GOD'S FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY And The Defeat Of SATAN'S FIVE-FOLD OPPOSITION
It cannot be coincidental that the Five-Fold Ministry of the New Testament is paralleled by a five-fold Satanic opposition. Nor is it by chance that the same five-fold pattern existed between ancient Israel and her enemies. This similarity of warfare in the Old and New Testaments mandates the Church's learning from the success and failure of God's ancient people.
In the same way the earth became the battle ground for Israel and her enemies, so the “Heavenlies” are the battle ground between the Church and powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). The Old Testament wars provided a visible stage upon which the "Kingdom of God" and the "Kingdom of the Prince of Darkness" fought their battles in actual, physical combat. Through that public dramatization, the Old Testament supplies a detailed, parabolic example of New Testament warfare. The Jewish Wars were neither theoretical nor philosophical; they were literal, bloody confrontations between avowed enemies. By contrast, the invisible-warfare to which New Testament believers are called is wholly spiritual. Even so, the Apostle Paul revealed our dependence on Old Testament truth when he said, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Identical to the Church’s Five-Fold Ministry, Israel’s spiritual structure rested on a Five-Fold priestly foundation: Aaron and his 4 sons (Exodus 28:1, Leviticus.8). Beginning with Abraham, the following Scriptures illustrate Israel’s five-fold opposition of which I speak:
1. Abraham fought 5 Kings in the Valley of Siddim. Genesis 14:19.
2. Moses' warred with the 5 Kings of Midian. Numbers 31:8.
3. Israel battled the 5 Kings of the Amalakites. Exodus 17:9.
4. Joshua killed the 5 Kings of the Amorites. Joshua 10:16-26.
5. Israel was vexed by the 5 Lords of the Philistines. Joshua 13:3.
6. Israel was constantly attacked by the 5 capital cities of Philistia: I Samuel 6.
7. David took 5 stones to fight Goliath and his 4 brothers. I Samuel 17:40.
8. Joseph had 5 of his brothers stand before Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Genesis 47:2.
Christianity's Five-Fold Ministry: "And Jesus gave some to be (1) Apostles, some (2) Prophets, some (3) Evangelists, and some (4) Pastors and (5) Teachers. This was for "The equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11,12,13).
The Devil's Five-Fold Opposition: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the (1) Devil. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against (2) Principalities, against (3) Powers, against the (4) Rulers of the Darkness of this age, against (5) Spiritual Hosts of Wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11,12.
The pattern of the Five-fold Ministry and its’ Five-Fold Opposition is too accurately fixed to ignore. I am not suggesting that each office of the Five-Fold Ministry is opposed by one corresponding opponent of the enemy. Not so. This is open war in which all are engaged against all others. Nor do I wish to mystically apply the number "5" or exaggerate its significance. Rather, I desire to point out the reality of the model's existence in Scripture and that its' occurrence is totally beyond the realm of chance. Most importantly, I wish to aid the Church in her spiritual-warfare by disclosing as many of the enemy’s battle plans as possible.
Jesus gave five signs of miraculous power to the Church. He said, "These signs will follow those who believe; In My name: 1, They will cast out demons. 2, They will speak with new tongues. 3, They will take up serpents. 4, If they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; 5, They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:17,18). Each of these re-expresses the authority Joshua displayed when he commanded his soldiers to stand on the necks of five heathen kings (Joshua 10:22). Identically, soldiers of Christ are to reign victoriously over all five of Satan’s forces.
The most perfect portrayal of conflict between these two Kingdoms is David’s encounter with Goliath. Have you ever wondered why David carried five stones when he killed Goliath with only one? Goliath had four brothers. The stones in David’s pouch symbolized Israel's spiritual superiority in their Five-Fold defense.
Israel's Priesthood consisted of Aaron and his four sons. Prophetically, as the foreshadower of the future Messiah, David’s stones symbolized the Five-Fold ministry of the Church. Note this similarity: Goliath's call was, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field" (I Samuel 17:44). Jesus' call is, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest; take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light and you shall find rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:30). Goliath’s challenge, "Every morning and every evening," in all probability was timed to coincide with the "Morning and evening sacrifices" taking place in Jerusalem. This was his occult attempt to resist the power-release underway at Israel’s Altar.
As David destroyed Goliath, leaving responsibility to his mighty men to defeat his 4 brothers, so Christ brought Satan to crashing defeat and said to his disciples, "I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy ..." (Luke 10:19). Identically, Christ “disarmed principalities and powers, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it”( Colossians 2:15-16). Having done that, He gave the Church the responsibility to cast down the “accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10-11). This war in Heavenly Places is a primary mission of the saints in all ages and is clearly expressed by the Apostle Paul: "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places." Paul further explained, "We preach Christ crucified ... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (I Corinthians 1:23,24). This “Kingdom of God” wisdom is personified in Jesus (Proverbs 8:12,22-31). Following the Crucifixion, Jesus made His descent and proclamation in Hades--the "lower-world"--or grave (I Peter 3:19). Significantly, He has given us the privilege to make the same announcement on earth and in the "Second Heaven." This is the dimension between the visible stars and the Heaven of God. Both dimensions are shaken by His proclamation, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18-19).
THE EXAMPLE OF ISLAM
We have no more perfect example of this five-fold mystery which Israel and the Church both face than Islam--the greatest earthly foe each has ever encountered. In a mere 62 years, between 647 and 709 AD, Islam conquered much of Christianity's Asian and North African territory. The slaughter was horrific. Entire cities were massacred. Significantly, the Moslem religion stands upon five pillars, makes five daily proclamations, requires five daily prayers to Mecca, and claims five prophets. The five “pillars” are:
1. Prayer to Mecca, five times daily.
2. Five daily proclamations from the Mosque: "There is no God but Allah. Mohammed is his prophet."
3. The Fast of Ramadan--no food during daylight hours.
4. Pilgrimage to Mecca. 5. Alms. Islam’s five prophets are: 1. Adam, 2. Noah, 3. Abraham, 4. Jesus (Not the Christian Jesus), 5. Mohammed.
Mohammed as the final prophet is considered superior to all others. Also be aware that the Moslem “Jesus” is a strange being who was not the Son of God, did not die on a cross, did not shed His blood for mankind’s redemption, and was not resurrected from the grave (2 Corinthians 11:4). This “Jesus” has no connection with the New Testament's "Son of God."
Universally, the “Pentagram,” the Satanist 5-pointed star is used in various forms of demonic worship. Two points are always upward, one downward, two toward the side. The symbol creates the face of a goat: Horns, ears, beard. One of the principal demons of Babylon--Baphomet- contained the 5-pointed "Eastern Star" in its forehead and also a vertical shaft with five horizontal bars crossing it. This 5-barred symbol is the main centerpiece at Freemasonry’s International Headquarters, the Mother Supreme Council of the World, in Washington, D.C. It appears in the uniform of Masonry's Grand Commander and is revered by leading Satanists. Satan's ancient war is not against creation but against the Creator. He wants the universe for his own but since he cannot have it, he seeks its' destruction. You and I are not his primary targets. We are designed however, "In the image and likeness of God,” are objects of His love, and heirs of His glory. As such, we are the secondary objects of the devil's attack. We would be easily obliterated by him, were it not that Christ voluntarily took human form and made himself vulnerable in our behalf. Prior to the incarnation, Jesus was totally beyond the reach of the Prince of Darkness. He became man “For verily He took not on him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16-17). In the form of a human, Jesus defeated Satan.
In the Great Commission, Jesus said, "All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ... make disciples of all the nations ... teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20}. The expression "all things" is self-explanatory. Jesus expected the Church in the last age to believe, preach, and do, the same works which He required of the first century Church. That included "casting out demons" (Mark 16:17). Scripturally, there is no such thing as an "Apostolic" and "post-Apostolic" church. There is simply "one Lord, one faith, one baptism"--one Body of Christ. It is God's purpose that the end-times Church be an exact duplicate of the Church at Pentecost. History confirms that the power of the Holy Spirit remained in the Church for the first two centuries. Only as unbelief and paganism entered, did the power disappear. The replacement of true spirituality with soulishness, religiosity, and unbelief, ultimately stripped the Church of authority and left it defenseless before the enemy. The idea that God removed His power at the death of the Apostles is insupportable from Scripture or tradition. This claim is merely an attempt to justify the modern Church's failure.
Jesus did not present the world with a powerless message but with the "Gospel of the Kingdom." This gospel is specific, exactly identified in Scripture, and has the same character, nature, and disposition, as the Kingdom and the King from which it proceeds. It is a commissioned ambassadorial representation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As such, it is permanent, secure, and unchanging. “The word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25). In the purpose of God, it is this same gospel, unabridged and exact, which we must preach today. We dare not--through excuse-making for our own failures or theological maneuvering to hide our ignorance--suppose we can alter that gospel or separate it from the Kingdom. To do so isolates us doctrinally from Kingdom Authority, the King, and produces an imitation, powerless gospel. We are severely warned in Scripture against preaching “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). In the sight of God there is only the one, that one presented by His Son. This “Gospel of the Kingdom” robes believers with authority.
Specifically, through Christ we are "to stand against the wiles of the Devil" and successfully "wrestle with Powers, Principalities, Rulers, Spiritual Wickedness." The ones we battle are in the "heavenly places." The word "heavenly" identifies their location, not their character. For that reason, God has "made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). This position does more than give us mere rival authority; it bestows God-assigned victorious power. Nor are we seated there alone; we are in Christ, "In whom dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). Being "in Christ", we too are eternal beings, called to wage and win war over lessor angelic beings. The battle is spiritual, not physical. Our assurance is, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4).
BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT: YOUR SOURCE OF POWER
The day of His Ascension, when Jesus told the disciples " ... You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now ... You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"( Acts 1:,5,8), He was explaining that their source of power would be the same as His. He had received the anointing of the Holy Spirit when the Dove lighted upon Him in the Jordan; they would receive the same anointing in the Upper Room. Prior to His promise of Pentecost, He told them, "He who believes in(to) Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father" (John 14:12). Their works would not only be done though the same Holy Spirit but would be additionally fortified because He went "to the Father." As High Priest at the Father's right hand, He would make intercession for them. Additionally, His ministry had been confined to one tiny nation; they would go to the "ends of the earth". He was heard by thousands; they would be heard by billions. Jesus’ intercession is the source of all light and power for the Five-Fold Ministry. This illumination from the Old and New Testaments is probably the significance of the 10 lamps--5 on each wall--in Solomon's Temple, representing the Five-Fold Ministry in the two Covenants (I Kings 7:48,49). Please re-read that last sentence until its truth impacts you. The "Bread" mentioned here, under the light of both Covenants, is that which Jesus blessed, broke, and gave to the disciples the night of betrayal.
JESUS RE-APPEARS IN THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
A protest understandably arises that men serving as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, are no match for Satan’s enormous spiritual power. I agree. For that reason Jesus conferred specific authority upon these ministries when He said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." (Acts 1:8). Much of today's Church is tragically unaware that this power-endowment still exists. Jesus could fully expect the miraculous works to accompany the Five-Fold ministry because it would be a continuation of His own ministry through them. Apostleship in a man can never be severed from Apostleship in Jesus. If such a breach occurs between the two in any of the Five-Fold Ministries, the work becomes only a human formality and not a divine reality. This helps explain why the current church with more than two billion members worldwide is bereft of the promised "signs and wonders." Denominational doctrines justify the church's lack of power. Thankfully, that is changing. Eighty-five percent of all Christian conversions now taking place world-wide is being done by those who believe in the Holy Spirit's baptism and endowment of all His gifts (1 Corinthians12-14).
Scripture divides Apostleship into two categories: First, there are the “Twelve Apostles of the Lamb” whose names are written in the foundation of the Holy City (Revelation 21:14). This number is fixed, inalterable, and will never be exceeded. The qualification for these men was that each had been personally chosen by Jesus (John 6:70) and been a "witness of His Resurrection" (Acts 1:22). Secondly, in the Greek Scripture where the word "apostolos" appears much more frequently than in our English translations, it means "sent ones," "delegates," "ambassadors," or "messengers." Let me give Scriptural examples: "If anyone inquires about Titus ... or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers (apostolos) of the churches ..." II Corinthians 8:23. "Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus ... but your messenger (apostolos) (Philippians 2:25). Barnabas is also called an apostle: "But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes ..." (Acts 14:14). Silvanus and Timothy are listed with Paul as apostles (I Thessalonians 1:1;2:6}. These men are not equal with the "Apostles of the Lamb" but are still legitimate bearers of this title.
Jesus is still the Chief Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. Whenever these ministries fulfill their true role today it is because the power is proceeding directly from Him. If someone attempts any of these five ministries it must be the Holy Spirit in him that fulfills the calling. Jesus commended the Church at Ephesus because it had "tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Revelation 2:2). Had there been only the original twelve Apostles there would have been no need for this testing.
As Apostle, Jesus is the voice of God downward to the people. As High Priest, He is the voice of the people upward to God. Apostolically, Jesus speaks to the Church through Scripture and the Holy Spirit. As High Priest, at the Throne of Heaven, He speaks to the Father in behalf of the Church. Jesus is both origin and termination of these offices; each springs from Him, each concludes in Him. He is Alpha and Omega--the beginning and the end. All parts of the 5-Fold Ministry given to the Church are personal extensions of Jesus in those five areas. Though re-expressed in mankind, they remain inseparably attached to Jesus Himself. For example:
1. APOSTLE: Hebrews 3:1: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus."
2. PROPHET: Acts 3:22: "For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me ... Him you shall hear in all things."
3. EVANGELIST: Luke 4:16:22: " ... He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read ... The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to Preach the gospel to the poor ..."
4. PASTOR: "I am the good shepherd (pastor). The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
5. TEACHER: John 3:1,2: There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that You are a Teacher come from God ...'"
The human hand can illustrate these five offices: The thumb, largest and only finger to touch all others may represent the Apostle. Next, the "pointing finger" illustrates the work of prophet. The longest-reaching finger identifies the work of evangelist. The "ring" finger represents the pastor. Finally, the little finger, smallest of all, is the teacher. Significantly, this smallest finger is the only one small enough to "get in the ear."
Finally! In the book of Revelation, Jesus, our Five-Fold Ministry example, wears two crowns: The diadema (Revelation 19:12), and the stephanos (Revelation 6:2). The first, made of gold, was gained by royal birth. As the Son of God, Jesus is heir to the throne of Heaven. As David's royal offspring and Lion of the Tribe of Judah, He is also heir to Aaron's Priesthood. The second crown, the stephanos, made of ivy, oak leaves, violets, and other flowers, was awarded to the victor. This crown was used to honor winners in the Greek games. Only the champion could wear it. As the One who triumphed over death, Hell, Satan, and the grave, Jesus wears this crown also. Now, being heir of both Covenants, Apostleship and High Priesthood, "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power," Colossians 2:9.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The conclusion is unavoidable: God intends that the Five-Fold Ministry, undergirded by the rest of the Church and acting corporately as one complete Body, decimate the Prince of Darkness. Jesus confirmed this when He said: "I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you"(Luke 10:19). Regarding the Church, it is the purpose of God that "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). This can be accomplished only "according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
In my youth I fell in love with this great old hymn in which Isaac Watts,1674-1748, expertly describes the conflict between the Five-Fold Ministry and the devil's five-fold opposition:
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause
Or blush to speak His name?
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease
While others fought to win the prize
And sailed through bloody seas?
Sure, I must fight if I would reign
Increase my courage Lord,
I’ll stand the test, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word!
Thy saints in all this Glorious War,
Shall conquer though they die!
They see the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.
When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thine armies shine,
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be thine!
So ends the battle between God's Five-Fold Ministry and the devil's five-fold opposition!