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Questions and Answers: Please help me to connect the old testament ministers to the new testament fivefold offices clearly stating the similarities of these offices.



Would you please help me to connect the old testament ministers to the new testament fivefold offices clearly stating the similarities of these offices.


  • If you look throughout the old testament, there were elders of families and cities. When the Kingdom of God is fully established, there will likely be elders of families and cities. Consider the parable of the talents.
  • The prophets and patriarchs passed spiritual authority by the laying on of hands and blessing. Paul laid hands on Timothy (an apostle, which is sometimes referred to as 5-fold ministry, but a deacon to the entire church as opposed to a local deacon) along with other elders, and they imparted gifts of the Spirit to Timothy. Paul longed to come to Rome that he might impart some Spiritual Gift. Paul came across some who only were baptized with John's baptism. He baptized them into Jesus and laid hands on them so that they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.
  • In both Old and New, the offices are for leadership and government
  • In both Old and New, there is prophetic anointing on some but not all.
  • In both Old and New, elders are not to lord it over. Moses was actually not allowed into the promised land because he struck the rock in anger.
  • Here is a stark difference: there are two offices in the New Testament: elder and deacons, while only the elder can be found in the Old Testament. To clarify, a father in a home acts as an elder, the wife as a deacon. In the local churches, there are multiple elders and deacons (never a chief or singular). In the entire church, there are elders and deacons who are apostles. Sometimes, the office is apparent by context as the elder directs the deacons. In Acts, several deacons were set who later are mentioned as traveling and they were set to assist the apostles. They were apostles who were deacons rather than elders.
  • There is a difference in that the Old Testament often had a preeminent elder, such as Moses. In the Church, it is plain that there is not cheif apostle.
  • There is no maverick apostle as you see in the Old Testament with some prophets.
  • Now, in the New Testament, you find elders of local assemblies, such as the elders of the church at Rome, and elders to the entire church, such as Paul and Peter.
  • Certain offices received pay in both, but this was not the same in Old and New. In the Old Testament, the priests had duties and responsibilities that would make it difficult for them to farm, so they were supported. Other elders were not. In the New Testament, the apostles (elders and deacons) have responsibilities and duties, plus they travel, which makes it difficult for them to hold a job, so they are supported. Local elders and deacons and fathers and mothers in homes are not supported.
  • For a fairly exhaustive Bible study on apostles, you can find that here:

The following is an adaptation of a similar question:

What is commonly called the five-fold ministry is actually four ministries and one office, the apostle. Apostles are either elders or deacons. We clearly see elders in the Old Testament, at all levels of government. Ephesians 2:20 gives the key to seeing the apostolic office and the ministry of prophet in the Temple. Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to a holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom you also are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 16:18 And I say also to you that you are Peter (little stone), and on this Huge, Unmovable Boulder I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Note that the Old Testament elders walked in submission to Moses, and later, to Joshua, just as present-day apostles walk in submission to Christ.

Our walk is a walk of submission. The apostles, by submitting to the Spirit of Christ, become part of the foundation. They are also in submission to each other. The local elders are in submission to Christ and to the apostles--and also to each other. The members are in submission to Christ, to the apostles, to the local elders and deacons, and to each other. The wives are in submission to their own husbands, but all the other submission is already there. Children are in submission to parents. When anyone speaks by the Holy Spirit, the members are to discern the Body of Christ and are to walk in submission.



Last updated: Oct, 2013
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