Christian Churches of God

No. P79z









The Basis of Biblical Leadership

(Edition 2.0 19941126-20000212)


The responsibility of biblical leadership is examined. The elder is shown to have some significant responsibilities that cannot be avoided. The responsibility of each of the members of the Church is also highly significant.





Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA




(Copyright © 2001 Wade Cox)

(Summary ed. by Wade Cox)


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The Basis of Biblical Leadership


Everyone is aware of the Biblical analogy, which offers so many lessons on the husbandry, care, feeding and vigilance of sheep, with the functions of the leaders or elders of the Church of God, in relation to the flock belonging to Jesus.


The basic requirements for the production of the high yielding, strong and healthy sheep or the people of God (Messiah’s mob) in Australian terminology are:

an uncontaminated environment;

good nutrition;



As high-yielding sheep require constant pure food, so do the people of God’s Church.  It is important for good spiritual growth that they are fed the truth of God, and not some other watered down, or actually highly contaminated Triune fodder.


Christ’s flock know His voice, and are trained to follow it in accordance with the master’s manual.  Danger can be scented and warning given, and the mob will respond to that warning.  Sadly, when people in Christ’s flock warn of the danger of untruth, often they are persecuted and killed. 


Predators, the Adversary and his wolves, make short work of anyone who is bogged down with burdens; those who are spiritually “down”, and unwilling to get up, and eat good food.  A Christian can be blinded to truth, as sheep are be blinded by crows or killed by eagles, when left unattended and not helped. New food, opening books of the Bible, as “opening new pastures”, is essential for good growth


Everyone in God’s Church has a function and all work as a team to assure maximum yield.


Sheep must be culled, and placed in different mobs of differing quality. While the 144,000 are in a different group from the great multitude at the first resurrection, nevertheless ALL are members of the Church of God.


Christ established a system of control of the church, with deacons and elders.  This was not a new system, but a New Testament continuation of the system of the council of elders of the Old Testament, established for all times.


Providing an environment free of contamination requires elders to preach according to the law and testimony (Isa. 8:20), or there is no light in them. This system of elders predated the giving of the law at Sinai  (Gen. 50:7; Ex. 3:16).


The elders were spokesmen alongside Moses (Ex. 3:18).


They are also responsible for the preparation of the Passover (Ex. 12:21).


They were with Moses at Horeb (Ex. 17: 5,6).  The rock he struck presaged Christ, and the water referred to the Holy Spirit, being made available and that the elders directed the flow of the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ in the last days to the people. The 70 elders were the council of authority in Israel, and reflected the heavenly council.


The elders and the priests functioned together (Ex. 18:12). They also had responsibility for the Commandments of God (Ex. 19:7,8; Deut. 27:1, 31:9, 28-30).


These 70 elders formed the basis of the system set up by Christ in the New Testament (Ex. 24:1).


In Exodus 24:9-18, the 70 elders saw the Angel of YHVH. The symbolism is so important in this passage as Joshua and Moses go up the mountain, and leave the elders and priests to continue administering until their return. So, the Church has been given the responsibility to care for the flock of God, until Christ’s return. 


Leviticus 4:13-26 shows the responsibility of the elders for the sins of the whole congregation of Israel by their involvement in the sacrifices.


Leviticus 8:22-36 deals with the establishment of the priesthood, by the Ram of Ordination.  Christ was that Ram. He died and His blood ordained the priesthood of Melshizedek.


To profane the priestly duties incurred death (Lev. 10:1-11). So the positions of elder and priest held vast and serious responsibilities towards the flock of the living God.


The change of authority from Aaronic to Melchizedekian priesthood was instituted by Jesus Christ when he ordained the 70 (Luke 10:1,17) and replaced the authority of the Sanhedrin of Israel.


Numbers 11:16-30 covers a few concepts of interest. Verses 16 and 17 put paid to the assertion that God speaks only through one man at a time. Verses 18-23 – Moses is thinking as a general and his faith is low.  But God was about to demonstrate His power. Verses 24 and 25 – God took some of the Holy Spirit from Moses and transferred it to 70 others, and they prophesied – so when Jesus died, prophesying continued in the church. 


Verses 26-30: Two prophesied outside the tabernacle, i.e. outside the organised structure. Thus the two witnesses of the last days are raised from outside the ministry


The priesthood was not involved in the manifestation of the spirit of prophecy.  Messiah was the other prophet like unto Moses, and the sequence reflects the later responsibility of the New Testament elders and the two witnesses.


The responsibility of elders was not confined to Israel (see Num. 22:4-7). Nor was it confined to any one tribe Israel was assessed in areas, with elders in each region responsible for expiation processes (Deut. 21:1-6).


Deuteronomy 21:18-22 gives account of the very serious responsibilities of elders, up to stoning to death of miscreants. See also Deuteronomy 22:15-18; 25:7-9.


Under Joshua, the elders acted conjointly in the leadership of Israel (Josh 7:6, 8:10).


Lamentations 4:13,15,16 paint a sad picture of the captivity of Judah, because of their behaviour towards the elders, and the iniquity of the priests and prophets.


The people of Israel served the Lord under Joshua and the elders who outlived him.  When they had all died Israel fell into idolatry and disobedience.


Like sheep who need a shepherd for their safety and welfare, so God’s people need to be led by men devoted to God, who will apply wisely and with strength, the laws of God for the benefit of His flock unto salvation and eternal life.