Archive for the ‘James’ Category

Jerusalem Visit by Paul the Apostle
A depiction of James, the brother of Jesus, and the Elders in Jerusalem meeting with the Apostles Paul and Peter

 

Today, reply is made on James, Paul, Peter and Matthias; authority; and succession within the early church.  The criteria for being acknowledged as an apostle was more than simply having been in association with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry to his dying on the cross.  The apostles all were chosen and installed to testify and witness to the resurrection of Jesus, to authentic the falling of the Holy Ghost, and to certify the genuine manifestation of sacred gifts.  Jesus did not bestow on his disciples dominance and power to demand the obedience of others so much as he provided a fresh endowment of spirit substance from the makeup of divinity along with the consciousness and willpower to serve others while practicing self-government.  The leadership within the body would be acknowledged and recognized on the basis of such features as their humility, industry, meekness, and unselfishness.  One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile data shared) posted the following:

 

Did the Early Church operate under valid central authority?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:  and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:  so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  (1st Corinthians 12:  3-13, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Flesh As Divine Vessels? (01/14/2018); Meanings for “Apostolic Church” (05/08/2017); A True Apostle? (09/20/2015); How Many Apostles? (04/30/2014); The Ruler Of the Earth? (05/01/2014); Succession (02/05/2014); On Youth Doing Enough (02/06/2014)

 

“Anonymous”, the Holy Spirit (we also say, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth) was present as the spokesperson for Jesus Christ in the early church.  Responses that rely on secular knowledge will present the church as an ordinary institution, and a formally structured social organization.  Reponses that rely on sacred knowledge shared among Christian believers will describe the church as a body, or a fellowship having many distinct members with Jesus Christ as its head.  In that view, the church is most correctly portrayed as active, alive, diverse, developing, organic, and personal.

When the continued existence of the church became threatened by persecution, the believers that came to number in thousands were scattered; however, they also began to evangelize, go out, and spread the gospel in ways that otherwise would not have occurred.  It was then that James, the brother of Jesus, and others who remained in Jerusalem began to be recognized as a legitimate body to give counsel on issues of doctrine and practice, to address the challenges of embracing both Gentiles and Jews, and to resolve recurring conflicts.

While the Book of Acts reports that Peter preached a sermon on the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had fallen upon the 120 men and women in the upper Room, who had fasted and prayed together awaiting the promise, Peter was not acknowledged at that time as the “successor” to Jesus, or as the chief spokesperson.  The early work among these believers included nominating candidates to fill both the office of apostle, and of bishop (elder) that had been vacated by Judas Iscariot.

A device used among the Hebrews from ancient times was employed to select the new apostle from the two proposed candidates.  The casting of lots was used with the understanding that the will of GOD would be indicated by its outcome.  This technique was akin to that used for judgment by the High Priest in the tabernacle and in the temple that involved his consecrated garments and full regalia, the breastplate, ephod, urim and thummim (also called, Lights and Perfections).  At Pentecost, the early church received multiple gifts to nourish and expand the community of faith that would establish the will of GOD in a similar way:  the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, prophecy, the working of miracles, and discerning of spirits (there were no gifts of reading minds, or predicting the future).  Consider the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Numbers 27:  20-23, King James Version (KJV):  20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.  21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD:  at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.  22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him:  and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:  23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

(2.)  Acts 1:  13-16, KJV:  13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.  14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.  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.

(3.)  Acts 1:  22-26, KJV:  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.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Acts 15:  12-20, KJV:  12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.  13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:  14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,  16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:  17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.  18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.  19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:  20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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