“Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:21
Truth must be lived to be understood. When we observe and rehearse Truth on a daily basis then we understand that Truth isn’t an intellectual exercise in systematic theology. It’s a way of living and a journey. This applies to the “authority” structure that we place ourselves under. We must examine how we give authority to our leaders. This is extremely crucial for spiritual growth.
There is a woeful amount of “non-Messiah” based “authority” operating within Jewish, Christian, Messianic, Two House, and Israelite congregations around the world. Many think of cult leaders when thinking of “false authority”, but the reality is that all “religious” institutions are magnets for cult-type, one-man-show leadership. And, there’s no lack of opportunity within the Torah observant community either. It’s commonplace for many leaders to demand a hierarchical veto “authority” as they move from one “expression of faith” to another. They seem to demand control at the helm, steering the congregation “ship” from their own unique vision, always maintaining a captain or owners position on the voyage. For some leaders, the Torah or “Messianic” simply evolved into a new religious identity, like putting a new sail on old Rabbinical (Pharisee) or Christian thinking. At the core, there remains a weak structure, a vessel in which the old “authority” model is held. Ultimately, it’s a shipwreck waiting to happen. One must ask… Can the voice of a prophet be heard in the congregation? Is the council of Elders considered? Are the goals of the organization set by the Will & Spirit of YHWH or a smaller self-willed vision?
“Men, I can see the voyage is going to end in disaster and great loss not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion was more convinced by the captain and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said.” Acts 27:10-11
And of course, Mashiyach Y’shua taught us a much more excellent way. So let’s examine the consequences of “false authority”, the type that strong arms the body of believers.
Frustration & failure is the natural outcome of giving one human being ultimate veto authority over the Body of Faith. We can all think of examples of this type of leadership. Not only does it quench the organic, Spirit-led growth of a congregation, but in matters of morality and conduct, the one-man-show judgments are the essence of carnal, non-Scriptural leadership.
The one experience that really defined false authority for me happened in 1997 while attending a Messianic Congregation in Vancouver B.C. Canada. I and many others witnessed firsthand how religious authority plays itself out, putting a ceiling on the growth of the congregation and stunting the growth of the leader. Most of us assume that everybody, including the leadership, knows that YHWH values each of us equally:
“This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: a half shekel shall be the offering of YHWH. Every one that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto YHWH. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto YHWH, to make an atonement for your souls. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before YHWH, to make an atonement for your souls.” Exodus 30:13-16
There are many verses in Torah and in Mashiyach’s teachings, that establishes equality for all souls, but not everyone believes this enough to apply it. YHWH does everything according to Order. His Justice and Mercy doesn’t play favorites with people. The reality is that those who serve or minister the things of Father YHWH are held to a higher place of responsibility. All the religious games and politics came to an end when the High Priest entered the Kadosh Kedoshim (Holy of Holies) on Yom Kippur. It was “Truth-time”. And so it is “truth-time” when we are praying and desiring to hear the Father’s voice, but the heavens are like brass if we are not obedient children. Oftentimes it’s the leadership that makes up clever, alternative, religious ideas as to why YHWH doesn’t answer our prayers.
It’s extremely important that we apply YHWH’s principles according to His structure of authority, and not pander to the popular versions, and certainly not cover up the ministry of the Ruach (Spirit) with a religious social club blanket.
I discovered the congregation in Vancouver had a leadership style that demanded veto authority over all spiritual and practical matters. It was being operated via the one-man-show “authority” model, complete with informants and Gestapo-like control. Anyone caught voicing ideas not “authorized” by this “authority” was a threat. “Authority” belonged to the leader, and no one else dares question the hierarchy of command. Such Abimelech style of leadership takes the center of power for him or herself, then installs light and vain men (Ahabs) to uphold it and provide ongoing “reports” to maintain tight control. The sad thing is, many who lack understanding of Mashiyach and Torah actually believe this to be a normal and acceptable policy/procedure. But no, it’s carnal and destructive, there’s a much more excellent way according to the Kingdom of Heaven.
For decades the leadership of the only Messianic congregation in Vancouver was able to quench any other Messianic “competition” by mounting slander campaigns and character assassinations against any other potential “Messianics” who weren’t coming under his “authority”. Comparatively, every other city in North America with a similar population has 5-10 times more Messianic congregations and hundreds more Jewish and non-Jewish congregants. By stifling those who attended “unauthorized meetings”, one leader was able to use his “authority” to quench the potential ministries of many others. People were fearful of being suspected as traitors by “the authority”, which would bring the terrible embarrassment of being kicked out of the fellowship and publicly chastened. This hierarchical authority structure can be traced back to the harlot “church” system of Nimrod “the great”, Babylon’s first father who point blank opposed YHWH’s Authority.
In contradistinction to both the corporate business world and most religious systems of today, the Kingdom of Heaven requires that each of us is involved in all form of leadership for our optimum spiritual growth. Historians tell us that in the days of Yeshua Mashiyach there were approximately 480 synagogues in Jerusalem. When you visit Jerusalem today you can find hundreds of synagogues that serve the needs of each local neighborhood. Having small and intimate places of worship provides the opportunity for men and women to develop their leadership skills and participate in their communities. Sadly, the Hellenistic and pagan model of leadership wants big synagogues and big churches, elevating the leader as an icon. Sometimes the man with the biggest ego builds the biggest organization. Attendees can come and go like they do the movies, be entertained, be exhorted and be part of the nameless, faceless mass.
To understand how false authority operates we need to learn how the spirits of Abimelech, Ahab, Jezebel, Balaak and Bilaam played instrumental roles against YHWH’s kings, prophets, judges, and teachers. The real reason there are so much division and false teachings within the Body of Mashiyach today is simply that leaders are not held accountable for their religious “authority” games. Only a fool thinks that he or she is sufficient within themselves, but this is what the pride of super intellectual people does to themselves. They think they know it all, they believe themselves to be sufficient in their own knowledge and they see others as less sufficient and less qualified. Even if a man is a great Torah teacher, extremely knowledgeable and insightful in the Truth, even a genius, he is only a vessel, nothing more or less than one among the other pots.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Mashiyach:” Ephesians 4:14,15
In the corporate world, you can acquire ultimate control over a company, but this is spiritually fatalistic when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is structured by YHWH’s election of those who uphold the Word of YHWH and the code of conduct He prescribes in Mashiyach. Y’shua made “disciples” not “members” or “memberships”. Y’shua raised up common men. He gave them authority according to the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit) and Truth. He sent them out to give other men authority according to the Spirit of YHWH. However, religious institutions generally follow the worldly, corporate model of authority, and qualifies men according to systematic theology and popularity. Within such a structure, neither prophetic intervention nor the shlichim (messengers) of YHWH are permitted a voice. For the leader to change something he or she was previously doing, means to admit their fallibility. Each micro hierarchy pits itself against all the others, and the trickle-down effect of such a pagan style of leadership welcomes the Abimelech, Ahab, Jezebel, Balaak and Bilaam models that demand veto authority. And, operating out of “limelight” benefits can be very bitter fruit.
“For Elohim (God) has placed in His assembly, first, Shlichim (Apostles), after them prophets; after them teachers; after them workers of miracles; after them, the gifts of healing, and helpers, and leaders, and (various) kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 (AENT)
The 33,800 or so Christian denominations out there are all micro hierarchies, most fall under a more macro headship either Catholic or Reform movement from whence they’ve grown. However, the ultimate authority within most congregations resides with the rabbi, priest or pastor and many are oblivious to the reality that these guys are simply overseers who have an up-line that pulls the strings. If we investigate the models in both church and state, the “up-lines” converge into one big “authority” structure that Scripture tells us is, “the beast” or the “anti-Messiah”. People are way too quick to assume they are under a YHWH established authority because many never investigate the telltale signs of false authority. The false leadership wants us to believe that YHWH has given them the authority to change the very structure of His Kingdom.
Everyone knows that YHWH (Yahweh) revealed Himself from the beginning of time in His Name. You and I also have a personal name that is the most basic and foundational element of our own sovereignty. If someone came along and gave us different names, and convinced our families and friends to call us by a name they chose, that would be a crass invasion of our sovereignty, our personal property, and our identity. Rabbinical authority changed the Name of YHWH to “HaShem”, Christian authority changed the Name of YHWH to “the LORD”, in so doing the religious “authority” has installed itself over YHWH’s authority. Religion dictates the Name of YHWH according to a certain tradition, but YHWH tells us that speaking His Name is a prophetic act, that His Name is Truth.
Scripture also shows us how the Name of YHWH is inextricably connected to Mashiyach. “Yehoshua” means that Yahweh is Salvation, and what we don’t find in Scripture is Y’shua usurping His Father’s authority. Herein is another methodology that false authority has usurped authority for itself by fractionalizing YHWH’s authority and suggesting that His Son wrote a bunch of new laws and commandments that abrogated the “Old Commandments”, again… that’s paganism.
Regardless of how we are criticized by others, we are required to honor and respect each soul equally, speak openly and honestly in love with one another. How do we know if YHWH has sent us to speak the truth to someone for the salvation of their soul, or indeed to prove us to see if we will sanctify His Name or both? How do we know if YHWH has sent a messenger into our congregation or personal lives if we can’t even hear the messenger?
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, preachers; and some, shepherds and teachers” Ephesians 4:11
Hierarchical Babylon versus The Kingdom of Elohim (God)
Abimilech –(avi-melech) “my father is king”
Abimelech leaders operate on pride, ego, and humanism. They want more followers, money, fame and big “building projects” to demonstrate their authority. The basis of all false religious authority is to deceive “the common people” into thinking they themselves are operating as servants of YHWH, when in fact they are operating under their own authority as the rabbi, priest, pastor or leader — making veto rulings as their law.
vs. Shlichim (Heb) “Messengers” (Apostles)
Messengers of YHWH operate according to YHWH’s Word and Authority. Their work is to hear from the Ruach haQodesh and provide wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about the Kingdom of Elohim to YHWH’s people. Righteousness, Truth, and Justice in the Fear of YHWH is their goal.
Ahab -(akh-ab) “father’s brother”
Ahab relinquishes authority to Abimelech and Jezebel so as to enjoy the limelight and benefits of their “authority.” As a result of Ahab’s desire to please Abimelech and Jezebel, as opposed to The Most High YHWH, they are able to easily manipulate and micro-manage him. Ahabs are hirelings with no critical thinking of their own, little substance or independence in spiritual matters.
vs. Neviim (Heb) “Prophets”
Prophets of YHWH provide direction and instruction for His people, they do not speak their own cunningly devised words. The fear of YHWH directs them to speak according to His Spirit and His Word regardless of consequences. Truth is their friend, popularity and relativism is their foe.
Jezebel – (ee-zeh’-bel) “Baal exalts” (the lord exalts)
Jezebels often manipulate themselves into an exalted place of authority over others. (I’m the rabbi or pastor’s, wife.) Regardless of how they get there, though, Jezebels are convinced the “the Lord” has exalted them, thereby giving them the right to exercise their authority and micro-manage others. To the Jezebel, this “authority” invariably sanctions the means to an end and their behavior, no matter how unrighteous it is. Jezebels feel worthy of the homage paid to them by those they control. The father of Jezebel was: Et – bah’ – al, which means “with Baal”.
vs. Mesabraneh (Ara) “Preachers” (Evangelists)
Preachers (or Evangelists) speak within the jurisdiction of YHWH’s Apostles and Prophets. Preachers disseminate the “Good News” (Aramaic – sevartha) of the Kingdom of Heaven. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.
Balaam –(bil-awm’) “NOT of the people”
Balaam is neither “of” or “a servant of” the people. He’s a politician who uses people to gain the advantage. According to statistics, most spiritual leaders became ministers and politicians as a career choice. So it is that Balaam runs for office “over” the people, as overseer, endowed with speaking abilities, charisma, and charm, but ultimately not of the people. Balaam is unreachable as his office insulates him by putting him in high esteem by the people.
vs. Ra’ah (Heb) “Shepherds” (Pastors)
YHWH’s Shepherds feed His flock with knowledge and understanding of His Torah and His Kingdom. Shepherds are companions to those who fear the Name of YHWH. They put the spiritual needs of their congregation above their own needs, by providing protection and knowing where to find good water and pasture for their flocks. A servant of YHWH’s people.
Balak –(baw-lawk) “Devastator”
Balak is the opposite of a peacemaker. He continually stirs things up for the sake of his ego and self-importance. He does what is right in his own eyes. His counsel is Torah-less, and he causes destruction and devastation in the lives of those he “counsels”. He’s a tare who knows how to skillfully use religious cliché’s to bring division into the Household of Faith.
vs. Malpana (Ara) “Teachers”
YHWH’s teachers teach how to learn from and hear from the Spirit of YHWH. Little children… “the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” 1 John 2:27
Religious hirelings and false authorities live off tithes and offerings that are meant to build the Kingdom of Heaven, they will not surrender their stranglehold over YHWH’s people unless their money runs dry. “The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep.” Religious hirelings stay in power by pitting people against one another. They establish their “authority” by upholding religious discrimination and bigotry among YHWH’s people for personal gain. The opposite of false authority is a plurality of leadership authority that waits on YHWH, which is the faith held among elders who are accessible to everyone in the congregation.
Yeshua said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of Elohim, or whether I speak of myself.” Yochanan (John) 7:17
By taking an active role in a Beit Din each man is better able to access insights and discernment from YHWH through the Ruach HaKodesh, to effectively serve the Body of Mashiyach. There is no greater satisfaction than to join our efforts together to bring forth Justice and Righteousness for ourselves and others who have been made sick in this unregenerate dying world. Many souls who are seeking the Kingdom of Elohim are being beaten down for exercising their Faith. Yeshua said of those who follow him that they “shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” The gossip and hatred against YHWH’s people isn’t going to stop until Mashiyach returns, yet more and more souls are joining together in the high calling of Yeshua Mashiyach and living according to Torah. YHWH is providing His authority to walk in Mashiyach and not be threatened by Babylon or Hellenism or by the many religious institutions that go against His Mashiyach.6*
“And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent: Because He has appointed a day, when He will judge the world in righteousness by He whom He has ordained; YHWH has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31.
We are each called to exercise YHWH’s authority which is our individual sovereign alignment in Him, to walk as Mashiyach walked. We are to speak the Name of YHWH, and oppose false authority, and command demons to flee, rather than make a retreat from battle. As we seek two or more men to pray and establish YHWH’s authority in our local communities we see the Arm of YHWH revealed and the victories coming to us on every side. Let us each exercise our YHWH given authority in Mashiyach Yeshua. Let us encourage each one to bring forth YHWH’s teaching and the testimony of His Word, and each Wonderful insight the Ruach HaKodesh is putting upon our heart.
Reject one-man-show leaders who glorify their own flesh. They are carnal, proud, and a disgrace to the Name of YHWH and His Mashiyach. They have no shame, no accountability, and no humility, but seek their own gain that is veiled by sentimental pride and religion. It doesn’t matter what religion a carnal man chooses to emulate, the carnal nature of man cannot be converted to a spiritually renewed man by a “religion”. Only when we remove the idols of religion and raise our eyes and our heads towards our Father YHWH and keep His Torah with delight, can we understand the difference between man’s false religious authority and YHWH’s Perfect authority over our lives and over the lives of those we fellowship together with.
By observing Torah we can elevate the value of all souls whether Jew or Gentile and refrain from making up false religious tiered systems that discriminate and prejudice people against each other.
“For the grace of Elohim that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us to deny those things which are against Elohim and all worldly lusts, but that we should live soberly, righteously, and holy, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of El Elyon and our Saviour Yeshua Mashiyach; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.” Titus 2:11-15
The truth is that YHWH’s authority belongs to each one of us. We are made in His Image and it is His authority that protects us. This is why we are instructed to “rebuke with all authority”. If you do a study on “authority” in Scripture you will discover the most commonly used term is rabba (“great”) which of course is the root of rabbi which could mean “my great one” or “my teacher”. Either scenario can be very dysfunctional depending on how we view the rabbi. If we don’t see Mashiyach as our “Great One” and our “Great Teacher” then we’re ultimately headed for shipwreck. Yes, I also happen to serve YHWH’s people in the office of a rabbi, which simply means that I formally teach Torah and minister to the needs of YHWH’s people. But, not as a “great one.” YHWH forbid that another human being would elevate themselves in eyes of others, so as to displace Mashiyach.
Surely everyone knows that elevating the authority of people above YHWH is the propensity of carnal human nature. Even for some Christians, Jews are elevated as “God’s Chosen People” to the point that some Christians can’t see that Israel is a strong competitor country in advancing wickedness. The Israeli government pays for abortions, and Israelis have a global reputation for being arrogant, rude, obnoxious, selfish, and dishonest. It’s sad that most Israelis laugh it off. Israel has one of the most disproportionate models of wealth on earth, a handful of Jewish families (count them on both hands) own or control 95% of all the wealth in Israel. Israel is a secular state, and YHWH clearly promised that He will scrape the Torahless anti-Mashiyach Jews off the face of the earth… He plays no favorites.
Were the Jews chosen? Yes, but so are you, in Mashiyach. The Truth is that those who have Torah written upon their hearts will be given a name better than the sons and daughters of Israel (Isaiah 56:5), and an inheritance in Israel (Ezekiel 47:23) and in the world to come (Hebrews 9:15) if you return to YHWH and keep His Torah, do His Shabbat’s and all that pleases Him (Isaiah 56:4). So therefore, be extremely careful of “Jewish” and all “religious” authority. Many Believers are being seduced under Rabbinical and Karaite cult-like leadership authority because their “Hebrew roots” leaders are still deeply embedded in Babylon. Mashiyach is the only King of Kings, not a rabbi, pastor, priest or any “spiritual leader”, the goal is to train our ears to hear His Voice.