There are those who are so devious as to proclaim, that the government endorsed by Almighty Yahweh is one of self-(centered) determination that they twist, (wrest) the scriptures to their own (and others also) destruction : “...which the ignorant and unlearned wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3: 16. Concentrating on a certain article can show the typical methods used.
The most glaring errors appear fairly early. It is true that Paul, by the authority he possessed (and without consulting a council) appointed elders in some assemblies (Acts 14: 23); but nowhere is there a reference to a council of elders ruling in each assembly. In fact, many of the epistles that Paul wrote were to the specific elder in charge, such as to Timothy.
next point that they make is that the original assembly government given by
Yahweh, under Moses, was a system of judges. They fail to point out that
nowhere is there mention in scripture of a council
Not only that but predating the Exodus was the Melchizedek Priesthood to whom
the patriarchs paid obedience; again a single
person. Their references to Numbers 15:32-36, Deuteronomy 1: 13-18,
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 and Deuteronomy 16:18-20 have nothing to do with councils
and they conclude with the idea that we must individually judge ourselves (it
is true that we are to make introspection of ourselves but this is different
from judging ourselves as if we were performing the function of a judicial
Next we come to the matter of “Moses’ Seat.” The attention is now shifted to Exodus 18 and Matthew 23: 1-2 and the term “Moses’ Seat.” The crux of this section is that the reason Moses had his seat was that he was to be the Chief Justice of Israel and although “smaller” matters were judged on lower levels the hardest would rise up through the judicial system to him and he would take the matter to Elohim for the actual verdict. (See Numbers 15:34-35) Then since in Matthew 23: 1-2 the Messiah put both the scribes (the translation they use says “teachers of the law”) and the Pharisees as sitting on Moses’ seat they acted as a council, not as individual judges. The justification for further change is that in previous times, written copies of the Law were few and far between, too expensive for the average person to own a personal copy, there were of necessity councils of judges; but now due to affordable availability, each one of us now sits on Moses’ seat. Oh what a tangled web!
First, did Moses take EVERY case to Elohim? No. Exodus 18: 16 tells what Moses was doing just before the system of judges was inaugurated, “when they have a matter, they come to me; and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of Elohim, and his laws.” S.S.B. (Emphases mine) Here Moses makes the decision, not a council; no vote is taken, and he does not take the matter to Elohim because there is no need, he has the law. There are many times when Moses made decisions and NEVER was there a VOTE taken, NEVER is there any mention of Moses “endorsing” the decision of a COUNCIL. When Moses called the elders together it was to call them to WITNESS a decision or act, not for a joint deliberation and decision.
Secondly, after Moses there are mentions of judges, sometimes several acting at the same time, but never is there mention of a joint council of judges handing down a joint decision in the “Old Testament.”
Thirdly, was Yahshua referring to a council sitting in judgment, or to the authority of the position called “Moses’ Seat?” A study on the word “seat” should suffice. Seat is #G2515 in Abington’s Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, kathedra, a bench. It is the same as G1476 hedraios, from a derivation of hezomai (to sit); sedentary, by implication immovable: and is translated as settled, steadfast in the KJV. It comes from G2594 kata, down. So what do we have? We have simply a seat of judgment; we even call the place where a court judge is sitting as the “bench” and there is only one judge sitting in that seat at a given moment.
Fourthly, are the laws merely witnesses, as alleged, so that we can each judge our self and therefore not have to answer to any other? No, the laws of Yahweh are our tutor (singular) and a tutor teaches and then judges if we pass the course.
Fifthly, juries and tribunals as we think of them, are more Greek in their origin, not Israelite. Were there judges sitting in the gates of the cities? Yes, the book of Ruth shows this, but they were not called upon for a decision, they were there as judges and witnesses. (See Genesis 19:1 concerning Lot)
Calling upon Deuteronomy 17: 1-13 as proof of a council making a decision is just plain wrong! The Levites and priests teach (either collectively or singly, like the teachers in a school teach the pupils, but your teacher_ teaches you), but in verse 12 it is stated that “And the man that does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest that stands to minister there before Yahweh your Elohim...” (Emphases mine); again, if there are more than one priest or judge they are there as witnesses of the Law and of the proceedings, not to make a final joint decision. What about Acts 15? Were not the apostles called together to hear the various points of the matter and then render a decision? When the entire episode is read the answer must be NO! So what happened? Paul, Peter, et al were brought together to tell (give a report) about what was going on among the Gentile converts and the problem (forced circumcision) that a certain problem group was stirring up. Jacob (James) rendered his decision, and the matter was settled. Why the council? Because there is wisdom in having several learned councilors (“...But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11; 14); but if you go to a (or several) councilor(s) (example two or three doctors for their OPINION about a medical condition) for their OPINIONS and INPUT but YOU (in this case Jacob) make the decision, and no vote is taken! What did the group actually decide? They decided on whom they would send out as their official representatives and that was the only “group” decision (still subject to Jacob’s approval).
What about the Sanhedrin, did they not make the final decision as to what to do with Yahshua? No they did not. What they did was to interrogate him, but the FINAL DECISION was the High Priest’s not the council’s. The example of Acts 5: 33-40 is given but all this shows, was this; anyone on the Sanhedrin could speak his mind in council, but again nowhere is there reference to the group making the final decision; the “they” could just as easily refer to the group in terms of “we went to the movie” meaning that “we” the family went but understanding that the parents (ultimately the father), with input from all, made the FINAL decision to go and which move to view. If you want to see what I am referring to on a “religious” vein see the first few minutes of “the Frisco Kid.” The council was called but the Head Rabbi made the FINAL decision, and it stood (for this movie the TV version is suggested)!
So, is there “Rule by Council” in Yahweh’s assemblies? No! Democracy did not exist in Israel! It did not exist in Yahshua’s Assembly! It did not exist in the Apostolic Assemblies and it certainly will not exist in the coming Kingdom. Yahshua rules the nations with a rod of iron!
The only place that a democracy is eluded to in scripture is in the name of Amalek (Am = people, malek = king; therefore the people are king) and Yahweh will have war with Amalek until they are eliminated: “And Yahweh said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Yahshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”Exodus17: 14 (emphases mine). As individuals we are to answer for our self, but that does not mean that there is no other judge or authority over us! There are those whom Yahweh has appointed as authorities in Messiah’s True Body, but nowhere is there ever shown a voting council in which the “head elder” merely rubber stamps the majority decision. This whole thing smacks, smells, just like congregationalism! Another term that comes to mind is, rule by committee! Nothing is accomplished until everyone votes and the majority rules! Oh Please!
I am writing this dissertation because of an article posted on a nominal Sacred Name web site! The title is "Government in Yahweh's Congregation." So if you come across this article! BEWARE!
symbol just represents my opinion of this group, for what it's worth!
* With a name like Finnegan you can see why I prefer Mick or The Mick,
I am of Irish descent!
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