Ordination Requirements

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Nazarene Israel Ordination Requirements
V3.0, revised 12/27/2019

To download the .pdf file, click here.

OVERVIEW:

This document explains the standards for ordination within Nazarene Israel.

Babylonian Government vs. Elohim’s Government. In Greco-Roman-Babylonian governments, the strong rule over the weak, and the rulers end up with privileges and riches for themselves and their children. This is the opposite of Elohim’s government, in which the strong serve the weak, and take care of them (as shepherds take care of sheep).

In the kingships of men, those who rule typically end up becoming rich. They and their children have privileges that the average person does not often have. However, this kind of selfish dynamic ends up attracting the wrong kind of people. Typically, it attracts those who seek power, and prestige. Because of this, it breeds and feeds corruption.

Yeshua’s government is the opposite. Yeshua’s government is based on service. It demands great discipline of the servant leaders. The only real rewards are spiritual (not material). This helps to select for the right kind of leaders.

Levitical vs. Melchizedekian Order. As we explain in “About the Change in Priesthoods”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4, we are not under the Levitical order, or the Rabbinical order. Rather, we are under the Melchizedekian order, which has its own instructions and rules, yet operates on the same precepts. (For details, see “About the Change in Priesthoods”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4.)

Congregational Priesthood. As we explain in Torah Government and in Acts 15 Order, there are two different tiers of spiritual government within the Melchizedekian order. The first is what might be called the congregational (or lay) priesthood. This includes congregational deacons and elders (also called bishops, or overseers). Congregational priests (deacons and elders) are not required to take a vow of poverty. They may own houses, lands, and businesses. They may pass an inheritance to their children. In some senses, the more successful they are, the more they appeal to the people in their area, so we want them to be successful. (In this way, they are analogous to the tribal elders of the Levitical system.)

Separated Priesthood. While the congregational elders and deacons may pass an inheritance to their children, the separated priesthood may not. In exchange for the privilege of serving Yeshua, separated priests must forsake all worldly possessions, and be content with room, board, equipment, and expenses.

Luqa (Luke) 14:33
33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

In the Babylonian systems of the world, the leadership masses wealth, power, and privileges for themselves. However, when there is lucre or mammon (or even the possibility of lucre or mammon), it attracts the wrong kinds of persons.

By requiring His priests to own nothing, Yeshua helps to remove the draw of mammon, lucre, and greed. This helps to turn away at least some of the wrong kinds of people, while at the same time selecting for those who want nothing more than to serve.

DEFINITIONS AND STANDARDS:

Standards. To serve Yeshua’s body as a deacon, elder, or priest is literally to represent Yeshua to the world. Anyone who feels qualified for this task is mistaken. This is a high calling, and it calls for better than any one of us has to offer. If the standards seem high, it is because, as Yeshua’s body, we need to do as Yeshua would do. This is how we are conformed to His example, and it is how we become pleasing to Him, and serve Him.

Believers. In Torah Government, in the chapters, “Yeshua’s Definition of Belief”, and in “Priests, Disciples, and Believers”, we explain that while there are many believers, only a few are disciples, because only a few have any real relationship with Yeshua and His body.

In any living thing (such as a human body, or a tree), there must be a life-giving exchange of fluids. Without giving something back to the host organism, any limb or organ is dead, and must therefore be cut out of the body.

Yochanan (John) 15:1-2
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

This means one can think Yeshua is the Messiah, and one can think of himself as a Nazarene. However, he is not a part of the body unless he is contributing to the health of the body. If he is not contributing, then he is not a disciple, but a believer.

Nazarene Israel seeks to serve the believers, but our real goal is to help them become disciples, for this is what Yeshua commands.

Disciples and Chaverim (Friends). As explained in Torah Government and Acts 15 Order, to be a disciple, one must observe (i.e., obey) all that Yeshua says to do (verse 20).

Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20
19 “Go therefore and make disciples in all the nations, immersing them My name*,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.

[*For an explanation as to why we immerse in Yeshua’s name alone, see, “Immersion in Yeshua’s Name Alone”, in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3.]

In Torah Government, in the chapters, “Yeshua’s Definition of Belief” and in “Priests, Disciples, and Believers”, we explain that during the time Yeshua was selecting and training His future Melchizedekian priesthood, the standard was that to be a disciple, one had to forsake all of one’s worldly possessions and inheritance.

Luqa (Luke) 14:33
33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

This is still the standard for separated priests, but the general standard for discipleship has been relaxed somewhat. Today, tithing is still an ideal for true discipleship, but one can also be a lesser type of disciple called a chaver (friend) by joyfully contributing anything of real value to Yeshua’s kingdom (time, money, possessions, skills, or anything that realistically advances Yeshua’s kingdom, as determined by the priesthood). But most importantly, it should be joyful (and not forced), because joy in giving indicates love for Yeshua, and an eagerness to see His kingdom built. It is this prioritization of joyfulness in giving according to our abilities He truly wants to see. And the more we do for Him, the more He appreciates it, and rewards us.

Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 9:6-9
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for Elohim loves a cheerful giver.
8 And Elohim is able to make all favor abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
9 As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

The reality is that Yeshua’s kingdom needs both prayers and finances to do its best job. While prayers are clearly important, the tithe and the offering are Yeshua’s kingdom taxes. If we want to be good and loyal citizens for our King, we need to pay our taxes with joy. Such joyful giving is called faithfulness, because it indicates real faith. Such joyful faithfulness is a normal part of being a good disciple.

Congregational Deacons. Congregational deacons (servants, shammeshim) are normally appointed by their congregational elders. They literally serve the needs of the congregation. Their role is to assist the congregational elders in anything the congregation needs.

Congregational deacons are effectively leadership figures. Sometimes they are thought of as congregational elders in training. Because they set an example, it is essential that they understand sound doctrine, and give a good witness of the Spirit. They should know how to lead their own family. If their families are not yet in order, then they may not yet serve as deacons (and no one is helped by relaxing these standards).

TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 3:8-13
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Messiah Yeshua.

It is not correct to say that the deacons collect the tithe and the offering, but that the faithful bring their tithes and offerings to the deacons, who collect and account for the funds, and then deliver them to the congregational elders. (In the Levitical order, the Levites did not go out to collect the tithes from the people. Rather, the faithful brought their tithes and offerings to the Levites, who then brought them to the central collection point, under the supervision of the high priest’s appointee). The congregational elders then pay the deacons up to single honor (i.e., the average wage in the area in which they work), provided the people are faithful to support Yeshua’s work.

Since congregational deacons are part of the congregational priesthood (not the separated priesthood), they are not required to take a vow of poverty. They may be rich or poor. They may hypothetically have houses, and lands, and pass an inheritance along to their children.

Scripture instructs us not to lay hands on any man suddenly (1 Timothy 5:22). Beyond this, 1 Timothy 3:10 (above) tells us to test the hearts of those who wish to serve as deacons before they are appointed, to be sure they feel called to service (and are not just seeking a job). Ideally, they should demonstrate joyful faithfulness and real service to the body for at least three years before they are officially appointed.

If those who serve as deacons in other sects transition to Nazarene Israel, they will be considered as deacons in transition. They will have a transitional (or probationary) status for at least three years.

There is no such thing as tenure in Nazarene Israel. All positions must be earned anew each week. If a deacon fails to serve faithfully, or if he quenches the Spirit, or if someone else more qualified arrives, he should gracefully step aside.

Congregational deacons may have any of the ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers).

While women can serve in the kingship (government), and while female prophetesses are not uncommon, deacons and other ecclesiastical leaders are ordinarily male (while the wife plays a major supporting role). In “Gender Roles in the Kingdom” (in Covenant Relationships), we explain that women deaconesses must always serve under their husband’s covering. Due to the example of Deborah in Judges 4, women may step out in leadership if there are no qualified men. However, this is clearly not the ideal, and if qualified male leadership arrives, the women should want them to take over the ecclesiastical leadership roles (or something is wrong).

Congregational Elders. Because congregational elders serve as role models for the assembly, the standards for elders are very high. Elders should be selected because they already have the respect of the people. They should be people whom everyone already looks to for leadership and guidance, being respected by all for their set-apart lifestyle, their devotion, and their knowledge. They may be paid up to double honor (i.e., twice the average wage in the city where they live), especially if they are also involved in preaching, or in establishing doctrine as part of the Beit Din (House of Judgment, i.e., Court, Council).

TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 5:17
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

Like deacons, congregational elders can hypothetically be successful businessmen. They can hypothetically own lands, and houses, and pass a hypothetical inheritance to their children. They can also hypothetically be poor. However, without respect to their financial status, rich or poor, congregational elders may be paid no more than twice the average wage in the city where they live. And if they are rich, they are also encouraged to give to the poor (and especially to the poor of the household of faith), and in such a way as to benefit and increase Yeshua’s body.

Galatim (Galatians) 6:6-10
6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
7 Do not be deceived, Elohim is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Congregational elders are also called bishops. In Hebrew, the term is zakan (literally, bearded one, i.e., someone who is older, and therefore more knowledgeable, and wiser). They are selected for their excellent witness in the assembly, and their ability to guide (or shepherd) the flock in the way of Yeshua.

TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 3:1-7
1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the assembly of Elohim?);
6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

As explained in other studies, according to the classical Hebraic Beit Din (court) model, each congregation should ideally have at least three elders. There can be more if there are more genuine elders in that city, who are doing the actual work. Oftentimes it can happen that there is only one elder in a city. However, if he has the gift of an apostle (i.e., a spiritual CEO), he may serve as a lone elder until such time as there are at least three. However, the goal is always to have at least three (or more).

An elder is someone who not only sets the example, but who is also well respected, and is therefore able to establish the correct order and doctrine in the assembly, in love. This also assumes he follows the correct doctrine. Both his witness in the Spirit and his knowledge of doctrine should be well-established before he is ever appointed as an elder.

Titus 1:5-9
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you —
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of Elohim, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, set-apart, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

Because the congregational leaders are in positions of authority, Satan will target them actively. Like the congregational deacons, the hearts of congregational elders must first be tested, to make sure they are devoted, and to make sure they are able to withstand temptation. Because we are not to lay hands on any man suddenly, the ideal is that they demonstrate at least five years of joyful faithfulness toward the body before they are appointed.

If they already serve as elders in another sect, they may transition to Nazarene Israel as elders in transition if they have an affinity for the correct doctrine, and their witness in the Spirit is good. However, they will necessarily have a transitional (or probationary) status for at least five years.

There is no such thing as tenure in Nazarene Israel. All positions must be earned anew each week. If an elder fails to serve faithfully, or if he ceases to meet the qualifications, he should gracefully step down of his own accord (so that he does not need to be removed).

Congregational elders may have any of the ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers). [Note: the term “Pastor” refers to a gift, not a position. Protestant Roman-Christians apply this term to a position, but Scripture does not support this. Also, “rabbi” is a Babylonian Jewish term, and its use is also not supported in Scripture (e.g., Matthew 23:8).]

While women can serve in the kingship (government), and while female prophetesses are not uncommon, elders and other ecclesiastical leaders are ordinarily male (with the wife playing a major supporting role). As explained in “Gender Roles in the Kingdom” (in Covenant Relationships), women must always serve under their husband’s covering. Due to the example of Deborah in Judges 4, women may step out in leadership if there are no qualified men. However, this is clearly not the ideal, and if qualified male leadership arrives, the women should want them to take over the ecclesiastical leadership roles.

Separated Priests. Separated priests are called to a different level of service. Unlike congregational (or lay) priests, separated priests must take a vow of poverty. While they may marry, they may not pass an inheritance to their children. Rather, they are to give all their worldly possessions to the work, and should be happy with room, board, and expenses, in exchange for the privilege of serving Yeshua, and expanding His kingdom.

Luqa (Luke) 14:33
33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Separated priests may have any of the ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers). However, ordinarily speaking they will typically have the apostolic gift (which includes all the other gifts).

While there is no problem with women serving in the kingship (government), and while female prophetesses are not uncommon, the priesthood is always exclusively male. As explained in “Junia: Courier or Female Apostle” (in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 3), there have never been any female priests or apostles. Further, for a woman to seek the priesthood is considered evidence of a wrong spirit, because women are created as helpers (not leaders), and it is wrong to want something other than what Elohim gives us (i.e., it is seen as coveting).

Because separated priests are in positions of authority, Satan will target them actively. Like all the other ecclesiastical positions, the hearts of separated priests must first be tested, to make sure they are devoted, and can withstand temptation. Because we are not to lay hands on any man suddenly, the ideal is that they demonstrate at least five years of joyful faithfulness toward the body before they apply for separated status. They should also show that they embrace sound doctrine and give a good testimony in the Spirit.

Not all who are separated are apostles. None of the twelve immediately began service as apostles, but trained for a time first, under supervision. Shaul also did not begin to serve as an apostle immediately after he was called in Acts 9. Rather, at first he was merely called to service. It was only in Acts 13 that he and Bar Naba were selected by the Spirit to be sent out, thereby becoming “sent ones” (apostles, or shaliachim in Hebrew).

Ma’asei (Acts) 13:1-3
1 Now in the assembly that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Shaul.
2 As they ministered to Yahweh and fasted, the Set-apart Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Bar Naba and Shaul for the work to which I have called them.”
3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

It is important to note that the pre-ascension apostles (i.e., the twelve) were separated at Yeshua-Yahweh’s direction, and Shaul and Bar Naba also were separated at the express direction of Yeshua’s Spirit. No one should ever be separated or appointed without the express direction of the Spirit (and if it is not known what this means, separation should not even be considered).

There is no such thing as tenure in Nazarene Israel. All positions must be earned each day. If an apostle no longer serves faithfully, or if he ceases to meet the standards or qualifications, he should gracefully step down of his own accord (so that he does not need to be publicly removed).

APPLYING FOR SERVICE:

If any man seeks to establish and grow Yeshua’s kingdom by serving as a deacon, a congregational elder, or as a separated priest, he seeks a good work.

As Nazarene Israel grows and progresses, testing and certification will be established, to ensure sound doctrine. However, the witness and the direction of the Spirit is also always required. The integrity of both parts must be absolute. There can be no substitute for this.

Those who wish to apply as elders should read all Nazarene Israel’s studies at least twice. Applicants should explain why they agree with Nazarene Israel’s doctrine, and what they disagree with (if anything), and why. Nazarene Israel will never appoint an elder who disagrees with Nazarene Israel’s stated doctrine, but if you can convince the Beit Din Gadol (which establishes doctrine) that a change in doctrine needs to be made, it will be highly noteworthy, and will stand you in good stead.

Standards for the administration and support channel will be established in a separate document. (Authorization for administration and support (helps) is established by 1 Corinthians 12:28.)

May Yahweh help us to live up to His standards. In Yeshua’s name, amein.

Norman B. Willis
Apostle, Nasi (Presiding)
Nazarene Israel