There are two basic ways that a church might be organized:
1) Mortal men negotiate and initiate an organization to the praise, and worship, and glory of God–this is good; or
2) Christ appoints prophets and apostles, ordaining them with authority to act in His name, and as Heaven directs, the Church that bears His name is organized–this is best!
Not only is the second scenario superior to the first, it is precisely the way Christ has manifest His Order–His Church. Christ’s kingdom on earth is established from the Top down, and not from the bottom up:
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you” (John 15: 16).
The Bible gives abundant witness to the orderly ways of God, and how Christ has directly authorized and empowered prophets and apostles to act in His name.
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16: 19).
Unless a man is given the “keys of the kingdom” from Christ or from another person who has been ordained by Christ, or from a person empowered through a chain of unbroken ordinations originating in Christ, that man has no claim upon the priesthood authority of God.
Paul reminds us that no man can take “this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5: 4). And how did Paul know this orderly way of Heaven? By direct experience! Paul received the authority of his apostleship through the tangible touch of ordination, by those previously empowered by Jesus Christ:
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Act 13: 2, 3).
Note the Source that initiated the “call” to Paul–“the Holy Ghost.” This is the order of Heaven: Authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ is exclusively given, and passed down, by the laying on of hands; this is the orderly way of ordination:
“And [Jesus] ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3: 14, 15).
Because Peter was given authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ, this apostle was empowered to perform the very same miracles that Christ performed:
“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; . . . Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3: 2, 6).
Notice how Peter invoked the name of “Jesus Christ” in performing this miracle. Those who observed the healing of this man “above forty years old” (Acts 4: 22) and “lame from his mother’s womb” . . . “were filled with wonder and amazement.” Peter was quick to acknowledge the divine Source of power that worked through him (Acts 3: 2, 10, 12).
The ways of God are manifest to the children of men according to His direction and order. Christ has established His Church on earth today, and has ordained twelve living apostles to serve at the foundation of His Church (Eph. 2: 20), just as he did during His mortal ministry:
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3: 14, 15). “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15: 16).