The Kingdom of God
The Government of God – Women in The Body of Christ
Studio Session 57
In the body of Christ, many things that are true in heaven are represented on the earth. The body of Christ is not a temporal entity—an entity of time and space—that hopes to have an eternal future. The body of Christ is the “eternal” in time, and as such, God’s intention for the body of Christ is to acquaint us, while we are here, with heavenly things. One of the great heavenly things that God wants us to become aware of is the lack of competition among the personages of the godhead. The Scriptures represent to us the godhead in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now we see this presentation of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three attributes or the three presentations of God to mankind. Keep in mind, the mysteries of heaven, when they are revealed to the earth are revealed in such a way that we can see them and understand them but it is highly unlikely that the full extent of these mysteries are meant to be known to us while we are here on the earth. So we do see, “as in a mirror dimly”, but one day we will see face to face. Now we know in part and we speak what we do know, so we speak in part but there will come a time—different from this earth, and different from time—when what we know will be complete and then the gaps in our understanding will have been filled. (Inserted – actual verse—“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – I Corinthians 13:12)
One of the reasons why God doesn’t tell us everything that we might otherwise be told is because we have no ability to understand all that God may tell us. I’ll give you an example: How is it possible for the Holy Spirit—the same exact Holy Spirit—to dwell fully in you, and in me and in a hundred million others of us here on the earth at the same time? Now is it true that He does—not a piece, not a splinter, not a spark—but the fullness of God, the Spirit, may dwell in you, and me and a hundred million others of us here at the same time? Is that true? Yes, it is true. Yes, the evidence of His presence is undeniable in that respect. But is this mathematically possible? The answer is: No, it is not mathematically possible because we are not talking about “clones” of the Holy Spirit, or replications of the Holy Spirit, we’re talking about the authentic, complete person of the Holy Spirit, himself, in all of His godhood, living within you and living within me. So there are mysteries to heaven that we do not understand fully but they are true, and we are touching them, we’re even experiencing them but we have no explanation for them. One day we will be given the explanation, but it does require a change in our location and a change in our nature—perhaps even a change in our venue.
So it’s not that God is keeping things secret from us, it is that our ability to understand limits what He can show us. It is His pleasure to show us the kingdom, to give it to us, to endow us with it. One of the more difficult tasks facing the body of Christ is to see as God sees. The way God sees is never competitive. God doesn’t view things competitively because He is God. Who might contend with God? The Father sent the Son that the Son might be glorified in the will of the Father. And the Son came that He might glorify the Father. Upon His return, the Son sent the Holy Spirit—the mighty Holy Spirit, who brooded over the face of the unformed deep just before God spoke from heaven and created all that we now know as the creation. So it has always been the intention of God to serve God. The Holy Spirit comes to serve Jesus, Jesus comes to serve the Father; the Father glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Spirit—or at least the Son makes it abundantly clear that He will not forgive anyone who transgresses the sacred nature of the Holy Spirit. Humans have so much to learn from the Living God.
We approach biblical things competitively and when we do, we are off on the wrong foot. Here’s a question: may women be apostles, may women be prophets, may women be evangelists, may women be pastors, may women be teachers? There is a distinction in the Scriptures between “doing the work” and “being in the office”—there are governments and helps. May a woman do the work of an apostle? And the answer is: yes. May a woman do the work of a prophet? The answer is: yes. May a woman do the work of an evangelist? Yes. May she do the work of a pastor? Yes. But, may a woman “be” an apostle? The answer is: no. A prophet? No. An evangelist? No. Pastor? No. Teacher? No. What is the distinction, then, between “governments” and “helps”? A woman may, like any other member of the body of Christ—male or female—do the work of an evangelist, or an apostle, or a prophet because the equipping that you receive enables you to function, but function within the measure of your own calling. The distinction between “function” and “office” is the distinction between “governments” and “helps”. “Governments” carry an anointing that is responsible for the result. In other words, there is a weight that is put on you when you walk in the “government” that is not put on you when you are doing the work. When you are doing the work, you are free to do the work. When you are part of the government, you are responsible for the impartation.
Now if God chose to impart through a woman in the office of an apostle, I have no quarrel with that at all but God didn’t choose to do that and there is a reason why He didn’t. In the kingdom, heavenly things are mirrored by earthly counterparts. The woman, in the concept of heavenly things, represents the bride of Christ and the man represents Christ. Now when you view the matter competitively, you will quote this Scripture and say, “We are all sons of God” (this is Galatians 3:26) “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:26-29). I could go on—and I might, later on—so the argument is typically made, “We are all ‘sons’, there is neither male nor female so if a man may be an apostle, a woman may also be an apostle.” And then there are some who wish to be, appear to be, “uninhibited” in some fashion, so their arguments are essentially ad populum arguments. They’ll say, “Well, my wife is a woman, my daughter is a woman and my mother is a woman so they can be whatever they want to be.” Well, that is a nonsensical argument and hardly is an understanding of the passage.
The question is: Are there any times when we are male and female—when God recognizes that we are male and female? Are there any audiences to whom it is relevant that we are male and female? The very fellow who says, “But my mother is a female, my wife is a female and my daughter…” is acknowledging that there are times when it is not only relevant, but necessary, because a man, after all, couldn’t be your mother, or your wife or your daughter. That’s not an argument, that’s an observation, but it’s a non-sequitur, in that it does not connect—the proof connect to the argument as a function of proof. There are times when it is important then that you be “male” and “female”. Let’s look at when it is not important that you be “male” and “female” and let’s look at when it is important that you are “male” or “female”. When the matter of your sonship to God is being considered it is not important that you are “male” or “female”. When the matter of your inheritance is being considered—inheritance before God—it is not important that you are “male” or “female”. When it comes to such legal issues such as your standing before the law, it ought not matter that you are “male” or “female”. When it comes to being compensated for “like” work, it should not matter that you are “male” or “female”.
But it is to deny the obvious to say that there are no times when it is just as important that we recognize that you are “male” or “female”. When it comes to the devil—your enemy—it does matter in a most basic way that you are “male” or “female” because, you see, the devil is waging war against God. But the devil is restricted in his activities by “order” that God has set up. The devil must observe God’s strictures, otherwise, God would destroy him. He must observe the rules as God has determined the rules. One of the ways in which the body of Christ resembles a heavenly paradigm, and is therefore an eternal entity in time, is in the matter of “government” and “order”. We need “government” and we need “order” because we have an enemy who is obligated to respect God’s order and honor God’s government. Now the order of God’s government is for the benefit and the protection of those who are under His government. When it says, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end,” it’s because there is someone who may disturb your peace—absent His [God’s] government—that someone is the devil. (Inserted – actual verse—“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:7)
Now the order that God has set up contemplates this fact: that vis-à-vis the devil, “male” and “female” alike are equally vulnerable. The fact that you are a male does not mean that you enjoy some special status and ability to resist Satan. You are just as vulnerable as a female would be. But the government of God—when you come under it—has with it a provision that allows the man… God has set it up in such a way that the man is empowered to act, for the protection and benefit of the woman, as a way of showing all humans—who are equally weak against the demonic—how Christ, who is typified by the man, acts on behalf of the body of Christ, which is typified by the woman. The value of this heavenly paradigm is that it allows us to trust that we cannot be overcome by the enemy because God is for us. “The one who is in us is greater than he who is in the world,” and how do we know that? (Inserted – actual verse—“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – I John 4:4) Because He has set up a form of order in which He has instructed us—by this form of order—that He will act for the benefit of those who put their trust in Him, much as a man is given greater authority than a woman in dealing with the demonic to teach man that Christ, who is greater, who has all authority in heaven and on earth, will act on our behalf.
So although the man is equal to the woman in terms of sonship; in terms of government, the role of the man is designed to protect the woman from the attacks of the enemy—that’s one time when it matters that you are “male” and “female”. So, whereas this passage that says that we are neither male nor female is relevant to the question of our sonship; it is not relevant to the question of our authority, vis-à-vis the devil. That’s an entirely different venue. So to use the Scripture to say, “Since we are all sons, we all, therefore, may be anything that—if a man can be that, a woman may be that—that is to say that there are no times when it matters that you are a “male” or a “female” because once you are a son of God, you are ‘males’.” Now let’s pursue that for just a moment because sometimes great and mighty things go by us because we are so busy and focused upon a particular objective. You notice that it says that we are “sons, who are neither male nor female.” We’re all sons of God who are neither male nor female. The use of the term, “sons” then is apart from the concept of either “male” or “female”. Normally, when you would speak of sons”, you are speaking of males, but here, when you speak of sonship to God, you’re not speaking of either male or female, so we do not all become males, we all become “sons”, but that sonship is not defined in terms of maleness or femaleness.
Just as much as you are able to say, “As a son of God, I am no longer to be considered a female”, in the same way you are to say, “As a son of God I am no longer to be considered as a male.” Because it says, “neither male nor female. Now “neither” means “neither”. “Neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek.” We should now not desire to be Jews any more than we desire to be Greeks because our sonship is without relevance to our natural origins. They’re not with relevance to our gender, our national origins or our economic standing: “neither rich nor poor”… if you like, “slave nor free.” So our sonship, with respect to none of the incidences common to our humanity, and the question is: why? The answer is very simple: God is not the father of our humanity, He is the father of our spirits and our sonship in Him is to be considered apart from any of the describing incidences of our humanity.
But are we males and females? I had this man once who said to me, “Well, you see, since we’re not males and females we can all be apostles—men and women can be apostles.” And I said, “Alright, how far are you willing to carry the irrelevance of maleness and femaleness?” And he said, “Well, it says in the Bible, ‘we’re neither male nor female.’” And I said, “Well, let me ask you some questions and see how far you’re willing to go. You have a wife?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “This is purely hypothetical, so treat it as such.” (I knew the man and knew his wife.) I said, “Let us suppose that my wife would consent to this, am I free to say to your wife, like I would be free to say to you as my brother in the Lord—as one brother to another—let’s go and have dinner tonight at a quiet restaurant, just to have some fellowship. If I were to say that to you: Let’s you and me (speaking to the man) let’s you and me go and have dinner at a quiet restaurant tonight and just have some fellowship. Would you object to that?” And he said, “No, of course not.” And I said, “Now since you are saying that your wife is a male and therefore my brother in the Lord, am I free, if my wife would permit it and assuming that I would want ever to do that, which I wouldn’t, but assuming that, am I free to say to your wife as one brother to another, ‘Let’s go to a quiet restaurant and have dinner tonight?’” He saw the trap but rather than change he said, “Well if she will go with you, sure.” And I said, “Now that’s what Adam did… that’s what Adam did. He was with her, but he allowed her to speak to the devil.”
God had put him to stand between her and the devil. The woman, in the picture of heavenly things, is not just a woman. She represents the bride of Christ. She represents the interests that heaven has in humanity, collected together. The devil, who opposes us, is stronger than any human being—male or female—and he is only restrained by the order of God’s government that God has set up. Because his resisting of that order is not the resisting of us, it is the resisting of God who set up that order and he won’t do that. If Adam had stood between Satan and Eve the story would have come out differently. God does not put the woman in a place of authority over a man because of the attacks that that place of authority subjects her to. Now this doesn’t have anything to do with a woman being your boss—this is not the kingdom. In the kingdom, it’s the order of God to protect and defend against the enemy. Everything other than the kingdom, a woman may be your boss and you may give an account to a woman.
A woman who prophesies, as an exceedingly good gift of prophesy, may prophesy better than a man or more competently than a man, but she doesn’t become a prophet—she’s a prophetess. Hers is the operation of the gift of “helps”, not the gift of “governments”. It’s not how well you can prophesy that makes you a prophet. It is whether or not the grace to impart the confidence that you can hear God has been given to you by God, through the Holy Spirit, for the church. That’s the difference. That carries the responsibility of being corrected, and perhaps at times even corrected publicly. God will not permit a woman to be corrected publicly and God will not permit a woman to be corrected by another man. If she’s to be corrected, she’s to be corrected by a husband or the one who has authority to watch over her soul, if she’s not a married woman who’s husband is a believer. That raises a number of questions concerning who should be the one that watches over the soul of another. We’ll leave that for another discussion but it indeed is a relevant discussion. These things were spoken to help bring order and clarity to the government of God. Now as you go forward in the understanding of these things, it is my hope that you will walk in the peace and good order of God’s glorious kingdom, which was meant to rescue us from the control of the enemy and present us blameless to the coming of our Lord. I’m Sam Soleyn, God bless you and I’ll see you again.
I Corinthians 13:12
I John 4:4