Followers After Themselves

Neil Girrard

Paul told the elders (Greek presbuteros and episkopoi) of the ekklesia of Ephesus, “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

This prophetic statement was fulfilled precisely in the first and second centuries. By 200 a.d., every major city in the Roman empire had a bishop standing “in the place of Christ” (Ignatius of Antioch) over the ekklesia (assembly) of that city. From the ranks of the elders (presbuteros [ 4245 ]) men (episkopos [ 1985 ]) rose up and placed themselves in a superior, elevated position over the rest of the flock and, by practice and teaching which became inviolable tradition, demanded that the rest of the people – saints, deacons and the other elders – submit to their rule. That Jesus had forbidden this style of leadership was overlooked entirely.

The KJV and NKJV’s usage of “perverse things” here is also somewhat misleading. That is, it paints a picture – much like the usage of “iniquity” for “lawlessness” (Greek, anomia [ 458 ]) – of blatant evil and sin. But the Greek word here is diastrepho [ 1294 ] and it simply means “to distort, turn aside, especially to oppose or plot against the saving purposes and plans of God, to turn aside from the right path, to pervert, corrupt.” It is not that the bishops rose up from the ranks of the elders and deliberately began to encourage outright sin and rebellion against God but rather that the bishops rose up from the ranks of the elders (much like Korah rose up against Moses) and, under the deception of “benevolent leadership” and their pre-supposed “delegated authority” purportedly from God to direct the actions of the people, caused the people to depart from the right path of following God. Instead of teaching the people to hear God and obey Him for themselves, they taught most that the people needed other men to stand between them and God, men who would listen to God and then interpret for and to explain and declare to the people the words they said were from God.

That much got lost in this “translating” the words of God from the man to the people is an understatement to say the least. One reason God hates the teachings and practices of the Nicolaitans is because it inherently distorts what He is saying to His people. Another is that the personal relationship He desires to have with His people is given to a man who is incapable of fulfilling the role he has taken on and both God and His people are robbed of the intimacy they would otherwise enjoy with one another. Let every “pastor”-pope (or whatever other title or role the Nicolaitan clergy operate under) tremble at what he has done!

But drawing followers after one’s self is not limited to the Nicolaitan clergy nor even to those who inadvertently follow in the more subtle forms of their practices. The one who ceases to hunger and pursue only truth and begins to seek out people who will just agree with him (whether that be with his opinions, with his or his denomination’s or his favorite teacher’s teachings, is immaterial) is also and only drawing followers after himself. The love of the truth must go deeper than one’s desire to have like-minded people in one’s company! The man who has lost his love of the truth and replaced it with a desire for “fellowship” with people who agree with him stands in a very precarious place indeed.

God’s Spirit places within us the truth of God and His work is to lead us into all truth that we need to live the abundant and eternal life that God gives through Christ Jesus. The man who replaces the work of the Spirit with the work of some man, no matter how well intentioned or credentialed that man may be, has traded way down and he is volunteering to come under strong delusion and he is on his way to returning to the ranks of those who will perish for all of eternity. It is those who refuse to submit to sound doctrine (the real, genuine, right and true way of following Christ) who require their ears to be simultaneously soothed and stimulated by the eloquent words spoken by the man whose aim it is to draw followers after himself.

Let he who has ears hear.

Acts 20:30
Bible Bullets

I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

Site Panel π Home π MNQs π New Posts π Songs π Books π Series π Articles π PDFs
Scriptures π Greek Dictionary π Top 25 Scriptures π Top 50 Writings π Twisted Scriptures π Bible Bullets
Authors π Subjects π Titles π Links π Donations