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Proverbs 6:6-8
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:  
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,  
Provides her [food] in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”

Here the Holy Spirit directs us to a lesson in nature.

He directs us to the ants; to consider the ways of the ants, so that we
might increase in wisdom. It is quite a specific lesson, and the lesson is divided into two main parts.

#1. In their work, the ants have no guide, no overseer, no ruler.
#2. But in spite of this, they provide their food [along with a wise reserve,] in the time of opportunity. They are working without having to be "told" what to do.

As a ‘people’, the ants have a zeal – a tremendous zeal -- that is born of instinct, and it is by “instinct” that God directs them. Therefore they are not without discipline and order.

The danger that is commonly seen with this lesson, is that if the church were to abandon the ‘normal’ leadership structure, then we would be left with chaos. The people would become independent “atoms”; everyone would do their own thing, and nothing significant would ever get done. And yes, without the Holy Spirit, this must be inevitable.

The Holy Spirit would have us feel our need of one another.  He would have us feel our need of unity and organization, for the purpose of reaching the lost. With the ants, it is instinct that constrains them [that presses them forward, imparting the zeal that is necessary for their survival]; but for the Christian the constraining power is love. Love in the heart is the only power that will move us forward, and truly unite us as a working body of people.

The truly humble Christian will look for the hand of experience; they will seek the bonds of fellowship, knowing that “where no counsel is, the people fall” – that is, crumble into factions and come to nothing.  

- - - - -

"For years I have been instructed that there is danger, constant danger,
that our brethren will look to their fellow men for permission to do
this or that, instead of looking to God. Thus they become weaklings, and
permit themselves to be bound with man-made restrictions disapproved by
God. The Lord can impress minds and consciences to do His work under
bonds to Him, and in a spirit of fraternity [i.e. unity] that is in accordance
with the principles of His law. . . .  (Testimonies Vol. 8 p. 232)

“No human being is to seek to bind other human beings to himself, as if
he were to control them, telling them to do this, and forbidding them to
do that, commanding, dictating, acting like an officer over a company
of soldiers. This is the way the priests and rulers did in Christ's day,
but it is not the right way. After the truth has made the impression
upon hearts, and men and women have accepted its teachings, they are to
be treated as the property of Christ, not as the property of man. In
fastening minds to yourself, you lead them to disconnect from the Source
of their wisdom and sufficiency. Their dependence must be wholly in
God; only thus can they grow in grace.”  (Gospel Workers p. 484)

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In my view, the General Conference effectively came into existence for the following reasons (and I think the reasons given are still current):

"As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable." (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 26)

- - - - -

"Some have advanced the thought that, as we near the close of time, every child of God will act independently of any religious organization. But I have been instructed by the Lord that in this work there is no such thing as every man's being independent." (Testimonies Vol. 9 p. 258) This was part of a manuscript read before the delegates at the 1909 General Conference Session.

An interesting example of this deceptively dangerous thought (that we will act independently of religious organization) was expressed in early 1844 by George Storrs, (the same man that brought precious light to the church regarding the state of the dead). This can sound really good, but we need to be careful...

"Take care that you do not seek to organize another church. No church can be organized by man's invention but what it becomes Babylon the moment it is organized. The Lord organized his own church by the strong bonds of love. Stronger than that cannot be made; and when such bonds will not hold together the professed followers of Christ, they cease to be his followers, and drop off from the body as a matter of course." (Quoted in "The Great Second Advent Movement", p. 344 by J.N. Loughborough)
Thank you for these very relevant quotes. I have seen a great deal of ambition and pride in a lot of our leaders. It's as if we have been infiltrated by men who covet a position of authority. And if there's ever a dispute, like if a Deacon is teaching non-sense in a Sabbath school class, and not the Word of God, and you faithfully show him his error, with all Scripture and all doctrine, and he kicks you out of the class, well you can expect the Pastor will take sides with the one who is in error, because he was the one who was ordained.

This is not the way it should be. The Word of God is the 2nd person of the Godhead and should be seen as the highest authority on earth. He is among us right now, right here, to settle all matters:

Duet. 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it [is] not hidden from thee, neither [is] it far off.
30:12 It [is] not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
30:13 Neither [is] it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
30:14 But the word [is] very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

When Paul quotes this, instead of "the word", he says "Christ":

10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down [from above]:)
10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

That's because Christ is the Word of God made flesh: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"", (John 1:14).

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word of God is the ultimate representative of God, Himself.

But men show themselves to be idolaters when they see an ordination, or a person, or any other thing, as having greater authority that the Word of God.
And why do men to get together to make decisions on matters of faith and doctrine, and practice, and church policy, without consulting the Scriptures? Maybe some don't realize that the Scriptures deal with everything:

Ecc. 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.
1:10 Is there [any] thing whereof it may be said, See, this [is] new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
1:11 [There is] no remembrance of former [things]; neither shall there be [any] remembrance of [things] that are to come with [those] that shall come after.

1 Cor. 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man...

There's nothing you will ever have to deal with that hasn't already been dealt with in Scripture.
Except that now, with the benefit of research in biology over the past few centuries, we know that the ants DO have a "guide, overseer, ruler."

And we know that this guide/overseer/ruler is a queen (female).

Does this change our understanding of the text?
If so, how?

If you say so. But how can this queen be an "overseer" if she is way under them? She may give chemical messages for what she needs, but I think it's mostly instinct that tells them what to do. But I guess you could call that instinct a if you call instinct a "guide / overseer / ruler" if you wanted to.

But if you study animals and see a alfa-male wolf leading a pack of wolves and dominating them, then that's what you call a ruler. Or a dominant bull, buck, or goat, or anything. Compared to this, the ants have no such thing.


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