12 apostles and The Great Commission

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by BillyShope, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. BillyShope

    BillyShope
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    Why were the 12 apostles cooling their heels in Jerusalem years after His Ascension and the departure of most other Jewish believers? Didn't The Great Commission apply to them?
     
  2. Zenas

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    The Great Commission applied especially to them. What makes you think they stayed in Jerusalem? James was martyred in Jerusalem fairly early. Judas Iscariot committed suicide in Jerusalem and never heard the Great Commission. We know John got as far west as Patmos. Peter got as far west as Rome (if you believe "Babylon" was a code word for Rome); otherwise he got as far east as the Euphrates River. The Bible gives us no clue what happened to the others but according to tradition they were all martyred in divers places like Ethiopia, Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome.
     
  3. sag38

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    Before one can answer you question we need to know where you get the idea that the 12 apostles were as you say "cooling thier heels in Jerusalem years after His ascension"? Because, that certainly isn't the idea that I get from reading the scripture.
     
  4. BillyShope

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    Certainly, there were Jewish believers who fled Jerusalem as a result of the persecution:
    Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

    The apostles, however, remained in Jerusalem, even in the face of persecution:
    Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

    This was about 3 years after the Ascension. They evidently remained in Jerusalem for another 3 or 4 years, or until the time that Paul met with them.
     
  5. GFlanagan3

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    does that in any way mean that they were not using Jerusalem as a home base? Don't missionaries do that today?
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Personally, I believe the apostles should have left Jerusalem before they did. But I can't prove it. Maybe some of them stayed there for a few years to make sure the Jerusalem church was well established.

    At any rate, they did all eventually make it out to a foreign mission field except for James of course. A great book on the historical data is The Search for the Twelve Apostles, by William Steuart McBirnie.
     
  7. BillyShope

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    Though my original post might appear to indicate otherwise, I don't fault the apostles for their actions. Though Israel had rejected the Messiah, they had no idea that the prophetic plan was about to be interrupted for the "grafting on" of the Gentiles. They anticipated the Tribulation and the Parousia. So, they waited faithfully in Jerusalem.

    It was only after their meeting with Paul that they understood their ministry to the Jews and Paul's to the Gentiles.

    Consider a verse I used earlier:

    Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

    Christians today are inclined to understand this as a plea to trust in the shed blood of Jesus for salvation. Hardly. All they knew was the Gospel for the Dispensation of Law. As Jesus had said, "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). To be justified, one had to come, by faith, to an acceptance of the prophetic plan for Israel under the Law. In other words, one had to be either a Jew or a Jewish proselyte.

    It was only when the apostles met with Paul that they learned of Paul's Gospel (First Corinthians 15:1-4). This had been a mystery, to be revealed by Paul after being instructed by the resurrected Christ:

    Ephesians 3:1For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
    2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
    3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
    4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
    5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
    6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
    7Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
    8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
    9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
     
  8. John of Japan

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    I see no evidence in the Bible to suggest that "the Gospel" preached by Peter and John in Acts 8:25 in the villages of the Samaritans is any different from "the Gospel" as preached by Paul and Barnabas in 14:7). The Greek is exactly the same, and there is nothing between Acts 8 and 14 to show the Gospel had changed.

    Again, there is nothing in this passage to suggest that Paul thought his Gospel was any different from that of any other apostle.
     
  9. BillyShope

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  10. John of Japan

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    Wrong. There is absolutely nothing in the book of Acts to show that "the Gospel" changed between Acts 8 and 14. I dare you to find me a verse in those chapters that says the Gospel changed.

    The Gospel is just as clear in the four Gospels as it is in Paul's writings. Compare Luke to Paul:

    Luke 24:
    1 Cor. 15:
    So what Jesus told the apostles to proclaim was exactly what Paul proclaimed, just worded a little differently.
    Of course Paul got his Gospel directly from the Lord. But you cannot prove that Paul's Gospel was different than Peter's. That's just not in the Bible. That comes from the imaginings of the like of Darby--not from good theology.
     
  11. Don

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    Some years back (late 90's?), I came across a gentleman by the name of Enyart, who wrote a publication he called "The Plot of the Bible"; in this work, he espoused the idea that this very verse (Galatians 2:7) indicated a separation of biblical scriptures--one set meant for Jews, one for the Gentiles.

    The problem with this thought process is that, as John of Japan points out, there's not a separate gospel for the Jews or the Greeks. This is easily disproved by looking at the same verse that's repeated through several different letters:
    Romans 10:12
    1 Corinthians 12:13
    Galatians 3:28
    Colossians 3:11

    Whosoever believes may have salvation. That is the gospel from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and preached by Paul, Peter, John, and the rest throughout the rest of the New Testament.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Very good point with the verse comparison. :thumbsup:
     
  13. BillyShope

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    Please forgive me. I should have been clearer. Of course, the Gospels make mention of matters which had also been revealed by the prophets of the Old Testament. First Corinthians 15:3 and 4 say "according to the Scriptures."

    The difference lies in First Corinthians 15:2. Belief that Christ bore our sins on the cross and was resurrected results in our justification. Repentance...for either our personal sins or for the sins of the nation Israel...is not a part of Paul's gospel. To either confess our personal sins or to ignore their presence, in this dispensation of grace, is open denial of Scripture.

    Today, the soul winner says, "Believe that Christ bore your sins on the cross, died, was buried, and arose from the dead, and you will receive eternal life."

    Again, that is a message not found in John 3:16 or anywhere else in the Gospels. There are, instead, pleas to join with the Jews in the provisions found under the Law. After all, salvation was "of the Jews" (John 4:22)

    The burden of proof lies with one who would deny the existence of a mystery revealed first to Paul and its evidence in Paul's epistles.
     
  14. Don

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    Okay, I'm not sure, but I think you're saying: the message now does not include repent. Is that the point of what you're trying to say here?

    I would point out that you seem to be mis-using 1 Cor 15:1-4.
    1) The entire letter to the church at Corinth (chapters 1-16) is a list of things they're doing incorrectly (chapter 5, for example, regards someone in the church committing fornication; chapter 14 talks about improper use of the gift of tongues and an orderly church service; etc.)
    2) Chapter 15 addresses one particular topic: Some in the Corinthian church were saying that Christ did not rise again. The point of this chapter, especially the set-up laid out in verses 1-11 is about that fact, not a lack of repentence.
     
  15. percho

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    I would say there is only one gospel that was preached. It began by Jesus himself. He himself taught the disciples. He himself taught Paul. He did not teach Paul anything he didn't the others except that Jew and Gentile are all inclusive to God in God's due time. And even in that concept it meant the Gentiles through Christ are made neigh to the covenants of promise.

    which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];

    Who does it concern? What is man? I will add it will be a remade man.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Billy, may I make a suggestion? You don't appear to have researched this very well. A good concordance (I recommend Young's) or a good Bible software package would help you in this area. Check out this free Bible software: www.e-sword.net.

    A simple search with Bible software reveals that Paul explicitly told the Ephesian elders that his message to both Jews and Gentiles included repentance (Acts (Acts 20:21), and he said to Agrippa that his message to both Jew and Gentile included repentance (Acts 26:20). Furthermore, Paul wrote in his epistles tying repentance to salvation (Rom. 2:4, 2 Cor. 7:10).

    Again, Peter did not excise repentance from his Gospel through some influence of Paul. He wrote about repentance to escape destruction (2 Pet. 3:9), and this was no doubt long after he knew Paul's Gospel. Peter is said to have written this epistle shortly before his death in 68 AD.
    Paul does not say in Rom. 16:25 that his Gospel was any different from that of Peter or the other apostles. He doesn't say that he had some mystery not revealed to anyone else.

    Paul's point was that the mystery is now revealed, and he doesn't say that he himself was the only one to whom it was revealed. If Paul had meant to say that his mystery was special, he would have said it at the beginning of his wonderful treatise to the Romans on salvation, not the end.

    So again I say that the Bible tells no difference in the Gospel between Peter's Gospel in Acts 8 and Paul's in Acts 14. You didn't take up my challenge, so I assume you can't prove me wrong when I say that the Gospel did not change between Peter's presentation in Acts 8 and Paul's in Acts 14.
     
    #16 John of Japan, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2011
  17. David Lamb

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    I would say it's the other way around, that is, repentance most certainly is part of Paul's gospel, and to say that we should not confess our sins is (to use your words) "open denial of Scripture."

    Preaching at the Areopogus in Athens, Paul said in Acts 17.30, "God commands all men everywhere to repent." In Acts 20.21, in the course of his report to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he makes mention of how he has testified to both Jews and Greeks "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ". Later, in Acts 26.19, he tells King Agrippa the same thing, that he had declared first to Jews, then to gentiles, that they should repent.

    Regarding the confession of sins, 1 John 1.9, written to Christians, says: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

    But maybe I have misunderstood what you wrote.
     
  18. BillyShope

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    Yes, John, I was very careless in my use of the word "repentance" and I thank you for your correction. I am certain that we both are concerned that the way of salvation is made clear and that no confusion is introduced. It is this concern which led to my carelessness. As is pointed out in the verse you quote (Second Corinthians 7:10), repentance leads TO salvation. Unfortunately, too many soul-winners tend to include repentance as a part of the salvation process. In the altar call, the message is often to repent and trust in Christ. The new believer is often left with the question, "Did I repent enough?". If the Holy Spirit has been working with that individual, he is responding to the altar call because he has already repented. It must be made clear that salvation comes as a result of faith in Christ's crosswork and resurrection, and NOT faith in the respondent's ability to recall and repent of his sins.

    Under the Dispensation of Law, the individual was justified by faith. Under this Dispensation of Grace, the individual is justified by faith (Romans 3:30). But, in what is that faith centered in each dispensation?

    In the previous dispensation, that saving faith was centered on the prophesied future of the nation Israel. Salvation was "of the Jews" (John 4:22). If an individual was a Jew or a Jewish proselyte, his security rested in the promises made to the nation. He acknowledged his security by placing himself under the Law.

    In this dispensation, saving faith is centered on the crosswork. Today, the believer's security rests on the fact that his sins are covered by the Blood. He acknowledges his security by allowing Christ to work through him in the "new man."

    It follows, since the individual in the previous dispensation must be directed to place his faith in one direction, while the individual in this dispensation must be directed to place his faith in another, that the message...the gospel message...must be different.

    So, at some point, the Dispensation of Law ended and the Dispensation of Grace began. Some teach that this was instantaneous and some teach that...like the disappearance of the sign gifts...there was a transitional period. In any event, that change should be captured within the book of Acts.

    In view of the first 10 verses of Ephesians 3, Colossians 1:24-29, and Galatians 1:12 and 15-19, I find this conclusion difficult to comprehend. At least three times, Paul refers to his message as "my gospel." Can you imagine a pastor today claiming a message to be "his" gospel?

    No, Paul's ministry was unique, both to himself and the time. His conversion, in Acts 9, marks the onset of the Dispensation of Grace.
     
  19. Don

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    Here's the problem I see with what you're saying, and how you're using John 4:22 to support it: In John 4:22, Jesus is talking to a non-Jew. Later, in the same chapter (verse 39), many non-Jews believed on Him based on what the first non-Jew told them; and many more later believed on Him when they saw and heard Him (verse 41).

    If we follow what you're saying, then a lot of non-Jews started following the law for their salvation...but scripture doesn't actually seem to say that. It says they believed on Him.

    Looks to me like salvation for more than just the Jews started well before Paul.
     
  20. BillyShope

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    And this means? Of course, they believed on Him. They believed that He was the Messiah, come to establish His kingdom.

    Salvation was always available to the Gentiles. All they had to do was become Jewish proselytes. It was to Paul, exclusively and originally, that the mystery message was given, in which the distinctive position of the Jew was set aside and the Gentile was given equal access (Ephesians 3:6).
     

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