THE NECK MINISTRY
BY: ROBERT D. TORANGO
One truth that has helped me to change my walk and vision in God is the revelation that we are becoming what we preach. It is not enough to preach about salvation, praise, joy or life. Now we must become these things. 2 Corinthians 3:18 gives us the order of this evolvement.
2 Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (KJV)
We behold, and we keep beholding until we become what we see. I see Jesus clothed with the glory of the Father and if I stay on course and keep my eyes wide open to His glory I will be changed. I will BE. I will BE praise, salvation, glory, honor, majesty, life, a song in the night, etc., etc., What a transformation is taking place! From corruptible to incorruption, from the old into the new, from earthly things to heavenly things, He is changing me. But into what? I am afraid I find myself at the same loss of knowledge of what to call this new man as the Apostle John was when He wrote:
John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (KJV)
One reason we are at such a loss of clarity on how to describe this form of new man has to do with the complex subject matter. After all, this is God we are talking about! Great God Almighty if you will! Who can fully describe His form? He has so many features and dimensions only a fool could say with confidence His form is this or that. Maybe John understood this more than all of us and therefore his candid admittance of ignorance concerning the complete image of God. One thing John seemed very sure of is that whatever the form is that we become, when we are finished we will be LIKE Him! Aha! How shall we become like Him? Through seeing Him as He IS. Remember, the way we see now is through a glass darkly. We must see Him through all our spiritual senses, not just sight. You may not understand this point if you have had perfect vision all your life. I have been labeled legally blind ever since I was 3 or 4 years old because of my poor eyesight. Notice, I’m not totally blind where you see nothing at all, but without thick glasses I could see something but I couldn’t tell you what. Just blurred images and blended colors. As happens with most handicaps that afflict the young, I adapted to my poor vision and developed an acute awareness of things around me. I developed other senses, some of which I lacked explanation for, seeing as to how they didn’t seem to be listed among the five known senses. I loved to play baseball and football and basketball and tried to do it with my glasses on, as I couldn’t see without them. But I was constantly breaking them in our rough, no holds barred, sandlot games. So, I started taking them off after my father convinced me something else would be broken if I came home one more time with a pair of broken glasses! As a result, I started to “feel” the football rather than see it when it was passed and I sort of “knew” where the hoop was, rather than aiming for what I actually saw. I became good enough to go from the last one picked for a team to where eventually I was captain and did the picking myself, with my glasses on of course! This is the reason why I understand how John could have trouble “seeing” the image of God but he could readily “know” the likeness. The total “vision” of God’s image was a blur but His likeness could be felt as much as seen.
This brings us to the difference between form and function. We are made in the image and likeness of God according to the Scripture. The human body is a pattern of both the form and function of God. Much of the form is hidden from view. All that is seen usually is what is on the surface. But the majority of what we are made up of is under the skin in the form of organs and tissues and chemicals. Now to clarify my point of feeling versus seeing, I have never seen the form of my heart with my naked eyes but I can put my hand on my chest and feel the function of it any time I want. I’m glad my heart has a form to it but if you asked me what I was most glad for I would say its function!
Bringing this all into focus for us in our walk in God today I would pose this question to us. Yes, we are “becoming” something but what happens after we become? Is there a purpose to our “becoming?” In other words, are we thinking we are going to continue to BE and not have the obligation to DO? There is life after arrival! Staying with the pattern of the temple that we are, we can observe that certain forms of organs are determined by their function. The eye is a prototype of today’s video technology. It is a highly complex camera that has been in existence since man was first created. Its features are: automatic focus; digital colorization; automatic adjustment for light variations; dual camera vision, that is computer integrated into a single image, and much more. All this in a size that fits into two little sockets in your head. The ears provide the highest quality of Dolby Stereo Surround Sound available anywhere. If kept cleaned and oiled they can pick up a wide range of varying decibels of sound and deliver them to the brain static free.
You can see how each form in our body is designed for a specific function and there are as many different forms as there are functions. Therefore, we can understand why the Lord cautions us about demanding others around us to look and act just like we do. Most of the time we expect others to preach and see what we preach and see. Whereas, they may be formed differently for a different function than us. God help us to release each vessel to be what God has fashioned them to be. Some to honor, others to dishonor, some to strengthen through encouragement, others to strengthen through trial and tribulation. Some are comely, and others are uncomely. But all are God’s.
I believe nothing is created out of chance or fate, but all is created with a divine design. Everything in the earth and heavens were created by our Father with a designed form and function. The important thing to understand is that whatever God creates has a design that reveals Him. Of course it all has a natural purpose that it fulfills, but it also has a spiritual purpose that God wants revealed. First the natural, then the spiritual. Within the last 100 years there has been a great advancement in the knowledge of the natural forms and functions of this world of ours. Man has taken the form and functions of Nature and has added his own slant on things. They have learned how to fly like a bird, swim like a fish, travel like a horse, and so on. We, as pioneers of a new and living way, also must look beyond the obvious and see the hidden mystery encoded in the natural things. By looking at the ultimate design, which is the tabernacle that Moses was told to be sure to build according to the pattern shown to him in the mount, which I believe to be the human cell, we can see different ministries represented by natural organs. There are heart ministries, kidney ministries, pancreas ministries, and so on. The scripture says that Christ is the Head and the Church is the Body. The head is the government of the body. It receives information from the body via the nervous system and circulatory system and sends vital information back to the body through the same means.
I am sure you have heard it preached for years, perhaps by me, that we are destined for a headship ministry. Ever since I can remember that has been the goal of everyone that saw a more excellent ministry. After all, it is the Head that symbolizes the Throne of God and it is there where all power is. It speaks of kingship, ruling and reigning, decision making, policy keeping, etc.. I must confess that I have recently had a change of mind on what I believe our role is to be in relation to the ministry of the Head. If you were to ask me what I think is missing in the present Body of Christ in form and function I would say that we need to hear from God Himself and not man. We need a type of communication from God that is pure and undefiled. I recognize that I have fallen in love with the Body of Christ in a way that I have not known before. I am sick and tired of seeing the precious people of the most high God in a state of affliction and neglect. So many people seem to be involved with what they perceive to be their goal of the High Calling. They say, ‘Don’t bother me with your petty problems, I’m in a higher order. Just think positive and eventually the problem will go away. As for me, I’m waiting at home for a lightning bolt to hit me on my head and change me into an authority figure.’
I have had, and sense in others, a bad attitude toward the Church System. To be sure, we know the System is death, but in the belly of that System is a people that are made in the image and likeness of God! They are in Hell and must have a visitation of the Righteous One! Who will go? Certainly not those who have their eyes on a more lofty purpose, i.e., To “become” and “be”. Some people have never learned how to advance in God without standing on someone else’s head! There is, sad to say, in this word of life just as much competition for position and recognition as in any other order. It is the old way of advancement. You get up by putting someone else down. This must stop if we are to fulfill our duty to bring Christ to the world.
So, what do I feel needs to be done in this Spiritual Body of Christ? We need a ministry that is a PART of the Head and also a PART of the Body. There must be a ministry that will bridge the gap between the paralyzed, lifeless Body and the alive, functioning Head. To me, we need to see a NECK MINISTRY. The neck is a part of the body that belongs to both Head and body. Its function is in providing a protected passage of communication and supplies between the Head and Body. It is literally a tunnel through which every nerve fiber and blood vessel must pass unimpeded to the Head in order to have a FUNCTIONING organism. Every command that the Head sends to the Body must go through the neck. If the Head wants the finger to scratch the nose, it sends a message via the spinal cord to the finger and activates the arm and hand to reach the nose and scratch it. This rather simple task is only simple because most of us have a functioning neck. Howbeit, you could wind up with a bloody nose if the communications were to be pinched and you lost control of your muscles. To understand the importance of the neck let me put it this way. The Body can only benefit from the Head as much as the neck will allow. It is for this reason I have purposed in my heart to change my focus from being the Headship to being the Neckship.
God is looking for men and women to express Himself through. When Moses met the Lord God in the burning bush and developed an intimate relationship with Him, one of the unusual things in the relationship was the way Moses could communicate with God. If the Lord wanted to talk with Israel, He spoke through Moses. One incident that magnifies Moses’ relationship with the Lord is in the book of Numbers. There comes a time when Korah waits until Moses is gone and declares that there is no difference between Moses and the others. After all, isn’t Moses just a man like us? He proceeds to cause havoc until Moses gets back and God makes an open display of the difference between Moses and the others. Miriam and Aaron are also caught up in the error of looking at Moses as just another man in the eyes of the Lord. Remember, in the beginning of Moses’ commission by God to go into Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go, Moses was the Lord’s chosen vessel to fulfill the redemption of Israel from bondage. Only after Moses didn’t believe that the Lord could loose his tongue to speak to Pharaoh was Aaron brought into the picture. In the eyes of the Lord, Aaron was plan B, created to make up for the unbelief of Moses. Still, the true channel of communication ran through Moses.
Numbers 12:6-8 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold. Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (KJV)
To be sure, the Lord has and always will go to great extremes to keep a line of communication open with His people. Even if He has to speak in plan B visions, dreams and dark speeches. The Urim and Thummim was given to the High Priest for this very reason. Aaron couldn’t hear from God the way Moses did. Knowing that Moses was not destined to be available for direction forever, the Lord devised a way of speaking in a lesser capacity to the Aaronic priesthood. None of the present scholars can say for sure what the Urim and Thummim was in form. Some guess it was two or more objects that were placed inside the breastplate of Aaron that in some way gave a “yes” or “no” answer to a question given by the Priest of God. It was consulted in times of war or highly important matters. No one knows for sure what became of the Urim and Thummim over the ages, much like the Ark of the Covenant. The fact remains that with Moses there was a relationship of lengthy discourse with God, and with Aaron and his lineage there was a short “yes” or “no”.
It is time to bridge the gap of communication between man and God with a Neck Ministry that will not tell God to start a plan B ministry because we are too weak in our ability to express Him. Rise up you mighty men of valor and present yourselves before the Lord! He will take you over and express Himself through you. All He wants out of you is a yielding Spirit and obedient heart. If you give Him all that you are He will do the rest and speak for Himself. He needs vessels to manifest through. You are the pattern of the mount. You are the temple of the Holy Ghost, made without hands, fashioned by the Hands of the Lord, meet for His use, lively stones, a chosen generation. The Lord chose you, not man! How long are you going to let the things of this world keep you from fulfilling your destiny in the plan of Redemption? Shake yourself! Wash your minds from all doubt and fear. Oh, that we would refuse to make God provide another substitute for our unbelief. And He will, if we refuse the call of the Lord. Because He loves the world too much to keep it in total darkness. He will continue to speak to us in dark speeches and be seen behind cloudy glasses of expression if necessary, until an obedient generation appears. But as for me and my house, we have determined in our hearts that we will utter the words spoken long ago by Isaiah and subsequently by every true believer since: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’ Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Don’t look for someone more eloquent, or better looking Lord, send me! You’ll help my weakness and through it I will become strong.
The neck is supported by seven vertebrae. The top two vertebrae of the neck are given specialized terms as they are different from the other five in form and function. Much can be said about the spiritual significance of this distinction and the distinction between the fivefold ministry and the King and Priest ministries. Neither does away with the other but there is a distinct difference in form and function. The first vertebrae in the neck is situated at the base of the skull and acts as a seat upon which the head rests. The medical field has chosen to call this vertebrae by a special name, which is ATLAS. This is evidently taken from the Greek mythology that has to do with Zeus banishing Atlas to the task of bearing the world upon his shoulders. I hope you don’t have any false imaginations about what this Word is requiring out of you. If you are not burdened in your Spirit, and carrying the world on your shoulders, then you are not as far along in God as you may think. When the Scripture says that Saviors will come from Zion to cut off the house of Esau, we must understand what a Savior is. It is not some angelic being tiptoeing through the tulips! Neither is it some free Spirit unmindful of anything else except its own happiness and well-being. A Savior is one that takes on the burden of the corruption of creation and gives his life to redeem it. It is a sacrificial order of the highest degree. A Savior is never satisfied with his singular resurrection. He does not rest until everyone from the least to the greatest shares in his victory. And if he must walk through hell to give it to them, then so be it! We are becoming the seat of mercy and salvation to the world.
We need a ministry that will hold the Head up from the earth that He may draw all men unto Himself! We will gladly bear the burden of the sick and afflicted until they arrive at their appointed visitation. We are not to be hirelings who are not anywhere to be found when trouble comes, but we have the spirit of the Shepherd who declares, “For this reason I am come into the world!” “COME unto me all ye who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest”. Jesus said that the foxes have holes and the birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Well, now he has a Neck Ministry that will bear His head to the world and they are not ashamed to be called His Son-Servants. The part of the seven-fold ministry that the Atlas represents is the Priest. The priest bears the sins of the world and esteems each man perfect in the Lord until each is processed into that reality. They remit sins rather than retaining them. They love the loveless and pray for their enemies. They awake in the middle of the night and minister for the needs that the Lord presents before them. They hold back nothing, but give their all. They are the Atlas of the Corporate Man.
The second vertebrae that is specialized in the neck is the Axis. It is situated directly under the Atlas. The dictionary says this about the word Axis: “A straight line about which a body or geometrical object rotates or may be conceived to rotate”. The word “axle” comes from this word. The reason this term is used for this particular vertebrae is because it is used to nod the head and give mobility to it. So it dictates how far the head can swivel and nod. The word Axis speaks of stability and symmetry. The line it represents is the absolute center of an object around which everything else revolves. This is the Kingship of the seven-fold ministry. Remember, Kingship isn’t just power in the natural, as Saul found out. A King is at his best when he represents stability and security. The kingdom revolves around the throne of the King. As the King is, so is the kingdom. What we don’t need in this day is a leadership who are powerful in the Scriptures but are desperately lacking in love and respect. We need leadership that have such character and maturity that they can walk into our midst and immediately we are covered with an atmosphere of safety and well-being. Many preachers are great at screaming out the themes of revelation but they have such a negative attitude toward the Body of Christ, it gives you a feeling of uneasiness when you are around them.
I was in one meeting within the last two years where a minister that I had heard a lot about was getting ready to preach. I was anxious to hear him because I had heard such conflicting opinions on him, I wanted to hear him for myself. Well, he was clearly in a bad state of mind, as he proceeded to rant and rave against everything he thought we all stood for. I actually thought he was going to have a nervous breakdown right in front of me, as he strove to set us straight. After about 20 minutes of this nonsense, he realized he wasn’t getting any response from the congregation, and proceeded to try to set us at ease by telling us not to worry, he was just performing brain surgery in the Spirit. I’ve got to tell you folks, if I were in a hospital getting ready to have brain surgery, and my doctor came into the room looking like that preacher looked, I would be anything but at ease! If anybody is going to operate on my brain they better have steady hands and a reasonable amount of peace.
I hear a voice from the Heavenlies crying out to the House of the Lord, “Peace, be still! The King is in Zion, and the enemy is destroyed. He will turn your ashes into beauty and your sorrow into laughter! Rejoice and be glad and put on your beautiful garments 0 redeemed of the Lord, for though your name has been desolate and forsaken, the Lord has called you Hephzibah and Beulah! My delight is in you and I have married you and given you a new name”. Hallelujah! I see a ministry that is BOTH King and Priest. They bear the burden of the Lord with a dignity and assurance that causes men’s hearts to turn to the Lord.
Another aspect of the Neck Ministry is that it is within the neck that the vocal chords are located. Without the vocal chords you can articulate with your mouth perfectly but it will not edify anyone, since the sound is missing. Sound is created when air is forced through the vocal chords and they vibrate creating what we know to be our voice. The Lord wants a voice to be heard in the Land. A sound of many waters, thunderings, roarings and such has been heard throughout the ages, but now the Lord wants a clear, articulate VOICE.
As you may know, some people have had to have their vocal chords removed because of cancer or some other disease. They can still talk by obtaining a handheld vibrator that makes a vibrating noise that they hold against their neck and they can communicate by giving the noise articulation through their mouth. Thank the Lord for this substitute, as it is better than being mute and depending on gestures. But if I may use this as an example of our situation in the Lord, this is the way we have had to hear from the Lord. Anyone that has gone through this will tell you how limited it is. Recently the Lord impressed me to preach that we must have the Spirit of Excellence in our midst. In other words, we must quit being satisfied with mediocrity in our times of coming together in the services. Some have said, “Well, you can’t stay in the high realm all the time! Sometimes we hit it and sometimes we don’t”. This is settling for mediocrity! Who says we can’t hit the highest place the Lord has for us in EVERY service? I’ll tell you who says that, the lazy and the unbelieving! Why shouldn’t we hit the ultimate every time we gather? I say it isn’t just possible, it is vital!
The Lord has had to sound this Word out of us in a garbled, imitation manner for too long! He doesn’t want to just make noise through us! He wants to SING through us! He wants to express the full range of His voice and fill our ears with the sound of His nature! He wants to woo us with the sound of His never-ending love, raise us to dizzying heights on the wings of His voice fully manifested through a people that function as His vocal chords. We haven’t REALLY heard Him yet, but all He wants is a ministry to stand up in Him and sit down in themselves. As Rev. Charles E. Rhyne ministered in one glorious service, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Now son, I’m going to show you what I can do!” Show us Lord! Reveal your fullness to us and then through us to creation.
I pray you will rededicate yourself to the purpose of God in your life my dear friend. The time is short and the pressure is on. Its do or die for many in this day. Some are finding themselves in straits that they thought would never come upon them. I find myself at a loss for words when confronted with the dire situations I see some dear ones facing. I hate to see suffering on anyone, but it really strikes home when you see it on those close to you. All I know Is that as we continue to pray and speak words of life to these in our midst, there must be something more done. If, one by one, we fix our hearts on becoming whatever is needed in this day, I must believe that we will see miracles in our midst like we have never seen before. Not through any one man or woman, but through a Corporate Expression of many diverse ministries. Each one different in form and function but each one an integral part of what the Lord wants to accomplish today. I only hope you will reevaluate your goals in the Lord. As I said before, I no longer pray to be in the Headship company. My prayer now is, “Use me where I am NEEDED the most”. I am sure many seek the privilege of a TITLE such as headship. However, we already have a Head. His name is Jesus Christ. We already have a Body, it is called The Ekklesia. What we desperately need is a ministry that will connect the Head to the Ekklesia and make the two into one functioning organism. That missing link is the NECK.
NECK MINISTRY, THE [Robert D. Torango] 1