Hebrew priest blowing the Shofar hornChurch Government

Leader or Servant?

Before presenting the scriptural findings, let's examine the English meaning of two words, leader and servant. In Webster's College Dictionary: a leader is (1) a person or thing that leads; directing, commanding, or guiding head as of a group or activity (2) a horse harnessed before all others in the same hitch or as one of the two horses in the foremost span. A servant is defined as (1) a person employed to perform services, esp. household duties, for another; (2) a person employed by a government and (3) a person devoted to another, or to a cause, creed, etc."

In Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word nagid (H5057) means a commander, captain, governor, noble, prince, ruler, and chief. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), nagid is translated four times as leader or leaders. (1 Ch. 12:27; 13:1; Is. 55:4; 2 Ch. 32:21).

In the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), the Greek word hadegos (G3595) means a conductor, teacher, and guide. That word is translated just once as leaders in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. "He called the multitude and said to them, 'Hear, and understand! Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man but that which comes out of the mouth. This defiles a man.' Then came his disciples, and said to Him, 'Do you know that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?' But He answered and said, 'Every plant, which my heavenly Father has not planted, shall be extirpated. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch.'" (Matt. 15:10-14).

The Hebrew word aser (H833)is also translated once as leaders. "The people turn not unto Him, who smites them. Nor do they seek YHVH Tzaviot. Therefore YHVH will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honorable, He is the head. The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. The leaders of this people cause them to err. They who are led of them are destroyed.'" (Is. 9:13-16) Although Scripture speaks little about leaders, the Bible has much to say about servants, which appears nearly 1000 times. It is translated most often in the KJV as servant(s) from the word ebed (H5650) and the Greek word doulos, which means a voluntary or an involuntary servant (slave). Yah clearly has important messages to give to His people regarding servants.

Let's consider Yah's teachings relative to leaders (servants) as posed in the questions to BYA. "Who are the leaders within BYA (men, women)? "How were they (leaders/servants) chosen?" Yah appoints His leaders and servants. (John 15:16) You have not chosen me. But I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.

Ordained (tithaymee, G5087) means to set, put, or place a person or thing. (Eph. 4:11-12) He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah.

Often called the 5-fold ministries: apostles (apostolos, G652) means one sent; prophet (prophetace, G4396) means an inspired speaker (someone filled with the urge or ability to do something), foreteller, also an interpreter; evangelist (euggeliste, G2099 means a preacher of the gospel often not located in any particular place but travels as a missionary to preach the gospel and establish churches; pastors (poymanem G4166) means a shepherd given of YAH to feed the flock with knowledge and understanding; and teachers (didaskalos, G1320) means an instructor, doctor, master.

(Jer. 3:14-15) "Turn O backsliding children!" says YHVH, "For I am married unto you. I will take you one of a city and two of a family. I will bring you to Zion. I will give you pastors according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."

(Eph 4:13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah.

Yah will ordain His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers until His Plan of Salvation is complete. Unity (henotace, G1775) means oneness, that is, (figuratively) unanimity. (Eph. 4:14-18) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Messiah: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say, therefore, and testify in YHVH that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of Elohim through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

People also appoint leaders and servants.

(Titus1:4-9) To Titus, my own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from Elohim, the Father and Adonai Yahshuah ha Messiach, our Savior. For this cause I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you, if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

(1Tim. 3:1-13) This is a true saying. If a man desires the office of a bishop/overseer, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one who rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For, if a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of Elohim?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good report of them who are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise, the deacons must be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Let these also first be proved, then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so their wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they who use the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Messiah Yahushua. YAH ordains His Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. Yet it is man that ordains elders, bishops, and deacons. Peter, whom Yahshuah made the head apostle understood this concept. Therefore, let us consider how Peter allowed YAH to ordain Mattias to replace Judas, one of the original twelve apostles.

(Acts 1:20-26) For it is written in the book of Psalms, "Let his habitation be desolate. Let no man dwell therein and his bishoprick let another take." Wherefore of these men, who have accompanied us all the time that Adonai Yahshuah went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "You, YHVH, who knows the hearts of all men, show whether of these two you have chosen that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, so that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Also consider how Paul ordained Titus, and teaches him to ordain others:

(Titus1:4-9) To Titus, my own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from Elohim, the Father and Adonai Yahshuah ha Messiach, our Savior. For this cause I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you.

Likewise, consider that in ancient Israel YHVH always chose His apostles, preachers, teachers, evangelist & prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Aaron, the priesthood, Joshua, the judges, etc. On the other hand the elders and the leaders of Israel were always chosen by man.

(Num. 11:16-17) And YHVH said unto Moses, "Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them. Bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation that they may stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there, and I will take of the spirit which is upon you and will put it upon them. They shall bear the burden of the people with you that you bear it not yourself alone.

(Deut. 1:12-15) How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, your burden and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And you answered me, and said, "The thing which you have spoken is good for us to do." So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.

Note well that YHVH only put His spirit upon those elders who Moses had chosen.


Apostle / shalach    H7971 to send away,    Apostolos G652 one who is sent
Bishop / paqiyd    H6496 superintendent, overseer    Episkopos G1985 an overseer; superintendent
Deacon(ness) / 'ebed   H5650 a servant    Diakonos G1247 wait at table; to wait on
Elder / zaqen      H2205 an aged man    Presbuteros G4245 a senior
Evangelist / basar    H1319 a messenger    Euaggelizo G2097 announcer of good news
Minister / sharath    H8334 to attend, minister, serve Leitourgos G3011 public servant; benefactor
Pastor / ra'ah      H7462 tend a flock, shepherd    Poimen G4166 a shepherd
Priest / kohen     H3548 one officiating    Hiereus G2409 a priest
Prophet / nabiy    H5030 inspired man    Prophetes G4396 proclaims inspired message
Prophetess / nebiy'ah   H5031 poetess, or wife of prophet Prophetis G4398 female foreteller/inspired woman
Teacher / yarah    H3384 to instruct; point out, Didaskolos G1320 an instructor
Teacher / biyn    H995 to give understanding    Toparches LXX only guardian of morals & law

Non-Biblical origin: Rabbi / rab H7229 Chief, Lord, Master (Chaldean) Rhabbi G4461 "my master"
    The title "Rabbi" originated in the Babylon exile and was specifically prohibited by Messiah (cf. Matt. 23:8)
Note that the above Biblically-authorized offices are servanthood positions distinguished by humblesness, in contrast with the title "rabbi" characterized by haughtiness in its very definition. It is not authorized by the Torah and was developed only in later times in Babylon as an originally Babylonian word. There is no accredited institution authorizing the rabbinical degree within the Messianic movement, and it has been therefore suggested that those using this title are doing so fraudulently. See the Messianic "Jewish New Testament Commentary" by David H. Stern, p. 68-69, and Mishkan #2 (Winter 1985): "The Quest For A Messianic Theology Statement," pp. 1-19. Hebrew Christian scholar Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum has stated that the New Testament prohibits Messianic Jewish congregations from calling their leaders 'rabbis'.