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Earnestly Desire the Greater Gifts

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Any student of the Bible knows that the Temple in Jerusalem went through periods of devastation, even dismantling, during the reigns of evil kings and priests. The Temple also went through periods of restoration during the reigns of good kings and priests. The Body of Christ, the true and eternal Temple of God has also experienced periods of devastation and periods of restoration. The periods of devastation were marked by a lack of faith in God, disobedience, and rejection of God’s Word.


In 2 Kings 16 there was a period of devastation under the reign of King Ahaz. His lack of faith and fear of God caused him to alter the Temple order. He replaced the altar with a copy of an altar used in idol worship. He moved God’s altar from the front of the Temple therefore destroying the way into God’s presence. Sacrifices that were formerly acceptable to God became unacceptable when offered upon the false altar.

Ahaz cut the borders from the carts and removed the lavers of water, used in washings, by the priests during their ministries. He also defiled the Bronze Sea, which was for the washing of the flesh of the priests prior to their ministry unto the Lord. The water and the washing speak to us of the “washing of the water of the Word.”

Ahaz also took the Bronze Sea from its foundation upon the backs of 12 bronze oxen and put it on a pavement of stones. Three oxen faced the north, three faced the south, three the east, and three faced the west were symbolic of the apostolic ministry going into all the earth. Ahaz desecrated the way into God’s presence once again by removing the 12 oxen, the foundation of the Sea. The number 12 is symbolic of apostolic ministry and order; therefore the water was no longer upon its proper foundation. Ahaz brought disorder and devastation to the Temple of God. The Temple could no longer serve the plan and purpose of God unless the Temple was put back into its proper order. Thank God, Ahaz’s son was good King Hezekiah who restored the Temple and its service unto the Lord.

King David learned that good intentions, passion for God, and worship were not enough to bring the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem and that lesson that cost a man his life. The lesson learned is: even with hearts that are right toward God He still demands that we do things according to His order.

Perhaps we have the same problem David experienced. We have good intentions, prayer, worship, and a passion for God, but because the apostolic foundation has been lost and ignored the Church is out of order.

Like the Temple under Ahaz, the Body of Christ is in need of restoration, and for things to be put back into order. The Church must be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The Word must be returned to an apostolic and prophetic foundation. The early Church success can be directly connected to the ministry and anointing of the apostles. Their anointing flowed freely through the book of Acts and rocked the world. The Church assailed the gates of hell like no other period in history.

There is a great desire in the heart of God to restore the importance and anointing of the apostles and prophets to the Church. The enemy has used church tradition, dispensationalism, and unbelief to destroy the foundational ministries of the Church. As it says in Psalm 11:2-3 “For look! The wicked bend their bow; they make ready their arrow on the string that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations (all foundations, including the ministries of the apostles and prophets) are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

For 42 years I’ve studied, prayed, and longed to see the Church prevail against the gates of hell. I’ve seen many miracles and manifestations of the glory of God, but never to the degree my heart has longed for. I’ve come to know that all of our good intentions in teaching, prayer and worship, although wonderful and personally edifying, will not bring us “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” A kingdom is never without order. I pray as you read this your sincere desire and passion for the Lord will lead you to pray passionately for His Divine Order to be established in all our hearts and churches. Like David, let’s learn the lesson that unless we establish God’s order we will be left wanting for the fullness of His Presence.

For the Church to be restored we must examine the Word of God and see what we are missing. Ephesians 4:8 says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN." It must first be noted that the Greek word used for these gifts here is not charisma, which is used when speaking of the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. The Greek word used here is doma, which not only speaks of the character of the gift, but the generous nature of the giver.

In verse 11 Paul further explains what doma gifts were given to the Church “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. These 5 gifts (doma) must not be understood as being the same as the “charismatic gifts” referred to in 1 Corinthians 12. These doma gifts are men given to the Church. These gifts are specifically given the responsibility to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. They are gifted with unique skills that are imparted to the saints. The charismata gifts certainly edify and build, but they cannot replace or fulfill the roles of those with doma gifts. It is important to note that those who are doma gifts will also utilize charismatic gifts.

Paul emphasizes that some are doma gifts implies most are not. God sovereignly calls and chooses those who would be doma gifts to His Church. Those with gifts of healing, miracles, administration, or prophecy move in charisma gifts. Every gift is necessary for the edifying and building up of the body of Christ. However, the doma gifts are anointed as stated in verse 12, “for the quipping 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 of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We can see doma gifts equip the saints for work, for the building together of the body of Christ till we come to unity of the faith and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

They were sent to mentor and disciple the Church to maturity, which is the fullness of Christ. Its ironic that saints are praying for unity, spiritual maturity, and the full power and expression of Christ, yet fail to recognize their need for the doma gifts. In seeking to be clear, I’d like us to look at the gift of the apostle. I believe these men are called from the womb to function in these roles for the Church. In Galatians 1:15 Paul states he was separated from his mother’s womb with this grace, ”But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace.” We see this also in the calling of the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."

2 Timothy 1:9 (God) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” God has given all of us grace to fulfill His purpose before time began. He has chosen and given us grace to fulfill His purpose in the Church. I believe those called to the doma ministries were called and given grace before their birth. The doma gifts receive MORE grace and authority from the Lord to function in their gifting than others with charismatic gifts. For instance the doma gift of prophet carries more authority, anointing, and rank than those with the “gift (charismata) of prophecy”. Paul also says we can all “prophecy one by one”, but not everyone who prophesies is a doma prophet. The doma gift of teacher carries more authority, anointing, and rank than those with the charismatic gift of teaching, or those who, as the scripture says, are “apt to teach.”

We see that there is a distinction between the doma gifts and the charismatic gifts. We also see a distinction in, Ephesians 2:19-20 that distinguishes apostles and prophets from the evangelists, pastors, and teachers. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”

We can all agree that the citizens and members of the household of God ARE to be built on the foundational ministries of the apostles and prophets. Yet, most saints and churches are not built on the foundation of apostles and prophets. In Ephesians 3:2-5 we see, yet another distinction. The revelation of the mystery of God was given to the apostles and prophets. “if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” the revelation of the mystery of Christ was ONLY given to the apostles and prophets and to no other gift.

Only Moses received the revelation of the law and the plans for the tabernacle. I call this selective revelation. God does not reveal everything to everyone. He gives different revelation to different gifts; the revelation of the mystery of Christ is given directly to the apostles and prophets who then discharge it to the rest of the Church. This is what I mean by “selective revelation.”

The predominant anointing in the book of Acts was that of the apostles. They launched the Church into an unprecedented period of supernatural power, authority, and revelation. The Church, under their anointing, turned the world upside down. Yet today most churches are under the anointing and are built upon the foundation of pastors or teachers. These are very powerful anointings and greatly necessary but without the church having an apostolic foundation first she will never fulfill God’s plan.

As the anointing of the prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher are manifested differently we must understand that the anointing on the apostle is unique and differs from other doma gifts. The apostle as a doma gift means a “sent one.” It is taken from the Greek word apostolos meaning a delegate officially commissioned of Christ with power and authority. The Greeks and Romans used apostolos to describe a “special envoy” sent for the purpose of expanding the dominion of the empire. Many of these envoys were military generals with authority to go into new territories and

fight to establish the Greek or Roman culture in regions. They were responsible to train and teach subjects the laws and culture of the empire. These envoys were given power and authority from

the king to fulfill their mission. They were charged to subdue, conquer, convert, instruct, train and establish new subjects in the culture and traditions of the empire.

The Holy Spirit chose to use the word apostolos certainly so we could understanding the mission of the apostles of God. The apostles are called to express the Apostolos ministry of Christ Jesus in the earth. Jesus came to expand the Kingdom, take dominion over God’s enemies, and teach the culture of the Kingdom of God. The apostles carry a breakthrough anointing. They breakthrough with new revelation in regards to Christ, and the Church. They also have understanding of the times and seasons of the Lord. It was the apostle Peter who identified the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost stating “this is that which the prophet Joel…” The apostles carry a “first” anointing they are initiators.

They are forerunners moving before the other ministries, forerunners, into the moves and things of God. They have a pioneering spirit that becomes disquieted within them when things remain

the same too long.

The apostles are first in God’s divine order and government. 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” The word first is the Greek word proton; Strong’s Concordance defines this as, “first in time, place, order, or importance, chief, and first in rank.” It is essential for the church to understand God’s order. When we violate what God has established as His divine order we lose spiritual power. The story of the centurion, whose servant Jesus healed, taught us the lesson that authority and power flow through spiritual order.

We are all equal in Christ as to salvation, His love, mercy, and communion. NO GIFT makes anyone more important to God, and others less important to God. However, we do see the doma gifts designated by God as being higher in rank than others. These different ranks carry differing degrees of authority and power.

Apostles, because of the rank and authority given by God, possess a pioneering spirit, and a warrior’s heart. They possess a breakthrough anointing. Breakthrough is defined as “an act of breaking through an obstacle; an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare.” This breakthrough spirit/attitude pushes apostles to break through ignorance, fear, lies, and philosophies that keep God’s people from advancing. Apostles set themselves against the defenses of the enemy. This is why God sends and sets them first. David was a picture of this when he went out first, with his 5 smooth stones, to engage Goliath, the soothsayer and prognosticator. David was first to the battle, and when the army of Israel saw his victory over Goliath they rose and slaughtered the Philistines. David’s victory delivered Israel from unbelief, apathy, and fear. His anointing led them to expand the borders of His Kingdom, and the defeat of all their enemies.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” Word Study defines the Greek word warfare as to lead an army, a military warfare, expedition or campaign. It is used “Metaphorically of the apostolic office as connected with hardships, dangers, trials, and warfare.”

Finally, we must answer the questions raised in 1 Corinthians 12:29-31 “Are all apostles?

Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

Of course the answer to all his questions is NO! Only some are apostles, prophets, teachers, and only some have the gifts of miracles, healings, and not all speak with tongues. We’ve seen there are different types of giftings, the doma and charismatic. The five doma gifts are men given by God to equip and perfect the Church, and charismata gifts are given for the edification of the

body of Christ.”

We can’t make ourselves doma gifts. We either are or we aren’t! But we are to desire earnestly the greater gifts. Paul exhorts the Church to desire the greater gifts. I believe that he was speaking of both the charismatic and the doma gifts. He was exhorting them to recognize that the church is to “earnestly desire” all the gifts to function in their midst. The questions I ask are: are you ready to re-establish divine order to the Church? Do you want to heed Paul’s exhortation to earnestly desire the greater or best gifts? What a powerful Church we’d be if all the charismatic and doma gifts were functioning and active in the Church.