Understanding Your Spiritual Rank
by Dr. John Tetsola

When we study the New Testament, we find that God never sent an individual out alone. He sent out apostolic teams. These teams weren't sent because they were more righteous, but because they had more authority. Clear understanding of our differing leadership levels and power of authority is something that the church lacks wisdom in.

    …Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
    Daniel 10:12b-13

In military rank and order, a general outranks a colonel. The general can be ignorant and timid, yet still outrank a colonel because of the office he holds. In the Kingdom of God, princes only operate according to their level of leadership and measure of authority. The above Scripture sheds light on this subject, and reveals how a righteous angel sent in response to Daniel's prayer was held up for 21 days because a demonic prince outranked him in authority. The demonic prince (with the ability to withstand God's messenger) certainly wasn't more righteous than the angel, so how was he able to withstand him? The answer can be found in the ranking-the demonic prince simply outranked God's righteous angel. Princes only operate according to their assigned measure of authority in the Kingdom of God. Because of this the Bible says that Michael (one of the chief princes) came to help. The Arch-angel Michael's measure of authority surpassed the hindering prince of Persia's, thus freeing God's righteous angel to release God's words to Daniel. .

Clothed by God's Covering Office and Choice

    …This time Joshua the high priest was standing in front of the LORD's angel. And there was Satan, standing at Joshua's right side, ready to accuse him. But the LORD said, "Satan, you are wrong. Jerusalem is my chosen city, and this man was rescued like a stick from a flaming fire." Joshua's clothes were filthy. So the angel told some of the people to remove Joshua's filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, "This means you are forgiven. Now I will dress you in priestly clothes."
    Zechariah 3:1-4 CEV

You're taught in seminary that God does not use an unclean vessel, however as revealed in the above Scripture, this is not true. In the courtroom of heaven, Satan had grounds to dispute the works of Joshua as high priest, but the Lord rebuked and silenced Satan with two words-God's choice. As high priest, Joshua represented Jerusalem or God's elect people put on trial and just barely escaping the fire of God's judgment. The "filthy garments" represent their sins. The "change of raiment" implies restoration to God's favor. Because we are accepted in the beloved and clothed by God's choice, we are not disqualified from the work of the Lord. Besides the mercy of God, being clothed in our ordained office and functioning therein protects us from the rightful accusation of Satan. Just examine yourself and note some of your secret sins. While God is not pleased with you operating in sin, He still uses you. This is because God looks for "a man." It is not just any man, it is the right man. When God gets His man, He does His job through him and ordains his leadership level. This man is not perfect, but he is God's choice and he functions within God's ordained leadership level for his life. When he falls short, he is clothed by God's covering office and choice.

In the courtroom of heaven, the Lord rebuked Satan's charge against Joshua. God's acquittal of Joshua as high priest is not that He did not recognize his sin; it was on the grounds of God's choice. Joshua's clothes were filthy, but God's imputed righteousness prevailed. If the issue rested on our own righteousness, we'd all stand accused. But we're Jehovah's choice. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you…" (John 15:16). Joshua did not ordain himself and represent Jerusalem on his own. He was ordained by God, and his office covered him. Our functioning in our divinely prescribed office and measure helps to keep us clothed and acquitted from demonic accusation, even when we miss it at times.

If you don't understand this principle of God's leadership level, you will have a hard time figuring out why one person can accomplish great exploits for God, even in sin, yet you can try the same strategy and fail. You pray, fast, and tarry for weeks, maybe months. You can try to use every Scripture available, yet accomplish nothing. Why? The reason is the differing levels of leadership-one moves in an apostolic office while the other does not. This reveals why most men of God today can still operate in sin, and yet excel in what they do because most of them stand in the apostolic office. Their office covers them, and not necessarily their private moral lives. The knowledge of your own leadership level can put an end to competition and jealousy because you no longer compete with another man's level of authority. That's liberty and freedom!