Spotlight 5/2017: Honour to whom honour is due
Paying reverence and honour is a fine thing, but it also involves risks. District Apostle Rüdiger Krause from Germany has a clear answer to the question: “Who deserves honour?””
In a German-language Bible dictionary (Biblische Real- und Verbal-Handkonkordanz) written by Friedrich Büchner, it says the following about the terms “glory” and “honour”: “It deeply respects the sovereignty, merit, and virtues which we cherish in the heart without any falsity, and is outwardly raised with words and gestures that are brought to expression in sincere deeds.” This is how mankind should give honour and glory to God. We will likely never reach the sovereignty, merit, and virtues of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, but we still want to try.
Moses, rock, and water
Honouring people, instead of God, can lead to a dead end, such as in the case of Moses. The people of Israel were complaining once again: they had no water. We can read that the community rose up against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 20). This was likely a considerable challenge for the two men. God declared His support for them and promised them to provide water for the people.
God told Moses to assemble the community at the rock and speak to them. Moses did this and said: “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then God provided water for the people, but He also told Moses and Aaron that they would not lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Maybe the two men had hesitated or had given the impression that they themselves could make the water gush forth out of the rock. Whatever the reason was, they had obviously not given glory to God at that moment.
The Priest, the Bishop, and the Apostle
I am reminded of the later Apostles Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss and Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz. Together with the Hamburg congregation they followed Rudolf Rosochaky, who had been called into the Apostle ministry. This displeased the Apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church in England so that the entire congregation, Bishop Schwartz, and Priest Preuss were excommunicated and the two men dismissed from their ministry. Yet, the small Hamburg congregation continued to gather and celebrate divine services. We can assume that most of these would have been celebrated by Bishop Schwartz.
At these meetings, the Holy Spirit called Priest Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuss as an Apostle. We deduce from reports of that time that Bishop Schwartz immediately submitted to this call. Imagine what would have happened if Bishop Schwartz, the higher ranking minister, would have opposed this. Would the New Apostolic Church even exist today? Would this article ever have been written? I do not think so.
The two examples clearly show how serious the consequences can be if we honour people instead of God. Let us therefore give glory to the triune God.
Photo: Oliver Rütten