The First Official Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:15-26)

(15) And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) (16) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (17) For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. (18) Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (19) And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. (20) For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (21) Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, (22) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (23) And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. (24) And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, (25) That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. (26) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

At some point during those ten days between the Lord’s ascension and the day of Pentecost, Peter felt it necessary to address the issue of the vacancy caused by the death of Judas Iscariot. Judas had hung himself out of shame for his betrayal of Jesus. Peter must have been acquainted with the scriptures that prophesied Judas’ betrayal[1] and, from those scriptures, he adduced the need to fill Judas’ apostleship with someone qualified to serve in the role of apostle, so he arose to address this issue with the brethren. At this gathering there were “about an hundred and twenty”[2] disciples with the eleven Apostles all there in that “upper room.” Before proceeding with the events that occurred that day, it may be advisable to discuss, “Why was it deemed necessary to fill the position vacated by Judas?”

To answer this question, we must seek to understand the role of the apostle; especially, as those men must have understood it at that point in time. The Lord had a special work for his apostles and a large part of that work was to lead the church in its first phase of its existence.[3] He expected them to establish and solidify the doctrines and practices of the church,[4] and, most importantly, to go into all the world, preach the gospel, and make disciples of others.[5] The work of the apostle was therefore extremely important to the church while she was in her infancy.

The Lord called twelve men to fulfill the work of the apostle, and one of those men, Judas Iscariot, had hung himself out of shame for his betrayal of Jesus.[6] The first official act undertaken by the church without the physical presence of the Lord there to guide them was to fill the apostolic seat vacated by Judas. Though the Lord called the men to be his apostles he had in effect created twelve seats of apostolic authority. The Lord referred to those seats as thrones, “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”[7] The use of the word “regeneration” in this application does not refer to being born again as it does in other places in scripture[8] but in this case it referred to the renovation of his kingdom from that of the Old Law to that of the Gospel.

The Lord was clear in his statements to these twelve men that there would be no hierarchy among them. None of them was to assume the primacy over the others. In a scene that clearly spoke to this particular issue of equality among the apostles, Luke recorded how that “there [arose] a strife among them, [as to] which of them should be accounted the greatest.”[9] We discover that all the apostles wanted to find out which of them would be the chief apostle of them all. The Lord made it clear that such a desire had no place in his kingdom. Rather than wanting to be lords over one another, they ought instead to want to be the servants of one another.

Some have believed that Jesus chose Peter to be the chief apostle over the twelve, that he had been given the primacy over the others, and that he alone acted as the Lord’s representative on earth. Scripture teaches us that Jesus indeed did give to Peter the keys to the kingdom, and the Lord used the word “key” to signify authority.[10] Based on solely this singular reference to Peter, some might think that Jesus meant for Peter alone to exercise this authority, but a little later on we read where he gave those keys not just to Peter, but to all the other apostles.[11] When he spoke to Peter singularly, it was to him as the representative of the twelve apostles. Needless to say, the role of representative of others describes a different role from that of prince over others, so, when Jesus gave those keys to Peter, it was as the representative of the apostles; not as their prince.

Though the scriptures adduced in support of the view of Peter’s apostolic primacy greatly lack probative value, yet scripture does teach us that Jesus had a special role for Peter. He was looked to as the apostle’s spokesman in many situations.[12] He was chosen to be the one who first preached the gospel to an uncircumcised Gentile.[13] He was looked upon by Paul as the Apostle to the Circumcision.[14] None of these special designations however made Peter the prince of the apostles who was left in charge during Christ’s absence. If that were the case, then we might as well argue that the Apostle Paul replaced Peter as the chief of the apostles as the church moved away from Jerusalem and Judaism to Gentile lands and Gentile converts, but Paul would vehemently deny such was the case.[15] In sum, the men who inhabited the office of the apostle were equals.[16] We may go so far as to say Peter was “the first among equals.” Regardless, each had his own particular work, and each man’s work was just as important as the other’s.

Before the Lord ascended to Heaven, “he breathed on them [the apostles that were then present], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”[17] Jesus’ breathing on the apostles was a purely symbolic act denoting these men were to be the ones on whom the Holy Ghost would descend. It also designated these men were to possess the authority to invoke the Holy Ghost so that He would descend on those the apostles chose to receive that special gift. We will see an example of this on the day of Pentecost, but what needs to be said at this point is how this bestowal of the Holy Ghost was tied to the remittance of sins[18] and how this clearly connected to the apostle’s authority to loose and bind. The remittance of sins in this context refers not to the atonement for the sins of God’s people, nor to the vital application of the atonement to the sinner, but to the acquisition of the assurance of salvation. Those who believed in the apostle’s doctrine received the gift of the Holy Ghost. After this occurred, we see the believers empowered to perform mighty feats of faith. No one but those twelve were authorized to do the things Christ appointed to them. Christ authorized each of the twelve men just as much as the other. Those things that might seem to have been appointed only to Peter were in fact appointed to all twelve of the apostles.

When Christ finished the work of atonement by his death on the cross, the renovation of the kingdom was legally completed. All that remained was for his apostles to be baptized with the Holy Ghost for the renovation to be fully effectuated. The thrones Jesus spoke of designated the place of authority that Jesus conferred on his apostles in his kingdom. Jesus said something very similar to this in Luke’s gospel, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”[19] God the Father had conferred the kingdom upon the Son, giving him the right to reign and to rule over it. Now, the Son was conferring upon his apostles the right to rule his kingdom under his authority as King.

Thus, because Judas was an apostle, he inhabited the office of apostle, so this meant that a seat of apostolic authority had been created for him just as it had for the others. Judas’ apostolic seat or apostleship[20] became vacant at his death. Peter saw the need to fill this vacancy and apparently the other apostles concurred because they all participated. Peter spoke of the scripture which “must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas.”[21] Judas had been numbered with the others as an apostle, but more importantly, Judas “had obtained part of this ministry.”[22] In Peter’s mind, this “part” equated to the apostleship. To Peter, the apostleship assigned to Judas didn’t die with Judas, so it must needs go to someone else.

The question was how to go about filling it, and, if there is anything instructive about the replacement of Judas, it is in the realization that the church had to learn how to handle things without forgetting Jesus was the Head of the church. The question sometimes surfaces, “Shouldn’t they have waited until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost and then acted?” It might seem that they then would have been given a greater insight as to how to fill the vacancy, and maybe they might have learned it was nothing they needed to worry about. We may wonder about these things, but we ought to consider why it pleased the Lord for Luke to have recorded this scene and then seek out the lessons that the Spirit intends for us to learn from it.

Luke wrote about this event in a positive rather than negative light, and this might only prove that Luke recorded what happened rather than commenting on its pros and cons. Indeed, with every event recorded in Acts, Luke wrote what actually occurred, including the ramifications and consequences that resulted from the event. We not only learn what the apostles did, but we learn about the reaction to the event. In some cases, we read where the reaction was positive while with others the reaction was negative while with others it was a mixture of both positive and negative. The reactions to the events sometimes were as important as the event itself.

In the case of the ordination of Matthias, Luke says hardly anything explicit about the church’s reaction, but he certainly wrote nothing to suggest that anyone disagreed with the selection of Matthias. We may therefore infer that the other apostles and the church membership were in agreement. Since the Lord intended his church to be led by the men who held this office, it stands to reason that the Lord would have intervened or countermanded this effort had it displeased him. What more important thing to decide than the next apostle? How daunting a task it must have been! It was such a monumentally important thing to get done right. Though the evidence may be deemed only circumstantial, it leads me to conclude that the ordination of Matthias happened according to the will of God, that it did not displease the Lord, and that no one in the church found it objectionable.

In the above paragraph, mention was made of the importance of this office and that the apostles would be the church’s leaders even as they were under the leadership of the Lord. One of the identifying marks of the apostleship was the ability to perform miracles, and something should be said about this before moving on. The performance of these gifts provided an undeniable display of the power of God. It would cause people to take notice of the gospel of Christ as something far different than anything else that had come before it. Even Jesus himself worked miracles among the people,[23] and everyone who saw him perform a miracle reacted to it, and we never read of an ambivalent reaction.[24] Rather we read where people reacted with joy, awe, and amazement, or with fear, shock, and disdain, but, whether or not the reaction was positive or negative, it was never neutral. Jesus warned his apostles that they, too, would experience the same sorts of reactions.[25] As these men went about their work as apostles, they would draw a lot of attention to themselves, some of it good and some of it bad. Yet, in any case, their purpose was not to draw attention to themselves but to point people to Jesus Christ.

Just before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus listed some of those miracles that they were to perform. They would be able to “cast out devils; speak with new tongues; take up serpents; and if they drank any deadly thing, it would not hurt them, and they would be able to lay hands on the sick, and they would be recovered.”[26] The apostleship was key to the ongoing success of the church. Paul alluded to this in his first letter to the Corinthians where he listed the gift of the apostle as the most important of all gifts given to the church.[27] Others in the church were graced with certain singular abilities, but apparently only the apostles were graced with multiple abilities.[28] From this we can see that the office of the apostle described a gift of the greatest importance; thus, it was doubly important that the man considered as Judas’ replacement be proved to possess certain qualifications.

Up until this point, every apostle had been the personal selection of the Lord, and this posed somewhat of a conundrum. How do you select a replacement when the only one qualified and authorized to make the selection is the Lord himself? We may think that the church had this authority. After all, the church selects men to serve her as her ministers. This is true but only in a certain sense. The Lord still calls men to the work of the ministry. The church, however, has never been authorized to call a man to preach, but it is authorized to ordain a man to the ministry who exhibits such a call. Though this is very true with regards to the office of elder, it is not the same with regards to the apostleship. More about this will be said later on in the chapter, but suffice it for now that the scriptures we have considered thus far show us that the apostleship was a unique role and that Christ alone had the authority to choose the men for that role, and he never delegated that authority to the church.

If the remaining eleven apostles could not pick the replacement, then they resolved to determine who might best qualify, so they came up with the basic requirements for the apostleship. The man must have “companied with” the Lord and apostles “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.” The man must have been a disciple of the Lord “from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us,”[29] meaning that he had to have been there from the start of the Lord’s earthly ministry. He had to have been a witness of the resurrected Lord, and more precisely, he had to have been a witness of the ascension of the resurrected Christ.

Only a man with those qualifications could effectively witness to others of the Lord’s resurrection, and only such a man would be accepted by the membership of the church as an apostle. The resurrection of Jesus was, in these men’s minds, the single greatest proof that Jesus was the Messiah. This event superseded in magnitude all the miracles he performed, and exceeded even that of his transfiguration on the mount. Only Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfigured Christ,[30] but all the apostles, except of course for Judas, witnessed the resurrected Jesus.[31] The resurrection gave great power to the testimony that they must give “in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”[32] For this testimony to be as effective as possible, it must be attested to by men who had been with Jesus from the very beginning of his earthly ministry, who had seen the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes, and who furthermore had seen that self-same Jesus ascend to Heaven. Only someone with those qualifications could convincingly persuade others that this self-same Jesus was gloriously and victoriously returning to earth.

The apostles appointed two men who met the stipulated requirements: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.[33] The apostles prayed and “they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”[34] The elven apostles had done all they knew to do shy of actually choosing the man. They looked to scripture for examples of God-approved ways of selection to use in selecting the next apostle. They would have known about such passages as the proverb written by Solomon, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”[35] They knew about how on the Day of Atonement the High Priest “cast lots upon the two goats; one for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.”[36] It should, therefore, come as no surprise to see why they decided to cast lots. To these men, whoever the lot fell upon must clearly be the Lord’s selection. Luke said that “the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” From that point on, the apostles and the church membership viewed Matthias as Judas’ official replacement and as much an apostle as the other eleven.[37]

Two questions come to mind: 1) Could it be perhaps that the apostles thought they had done the Lord’s will only to find out after they had been baptized with the Holy Ghost that they had been wrong to do what they did? 2) Wasn’t Paul always the Lord’s choice to fill the vacancy caused by Judas’ suicide? The only answer that can be given is this: the eleven remaining apostles did what they thought they must do and nothing in scripture suggests that anyone ever disagreed with what they did. The more profitable question is, why did God move Luke to record the event? In response to this, we must first consider that Luke didn’t record everything said and done by the apostles. If Luke was truly an inspired writer, then he wrote what the Spirit moved him to record, and it is obvious that only a fraction of the things said and done by the apostles is recorded in Acts. These things are there for a reason, and so too is the ordination of Matthias.

Why then did the Spirit move Luke to record this incident rather than some other event? As already suggested, the ordination of Matthias was the first official decision made by the apostles on their own without Christ’s physical presence, and this fact seems to suggest a reason for recording the choice of Matthias. We find in the apostles’ method of selection a pattern for the way to do things in the church. I am not necessarily referring to the casting of lots as the method of choice for deciding church-matters, but I am referring to the thought-process the apostles used to handle the selection process and the manner in which they went about implementing their decision. I noticed at least five things the Apostles did that give us a wise example for the handling things in the church.

First, I notice that Peter must have been meditating on the scriptures that prophesied of Judas’ betrayal. This means he was thinking about God’s word, what it said, what it meant, and what it might be saying. He came to feel a sense of inner conviction based on his studies. He undoubtedly tried to think and pray about what to do, and surely he wondered what the Lord would have him to do. Whether we agree with Peter’s understanding of scripture at this point in time, we surely can agree that he was laboring in the word and acting upon the inclinations that came from his study. In his studies of the prophecies, Peter picked-up on the mention of Judas’ bishopric.[38] A bishopric denoted the office or “seat of authority” of a bishop. The original sense of the word “bishop” was that of an overseer. It described someone who had the authority to visit and inspect, to look over something. This word later came to describe the pastor of a local church, but, in those early days of the church, the word hadn’t yet received that specific meaning. In sum, the prophecy by David alluded to Judas’ office or position of responsibility, and, based on this particular view of the psalm, Peter discerned the need to fill.

Second, I noticed how carefully Peter broached the subject with the others. He never decreed that a replacement must be found. He simply raised the issue and presented it before the brethren for their consideration. Although he felt he had scripture to support his view, he did not force the issue but acted respectfully towards the other apostles. Granted, Luke’s account of this shows Peter leading the other apostles in the decision-making process, but Luke implies that the other apostles fully agreed with Peter.[39] He may have been a leader and “first among equals” but he was not the “head apostle,” nor was he trying to be. They all knew that it was not for them to select the man to take Judas’ apostleship, but they did realize that they were the ones who had to do it, so they worked together as equals to do what had to be done.

Third, I noticed that they looked to scripture for help in determining the right way to make a very important choice. With such well-known examples from God’s word as the dividing of the land of Canaan,[40] the selection of the scapegoat and the Lord’s goat on the Day of Atonement,[41] they undoubtedly would have felt confident that the Lord would use the lot they cast to select the man of his choosing. Fourth, I noticed that they prayed over the matter. They knew that this man would be called upon to represent the core doctrines and practices of the church. He would have to be an eye-witness to certain critical moments in the history of the Lord’s life on earth. Fifth, I noticed that they stepped out on faith and made the best choice they knew to make. They selected the men who matched the criteria, prayed over the matter, cast their lots, and went with whoever the lot fell on. Then, they moved on with life in the church.

The apostles did the best they could to do the right thing in the right way, and this provides for us today a very useful example to follow when we find that we must deal with something for which there is no clear scriptural guideline. In such cases, we would do well to follow the apostle’s example in choosing Judas’ replacement. Before doing anything, look for a clear answer to the issue in scripture. If none can be found, then proceed to act decently and in order.[42] Act in such a way as to preserve the good name of Jesus.[43] Act in the best interests of the church.[44] Seek his guidance.[45] When prayer and supplication have been made to the Lord, step out on faith and make the best decision you can, trusting in the Lord to bless.[46] Then, move on.

As we have discovered, the apostleship was such an important role that it might seem to some we must always have a man or men acting as apostles, even today two-thousand years later. Specifically, the question arises, “Did Jesus intend for his church to have men serve her as apostles in the successive generations?” This question raises another, “Are those twelve original apostolic seats still in force today?” The answer to the first question is “No.” The answer to the second is “Yes.” The following gives my explanation for why this is so.

First of all, Peter gave us the strongest reasons for why the twelve apostolic seats could only be filled by men of that time and place. Notice again the qualifications that must be met for anyone to hold this office: 1) it must be someone who had companied with the brethren all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them, 2) the person had to have been there since the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry which started with the baptism of John, and 3) the person had to have remained with them unto that same day that Jesus was taken up from them. This criteria limited the choice to men who had lived during the time of Christ and had been with him as a disciple from the very beginning of his ministry to the time of his ascension. Only a very few men of that day qualified under those circumstances. Certainly, no one since the death of the Apostle John – reputed to have lived the longest of all the original twelve apostles – were possessed of those qualifications. Most definitely, no one alive today qualifies on those terms.

Second, no one but Jesus could designate and ordain who would serve him and his church as one of his apostles and, after Christ’s ascension, the other apostles had to in some way be involved in the selection of those who qualified. A church however could designate men to be sent out to preach the gospel to others. An example of this is seen when the church at Antioch selected Paul and Barnabas.[47] Barnabas and Paul were called “apostles”[48] because they were seen to be ordained by the Antioch church to preach the gospel in the surrounding areas. It is true that they were selected at the demand of the Holy Ghost, and it is furthermore true that the purpose in Antioch sending Paul and Barnabas overlapped in certain ways to the purpose Christ had for selecting and sending out the Twelve. Nevertheless, there was the one big difference: The Lord directly appointed the Twelve to seats of authority over any and all churches. Antioch had no such authority to ordain anyone to exercise that kind of oversight. Only the Lord had that authority.

Even so, Paul was every bit as much an apostle as Peter or the other Twelve, but Paul was not an apostle because of the actions taken by Antioch. Paul was an apostle like the Twelve because Jesus had called him to that work. He was an apostle from the very beginning of his call to serve when Jesus struck him down on the Damascus Road.[49] He may have not broadcasted the extent of his call much at first, but he certainly went about his work from the start with the belief that Jesus had called him to be an apostle.[50] His call to the apostleship was actually in reverse order to that of the others. They had been called at the beginning of the Lord’s earthly ministry, and Paul was called after Jesus had ascended to Heaven. The Twelve lived with Jesus for three years, and Paul lived on the backside of the Arabian Desert [51] for three years being tutored by the Lord himself.[52]  The Twelve saw Jesus crucified, buried, raised again to life, and then finally ascended to Heaven, and Paul first saw the ascended Christ, which made him aware of Jesus’ resurrection, which brought into focus the purpose of Jesus’ death, and which brought into focus the purpose of Jesus’ life.

Though his experience came in a different order than it did for the Twelve, Paul had just as intimate an experience with Jesus as the other eleven. Based on his experiences with the Lord and by the things he had suffered for the cause of Christ, Paul supposed he “was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”[53] In Galatians, he wrote that the “pillar apostles”[54] saw that “the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.”[55] This strongly implies that at that particular meeting in Jerusalem, the apostles acknowledged Paul to be every bit as much an Apostle of Jesus Christ as they were. His case was unique and exceptional as he himself says, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”[56]

Only Jesus ever had the right to select and ordain the men who would serve him as his ministers and this holds especially true for the apostleship. With these thoughts in mind, we conclude that no man living past the time of the Lord and the twelve apostles (including Paul), could possibly possess the qualifications required to be an apostle. From this we conclude that the office of apostle was set for a specified time and when that time ended then no longer would the Lord put men in that office. Though the office of the apostle is no longer to be filled, the church remains under the apostles’ authority. A completed work does not mean it has lost its efficacy. The work of atonement was a one-time-for-all-time work that Jesus completed on the cross. The efficacy of Christ’s atoning work remains in force today. In fact, his work extends to all of his people who lived before his death, and it extends to all his people who live afterwards. The work of the apostles was not the same as the work of Christ. Only he could accomplish the atonement of all the family of God. Yet, the work of the apostles was efficacious in its own way. What those men did has stood the test of time, and, so long as the church remains on earth, so shall their work and authority remain in force.

The things loosed by the apostles are loosed still, and the things they bound remain bound today. The church is commanded to maintain the apostolic traditions as they were passed on to us from the generations before on back to the apostles who instituted those traditions.[57] The words they spake that were recorded, their letters and writings, are all meant to regulate the faith and practice of the church. The apostles’ doctrine is the foundation of the true church and Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of our doctrine. Those men were given the truth by revelation meaning Jesus Christ spoke to them directly through the Holy Ghost. No man other than those men ever had such a direct line of communication with Jesus Christ and it is for this reason primarily that the church in every age of time ought to heed their words. They spoke the words of Christ as if Christ himself had stood there and spoke them to us.

In sum, the scriptures teach us that the office of the apostle was to be filled with men who were possessed of unique qualifications that no man since then could ever possibly possess. Though no man alive today sits in the seat of the apostle, we yet have their words, traditions, and examples to follow. Those men, through their words and the record of their actions, still rule from those twelve thrones.

  • Michael L. Montgomery
  • Midlothian, Texas
  • June 1, 2015

 

 

[1] See Psalms 69 especially verse 25.

[2] Acts 1:15

[3] This first phase is oftentimes referred to as the Apostolic and is generally believed to have ended with the death of the Apostle John sometime around 100 AD.

[4] See such passages as Ephesians 3:4 in which the Apostle Paul told the church that by reading his epistle that they may “may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” See also Colossians 4:16 where Paul stated something similarly, “when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” Notice also in Hebrews 5:12 where the inspired writer (who I believe to have been Paul) wrote, “Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.” These and other passages speak to the work of the apostles to establish the contours of the church’s doctrine and practice.

[5] Matthew 28:18 – the Greek for “teach” is μαθητευσατε (mathêteusate) which according to Thayer’s Lexicon means “to make a disciple.” The word for “all the nations” is πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (panta ta ethnē). This meant more than just to the Jews, but to all the Jews and Gentiles in every land. Notice what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:23 about the gospel “and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.” This strongly indicates that the mandate the Lord gave his apostles had been fulfilled even before the death of several of them.

[6] Matthew 27:4

[7] Matthew 19:28

[8] Titus 3:5

[9] Luke 22:23-31; also, see Matthew 18:1; 20:20-28.

[10] See Matthew 16:19 where the Lord said, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

[11] Mathew 18:18

[12] As he was on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3) and in defense of the gospel before the Sanhedrim (Acts 4)..

[13] Acts 10 and his visit to Cornelius.

[14] Galatians 2:8

[15] See 1 Corinthians 15: 9 where Paul said “the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle,” and then 2 Corinthians 11:5 where he said, “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”

[16] From the Latin phrase, Primus inter pares (Ancient Greek: Πρῶτος μεταξὺ ἴσων, prōtos metaxỳ ísōn) meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for those who are formally equal to other members of their group but are accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office. This describes how others felt about Peter. Interestingly, it was James and not Peter who served as pastor of the Jerusalem church.

[17] John 20:23

[18] To remit sins in the sense spoken of here was certainly not the power to confer eternal life. Christ never authorized any man to impart natural or eternal life to anyone else. Rather, this was an authority to convey the Lord’s forgiveness to those who believed the gospel. An example of this will be seen in the Pentecost sermon preached by Peter when the hearers were “pricked in their heart” and asked “what shall we do?” Peter responded to them that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This will be discussed in detail in the next chapter.

[19] Luke 22:28-30

[20] The word apostleship means simply the office of the apostle. The word is found used in Acts 1:25; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 9:2; and Galatians 2:8.

[21] Acts 1:16

[22] Acts 1:17

[23] See Matthew 11:5; 15:31; Mark 7:37; Luke 7:22; John 6:2, 14; 11:47 for examples.

[24] In addition to the passages cited above, see John 2:23; 3:2; 6:2, 14; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 12:37 for examples of reactions by the people who saw Jesus perform miracles.

[25] See Matthew 5:11-12; 10:23; 23:34; Luke 21:12; John 15:18-21.

[26] Mark 16:17-18

[27] 1 Corinthians 12:28; see also Ephesians 4:8, 11.

[28] Notice in 1 Peter 5:1 where Peter says, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder.” Peter was not only an apostle but he was also an elder. The word “elder” is translated from the Greek word, συμπρεσβυτερος (sumpresbuteros), which literal means “co-presbyter.” If Peter had thought of himself as the head of the church or the head apostle, surely he would have appealed to his apostolic prerogative. Instead, he called himself “a fellow elder.” Also, notice in Acts 13:1 where Luke said that Paul was both a prophet and a teacher.

[29] Acts 1:21-22

[30] Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:29

[31] 1 Corinthians 15:5

[32] Acts 1:8

[33] Acts 1:23

[34] Acts 1:26

[35] Proverbs 16:33

[36] Leviticus 16:8

[37] In Acts 2:14, we will read about Matthias once more and then Luke says nothing more about him.

[38] Acts 1:20 or as it is spelled in the Authorized Version “bishoprick”.

[39] Acts 1:23

[40] Numbers 26:55

[41] Leviticus 16:8

[42] 1 Corinthians 14:40

[43] 1 Peter 4:11

[44] 2 Corinthians 12:19; Philippians 2:14

[45] 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:8; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 3:1; James 1:5-6

[46] Hebrews 10:35-39; 11:1; James 2:17

[47] Acts 13:2 – though it doesn’t say they were called apostles, Acts 14:4, 14 would seem to argue that they were.

[48] Acts 14:14

[49] See Galatians 1:15-16 where Paul clearly referred to his natural and spiritual births as the direct work of God and then spoke of his call to the apostleship as also the direct work of God.

[50] See Galatians 1:16-24.

[51] See Exodus 3:1 — After Moses had fled from Egypt and just before “the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush,” he “led [his father-in-law’s] flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.”

[52] Paul told the Galatians that after his conversion on the Damascus road, “immediately [he] conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went [he] up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before [him]; but [he] went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” He stayed there for three years before he “went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:16-18)

[53] 2 Corinthians 11:5

[54] Galatians 2:9 – specifically, Peter, James, and John.

[55] Galatians 2:7

[56] 1 Corinthians 15:8-9

[57] See 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6.

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