Scriptural Church Government (part 2)
Church Government (authority, responsibility, accountability)
Five ascension gift elder called ministry:
The church government is headed up by the five gifts of Christ's appointed and called ministries, along with the "any man" (mature) elders.
1. (Ephesians 4:8) Therefore He says, "When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men."
Those who are called to these holy offices are named "gifts to men," (or mankind). This is a truth to be weighed by those who are called to these offices, as well as by all believers. They are a God sized gift, since all of them function in bringing salvation to the world in the name of Christ. All of these callings exemplify a portion of Christ and His ministry, as He alone is the completion of all of these callings. Those honored to bear one of these five callings are appointed messengers to bring others to Christ with life eternal, and then to strengthen them. Their purpose is set out in Ephesians 4:12-15. When genuinely called and Christ appointed, they are Holy Spirit gifted in, perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 13 And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
These differing ministries are to be discerned as to callings. Our Lord never changed His mind about giving all of these. Only man's unbelief and presumption with no scriptural basis has denied and ignored this giving. The church very much needs all of these callings to accomplish the Christ stated reason for giving them. May we with sincere gravity, prayerfully consider these scriptures.
The denial of these callings is in the same wrongful vein of the denial of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," an experiential baptism being touched by the Holy Spirit, evidenced by experiential tongues or prophecy. I came from a background of being taught that tongues are of the devil. The Lord graciously turned me around. I experienced this and found it was a baptism of love, where I loved everybody and the whole world for a saturated three days subsequent to this experience. God is Holy, good and true, faithful and unchanging!
2. Eph 4:11 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.
We greatly damage the cause of Christ and the gospel, when we do not recognize this holy scripture and rationalize it away to a first century giving with no scriptural basis for doing so. Rather than dismissing this Christ giving, we should pray and seek discernment to understand the differences in these callings. When we gain understanding of the differences, we will also see the need for all of them to function. All of these callings may function for a time, in the five differing ministry offices, as they address people needs and ministry growth within themselves, they will in time recognize their Christ given ordained calling as they mature. When they are looking to the Lord and His leading by waiting on Him this will become clear. They will discern their personal BURDEN and VISION as to ministry desire and focus. We must discern this accurately and allow these callings to function as a plurality, submitted one to another within the church. When we do this, we are receiving and releasing Christ and the works of the Holy Spirit in ministry. (John 5:43), I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (Mark 9:37) Whoever receives one of such children in My name receives Me. And whoever receives Me does not only receive Me, but Him who sent Me.
We must make it easy for others to receive us, as well as churches to receive others. This takes a heart to communicate and understanding of one another, AND to fulfill the receiving of Christ's intended giving. We commonly see the walls and denial of this truth.
3. The apostle Peter said, (1Peter 5:1) I exhort the elders who are among you, I being also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Note that the apostle as all of the five called ministry are elders among elders.
Authority structure in government:
Our Lord declared the priority placements in His church authority structure. Again this is mostly ignored due to unbelief and a limited understanding. A humble ministry will seek this truth.
1. (1 Corinthians 12: 18, 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.
These are what God sets in the church government. Denial of "fivefold ministry" denies these scriptures. Man has denied this and altered this giving by ignorance or pride. May we repent and kneel before His throne and Word, which gives us holy directives. We have greatly limited the gospel, as to reaching the world due to the rejection and unbelief of these scriptures. True repentance will cause one to seek understanding of this order and "setting."
The apostle will always have a world and "other territory" vision, besides having a burden for the local churches. Not upholding them limits the gospel from going into all of the world. The prophet will always have a burden to minister holiness, Holy Spirit presence with the "confirming of the brethren," (Acts 15:32) in the churches. (Acts 15:32) They have a larger than local church vision. These ministries are "foundation" ministries, along with Christ. (Ephesians 2:20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Apostles are the guardians of doctrine, always desiring to raise up called ministries and elders. We must discern and receive them.
2. (1Peter 5:5) Likewise, younger ones, be subject to older ones, and all being subject to one another. Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble.
The incorrect understanding and usage of godly authority is a huge topic. The lack of this understanding is a major root cause for not accepting other fellow ministries. This topic ranges from the control freaks, which are scripturally called Nicolaitans whom God hates, (Revelation 2:6), to wimp marshmallow none government, those who take no responsibility with no holy standards. The pride of self and a sole one-fold ministry is another key hurdle to overcome, with a demand to “submit to me,” and inability to personally submit to others. Peter addressed this.
Peter tells all of us to respect older mature believers with a submissive spirit. This refers to maturity "in the Lord." One can have great worldly achievements and experience and yet be a baby in Christ. Humility and having regard for others is a godly bearing to maintain. Several times Paul admonishes the church to respect elders in the Lord over them.
Then Peter states an often over read truth, "and all being subject to one another." (1 Peter 5:5) The apostle who is first in authority can have a submissive spirit to the youngest babe in Christ, by the right humble attitude of heart and not just a learned demeanor. Humility never depletes one's authority. Moses was the humble example given. (Numbers 12:3) All born again Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling within, and may be used to hear and see.
This "being subject to one another," is similar to the right marriage submission attitude. (Ephesians 5:21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 5:23 For 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.
Prior to Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, We find this prefaced by to another in the fear of God. This allows for a recognition of wisdom, insight and value of one to another in the fear of God. Nabal would have lived longer if he had this attitude towards his wife Abigail. (1 Samuel 25:3) Godly wives have insight and abilities men often need and lack. Likewise, the elder is not always "right" and the younger is right from time to time. Understanding this is walking in the advised Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. This respect and correct attitude in bearing, in no wise negates the authority structure of husbands being the head of the marriage or elders being the responsible godly authority.
3. (Revelation 2:6) But you have this, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
(2:15) So you also have those who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
This "Nicolaitan" issue was twice addressed by Christ, the Lord of the church. This is one of the biggest problems we face in having a genuine scriptural church government. This twice repeated statement to the churches by Christ is with reason, as God rarely repeats Himself. The humble will seriously weigh these Bible texts. Rarely does God say "I hate." The reason for this twice stated statement is because He knew the hearts of men and the sin which would commonly take place. This sin is so prevalent today and few know it.
A Nicolaitan in the Strong's Greek rendering is an "adherent (or follower) of Nicolaus." (Gr. G3532) Nicolaus means "victorious over the people," or one who has conquered the people. We have multitudes of churches where Nicolaus reigns, and God hates this. A functional "fivefold" eldership submitted one to another obliterates this wrong.
How is this applied? We predominantly have churches governed and the people controlled by Nicolaitans who have the people trained and brought into a wrongful submission status. Ministry is taught that they are the one person who heads up their flock and all are accountable to them, as they are "the voice of God." Yes ministry must lead, but not hold an I am THE voice. The attitude that “I am the graduate Bible School certificate holder, and all will answer to me because I am the Reverend," attitude is exactly what is Nicolaitan.
The Nicolaitan spirit can be observed by the one man in action ministry. This ministry by not having a plural ministry and submitting to them as well as them to the ministry demonstrates the reality of a Nicolaus spirit. One can be in authority and simultaneously submit! When you see a one man authority functioning with an attitude of I am where the buck stops, you have a Nicolaitan, and God hates that! A submitting in love, communicating fivefold eldership breaks that type of "Nicolaitan" authority.
God hates that because we are presenting a wrong format of knowledge and worship which limits His people! Our Christ and God desire that the entire church body is involved in hearing from Him, and we limit that to hearing from "the preacher." God wants us to teach people a vertical hearing normalcy and a horizontal participant in body ministry normalcy.
Is this strong and new to your consideration? Read these scriptures "which I also hate." This is only new because this is not preached or taught and cannot be unless the leadership changes! Only then will a number of other scriptures make sense.
Change from a Nicolaitan Spirit:
The affects of repentance from a Nicolaitan spirit will be seen when the following scriptures are applied and not just read and then read over:
1. A ministry repents from what God hates, they will seek out and raise up a multiple ministering eldership. (Titus 1:5)
2. They will look for and build bridges with other ministries locally, having a pulpit sharing to allow their flocks to receive the fruit of fellow local ministries. (Ephesians 4:11)
3. They will not limit this "brethren" seeking to out of town ministry, who are not considered to be a threat to their local empire. Empire building will cease. (Revelation 2:6, 15)
4. Ministry in charge will look for avenues to have a workable ministry structure. This includes considering finances and the needs of fellow elder ministry. (Apostle Paul to Ephesians' elders, (Acts 20:34) Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. (told to Ephesus elders,) (V17)
5. Ministry will have a different expectation as to the flock, regarding their knowledge, maturity and ministry expectations. Most churches and ministry have the wrong mindset and Nicolaitan actions demonstrating their Lording over God's heritage. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2) This directive was to the multiple elders addressed. Also consider the believer's ministry, (Then how is it, brothers? When you come together, each one of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be for building up. (1Corinthians 14:26) We expect our believer body to stay at the "baby" level of maturity. We do not expect them to know all of the foundational doctrines or allow them to teach these. (Hebrews 5:12-6:2)
6. The apostle Paul clearly sets out what his and Christ's expectation of the believer flock is. Christ expects the flock to have a minimum knowledge standard met, attaining unto maturity, as well as the ability to teach this attainment, with the expectation to do so. The Nicolaitan spirit is a self sufficiency spirit, always viewing the assembly and believers as babies. They maintain a lifelong babysitting environment, while they are Nicolaitan mature, having conquered the laity, controlling them, whether by intent or ignorance. Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 6:1 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, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. (go on in maturity to other great truth, Hebrews 5:11)
Note what Paul expected of the Hebrew church believers. He said that he could not teach them certain truths unless this believing body was capable of knowing these six foundational church doctrines to such a level that they could teach them. How many people in the average church can name these doctrines let alone give a brief teaching regarding these six doctrines? We have a wrong unscriptural expectation of our people. This is proven by what we do not teach them and expect them to know well. Generally we do not train them with the expectation or opportunity to teach in church and to others.
This Nicolaitan spirit is dealt with when we expect a different worship service than what we normally see, as we read and apply: How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. Let all things be done decently and in order.
Notice the multiple involvement with an open to the body ministry, yet all things are to be done decently and in order. These are instructions to us, which we in humility are expected to read and act out. The Nicolaus spirit dies when this is a functional reality!
7. The greatest New Testament example and evidence of a church meeting which I have found, as to a gathering void of a Nicolaitan spirit is when the apostles Barnabas and Paul humbly met with the Jerusalem apostles and elders: (Act 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. 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. 22 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 Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And 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: 32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
Note: These apostles were received by fellow apostles and the elders. These elders included prophets and other ministry callings (v32). In discussion of what was right or wrong as to this doctrinal question, the whole assembly was involved. They also had the right to speak to the issue, since they were acknowledged in the letter sent out to the churches, as approving the conclusion. They had a maturity level to work with and be included in doctrinal matters, having a knowledge level and growth expectation for inclusion. Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men from them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; (Acts 15:22)
Attitude issue, limiting church government:
The Nicolaitan one man power authority attitude is a huge limiting factor in establishing a scriptural church government. A root to this Nicolaitan conquering the laity is pride and self sufficiency. This self sufficiency limits and damages the flock and body of Christ. This unholy attitude limits the growth and ministry increase of the body and the banquet table of a multiple ministry. This pride denies that other callings have ministry strengths which I and our people need. This pride says I will not risk sharing my (ungodly) sovereign placement.
1. (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. This was told to "all" of the Ephesus elders, as well as to you and I. The church, all Holy Spirit indwelt believers, are Christ's blood bought and precious.
2. (Philippians 2:2) Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. This esteeming is demonstrated by our actions or lack thereof. This esteeming of others as better than themselves, is only possible with the humble and servant hearted elder leadership, as we consider fellow elders and believers.
3. (Ephesians 4:16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.We demean this whole body, when we do not have an expectation that the whole body, is held with an expectation of every part, makes increase. Preach and teach this expectation.
4. (1Thessalonians 2:4) But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children: 8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. 9 For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. We sacrifice our "rights" as we humbly serve before our Lord!
Many with flattering words wear a cloak of covetousness. Few are as gentle as Paul depicted himself, as a nursing mother who personally labored to limit placing a financial burden on these believers, whom Christ loved and he as well in Christ's stead. I know. Many will say things are different today. Yes they are and is that right? Are these scriptures not in the "all scriptures are profitable for doctrine" category? There is much more to this topic (see "Fivefold Churches" book or manual)
A servant to Christ will lay down their lives for the sheep. Paul and company only took finances when helping with travel and planting churches elsewhere. Peter and the first twelve apostles accepted financial help when the work load in ministry demanded the wisdom of full time no money earning efforts. The rest of the time, efforts were made to facilitate a multiple eldership multiple ministry with a storehouse for the needy people.
The matter of ministry financial rights is laid out in 1 Corinthians 9:9, and may be applied under appropriate circumstances, with no debate. However, if this is not weighed at a multiple ministry level, we are covetous and in error. Paul also made a clear point that he never used this right. Other ministries with him never did either. (9:12) The difference is all wrapped up in a heart of love for and servant hood, both for Christ and the church.
1. Acts 6:1, 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. 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. 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.
Deacons were ordained to minister to the physical needs of the people, and not just take up wage money for ministry and building funds. Preach Malachi 3:10 properly. Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. And test Me now with this, says Jehovah of Hosts, to see if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, and pour out a blessing for you, until there is not enough room. 11 And I will rebuke your devourer, and he shall not decay the fruit of your ground against you; nor shall your vine miscarry against you in the field, says Jehovah of Hosts. We apply this as ministry finances and building issues, with little or no "food" in a commonly empty "storehouse." My we review this matter and pray for the right course of direction. If your windows from heaven have been "barred" and there is no righteousness in the little of finances, how can our Lord bless with the greater things, spiritually and physically that we desire. (Luke 16:11)
2. 1Timothy 3:10, And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 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 deacon ministry involved more than bringing food. This also involved wisdom and impartation of teaching regarding financial matters. Teaching about godly work ethics since they were godly. They taught scriptural truths of conduct and being godly in finances, with diligence. They ministered to and worked with the people, discerning need and not greed. Directing appropriate giving of consecrated holy funds is a learning experience in ministry. Two of these deacons were in fact chosen in time by Christ to be of the fivefold callings, Stephen and Philip. They demonstrated great faith. They started with humility, being willing to serve at tables, being full of the Holy Ghost. True Holy Ghost filled servants have a servant heart. They withstood unholy lacking wisdom opinions and critique. I remember the accusations of being "legalistic" when I stopped the financial supporting of a widow, as long as she was spending approximately $200 per month on a smoking habit. Church tithes and offerings are holy money. This stand really cost me with some previously respected relationships. Deacons need holy strength. They that will not work shall not eat, Christ's Words and not mine. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Deacons help and bless in the name of the Lord but do not enable with holy money.
God and Christ appointed ministry:
May we consider the gravity one should portray in dealing with the genuine called ministry. Likewise may the Christ appointed ministry be grave when dealing with the flock.
1. 1Timothy 5:1, Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
We are cautioned not to rebuke an elder, but to be of an entreating gentle and respectful attitude. They are (if they are) Holy Spirit made (Acts 20:28)
2. Galatians 2:11, But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
What is the difference? Peter withstood and did not entreat, why is this? When having problems with ministry elders, the apostle corrected the apostle. Wisdom is applied when we take ministry problems to ministry, allowing them to deal with it. Peter did so publicly as the wrong was committed publicly, voiding Galatians 6:1.
3. Numbers 16:1, Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: 2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: 5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. 6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; 7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: 9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? 10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? 11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? 12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: 13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? 14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that flows with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them. 16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: 17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer. 18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. 20 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. 22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? 23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. 27 So they got up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. 35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
Chief leaders of Israel became critical of Moses. He had married a black Ethiopian woman. These were high on the ladder leaders who challenged a man appointed of God. God dealt with this rebellion in a serious way. This dealing may have been harsher since they denied Moses a request to meet. The Lord destroyed them and the two hundred and fifty who followed in this rebellion. I have not seen the ground open up to swallow dissidents to senior God appointed leaders. I have seen some die quickly (within a day and within a month). More commonly we see their ministry die and become ineffective. The death of a ministry is common, when they in a wrongful manner disrespect Christ appointed senior callings. God still sees and will judge among men. He has not changed. With grace He will give a "Jezebel," time to repent but if they do not, God in time will act. (Revelations 2:20)
May we do our all to allow Christ to reign and be Lord of our churches and ministry. The result would be comparable to the New Testament "Scriptural Church Government."
Apostle John DeVries