God told me that such-and-such will happen in the future." He has never delivered a prophetic message from God to the Church or to the world, saying, "thus says the Lord..." or "here is what God has revealed to me, and the message is certain".

MTCOGSM said...

Well, surely you can recognize that there were prophets in the new testament era, right along with the apostles--Paul even gives instructions about them and how they are to be subject one to another. I am assuming that this would have its greatest application when no apostle is available to give leadership---it would then fall to the prophets to do so--not the third position of evangelists. There have to be prophets today---but the problem is no one wants to recognize them and be submissive to the truth they would still be clinging to--which would be the same truths always taught and the evidence that any errors were being corrected from the word of God, not the ideas of men.
If you feel that I am incorrect in this, feel free to have your say.

Anonymous said...


In the 8th comment above you wrote: "...I will use Bob Thiel as an example of what I mean about a prediction. Dr. Thiel has discussed the possibility that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (I can never remember how to spell that name, I must always copy it) will be the beast of Revelation. Now, suppose that turns out to be true. Does that make Bob Thiel a prophet? No. God did not give Dr. Thiel a miraculous message via vision, dream, voice, or face-to-face meeting telling him who the beast is, nor is the idea that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg will be the beast..."
That is an interesting example, because Bob Thiel does not know the identity of the beast and Karl Guttenberg is just another of the many speculations Bob is striving to fit into his personal theories on the subject.

Bob has been told that if he said Satan was the beast he'd be closer to the truth:

"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." Revelation 12:3

Dragon? 7 heads? 10 horns?

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." Revelation 13:1

Beast? 7 heads? 10 horns?

In mathematics, if A = C,
and if B = C,
Then A = B

IOW, if dragon = has 7 heads and 10 horns,
and if beast = has 7 heads and 10 horns,
Then dragon = beast

And Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg never had, has or will have 7 heads and 10 horns.

Bob Thiel has "latched" on to something that really is silly, and he can't let go of it, but time ad future events will eventually cause him to let go of that theory of his/others...