Offices in the Assembly

Elders, Deacons, Teachers, etc.

When people of various religions today speak of elders, they usually mean the office of the assembly officials who have local authority over a congregation. The men who hold this office are appointed or elected through various means, including the laying on of the hands of the Presbyter (the Council of men who exercise absolute rule over the congregation and over the Preacher, Priest, or other person that they pay to deliver their Sunday sermons).

In the TRUE assembly of Yahushua none of these men are EVER "hired" or otherwise selected from outside the local assembly where they will serve. Modern denominational assemblies (churches) have no problme doing this as they want someone who will teach and support their doctrines whether the doctrines are scriptural or not. By running advertisements, as seen at the left, that is exactly what they will get.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) means by elder the young fellows, usually between nineteen and twenty-five years of age who are in the field as missionaries for their "church." These young fellows are not Scripturally Elders, and are preaching a false gospel.

A casual study of the elders (presbuteros - a senior; one who is older) found in the Greek portion of the Scripture, which most of the above mentioned people quote as their authority, will show some interesting things concerning the elders that were ordained (kathistemi - to place down [permanently]; appoint) in the assembly (ekklesia -those that are called out; the assembly) of the first century.

These gentlemen were not like the elders of the "churches" of today. So far as an elder being a "church official" who has authority over the local congregation, the idea is correct. Where they depart from the truth is when the "eldership" is an office to itself. The only "offices" in the assembly which Yahushua founded are those defined as overseers (episkopos - superintendent or overseer - usually rendered as bishop) and attendants (diakonos - an attendant - usually rendered as deacon/ess) (See 1 Timotheos [Timothy] 3 and Titos [Titus] 1). All of the overseers and attendants could be elders, but all of the elders are not necessarily overseers and attendants. An overseer HAS to be an elder, while an attendant could be but does not have to be. Although elders are of senior physical age, an overseer also had to be of senior age in the body of the Anointed.

Both of these offices, overseer and attendant, were held for the sole purpose of service to the local congregation, and were of a local nature. NO authority was given for an overseer in one congregation to exercise authority over anyone in another congregation in the manner that we see this occurring today. There were always two or more bishops in a single congregation. This plurality of leadership was required to prevent one man from gaining absolute control of a congregation and putting himself in a position higher than a servant to the assembly. That is what happened in Rome, and it is still happening today.

All of the other positions in the assembly, such as evangelist, preacher, teacher, etc., are not offices as such, but rather are the gifts of the Sacred Spirit given for the edification of the body of the Anointed. None of these positions can be filled by someone who is "hired" by whatever governing body a particular "church" has in place. These positions are ordained of Yahuwah and appointed by the Sacred Spirit. No man has the authority to appoint them or deny them.

While any of these individuals could be supported by the assembly (in the event that their work for the assembly involved them so deeply that they could not ply their usual trade for self support, although this usually only applies to evangelists and overseers) they did not receive a salary or other monetary recompense for the use of their gifts, and would have been aghast had it been offered (Acts 8:20 But Keph [Peter] said to him, "Your money [perish] with you, because you have thought that the gift of Yahuwah may be purchased with money).") They also did not submit resumes to larger "churches" in the hopes of furthering their "pastoral" careers. They did not have 401K plans. Everything that they did was done in and for the love of Yahuwah and the brotherhood and with the knowledge and expectation that the individual would receive in the same manner as he had given.

So-called priests, such as found in all of the catholic variations and some of the Protestant faiths, are not mentioned in the scripture. Although the word appears many times in our translations, it is translated from a word that really means "minister" or "one who officiates." An interesting point of which many people are not aware is that the English word "priest" is a derivation of the Greek word presbuteros, which you now know means "elder." It devolved through several levels of pronunciation, including "prester," such as in The Story of Prester John, before reaching its present usage as found in the King James Version and in "churches" of today.

If you have already read 1 Timotheos 3 and Titos 1, did you notice the QUALIFICATIONS that a person has to have in order to be installed as a overseer or attendant? If not, go back and read it again. This is a very important point to gaining the understanding of how Satan hides and perverts the truth and fools the people who do not or will not believe the scripture. By not adhering to the standard that Yahuwah has set forth for the assembly of His Son Yahushua, these people are in disobedience and cannot rightly be called the obedient children of Yahuwah.

Knowing all of this, go look at the governing structure of the assembly of which you are a member and see if it is organized according the scripture or according to the ideas of man. I'm interested in hearing what you find out.

C.F. Castleberry