This book is primarily focused upon the Bride of Christ, but it is prudent to take a brief look at those who are called as ministers to prepare the Bride. The way in which these ministers perform their service will greatly impact the preparation of the Bride. The book of Esther contains a type of these last days ministers. They are represented by Hegai, who was an eunuch in the service of King Ahasuerus.
Hegai’s responsibilities were very similar to the description given to those ministers whom Yahshua gave to the body of Christ to bring her to maturity and fulness of stature.
And Yahshua gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
We see here that God’s ministers are equippers and are called to a work of building up, or preparing the body of Christ. This was Hegai’s duty as well. Hegai was charged with preparing the young virgins to meet the king in a most intimate manner. He was to equip them with the manners, behavior, and mindset of those called to intimacy with the king. The Apostle Paul recognized this calling on his life.
II Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
Paul was an apostle, and he states that Christ gave apostles, as well as the other ministers mentioned, to perform a function in preparing the body of Christ to fulfill its calling and to come to maturity and the fulness of the stature of Christ. This calling on the body is too easily glanced over, so it won’t hurt to restate it. The body of Christ is called to attain to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Yahshua the Messiah. When one considers that Yahshua is the Head of the body, it makes sense to assert that the body is to attain to His fulness. The Head and the body are to be a perfect match for one another. It would be inappropriate to have a mature head attached to an immature body.
What must be the qualifications and character of these ministers whom Yahshua has given to bring forth this maturity? Imagine, these ministers are called to equip and build up the body so that it is an equitable match for the Head. What a tremendous responsibility. Indeed, apart from the grace of God, it is an impossible task to be charged with.
However, as awesome as the calling is upon the minister, the body has an even greater calling. For she is to “grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). It has somehow become overlooked in this passage, and in the exercise of the responsibilities of ministers toward the body, that the minister is really not the important one in this relationship. The minister is merely a servant of God who is given duties in regard to the body. It is the body that is the true focus. This becomes apparent when we look back at Hegai’s role in regard to the virgins he was entrusted to oversee and prepare. King Ahasuerus desired a bride, even as Yahshua desires a Bride. He wanted a queen that was suited to himself. This is true of Yahshua as well. He desired a beautiful, purified virgin who would respond in obedience to him. The parallel between Christ and His Bride is easily seen here.
The eunuch was a minister of the king charged with the responsibility of preparing this bride for him. The eunuch was not the focus of the king’s desire, the bride was. The eunuch’s ministry and calling existed only as long as there were virgins to be made ready to meet the king. The eunuch served the king, but he did so by serving the young virgins being prepared for the king. In a very real sense, the eunuch’s calling was inferior to the virgins’ calling. It was a much greater honor to be the bride of the king than to be an eunuch minister who filled the temporary position of preparing the virgin to be a bride. Paul gave voice to this understanding in the following verse:
I Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
Again, the clarity of the calling of ministers is brought forth as we consider that the king was pining away in his heart for a bride. After Vashti was removed, it is said that the king forgot his anger and he began to long once more for a bride. The king’s desire for a bride had nothing to do with a desire to see more ministers prancing around the palace. On the contrary, the ministers existed because the king desired to have a bride that was suitable for him. The king did not wish to see the eunuch paraded around in finery, he wanted to see the bride adorned. The eunuch was not the focus. The bride was the focus.
This is certainly clear enough when it is related to kings and brides of days gone by, but somehow it has become muddled and confused in the present day kingdom of God. To look at things today, an observer would have to conclude that the ministers are the very most important thing and those they “serve” are of lesser import. However, this is a perversion of God’s design.
Like the eunuch, the minister’s role is to prepare the Bride of Christ for intimacy with the King. The minister is given his charge because he knows what is pleasing to the king and what is not. He is to communicate this understanding to the virgin Bride. He is not to flaunt his role, or elevate his calling in an unseemly manner. He is not to appear superior to the other members of the body. He is called to be a servant.
The minister is especially to guard against any abnormal affection or attraction between himself and the Bride of Christ. He is to be as an eunuch in regard to the Bride. He is not to seek fulfillment through attracting the Bride’s affection to himself. He is to direct all of the Bride’s passion toward Yahshua the Messiah. To fail in this in the least way is to place oneself on dangerous ground for the Bride belongs to God and His name is Jealous (Exodus 34:14). Yahshua said,
“For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”
The minister belongs to the latter group. As he fulfills his calling to the Bride of Christ, he is to comport himself as an eunuch. He is not to lay hands on the Bride in an unholy manner, nor is he to be attracted to her, or to receive her affection to himself.
Today this happens all too often. Unfortunately, our current Christian religious system is constructed in such a way that the minister and the Bride are thrust into a detrimental symbiotic relationship with each other. It is not uncommon to hear of ministers having affairs with members of the bodies they are called to minister unto. Yet, these outward and visible trespasses are merely the tip of the iceberg. For every minister that commits adultery with a member of the body, there are a thousand more who have emotional and soul ties between themselves and those they minister to that are immoral and which are considered as adulterous in God’s sight.
In the last 2000 years the body of Christ and her ministers have deviated from the callings placed upon them. Peter proclaimed to the body of Christ, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). Somehow, we have changed this to mean that the ministers are a royal priesthood, and the body is a sub-class we call laity. The ministers “proclaim the excellencies”” of God, and the body listens to them do it week by week.
This was not God’s purpose at all. God did not establish a laity in the body of Christ, nor did He establish a cadre of ministers who are superior to the rest of the body. The ministers are servants. They are to bring the body to the fulness of the stature of Christ. History clearly shows how we arrived where we are at now. Satan was the architect of the deception and the fleshliness of man was the motivating force that caused the church to adopt current forms. The error of the clergy/laity division was established largely due to two forces that both arise out of the flesh. There are some men who are driven by a desire to hold positions of honor and preeminence, and there are others who have found the requirements of discipleship too demanding and who have sought a way to lessen the demands upon themselves.
The first group finds their flesh gratified though the false classification of clergy, and the latter finds theirs fulfilled in the equally false and less rigorous classification of laity. The two have formed a symbiotic relationship that fulfills the fleshly desires of both groups. This arrangement works so well that it has remained in place for centuries and has withstood such threats to it as The Reformation and an assortment of revivals. This arrangement, however, is not according to God’s design. It keeps the Bride in a state of perpetual immaturity to the dissatisfaction of Christ.
Two things must occur to correct this error. Those who are true ministers of Christ must adopt the mindset of John the Baptist saying, “I must decrease that the body of Christ might increase.” Those who are among the body must rise to the calling upon their lives and embrace the rigors of true discipleship. Yes, being a disciple calls for a much purer devotion than calling oneself a layperson, but the rewards are such that Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us”” (Romans 8:18).
The minister is not to obscure the calling of the Bride, he is to clarify it. God’s true ministers are given their positions because they themselves have walked in intimacy with the Father and they have been given an understanding of what the Father seeks as He prepares a Bride for His Son. Though the minister is a servant, he is also accorded honor. God always gives honor with responsibility. A servant who is faithfully discharging his duties is to be accorded great honor and those who receive of his ministry are to honor him in the sphere of his duties.
It was clearly recorded for our benefit that Esther listened to the voice of Hegai, the king’s minister, and she responded to his words. We are told that when the virgins were presented to the king following their year of preparation, they could take anything in with them that they desired. It was to their benefit, however, to listen to the advice of the eunuch in this matter. Not all did so. Not all were found pleasing to the king. Only one delighted him so much that he made her his queen.
Esther 2:15, 17
Now when the turn of Esther… came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her… And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen.
Esther listened to the voice of Hegai. The king had appointed Hegai to his task for good reason. He knew what was pleasing to the king. His advice was to be taken seriously. To ignore his voice was to risk the king’s displeasure.
The Bride of Christ must likewise be attentive to the voice of God’s eunuch ministers. They will be given understanding of what is pleasing to the King. They will be entrusted with the wisdom to discern the qualities that the Bridegroom seeks in His Bride. The author of the book of Hebrews writes:
Obey your leaders, and submit to them for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Not all of those who are called to meet the Bridegroom will be as attentive to this instruction as Esther was to Hegai, nor will all ministers be as faithful to discharge their duties as Hegai was. This calls for discernment among those who hear the call to intimacy with Christ. It is certain that a refining will come to both the Bride and the ministers assigned to her. Yahshua is zealous for His Bride. Woe to those ministers who have been stealing the Bride’s affection and who have touched her in an unholy manner. Among both ministers and the Bride it will be true that “many are called, but few are chosen.”
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