Untitled 3

WHO SHOULD HAVE REPLACED JUDAS ISCARIOT
MATTHIAS OR PAUL?

Why was it "necessary" to replace the disgraced apostle Judas?

Couldn't the eleven remaining apostles

preach 'the gospel' without replacing him?

?????

Some say Peter was acting in the flesh

when he used the lot to choose the replacement for Judas.

?????

What 'gospel' did the apostles preach?

Was it the same 'gospel of the grace of God' we preach today?

?????

????????

R. L. B.

 

      "And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariote, being of the number of the twelve.  And he went away and spoke with the chief priests and captains as to how he should deliver him up to them. And they were rejoiced, and agreed to give him money. And he came to an agreement to do it, and sought an opportunity to deliver him up to them away from the crowd." (Luke 22:3-6)

     Peter then said it was 'necessary' to fill the gap created by Judas when he fell to go into his own place by betraying his Master and Lord.

      "And in those days Peter, standing up in the midst of the brethren, said, (the crowd of names who were together was about a hundred and twenty,)   Brethren, it was necessary that the scripture should have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before, by the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who became guide to those who took Jesus;  for he was numbered amongst us, and had received a part in this service.

       "(This man then indeed got a field with the reward of iniquity, and, having fallen down headlong, burst in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that that field was called in their own dialect Aceldama; that is, field of blood.)  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no dweller in it; and, Let another take his overseership.  It is necessary therefore, that of the men who have assembled with us all the time in which the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us,  beginning from the baptism of John until the day in which he was taken up from us, one of these should be a witness with us of his resurrection.

       "And they appointed two, Joseph, who was called Barsabas, who had been surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed, and said, Thou Lord, knower of the hearts of all, shew which one of these two thou hast chosen,  to receive the lot of this service and apostleship, from which Judas transgressing fell to go to his own place.  And they gave lots on them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.  (Acts 1:15-26)

     So, why was it "necessary" to fill this gap?  Could not the remaining eleven apostles have preached to the children of Israel on the day of Pentecost?  Certainly, if the apostles had preached to a mixture of Jews and Gentiles who, on believing, would be united in one body in Christ, there would be no reason to fill the gap.  But this was the whole point of Peter's statement. The apostles were NOT about to preach a gospel of grace to gentiles. They were ready to preach a kingdom gospel to the house of Israel exclusively to fulfill numerous Old Testament prophecies. And to do this they needed twelve apostles as specified by the Lord Jesus:

      "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That 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." (Mat. 19:28)

     What was the 'gospel' the twelve apostles would soon preach? It was the same 'gospel' Christ taught them to preach during His 40 days on earth:

        "I composed the first discourse, O Theophilus, concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach," (Acts 1:1)

 What was that 'gospel'?

        "to whom also he presented himself living, after he had suffered, with many proofs; being seen by them during forty days, and speaking of the things which concern the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3)

     Since the Lord had taught them "the things which concern the kingdom of God" and things concerning the "regeneration" it is not surprising the disciples asked about the timing of the coming kingdom of God, an event entirely different from the gospel of grace we preach today.

        "They therefore, being come together, asked him saying, Lord, is it at this time that you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)

     What does 'restoring the kingdom to Israel' have to do with preaching the gospel of the grace of God? Actually, it has nothing to do with it.  Some preachers assume it does, because eventually, many years later, the gospel of grace was revealed to the apostle Paul whereby Jews and Gentiles would comprise one body in Christ.  Yet this was not yet true in Acts 1. But some preachers do not understand this.

           Finally, we know that even the disciples had communication problems.  Before Jesus' ascension, the disciples asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' (Acts 1:6, NIV).  Even after his death and resurrection they misinterpreted his intention and expected a physical restoration of the Kingdom. (Susan Thode, The Missteps of Miscommunication, Decision, April 1991).

    Another, more well known radio preacher made a similar bumble:

        Even after Pentecost it was difficult for the disciples to give up the Kingdom idea - (M. R. DeHaan, M.D.,  Pentecost and After, Zondervan, p. 20)

     But the word "therefore" in the above scripture (Acts 1:6) makes it crystal clear that the disciples' question was entirely legitimate.  They had no "communication problems."  It was because of the Lord's teaching about the kingdom during the 40 days that the disciples asked that kingdom question.  Nor did the Lord correct His disciples by telling them they should have been asking about "the church," rather than about Israel's earthly kingdom.

     This brings us to a key question: was Matthias 'God's choice' or was Matthias just a fleshly choice? Should the apostle Paul have been the proper choice to replace Judas Iscariot?

What was Peter's authority?

     The Lord Jesus had specifically authorized Peter to make decisions on earth that would be ratified by God in heaven during the kingdom dispensation (Matthew 16:18):

       "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

        This apostle, Peter, had the authority to make important decisions in the kingdom of heaven on earth.  And these decisions would be fully ratified by God in heaven. So, when Peter said it was time to replace Judas that decision was bound by God in heaven.

      "It is necessary THEREFORE, that of the men who have assembled with us all the time in which the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day in which he was taken up from us, one of these should be a witness with us of his resurrection." (Acts 1:21-22)

Was this choice of Matthias valid, or should Paul have been selected as Judas' replacement?

        The Apostle Peter has been criticized by some for using the lot to select one of the two qualified candidates, calling it "gambling", and according to them Paul, (not Matthias), was actually God's choice to fill Judas' place.

They spent their time in prayer and supplication.  But then, sometime during those ten days, impetuous, impatient Peter had another of his wild ideas.  He was still thinking of the setting up of the Kingdom and the place of the apostles in that Kingdom....  While they therefore were waiting for the promise of the Spirit which Peter evidently still associated with the setting up of the Kingdom, he suggests they give the Lord a little assistance by appointing a twelfth apostle in the place of Judas.  He forgot that the apostles are chosen directly by Christ, and are not elected by men....

Peter was completely out of order, for they had been commanded to wait for the Holy Spirit to direct them.  But Peter wanted to get ready for the setting up of the Kingdom which, of course, necessitated twelve apostles.  Since they had no revelation from God who was to be the twelfth apostle, they were forced to use carnal means for the appointment.  Instead of waiting for the divine appointment of God's ordained apostle - Paul - they set up a slate of candidates and cast lots to see who would win.

The eleven, however would not admit their mistake, and so continued to count Matthias among the twelve....

Now this great mistake of Peter in engineering the appointment of Matthias was because he did not understand the difference between the Kingdom and the Church. - (DeHaan, op. cit., pp. 21-24)

Those who criticize the apostles disregard the fact that Christ Himself empowered Peter to make these important kingdom decisions, the same valid decisions Peter and the eleven would make when they would eventually sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

      Because so many do not understand the authority given to Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ, I believe it is important to repeat the scriptural basis for it once again.

       In Mathew 16 our Lord challenged the apostles. Who do men say that I am, and who do you say that I am? Peter responded

      "And Simon Peter answering said, *Thou* art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answering said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.  And *I* also, I say unto thee that *thou* art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades' gates shall not prevail against it." (Mat. 16:16-18)

But, because of Peter's confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Lord then bestowed on Peter a special kingdom authority. (Note the *asterisks* in the verses above, and in the following verse that indicate emphasis to pronouns in the Greek by *I* and *thou*).

     "And *I* also, I say unto thee [singular] that *thou* [singular] art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades' gates shall not prevail against it.
     "And I will give to thee [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of the heavens; and whatsoever thou [singular, i.e. Peter] mayest bind upon the earth shall be bound in the heavens; and whatsoever thou [singular] mayest loose on the earth shall be loosed in the heavens."
(Mat. 16:18-19 - 'New Translation' by J. N. Darby)

Note the tremendous authority the Lord gave Peter: WHATEVER act he might perform here on earth would be acknowledged by God in heaven.

Was this choice of Matthias valid, or should Paul have been selected as Judas' replacement?

        The Apostle Peter has been criticized by some for using the lot to select one of the two qualified candidates, calling it "chance", and that Paul, (not Matthias), was actually God's choice to fill Judas' place.

         Peter's Blunder  -  Peter, unable in his impatience to wait for instructions from the Lord at Pentecost, suggests they hold an election.....  After they had prayed for the Lord to show them which of these two was God's choice, they still did not get an answer and so they were compelled to resort to the dubious method of "chance." ....  But it was all in vain. This was not God's choice but man's. The twelfth apostle would be ordained by God, as all the others had been, and his name would be Paul, not Matthias. - (DeHaan, op. cit., pp. 21-22)

       We note that making decisions using "the lot" was a perfectly acceptable practice during Israel's dispensation (Leviticus 16:10, Proverbs 16:33, Luke 1:9, Acts 13:19 etc.), and would be permissible during an earthly system observed during the kingdom of the heavens.

        We quote again Matthew 16:18-19: 

     "And I also, I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades' gates shall not prevail against it.
     "And I will give to thee [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of the heavens; and whatsoever thou [Peter] mayest bind upon the earth shall be bound in the heavens; and whatsoever thou mayest loose on the earth shall be loosed in the heavens."
(Mat. 16:18-19 - 'New Translation' by J. N. Darby)

       Here the Lord describes in His own words the nature of the particular "gathering" (church, or assembly) that He promised to build following Peter's bold confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mat. 16:16).  In the above quotation, verses 18 and 19 are tightly joined together and we must not separate the "assembly" of verse 18 and the "keys of the kingdom of the heavens" of verse 19.  These are not two completely unrelated concepts. To say that Christ's 'gathering' has little or nothing to do with the 'keys of the kingdom of the heavens' given to Peter is disproved by the fact that Peter actually used these 'kingdom keys' several times to initiate major changes to kingdom practices during the Acts.  The 'binding' and 'loosing' undertaken by Peter in connection with the ekklesia and with the kingdom during the Acts period confirms that the two verses must be taken together.  It is not consistent hermeneutics to separate the two verses by saying verse 18 refers to "the church" but that verse 19 means an entirely different subject unrelated to "the church" (i.e., to the millennial "kingdom").  Thus I believe the term 'Christ's kingdom church' accurately describes the characteristics of that particular "gathering" (ekklesia) that began at Pentecost.  This kingdom related church that the Lord declared to Peter had the following characteristics:

What was the Lord's message to His disciples after His resurrection?

Because the Lord consistently taught the apostles about the kingdom foretold by the Hebrew prophets it was completely logical that the eleven apostles should ask the following question about that kingdom:

   "Therefore, (i.e., because of what the Lord had been teaching them), when they had come together, they asked Him saying, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)

        Because Ephesians speaks of a gathering (church) in which believing Jews and Gentiles form one 'body' in Christ with an eventual blessing "in heavenly places in Christ", a great number of teachers wrongly "assume" that Ephesian truth can be transposed into the Kingdom message spoken only to "Jews and converts to Judaism"  (Acts 2:11, New International Version). Nowhere did the Lord Jesus speak of a gathering of believers that consisted of Jews and Gentiles united in one body whose sphere of blessing would be in the heavenly places!

      As Christian teachers of the word we need to believe the Scriptures and accept the fact that the Lord did indeed confer upon Peter special authority in connection with the kingdom of the heavens (Mat. 16:18-19).  If our preconceived ideas differ from what the apostles believed, we should defer to their understanding of the Lord's truth.  Do we know better than what the apostles knew?  While some branches of Christendom falsely claim that this apostolic authority continues to exist in their particular religious systems today, it truly did exist in God's program for Israel while the earthly kingdom was being proclaimed.  So let us see what the Holy Spirit Himself has to say as to whether this gap left by Judas was rightly filled by Matthias, or should Paul have been appointed.  Was this choice of Matthias "bound in heaven" as our Lord promised to Peter in Mat. 16:19, or was the Lord's kingdom promise to Peter invalid? 

      To put it bluntly, did the Lord make a mistake when He gave Peter that authority? 

      Of course we believe the Lord knew what He was doing.  And those of us who believe in the Divine inspiration of scripture also believe the Holy Spirit, the Divine Inspirer, has confirmed that Matthias, not Paul, was God's choice to be one of the twelve apostles.

   "And they gave lots on them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles." (Acts 1:26)

   "But Peter, standing up with the eleven." (Acts 2:14)

In both of the above passages eleven plus one equals twelve, as is made clear in the following two citations:

   "And the twelve, having called the multitude of the disciples to them...." (Acts 6:2)

   "and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." (1 Cor. 15:5)

In these scriptures the Holy Spirit, the author of the sacred writings, confirms that the appointment on earth of Matthias was totally authorized by God and accepted by Him in heaven, and that the twelfth apostle was surely Matthias.  Paul excluded himself from being the twelfth apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:5.  Paul believed it was necessary to distinguish his apostleship from that of the twelve apostles who would occupy thrones in the millennial kingdom. God had chosen Paul to be an apostle to the uncircumcision.  Paul knew he was never to be numbered with the eleven circumcision apostles nor would he sit on one of the twelve kingdom thrones.  And he made that fact clear:

"and last of all, as to an abortion [one born out of due time], he appeared to *me* also." (1 Cor. 15:8)

One must realize that without twelve apostles who would sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, God's bona fide offer of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel could not take place.  But if (as some contend) it was not God's plan to offer the earthly kingdom to Israel at that time, why does scripture say "It is necessary therefore" (Acts 1:21-22) to fill the gap left by Judas by appointing a new twelfth apostle?

Thus, in appointing Matthias God was making good on His Son's declaration to Peter that this man Peter would be authorized to act in a kingdom capacity on earth, and to have his actions on earth ratified in heaven as part of the kingdom program for His kingdom gathering (ekklesia).  "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Mat. 6:10).

        (Note:  Protestants are sometimes uncomfortable with the fact that Peter was given Divine authority on earth by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 16:18-19 because they feel this seems to play into the systems of Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  But the answer to their dilemma becomes clear once the kingdom purpose of God in the Acts of the Apostles is correctly understood.  Because, once that kingdom program was decisively put on hold at Acts 28:28 Peter's authority to act with the keys of the kingdom necessarily disappeared, making it impossible for there to be divinely sanctioned 'POPERY' today.  The fact that 'apostolic succession' is nowhere mentioned in the Word of God also forbids the notion of any present day 'vicar on earth.').  

        In restoring Matthias as the twelfth apostle, God was in fact preparing to soon restore all twelve tribes of Israel and Judah into a united theocratic kingdom under the Anointed Son of David (Ezek. 37:15-25).  He was carefully preparing the twelve apostles to make a valid offer of that kingdom to the leaders of Israel (see Acts 3:17-26).  That was the kingdom nature. mission, and destiny of the 'church' (ekklesia) at Pentecost.