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Cindye Coates serves as a pastor/teacher at Solomon's Porch Family Worship Center where her husband, Stan Coates is Sr. Pastor and Founder.  Together they have served in ministry for 20 years.  Cindye is presently in postgraduate school earning a doctorate in ministry.  She is also a respected community leader who ran for the Georgia State Legislature in 2004.
 

GOVERNMENT OF THE GARDEN

by Cindye Coates M.Div.

Interesting how close we are at war to The Garden of Eden. It’s actually located beneath the Persian Gulf (meaning: the great divide) just south of Iraq. It’s as though a mystery waits to be discovered beneath the waters of obsolete teaching. Perhaps if we look to Genesis, we will find the original blue print of how God designed Kingdom Order and a Redemptive Government!

The key word here is redemptive! Everything basically boils down to the cross and what was accomplished in the atonement. Did Jesus offer Himself as a ransom so that there would be a reinstating of the order of Moses?  Did Jesus shed His blood to secure hierarchal Judaism?  The Gospel is far more powerful than any old wineskin. Jesus repossessed the Garden in His death, burial and resurrection.

In the beginning God made all things good. In the Garden there was no pollution, no racism, no poverty, no sickness, no confusion, no separation from God. There was righteousness, peace, and joy. The Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit walked with Adam (who was both male & female).  Together Adam (and Eve) had intimacy with their Creator and with each other.  This was God’s original Plan that Jesus has redeemed!

When God created mankind in His likeness, male and female, He did not create the female to do laundry because they had no clothes.  He did not create the female to cook because they were eating raw fruit, seeds and herbs.  The woman and the man were designed to walk as one, co-laboring together with equal authority and fellowshipping with God.

This principle applies to government.  The focus is not on gifting, it’s on relationship to God and revelation of authority and responsibility.  Notice neither Adam or Eve were ever children.  They were “born” adults, mature, and able to reproduce.  This is the foundation of a Christ-Centered Effective Government also known as Kingdom Order. 

State of the Union

When God created mankind in His image, both male and female, what was the state of their union?  It was that of equal but opposite.  They were Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  In other words God did not elect 2 men to oversee the Earth.  He elected a man and a women who would reproduce after their kind more men and more women who would rule the earth together in the same manor.

After the fall, hierarchal government was instituted to subjugate and dominate people, as there was a flaw in the integrity of man.  If God had intended to continue this mode of operation, He would not have delivered us from it.  If it's not broke, don’t fix it.  Right?  This system was not God's best.  It was not Plan A. It was Plan B. God is not a “Plan B” God.  His ways are perfect. 

If we don't understand the Garden, we will not understand the Kingdom.  The Garden is the blue print of God's plan for all things.  It’s vital to understand the union of Adam and Eve as the founding elders of the Garden.  If God had intended to have just one overseer, He would had not allowed Adam to share His authority with Eve in the Garden.

It was not good for Adam to “run things” alone.  He needed a partner to help him out.  The word “help meet” (KJV) or “helper” (NKJV) in Genesis 2:18 is the same word “Help” in Psalms 121 : 1,2!

And the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help?  My Help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.  Psalms 121:1,2

The word for “help” is ezer and is does not mean inferior to.  God refers to Himself as our Help, our Ezer.  He personified His ezer in the form of Eve in the Garden and He called this good!

The Cyclopes

Recently I attended a huge mega church in which “the Bishop” (The 0verseer) would take the stage amongst a sea of people.  The site was magnificent.  It reminded me of Jesus feeding the five thousand.  As I was sitting in the sea of on lookers, I kept seeing a Cyclopes in the Spirit every time this bishop would take the stage.  I was puzzled.  I asked the Lord what this meant (if anything)?  He responded, “ I have set two (2) eyes in every body not one!”

I was awakened to a brand new thinking.  The Lord had summoned me to this meeting to expose a dynamic that had taken hold in our city that was not reflecting the Government in the Garden! The Lord allowed me to see what really was.  This form of government was not that of the blue print.  This form of Church government was that of a hierarchal system that had been instated due to the fall.  This could not reveal the fullness of Christ as only half of the image of Christ was leading the people. 

I asked the Lord about Moses.  “Lord, didn’t you set a man Moses over your people to rule over them?”

The Lord quickly reminded me that the “Government of Moses” reflected the Government of Egypt.  Moses was the “Pharaoh” (leader) of the Hebrews.  This was a pre-redemptive government.  This was not instituted in the Garden! This was instituted in Egypt and in the wilderness. 

We are the redeemed and we must say so! This revelation of the Government of the Garden will revolutionize the world.  God never intended one man to rule over His people.  This fosters immaturity and dilutes the impact that we have in all dimensions of life; be it the family, the Church, the Civil Government, the environment, the economy, world peace, etc… Kingdom Order originated in the Garden.  That was, and is, and will forever be God’s perfect Plan! Jesus has liberated us from pre-redemptive governmental systems.  We no longer have to be “governmentally” challenged!

Elders in the Garden

There are 3 types of “Church Government” today:

The Episcopacy-- weighted authority given to a certain individual. 
The Congregational-- ruled by a congregation of varied maturity. 
The Presbytery-- overseen by elders, mature leadership.

In Genesis we notice that God did not set a bishop to oversee things.  He did not set up a congregation to rule things either.  He set up a presbytery of 2 elders who would have reproduced more elders had they not handed over their authority to the devil.  Thanks be to God, Jesus redeemed that authority and is calling for elders today!

Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden to oversee it.  To put it in “Greek” terminology…they were a God-elected presbuteros (presbytery) of elders.  They were given the responsibility to oversee as bishops (episkopos), to aid and feed as shepherds (poimen), all of which are plural! The only one Who should hold the title “The Bishop”, “ The Rabbi/Teacher”, “The Pastor/Shepherd” is The Lord! We are His multiplicity.  We are His dispensation. 

Both Adam and Eve were elders who represented the Godhead.  It took both to reflect the authority of God.  Civil rulers and family leaders receive their authority from above.  The same is true of Church leaders/officers.  The healthiest churches are those who have male and female elders, who aid the people of God, equipping the saints for the work of their ministry!

The local Church should model a functional family.  This does not mean that the elders have to be married to each other.  There are cases when single ministers plant churches.  In this case it is a good thing to trust God to raise up men and women to lead and equip.  The presence of both genders in leadership will bring a balance and wholeness, provided these individuals are submitted to the authority of Jesus and live a surrendered life before God!

Qualifications of Elders

Both Timothy & Titus wrote of the qualifications of elders.  They provide the confirmation of two witnesses so that these qualifications are established.  (1Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-8)

If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: (Message Translation)

1. A leader must be well thought of,

2. Committed to his/ her spouse,

3. Cool and collected,

4. Accessible, and hospitable.

5. He/she must me able to teach,

7. Not be over fond of wine,

8. Not pushy but gentle,

9. Not thin-skinned, easily offended,

10. Not money-hungry.

11. He/ she must handle his/her own affairs well.

12. Attentive to his/her own children and having their respect.  For if someone is unable to handle his/her own affairs, how can he/she take care of God's Church?

13. He/she must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his/her head and the devil trip them up.

14. Outsiders must think well of him/her, or else the devil will figure out a way to lure him/her into his trap.

I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done.  Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions.  As you select them, ask, "Is this person well-thought-of?  Are his/her children believers?  Do they respect their parents and stay out of trouble?" It's important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God's house, be looked up to--not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry.  He/she must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on themselves.  (Titus 1:5-8 The Message)

Constants vs. Variables:

In order to understand and apply present-day Truth, we must understand the difference between constants and variables! A constant is the absolute; that which is unchanging, irrevocable and eternal.  The variable is that which pertains to culture, customs and temporal things.  So often we learn variables as if they were constants.  This is vital! To be unable to distinguish between constants and variables will cause many to remain smothered and dwarfed by a religious system, never coming into the perfect place of life and liberty!

Example: “the husband of one wife”

1 Timothy 3:2 lists one of the qualifications of an elder is to be the husband of one wife.  So many people use this one scripture to disqualify women and divorced men for the office of an elder.  This would be funny if it weren't so ridiculous.  Let's stop just a minute and apply some cerebral Christianity!

First of all, this was written in a time when men had several wives at a time.  God was requiring a model of devotion and consummation to only One.  Women did not have multiple husbands, that's why man were addressed here.  Also, this could not disqualify divorced people because God Himself has been divorced.  (Jeremiah. 3:8) So in this verse, the Covenant is the Constant; the gender/marital status is the variable!

Back to the Garden

A while back Joni Mitchell wrote a song that was recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with a famous lyric hook…“and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.” There is much Truth in this 3rd Day declaration.  It is imperative that we fix our minds on Redemption.  Jesus bought back Paradise.  He bought back God’s original blueprint that were given over to the devil.  I will go as far to say that if it was not in the Garden (prior to The Fall), it's not in the Gospel!

So we wait.  We wait on God when in reality He is waiting on us to process that which has already been possessed for us! He is waiting for the redeemed of the Lord Jesus to say so and model the leadership that was given to both Adam (who was male & female) in Gen 1:27:

1. Be Fruitful.

2. Multiply and become numerous.

3. Replenish the earth with abundance.

4. Subdue & bring under subjection.

5. Have dominion & authority ruling over everything that lives.

Jesus is "held in the heavenlies" until the restoration of all things. Acts 3:21

 

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