Cd. Juárez, Chih, Mx; July 31/
2005; 25 Tammuz, 5765
Used By God Or Abused By Your Leader?
For a long time I did not send my bulletin. I have been passing through
different crisis and decisions. I'm still unemployed, but I'm learning the
meaning of receiving G-d's miracles as HE wants to perform them. About a
year ago, a believer prayed for me "Do the miracle my brother needs". I
thought it was to get out from unemployment, but this prayer has been
answered, because he has miraculously sustained me. I'm searching out if I
have "redeemed" my time. There are situations where G-d can work only if you
live it out the circumstance. I'm not going to cry for the same motive I
cried in the past. My training leads me to avoid problems. But G-d has
another way of doing things.
Donia Caro is busy on sales. She still is struggling with her eyes, but she
is joyful. On August 7, she will become 70. She is busy working in the L-
rd's kingdom. Last week she helped preparing lunch for children in a
Vacation Bible School. She's teaching a Bible class, and probably another
class will be opened.
Just entering in our main theme, I want to share something painful I
When you walk with G-d, you assume that those who introduce themselves as
God's ministers or apostles, they are really looking to exalt and glorify
the name of Messiah. In my walking, I found out that this is not always true.
Many of you are aware that the messianic Jewish synagogue I attended for 4
years, it closed its doors in November 2003. The leader obtained an
employment in another place. My bulletins have been telling my wanderings.
In October 2004 I began attending a new messianic congregation. It depends
of the Church of God denomination. The name of the Pastor is Yossi Fuller. For those who are not familiar with
denominations they are part of the Pentecostal movement. Just a question
arises... How is it that a protestant denomination wants to have a synagogue
and not a church?
Perhaps they want to increase its membership or they really want to create a
I enjoyed the following.-
It was an English speaking congregation (almost 99% of the time, I'm
The leader is really gifted when he directs worship.
Many attendants were military people in active duty.
There is Oneg (food) after the Shabbat service.
The leader reads Hebrew fluently.
During the fellowship I met wonderful people. Many of them, gentiles. Some
believers were rediscovering the Jewish roots of their faith. But some
things were not working...
When you arrive here, the leader shows great interest that you are born
again believer. He does this on the Oneg. This action gave the image he was
interest about people having the life of Messiah in them.
By January 2005 my mother began attending. She remembered her conversational
English skills. But she's a very strong opinionated Jewish woman.
By February 2005, a Torah scroll arrived from Israel. There was a festival
one Shabbat. It is a great honor, to receive this blessing for the
community. The first part of the service was wonderful. But I did not like
the second part. The bishop of the denomination took advantage and raised
the level of the leader: From exhorter to ordained pastor. I was dumbfounded.
The next Shabbat, there was a special meeting to receive new members in the
congregation. At the end of the service 90% of the people walked to the
front. The leader emphasized their responsibility they were acquiring
(support financially, see the wellbeing of the other members, and
faithfulness in attendance). I was surprised when the leader led these
people to make an oath of fidelity to the congregation/denomination. A man
and a woman were selected as new elders. Donia Caro and I strongly disagreed
with the oath. Only 3 people remained sitting at the pew not asking to
From that point on I felt "Neither my mother nor I belong to the club".
Other things began to arise. The Elders were required to pick 0up some guests
for the services. They opened their houses for Erev Shabbat. They were
demanded to get food for the Oneg, They took turns to teach children and
adults. They must be present in ALL services during the week, beyond their
job duties or professional obligations. In few words, the leader's control
each day was clearer.
By mid June 2005, it was the first business meeting. Points of discussion
were finances and the need of more tithes. But the leader announced that the
two elders renounced to the membership and to their positions. The leader
told the congregation he ignored the motives. To create more pressure he
compared the facilities of the church we were using (an old building) with
the new facilities of a messianic "cult" in town. They are blessed, why
Another Shabbat I asked for the two elders. Again the negative answer.
Meanwhile the Holy Spirit put a burden on me to contact these elders. One
Thursday at the end of June I contacted them personally.
The temperature in the street was about 105o F, but the animosities with
them were 800o F!
They had long faces. Faces of abused persons. They share with me lot of
details. One of the sons designed the web pages for the congregation, free
of charge. One day the leader arrived at 4:00 pm and left at 1:00 am! In
some hours the teenager needed go to school. This young man has been abused.
He thought he was working for G-d's kingdom, but he worked out for the
dreams and purposes of the leader.
As the meeting was unfolding, all the control techniques were exposed.
Circumstances of shame and guilt were used for controlling them. They
exposed that the "brand new" young meetings were workshops where the leader
exposed their sexual experiences. That's why the praising band only outlived
Their meetings with the Bishop of the denomination never occurred.
Other Jewish friend, he confronted this leader of not doing the right
things. The leader answered that he can make public some private issues that
can put my friend in problems with the Law. This leader use private
information as weapon to destroy the one that is out of his control.
For that reason my mother and I decided left the congregation publicly. Some
dear friends still attend there. G-d on his time will take them out too.
You can see in the Bible a very similar story. - Eli and his sons. 1 Samuel
G-d put me to study this Scripture deeper. What happen when the leaders
abused the flock?
In 2:12 we read "Eli's sons were scoundrels with little regard for the
Lord." (Revised English Bible) When I read the original text in Hebrew, my
socks went off because it says, "Eli's sons, Belial's sons." Scripture does
not say they were wicked. But name them as sons of Belial. Belial literally
means "without yoke" or "the one does not accept the yoke of the Law".
Rabbinical literature mentions Satan as Belial. (Just as an interesting
point, the apocryphal book of Jubilees mentions that the Son of Belial shall
appear before the Messiah.)
How Eli's sons earned that title?
- Corrupting his helpers, the young priests. They instructed them to take by
force part of the sacrifice that was not allowed for the priests. The fat
(representing the best) was not consumed by the fire. Is not interesting
that helpers of abusive leaders develop a thwarted mind?
- They had sexual intercourses (fornication) with the women who served G-d
at the Tabernacle. Having not regard for the L-rd, They used His servants as
objects of their possession.
- G-d himself accuses them of sacrilege "They show no respect for my
sacrifices." Worshippers were losing heart by these impious deeds. Just
imagine the hurting hearts, because they were not able to fulfill G-d's Law.
Which were the activities that G-d assigned to the priests (1 Sam 2:28)?
a. Go up to the altar.- Presenting worshippers' sacrifices and offerings.
Revise if the sacrifice fulfilled the requirements imposed by G-d. Search
out if the worshipper understood what he was doing or what his motivations
b. Burned incense.- The altar of incense was in front of the Holy of Holies.
On different parts of Scripture, I see incense compared to the prayers of
the saints. Part of the responsibility of the priests was to direct the
nation towards a prayer life to G-d.
c. Carrying the ephod.- Ephod means an object as a piece of clothing. The
ephod was made of fine linen. It represents purity and Holiness before the G-
d of Israel. Personal purity and holiness is reflected externally, but it
must be lived out internally.
What are the wages that the Almighty one set for his priests? Numbers 18 we
have the list.
* Grain offerings, purification offerings, or reparation offerings were for
the male priests.
* Special gifts were for the family of the officiating priest.
* The first fruits of the harvest.
* The money of redemption of the firstborn.
* Besides the spoils from war.
In G-d's economy the needs of the priests were covered. Their portions were
from the best of Israel, but G-d has HIS unique portion that he does not
As I was studying, I did not find any reference of G-d trying to contact or
talk with Ophni and Phineas. But God contacted Eli 3 times:
a. 2:22 Eli heard the bad reputation among the Israelites concerning his
b. 2:27 G-d sent a prophet, telling the punishment over his descendents.
c. 3: G-d talks with Samuel, being very young, confirming the sentence for
Some questions were on my mind:
Why G-d did not talk with Eli's sons, if they were the sinners and mature
Poor Eli! He was an old man, why G-d did not leave him relaxed the last part
of his life?
As I see in Scripture, you can and must questioning your congregational
leaders. I know there are material, building or financial needs. But if it
is towards the plans, expectations and dreams of the leader you can question
him. G-d always confirms his servants.
I finish with what the Bible tells about Samuel as servant:
a. On the service of the Almighty. (This phrase is repeated a couple times.)
b. He wore the linen ephod.
c. He heard G-d's voice directly.
d. There was not doubt about God's calling over Samuel as prophet- He
e. The word of Samuel had authority over all Israel. 4:1
Are your leaders confirmed by G-d?
Do they hear God's voice?
Do they have G-d's authority?
Beware! You can believe you are serving G-d... but you are in the path of
men's abuse. If G-d has given word for your leader, don't be afraid to
exhort him. If the leader does not want hear, my advise is that you look
after another place to serve G-d. Because God's judgment begins on his
Household (1 Peter 4:7)...
I want to hear your opinions and experiences.
Carlos O. Perez Hurtado