In the prophecy of Revelation, it represents the worldwide Christian congregation. But what does it mean that the Apostle John measures the spiritual temple sanctuary, and not the outer courtyard
given to the nations. The "Measuring" is a judgment, or an authority that does not exceed the limits of the spiritual sanctuary temple (Amos 7:7-9). The fact that God asks the apostle John to measure shows that this authority was given to a man, the apostle
John, who was probably the last apostle still alive. More generally, the measuring of the spiritual sanctuary, symbolizes the authority on earth, within this spiritual temple sanctuary, the Christian congregation, would be entrusted to men (and not in the
outer courtyard of this Sanctuary): "They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world" (John 17:16)) ((Revelation 11: 1,2). It is again the Apostle Paul who showed how a congregation should be administered.
The angel of the congregation: The Elders, The Overseers and The Stewards
As suggested by the glorified Jesus
Christ, the Christian congregation must be administered by at least one "angel", a "messenger" or a "priest" who transmits to the congregation the sacred declarations of God, through the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Acts 17:11). The Apostle Paul designated them
as "elders", "overseers" or "stewards":
"This statement is trustworthy: If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible,
a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children
in subjection with all seriousness (for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?), not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed
on the Devil. Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from outsiders so that he does not fall into reproach and a snare of the Devil" (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
of the Greek text, translated as "overseer" is "ἐπίσκοπος" (epískopos) (Strong's Concordance (G1985)): "an overseer a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly,
any curator, guardian or superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church". In the text of Titus 1:5-9, the word "presbyteros" is used for "elders", with other synonymic expressions, such as that of "overseers" (epískopos) and "steward" (oikonomos
(G3623)). If we merge all the spiritual functions of the elders, the overseers and the stewards, we understand that they are teachers of the Word of God, but also, they can be judges in the congregation (Matthew 18:15-17). The only function the Apostle Paul
does not directly write, is the prayer within the congregation, although it is obvious that they were praying on behalf of the congregation. The disciple James describes them primarily, as people who pray for Christians spiritually sick: "Is there anyone sick
among you? Let him call the elders of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him, applying oil to him in the name of Jehovah" (James 5:14). Thus, the elders, the overseers or the stewards, of the congregation have three major roles in the congregation:
The Prayer, The Teaching, and The Judgment of the congregation. Who in the temple sanctuary fulfilled these three functions? burning spiritual incense offerings, praying (Psalms 141: 2), teaching (Malachi 2:7) and judging (Deuteronomy 19:15-17)? The priests.
If the elders or supervisors are priests, why then did not the Apostle Paul and the other apostles directly use the word "priest" to designate the elders of the Christian congregation ("hiereus"
(G2409); "chief priest" "archiereus" (G749)), which is well differentiated from the word of "elders", in Matthew (16:21; 21:23; 26: 3)? The first meaning definition of "hiereus" is that of "sacrificer" (and not of people who pray, teach or judge in the name
of a congregation), whether in Israel, but also in the cities of Rome, Corinth and many others with Greco-Roman customs (1 Corinthians 10: 18-22). At the time, the fact of appointing the elders as priests, even in a spiritual sense, would have created, perhaps,
a confusion: The image of the priest sacrificer of the temple of Herod, the Christians no longer under the Mosaic Law, and the Greco-Roman priest in the pagan temples. The word "elder" is closely associated, in their role, with the chief priests, as judges,
in the narrative of the Gospels. The high priest finds his correspondence in Jesus Christ, himself (Hebrews 4:14). The congregation elders, in his right hand, are the priests of the spiritual sanctuary temple (Revelation 1:20).
The Ministerial Servants
"Ministerial servants should likewise be serious, not double-tongued, not giving themselves
to a lot of wine, not greedy of dishonest gain, holding the sacred secret of the faith with a clean conscience. Also, let these be tested as to fitness first, then let them serve as ministers, as they are free from accusation. Women should likewise be serious,
not slanderous, moderate in habits, faithful in all things. Let ministerial servants be husbands of one wife, presiding in a fine manner over children and their own households. For the men who minister in a fine manner are acquiring for themselves a fine standing
and great freeness of speech in the faith in connection with Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 3:8-10,12,13).
The word "likewise" shows that the conditions required to be ministerial servant,
are exactly the same as for the "elders". The only difference is the teaching requirement, which is not mentioned directly. However, the expression "great freeness of speech in the faith that is in Christ Jesus", suggests a verbal declaration or a public declaratin
of his faith in Jesus Christ ("παρρησία" "parrhesia" (Strong's Concordance G3954)). In the framework of Christian meetings, the servant ministerial may speak out, to express his faith in Christ with freeness.
The Greek word used for "ministerial servant", is "διάκονος" ("diakonos" Strong's Concordance (G1249)): "an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at
table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):—deacon, minister, servant". Concretely, the ministerial servants help the elders of the congregation. How? Their christian minister allows
to the overseers to focus fully on their spiritual minister of prayer and teaching, to spiritually build the Christian congregation. More concretely, the ministerial servants are attendants for the material stewardship activities of the congregation, whether
to help Christian brothers and sisters, or stewardship in relation to the building that houses the congregation, if it exists. In the book of Acts we find a situation in which this division of labor is described between the elders and the ministerial servants:
"Now in those days when the disciples were increasing, the Greek-speaking Jews began complaining against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called the multitude of the disciples together
and said: “It is not right for us to leave the word of God to distribute food to tables. So, brothers, select for yourselves seven reputable men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary matter; but we will
devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” What they said was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit, as well as Philip, Prochʹo·rus, Ni·caʹnor, Tiʹmon, Parʹme·nas,
and Nic·o·laʹus, a proselyte of Antioch. They brought them to the apostles, and after praying, they laid their hands on them" (Acts 6:1-6).
This does not mean that the
appointed men, in this circumstance were ministerial servants, nevertheless, they did a material assistance work to allow the apostles to focus fully in their spiritual activities (In Acts 7, if Stephen was appointed for this food distribution activity, his
speech shortly before his death in martyrdom, denotes a great spiritual maturity that could have been that of a Christian overseer). What activity in the temple corresponds to the function of ministerial servant? To that of the non-priestly Levites who were
serving the priesthood. The tribe of Levi, in its non-priestly part, were material stewards of the tabernacle (Numbers 1:47-53), and later of the temple (1 Kings 8:1-6). The non-priestly Levites were in the material service of the Aaronic Priesthood (Numbers
3: 9,10: "You are to give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They are given ones, given to him from the Israelites. You should appoint Aaron and his sons, and they are to carry out their priestly duties, and any unauthorized person who comes near should be
put to death").
The great crowd that will survive the great tribulation
and never die, is the representation of the tribe of Levi
Who does what ?
elders are teachers, those who represent the congregation with prayers and if necessary, they judge in the congregation. The ministerial servants are primarily working in the material stewardship of the Christian congregation. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12
and 14, the Apostle Paul gives instructions for the Christian meetings to proceed in order. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul shows that in a congregation there is a diversity of spiritual gifts to build the congregation, which represents the body
of Christ: "Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you individually is a member. And God has assigned the respective ones in the congregation: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services;
abilities to direct; different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not
all are interpreters, are they? But keep striving for the greater gifts. And yet I will show you a surpassing way" (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).
In 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul insists
that Christian meetings should be conducted in order: "For God is a God not of disorder but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33). Let everyone speak for the purpose of spiritually building the congregation (1 Corinthians 14:26). This teaching must be understandable
for the whole congregation: "Nevertheless, in a congregation I would rather speak five words with my mind, that I might also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:19).
As part of congregational meetings, in the spiritual sanctuary temple, in the framework of teaching, women are not allowed to speak in any way: "As in all the congregations of the holy ones, let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is
not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says. If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation" (1 Corinthians 14:33-35). The expression,
"As in all the congregations of the holy ones", shows that it is not simply a local decision, or only applying to the congregation of Corinth, but a divine instruction applied to all Christian congregations of holy ones. Moreover, this biblical instruction
is repeated in the first letter to Timothy: "Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent" (1 Timothy 2:11,12).
All situations can not be written, it is up to the elders to make the right decisions, based on the Bible to administer the Christian congregation, in order to give glory to God and to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians
10:31; Hebrews 10:24,25).