Tag Archive | apostle

The apostle Paul had a revelation rather than a regeneration on the road to Damascus

paulus2”I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19)

We can read about Paul’s meeting with Jesus Christ in Acts. 9 in the Bible.

Paul was a zealous man, and he even threatened to kill the disciples of Jesus because they were Christians. He was on his way to Damascus where he would be getting the proper documentation for bringing Christian men and women bound to Jerusalem and bring them before the chief priests. Paul did not realize that he was not serving a good cause, and by his actions he was actually persecuting the son of God and God in flesh – Jesus Christ. Paul was certainly not a lazy man when it came to religion and if he could be converted to the right side, he would be a very good choice to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Paul had inflicted much grief and pain in innocent people, and for the rest of his life he would be getting several doses of his own medicine.

However, Paul was not chosen to believe, and not chosen for salvation. He was chosen to receive a special revelation from Jesus, with the aim that he would be converted and thus become a useful missionary for the gospel. Jesus likely knew the likely outcome through such a revelation, since he knew Paul’s heart. It is true that not all people get this type of revelation from Jesus, but it is also true that all people on earth in fact have different kind of backgrounds, living environments, chances to hear the gospel, etc. God is fair and we will be judged based on our conscience and abilities (Romans 2:7-15).

Paul saw a light from heaven and spoke to Lord Jesus. Paul was blind for three days and was also praying to God during this time. Ananias was instructed by Jesus to lay his hands on Paul to induce the miracle to give Paul his sight back. He did so, and told Paul that Jesus had sent himthat you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (v.17). This is therefore an example of a person who is able to seek and pray to God before he receives the Holy spirit, Cornelius in Acts 10 is another example. It is also an example of a person who was not among the initial disciples, and yet had the gift of healing and inducing the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands. The spiritual gifts are still applicable today. As soon as Paul received his sight and the Holy Spirit, he rose up to be baptized. 

Acts. 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” NKJV

It does not say above that Paul was chosen for salvation, but again he was chosen to receive a revelation. He responded well to it as expected (that was the aim of the revelation after all) and was therefore correctly described as a chosen vessel of Jesus. This does not mean that Paul did not have a will of his own, or that he had no choice in the matter.

Calvinists often say that we are chosen for salvation (or damnation) from the foundation of the world, but if that is true one must wonder if Paul was chosen yet again on the road to Damascus? Was he not chosen the first time from the foundation of the world? If someone also suggests that Paul was chosen for salvation from his mother’s womb (see verse below), then it would make Paul chosen for salvation no less than three times! Besides, if Paul was chosen for salvation once or twice before Acts 9, his divine revelation would be irrelevant anyway, since he would be chosen for salvation with or without it. 

Clearly no one is chosen to believe or not believe, because if this had been the case then it would naturally be God’s fault if someone does not believe. We can read in Acts 17 that we are even created to seek and find God, and that he is not far away from any of us. Also, keep in mind the parable of the wedding party of the King’s son in Matt. 22. Those who were called ”chosen” were those who had chosen to go to the party, and they were not even on the initial guest list.

Paul had an option to obey or disobey Jesus’ calling. Fortunately he obeyed and was a useful chosen vessel.

So then, King Agrippa, I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT to the vision from heaven (Acts 26:19)

God separates us all from our mother’s wombs, and again, we are all created to seek him and find him. We can be saved through God’s grace if we respond well to his calling. The reason for the revelation at Damascus, was to shake Paul up so that he would hopefully get converted and be a good preacher of the gospel. It worked out well, just like Jesus had anticipated.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (NKJV)

There are apostles in the church today, and we are warned about false apostles

 

apostle 3”Apostle” comes from the greek word ”apostolos” (Strong’s 652) and means one that is sent forth (with orders or a mission), like a messenger.

The very first apostles were the same as Jesus first disciples.

Matt. 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

When Judas Iscariot fell away, Matthias was appointed in his stead.

Acts 2:23 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.

Also Paul was called by God to be an apostle.

Corinthians 1:1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother (Rom. 1:1, 11:13, 1 Cor. 1:1, 9:1-2, 1 Cor. 15:9, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:1, 1 Tim. 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:1, 1:11, Titus 1:1)

Barnabas was called an apostle according to Luke, and it’s possible that also Timothy, Judas Barsabas and Silvanus (probably the same as Silas) were considered apostles as well. They were certainly called, and sent forth by Paul to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me BARNBABAS and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.14 Which when the apostles, BARNABAS and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed BARSABAS and SILAS, chief men among the brethren

70 other individuals sent out to spread the gospel and to heal the sick

Apart from the first 12, and apart from Paul and Barnabas, we can read from Luke that 70 other individuals were sent forth to spread the gospel and to perform miracles.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.—9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.—13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.—16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

In the above verses it’s clear that these 70 individuals were given much divine power. Not only does Jesus separate people between those who listen to these 70 and those who despite them, but the 70 are also given power to do mighty work like healing the sick. They were more powerful than the enemy – including the spirits from the enemy. With other words, there were no one else who had greater power apart from God and the other 12 apostles, and Jesus told these 70 individuals to pray that the Lord would send forth laborers into his harvest. This seems to be exactly what Jesus had done to these 70 at one point, because he had sent them forth to do mighty work.

The commands for the initial 12 apostles were similar as for the 70:

Matt. 28:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.—7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

In order to not confuse the first 12 apostles with the above 70 individuals (all of them called to spread the gospel by Jesus Christ), it makes sense that ”the apostles” refers only to the original apostles, including either Judas Iscariot or later on Matthias. Also Jesus Christ could actually be called an apostle, because he was also sent forth by his Father to share the gospel with the people on earth. Neither Jesus would be included whenever the Bible uses the term ”the apostles”.

Hebr. 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Even if the 70 individuals mentioned in Luke 10 had similar tasks as the 12 apostles, it’s only the 12 apostles that will be given one foundation each in the new Jerusalem. The 12 are likely viewed in highest regard because they were the first disciples who remained with him (unlike other disciples as those mentioned in John 6:66), who were taught by him, dined with him, were his close friends, etc. It’s difficult to have 12 + 70 very close and intimate friends, but it’s possible to select 12 individuals and be both a close friend as well as being their master. They in turn could do the same – gather a few people and making them into disciples.

Rev. 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Eph. 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.—17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Luke 11:47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation

Jesus is naturally the one with all the wisdom in the world, but since the first apostles were sent out from him they are also very trustworthy. Jude is therefore in Jude 1:3 exhorting christians ”to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. The saints were the first christians, and the very first christians were the apostles. If the apostles make sure to adhere to Jesus teaching, and if these apostles make sure to only appoint qualified men to be apostles and pastors, then all would be well in church. Unfortunately Paul (and Peter, John, Jude, etc) also knew that wolves in sheep’s clothing would be entering the church soon after their own departure. In 1 Tim. 5:22 we can read Paul’s warning to Timothy Do not lay hands on anyone hastily” (which is the way one officially appoints a presbytery/pastor), because he knew the order of events. 

Junia is a female name, but rather than being named an apostle it’s more likely that the below verse should be read as though the apostles viewed both Andronicus and Junia as godly individuals of highest regard.

Rom. 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Apostles are supposed to be in the church, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachersapostle 2

If teachers, evangelists and pastors are still active in church today, then so are apostles and prophets since they are all listed together in the below verses. Paul is explaining the church order for the Corinthians and the Ephesians (and for all of us), and it would be strange if he asked ”are all apostles, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles?”, if these functions would soon cease and lose their significance. If apostles would soon be irrelevant in church within one generation, it would be better for Paul to end all confusion by explaining that only the twelve could be considered apostles and that therefore false apostles could easily be detected.

1 Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Based on the above, the order of authority seems to be: God almighty, Jesus Christ his son (Jesus is of course also God, but he is also the son who is sent out), the 12 apostles, other apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments and diversities of tongues.

We are warned about false apostles

If the case would be that only the initial 12 disciples could ever be considered true apostles, it would be a breeze to figure out which ones the false apostles are. Anyone claiming to be an apostle and not being among the first dozen or more, would by definition be a false prophet. Yet, the Bible doesn’t make this particular distinction between true apostles and false apostles, but it’s rather about being qualified and showing good fruit. We are warned about both false apostles and false prophets – and supposed to look out.

2 Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Rev. 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

2 Cor. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

A true Biblical apostle would also be able to show signs, perform wonders and mighty deeds. Both Philip and Stephen did great miracles (Acts 8:6 and 6:8).

The holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues can be received by laying on of hands

Some christians suggest that the holy Spirit and miracles can only come from the hands of the apostles, but the Bible doesn’t narrow it down in that way. The first christians (normally the apostles) had this power, but the amount of christians increased and the holy Spirit could also be received in other ways (by listening to the gospel and having a repentant heart).

Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money

Acts. 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

The Apostle JUDAS was probably once SAVED

judasJudas Iscariot  was one of Jesus’ disciples and a chosen APOSTLE. In order to be qualified for a position like this there are certain conditions that apply and that Judas apparently met (Mat 12:49-50, Lukas 14:26-27). Jesus gave many warnings to his twelve disciples that they must live holy lives, and he also gave them many wonderful promises both when it concerns their lives on earth and the next life – and Judas Iscariot was one of those disciples which Jesus addressed. It would have been an extreme paradox if a disciple which was not of God but of Satan, would have the capability to heal the sick, raise people from the dead and cast out demons, because a ”son of Satan” cannot cast out demons from himself.

Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

If Judas just hanged around with the other eleven disciples without performing any miracles, the other disciples would surely have noticed something and would wonder why everyone apart from Judas managed to heal the sick and cast out demons. When Jesus later on explained for his disciples that one of them would betray him, they all looked at each other in amazement and wondered to themselves who on earth this could be (Joh 13:22). They seemed to have no clue about the darkness in Judas and that he was a likely suspect, so apparently he had given them no sign of any particular bad fruit in his life. It therefore seems like Judas lived his life just like the others – at least as far as they knew. We know of course that Judas was a thief since he stole from the money bag that he was responsible for, but this wouldn’t be anything that he would tell others about, so as far as they knew Judas was just one of them and performed the same powerful miracles as they did. A person who is guilty of theft and who has not repented from this can of course not be saved, but we don’t if Judas repented or not. We DO know that also the other disciples had been guilty of sin as well and Peter is a good example of this. After that Judas had betrayed Jesus, Peter also sinned by denying Jesus three times and this is a sin which clearly leads to death (which all sins do) since Jesus clearly said so. If we deny him before men, he will deny us. ( Peter later repented.) If Judas would have failed when it comes to healing the sick and casting out demons, this would have been detected by the others because Jesus did not send out his disciples to work alone but at least two and two.

Matt. 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; —Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: —Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Jesus explains that they don’t have to worry about what to say because the spirit of God will speak IN them. Judas was given this promise as well.

Matt. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.— 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?—40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me

We can read that Judas (by transgression) fell from his ministry and apostleship. The Greek word that is translated ”fell” is parebé that is from parabainó that means transgress, violate, depart or desert. Matthias took the place that Judas used to have. Also Matthias passed the requirements to be in this important position.

Apg. 1:24 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.

Judas seemed to be a friend that Jesus could trust. If this psalm is not about Judas, who is it about?

Psaltaren 41:All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.10 But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

Judas was promised a throne in heaven together with the other apostles where they were to judge the tribes of Israel. Jesus PROMISED his twelve disciples  – where Judas was included – that they would be getting a throne each. Sadly Judas caused this promise to not be fulfilled.

Matt 19:28 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.

Despite those wonderful promises he ended up in hell. It would have been better if he had not been born.

Lukas 22:And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

Joh. 13:And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him ;

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

 Matt 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born

There were many who stood in line to kill Jesus but his Father protected him until it was time to meet the death for the sins of all mankind. Jesus’ death was planned, but there are many ways in which he could have chosen to die so Judas did not have to be the one to betray him at all. The evilness of Judas was in this unique case used for something good, namely the death of Jesus on the cross. God has in a few cases used man’s evil schemes for something good, but it’s never God’s intention or desire that anyone should ever sin. There is no darkness in God and he doesn’t tempt anyone, much less make anyone sin. The Father knew what Judas was up to and Judas will be punished for having acted against the will of God. Do read more about this in this blog article. 

I can add that no one is actually finally saved until he enters the kingdom of God. It does look like Judas was ”spiritually alive” at one point in his life.

Here are the views from Gordon Olson, from The Truth Shall Make You Free

p. Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles to serve God and be a witness to the Gospel and revealed truth. He obviously was partaking of this truth, but rebelled and became an apostate—thus frustrating the loving plans of his Master: Acts 1:25; Mt. 10:2-4; Lk. 6:12-13; Mk. 3:14-15. The reasons why the Twelve were chosen are given below. If the Lord Jesus chose to bestow extended labor of preparation upon one whom He certainly foresaw would fall of the intended mission, it would appear that an unwise and inconsistent choice was made. Judas had no authority, he merely ”became a guide to those who arrested Jesus” (Acts 1:16). 

1) The Lord Jesus chose the Twelve from His disciples after an all-night of prayer to the Father: Lk. 6:12-13. 

2) The threefold purpose in calling the Twelve is plainly declared: Mk. 3:14-15. 

3) Judas was in a state of salvation when chosen and sent forth to represent Christ: Lk. 9:1-2; Mt. 10:8 (12:25-26); 10:16, 20 (Jn. 8:44); Mk. 6:7, 12; Lk. 9:6; Jn. 13:20. 

4) Judas rebelled against his Master (Jn. 6:64, 70-71), joined himself to Satan (Lk. 22:3; Jn. 13:2, 27), and thus fell from his ”ministry and apostleship” (Acts 1:17, 25). 

5) It does not appear that the treachery of Judas was specifically prophesied in the Old Testament, nor that the Lord Jesus expected his apostasy until He perceived its development in his mind. If our Lord expected it all the time, why was He ”troubled in spirit” or heart stricken at its development (Jn. 13:21)? It is obviously presented as a tragic surprise. The following are the passages involved and suggested literal translations for careful study: Jn. 6:64 ”But there are some of you who are not believing. For Jesus was knowing from the beginning who they are who are not believing and who it is who would deliver Him up.” ”From the beginning” most likely refers to their unbelief or turning of heart, which Jesus was observing (Jn. 2:24-25). See Mt. 19:4, 8; Jn. 15:27; 16:4; Acts 11:15; 26:4; Phil. 4:15—”from the beginning” of the thing spoken of. 

Jn. 6:70—”Did not I choose out for Myself you the twelve, and out of you one a devil is?” This strongly implies that he was not such originally, but became so (Lk. 22:3; Jn. 13:2, 21). 

Jn. 6:71—”For this one was about to be delivering Him up, one out of the twelve.” Nothing is prophetic here, merely stating his purpose. 

Jn. 13:11—”For He was knowing him who was delivering Him up, therefore He said, Ye are not all clean.” Here was a present activity. 

Jn. 13:18—”Not concerning all of you am I speaking; I Myself am knowing the ones I did choose out for Myself; but thus is the Scripture fulfilled (or again illustrated): He who is eating My bread did lift up against Me his heel.” Our Lord is referring back to a purely historical event in the life of David, where his counselor Ahithophel betrayed him and joined Absalom’s rebellion (Ps. 41:9, see II Sam. 15:12; 16:23), which was similar to His sad experience. Since David wrote of ”my close friend, in whom I trusted,” the Lord Jesus in applying this passage must have felt similarly and had trusted Judas. 

In Jn. 13:18 and 17:12 we have the conjunction ”hina” with a verb ”to fulfill,” which may be translated either ”in order that might be fulfilled,” as in the case of a specific prophecy, or ”so that was fulfilled” indicating a re-fulfillment or an application of an Old Testament historical situation or declaration. 

Jn. 17:12—”While I was with them I Myself was keeping them in Thy name whom Thou didst give Me, and I guarded (them), and no one out of them perished (or did destroy himself), except the son of perdition, so that the Scripture was fulfilled.” What Scripture our Lord had in mind is not known, perhaps Ps. 41:9, as above. 

Acts 1:16-17, 20—”Men, brethren, the Scripture, which the Holy Spirit did speak beforehand through David’s mouth, must have been fulfilled in the case of Judas, who became a guide to those who took Jesus. For that having been numbered with (us), he was among us and did receive the allotted portion of this ministry . . . For it has been written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation become desolate and let no one dwell in it, and his office let another take.'”

Reference is back to Ps. 69:25, where we notice a plural pronoun used, not a singular pronoun which would be the case if this had been a specific prophecy to Judas. 

The other reference is to Ps. 109:8, where the words, ”let another take his office.” are a part of a context extending from verse 6 to verse 19. This whole passage is a pronouncement against ”adversaries from the Lord” (20). Since only one small part of this passage is referred to, it would appear that the brief quotation in Acts 1:20 is intended as an application of a previously pronounced judgment upon a typical enemy of God. Obviously, if this had been a specific prophecy of Judas, the whole passage would have been referred to and not just five words. Peter’s reference to the Holy Spirit speaking ”through David’s mouth” must relate to his lifetime inspiration in his writings (II Sam. 23:2), and not to any specific prophecy concerning Judas, as the Lord Jesus spoke of (Mk. 12:36).

Jesus HEALED the SICK and so can we

Jesus – our great Healer and Doctor!

But how about this Bible text?:

Mark 6:But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now HE COULD DO NO MIGHTY WORK THERE, EXCEPT THAT HE LAID HIS HANDS ON A FEW SICK PEOPLE AND HEALED THEMAnd He marveled because of their UNBELIEF. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching. (NKJV)

It could of course be interpreted as though Jesus was unable to heal sick people due to their unbelief, despite trying a few times, or maybe he gave up before trying because he could sense their unbelief. That scenario would be quite different from other scenarios where Jesus was healing people, because then he healed ALL. Another interpretation of the above verse, is that people lacked belief (in getting healed) to the extent that they didn’t even  approach Jesus about it, because they believed they wouldn’t be able to get healed anyway, so why bother trying? Neither did they believe that sick family members and friends would be able to get healed, so they didn’t bring them to Jesus either. The outcome would be that Jesus couldn’t heal that many people for the simple reason that he didn’t have that many candidates to work on. He did heal a few, because a few people asked to get healed.

Since Jesus was so effective when he performed healing, it increased the level of faith among people – to believe that he could be successful also concerning THEM. If you see friends and family members getting healed (despite knowing they have an illness) then why couldn’t it also happen to you? The more people who got healed, the easier it would be for others to get the needed faith to get healed themselves – much like an avalanche. Jesus fame spread and multitudes followed him and got healed, leading to even more multitudes following him.

Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised—21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Matthew 12:15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

Luke 5:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Jesus is rather clear about that FAITH is an important ingredient for getting healed

Jesus was of course effective when he healed people because he was anointed by his Father to do mighty work, and of course he didn’t lack any belief in that people would be able to get cured. On top of that, it certainly looks like other people’s FAITH had much to do with getting healed, but not always since Jesus’ friend Lasarus was healed despite being dead and unable to have faith.We are not expected to believe anyone is the Messiah just for saying so, but Jesus showed that the circumstances surrounding him were prophesied about him in Scripture long before he was born, and also the miracles he did confirmed that he indeed was the Messiah. Jesus expects us to believe he is who he says he is for these reasons.

John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matt. 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.17 Then Jesus answered and said, O FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?20 And Jesus said unto them, BECAUSE OF YOUR UNEBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Examples where FAITH plays a big role in order to get healed:

Luke 5:17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.20 And WHEN HE SAW THEIR FAITH, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.—24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day

John 4:47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And THE MAN BELIEVED THE WORD THAT JEUS HAD SPOKEN unto him, and he went his way.51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

Acts 14:And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and PERCEIVING THAT HE HAD FAITH TO BE HEALED,10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

Luke 17:.17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE.

Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, GREAT IS THY FAITH: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Luke 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE.43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Some people believed they could get healed just by touching Jesus, and since they believed this very strongly, they got healed:

Luke 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.19 And THE WHOLE MULTITUDE SOUGHT TO TOUCH HIM: FOR THERE WENT VIRTUE OUT OF HIM, and healed them all.20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Mark 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.—34 And he said unto her, Daughter, THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Jesus was truly amazed when he saw the faith of the Centurion:

Luke 7:For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.When Jesus heard these things, HE MARVELLED AT HIM, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I HAVE NOT FOUND SO GREAT FAITH, no, not in Israel.

Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. —13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and AS THOU HAST BELIEVED, SO BE IT DONE UNTO THEE. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

People close their eyes and ears and thus make it hard for Jesus to heal them.

Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes THEY have closed; LEST at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them

Acts 28; 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and THEIR EYES THEY CLOSED; LEST they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.37 But though he had done so many MIRACLES before them, YET THEY BELIEVED NOT ON HIM:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

In Jesus home city he wasn’t successful in his healing due to people’s unbelief. Only a few people got healed, and Jesus MARVELLED at their unbelief:

Mark 6:But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.And HE COULD THERE DO NO MIGHTY WORK, save that he laid his hands upon A FEW sick folk, and healed them.And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Luke 4:24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

Jesus disciples had the gift of healing as well

Jesus disciples must have watched countless of people getting healed through the hands of Jesus, and it would therefore have been easier for them to actually believe in their own abilities to heal once they got this power. The same thing applies here; they were successful and when people noticed the wonderful results they could easier produce faith to believe that the disciples could heal also THEM.

Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed

Acts. 3:And all the people saw him walking and praising God:10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Acts 5:16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Acts. 4:Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.—13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.—16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.—21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.22 For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.—.30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

We are told to be eager to seek the gift of Healing (and other gifts) TODAY

There are people wanting to see mighty miracles and getting healed just as much today as the case was 2,000 years ago, so there is no reason for this powerful gift to have passed away shortly after Paul wrote his letters. (Surely we would expect to see information about this ceasing if it ever occurred in our past.) That’s why we shouldn’t let the devil fool us into believing that this gift was only for the first christians, and thus miss out on the wonderful promises. Many christians DO realize the gift is for today and are blessed with the gift of healing, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to try to ignore the obvious – loads of people getting healed!

Despite the information in the Bible, and despite that true born again christians have this gift, there are still christians who are skeptic about this gift and some even tie today’s healing with the devil. (Wouldn’t that be close to the unpardonable sin?) Each time Satan manages to convince church leaders that healing isn’t something they should engage themselves with because it’s ”controversial” or because they simply don’t believe they are for today, Satan will stand there as the winner since there WILL be people who miss out on the opportunity to get healed, and God will get less glory when we place the lid on such wonderful manifestations which could actually lead to people getting saved due to what they see.

Some ask for ”proof” (often from secular non-christian sources), but what proof would convince them? There are hospital journals which confirm that a cancer has strangely vanished unexpectedly, and doctors even write ”much like a miracle”, but would the doubters accept this as proof? No, they would say ”Such journals can easily be tampered with” or ”That is no proof” or ”Send it to me then, and let me have a look”. I don’t have these journals in my own possession and naturally a hospital wouldn’t send out copies of other people’s journals. And if I would provide the contact information to a person who got healed so that a copy of such a journal could be acquired, would they actually write and ask for it? I highly doubt it since they wouldn’t accept a copy as proof anyway.

I’ve heard people saying things such as ”I’ve been a christian for 30 years and I have not seen one single example of healing”. Well, I’m sorry that no one has ever knocked on their door to ask if they care to be a witness to a healing, but even if someone did, would they actually believe it and accept it? I don’t think so! If they on top of this attend a church where the leaders don’t even believe in the gift of healing (or it’s nothing they engage themselves in even if they are not officially ”against” it), then of course it’s extremely unlikely that the congregation will ever be witness to a healing. So again, what ”proof” would ever satisfy them? Some might say ”the burden of proof is on those who claim there is healing today”, but why would we even bother trying to provide proof? What would WE gain by spending valuable time trying to convince people who have already made up their mind? They are free to believe whatever they want, and the rest of us can continue praising God for the gift of healing which has been such a blessing to loads of people and which highlights the power of the mighty one.

Yet others try with ”guilt by association”, or they try to convince people that the misuse of the gift of healing (which they claim is SO COMMON despite that they have no means of knowing this since they are not active in charismatic churches) is evidence for that ALL healing should be avoided to all costs. They reason that if the evangelist Smith, the horrible charismatic prosperity preacher, misuses the gift of healing and loves luxurious houses, fancy cars and private jets, then this is ”proof” for that ALL healing are ungodly.

It seems to be easier to believe in healing in certain countries/areas that are less fortunate when it comes to material things, like in the third world. A witness told me that she went with a group to a large christian meeting in a country in Africa and she said; ”It seemed like more people got healed than NOT healed”. That is hard to imagine in a western country where faith is lacking. But the promise to us is that we too can perform healings due to the gift from the Holy Spirit. We are even promised to do ”greater works” than Jesus and that is BECAUSE Jesus went to his Father and made this possible for us. Thanks to his death on the cross and his resurrection, we can get the help from the Holy Spirit to do all those mighty things and even get people back from the dead. Just like Jesus. The reason why we don’t see this very often is likely due to lack of faith.

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL HE DO; because I go unto my Father.13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues

1 Cor. 13:And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Paul provides instructions for how a church (a christian assembly) is supposed to function, and the gift of healing is part of it. We are told to be eager to get the best gifts, and the gift of healing is mentioned fifth:

1 Cor. 12:Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.—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;10 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:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12 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.—And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Also James explains how a gathering of christians should function:

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the PRAYER OF FAITH SHALL SAVE THE SICK, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Paul was not the chief of sinners and holy, righteous and BLAMELESS at the same time

Paul said: 

Romans 7:14 But I am carnal, sold under sin

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is DEATH 

Hmm, was Paul BOTH carnal and not carnal at the same time, or is he saying the he is carnal and therefore spiritually dead OR is he saying that he was FORMERLY carnal and sold under sin? I’d say the latter.  Paul also said:

 I Cor. 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and SIN NOT 

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Paul is saying that if you obey sin it leads to DEATH (and naturally spiritual death since all people will die physically whether they sin or not). If Paul was the chief of sinners while writing Romans, it must mean he obeyed SIN and served two masters! The Bible is clear about that  sinning and serving two masters will send a person to hell. So Paul wasn’t saved while writing Romans? How can a person be the chief of sinners and BLAMELESS (which Paul says he is) at the same time? To me that is a Bible contradiction. Paul identified himself as a sinner but the context reveals he was talking about his life BEFORE he came to salvation.

1 Tim. 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Tim. 1:12-16).

When Paul wrote ”I was before a blasphemer and a persecutor” it shows he is writing about the time when he was unsaved in his past. He also said ”I acted ignorantly in unbelief”. Paul is not speaking of the normal Christian life and when comparing with context it’s apparent that Paul didn’t keep on doing those sinful things, as he frequently taught against.

Just a few verses later Paul warned Timoty to have a GOOD CONSCIENCE. He said 18This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”. If Paul was the chief of sinners also as a born again christian, then how could he possibly have a good conscience, and how could he possibly expect Timothy to have a good conscience if he fails himself? Can someone be a chief of sinners with a good conscience before God?

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts. 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.

Rom. 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost

2 Cor. 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Tim. 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day

Hebr. 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly

Would Paul exhort others to stop sinning when he himself was carnal and sold under sin? Paul says sin dwells in him (Romans 7:17, 20) and he says he is a wretched man (Romans 7:24). Can a person have sin dwelling in him at the same time as he is free of sin? Wouldn’t this be a clear contradiction? Did the chief of sinners write the major part of the NT and ask his readers to stop sinning and to not be hypocrites at the same time as HE was the biggest hypocrite? Paul’s desire is to find someone who can free him from his sins which lead to death (Rom 7:24), and he makes it clear in Rom. 8:2 that the fight he had in the flesh belonged to his former life.  Right after he describes his bondage to sin and the law before he was saved, he says, ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” He also said ”IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH YE SHALL DIE”. Based on Paul’s own words a person who sins is SPIRITUALLY DEAD, so clearly Paul could not have been the chief of sinners when saying this.

He is speaking in the present tense, but at which present time? Paul is using a mechanism of literature called, Past Perfect with Present Perfect tense. It is when you speak of past events as if it were present tense. There is a transition by first speaking of the past, transferring in present perfect tense, then shifting it back to the actual present.

Rom 6:1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Rom 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.—12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul says that we are either slaves to sin OR slaves to righteousness.  If Paul was a slave to sin (chief of sinners) then he would be spiritually DEAD by his own admission. We can’t serve two masters. So again, Paul was not describing himself from a christian perspective in Romans. 7. Paul’s behavior agreed with what he taught all the churches:

Eph. 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Col. 3: 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds

1 Thess. 4:For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Phil. 4:9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you.

1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory

1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2 Cor 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Hebr.12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us–Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

So in conclusion, either Paul was exactly so holy, blameless, righteous and pure as he claimed to be or he was the biggest hypocrite in the Bible, and maybe in history. Make your choice but you can’t have it both ways.

Paul was also not chosen to believe, and no one is forced to believe and obey God. Paul however did believe and obey God:

So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven (Acts 26:19)

Neither can we take Phil. 3:12-13 as support for that Paul couldn’t stop sinning. Also v. 10 must be taken into account.

Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before—20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Clearly the above concerns another type of perfection than the moral perfection since it talks about the resurrection when we will get new bodies and become perfect individuals in a physical sense. As long as we live on earth we will have to cope with our fragile bodies which sometimes give us pain. That’s another matter than being able to live obedient to God. Naturally Paul believed it was achievable to reach a moral perfection while on earth, before we die physically. He even speaks about ”as many as are perfect” just a couple of verses later:

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Not even Jesus was ”perfected” before his resurrection:

Luk 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected

Cephas might not be the apostle PETER in Gal. 2:14 but another Cephas

Cephas might not be Peter in Gal. 2:14 (The first part by Bryan Davis)

Many assume that the apostle Paul confronted the apostle Peter in Antioch regarding Peter’s apparent lack of straightforwardness with the gospel. It’s no wonder they think so, because the King James Version of the Bible says exactly that in Galatians 2:11-14. Yet, there are many reasons to doubt this assumption.

Here is the passage in the King James Version:

Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Now here is the same passage from the New American Standard Bible:

Gal 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ”If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

We notice right away that the texts differ regarding the name of the person Paul confronted. Some Greek texts say that the man’s name was Cephas, not Peter, and the translators of the NASB decided that these were the more reliable. To many people, that difference poses no problem, because Peter was given the name Cephas by Jesus, as follows.

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ”You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:42)

It’s interesting that Jesus never called Peter by that name again. Not only that, no one in the book of Acts ever called him Cephas, and Peter did not refer to himself by that name in his own epistles. It is clear, therefore, that Cephas was not a name Peter went by after Jesus gave him the name.

Besides the John chapter one reference, the apostle Paul is the only person in Scripture to refer to the name Cephas.

One possible place is in Galatians chapter one, and it’s interesting to note that there is a difference in Greek texts here as well.

Here is the passage in the King James Version:

Gal 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

And here it is in the New American Standard Bible

Gal 1:18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

In this passage, it is clear that Paul was referring to Peter, because he indirectly refers to him as an apostle in verse 19. It seems to me that the KJV is correct in this case, and the name should be Peter.

Paul more definitely referred to Cephas in other places:

1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Paul differentiates between Cephas and the twelve. This isn’t proof that Cephas was not part of the twelve, because Jesus easily could have appeared to one of the twelve and then to the twelve together, but the following use of Cephas casts doubt on that idea.

1 Cor 9:5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

Here Paul puts Cephas outside of the group called ”the apostles”. It is theoretically possible that Paul could have listed Peter separately from ”the apostles”, but it would be unnatural to do so.

We have historical evidence pointing to the idea that Cephas was not the apostle Peter. Eusebius wrote:

”And there is a story from Clement in the fifth of his Hypotyposeis in which he also says that Cephas, concerning whom Paul says: But, when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, was one of the seventy disciples, one who happened to have the same name as Peter the apostle.” (Eusebius. The History of The Church. Book 1. 12)

This was Clement of Alexandria, who lived from about 150 AD to 215. He likely had access to records that no longer exist, so this is historical documentation indicating that this Cephas was not Peter. Cephas was one of the seventy disciples, though not one of the apostles.

Internal evidence in the Galatians chapter two passage also indicates that Cephas could not have been Peter. Let’s look at the verses leading up to Paul’s opposition to Cephas.

Gal 2:7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

If Cephas were the same person as Peter, why would Paul change his name in mid sentence? (In this passage, there are no differences among the Greek texts.) Also, if Peter used ”Peter” in his own letters to Gentiles, why would Paul use the Aramaic form (Cephas) to Gentiles? The most reasonable conclusion is that Peter and Cephas are two different people.

According to this passage, Cephas recognized the grace given to Paul, because Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised as Peter had been to the circumcised. Why, then, would this fact cause Cephas (if he were really Peter) to extend the right hand of fellowship to Paul and divide their ministries (Paul one direction and Cephas the other) when it was the division itself that indicated that they ought to divide? This would have to be circular logic.

To explain this crucial point further, let’s break down this passage:

Gal 2:7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

The reasons for the actions of James, Cephas, and John are underlined, and the actions themselves are italicized.

”Seeing that” indicates that James, Cephas, and John had noticed something that  happened in the past. What did they notice? That Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised and Peter to the circumcised. Those things happened at some unspecified time in the past, and these three are taking note of the events in order to decide on an action.

What is that action? To have fellowship with Paul so that he would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

But that had already happened with the real Peter. He and Paul had already made the choice to divide the ministry and choose separate targets. So if Cephas is Peter, what is he using as a basis for deciding to divide the ministry and choose separate targets? The fact that he already has made that decision? That would be nonsense.

It would be like making a decision to become a farmer because you already are one. It is a senseless, circular statement.

The decision was based on something that happened in the past, so using that as a basis for an identical present decision that cannot logically be repeated by the same person proves that this Cephas cannot be Peter.

Again, Paul had already gone to the Gentiles, and Peter had already gone to the Jews, so if this Cephas is Peter, then he would be deciding something that had already occurred. This is not sensible.

We also have proof from the book of Acts that this person in Galatians 2 could not have been the apostle Peter:

From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they spent a long time with the disciples.

Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, ”Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved”. And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. (Acts 14:26 and 15:2)

This is a perfect description of what was described by Paul in Galatians 2: There was dissension with Judaizers regarding the necessity of circumcision, it occurred in Antioch, and Barnabas was involved as well. This Acts account perfectly fits the Galatians 2 account, and there is no other event recorded in Acts that coincides with Paul’s account of a dispute in Antioch.

So what did Paul and Barnabas do about the problem? They decided to consult the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Who was one of those apostles? Peter himself:

The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ”Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are”. (Acts 15:6-11)

If Cephas in Galatians 2 was Peter, it would make no sense at all for Paul to go all the way to Jerusalem to consult the very person who was causing a problem. Peter was already in Jerusalem. He wasn’t in Antioch. So it seems impossible that Peter could have been the man Paul confronted in Galatians chapter 2.

Some refer to other accounts in Acts where they believe the Galatians chapter 2 conflict might have taken place:

Act 11:22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23 Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. 27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.  28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.

We see the presence of both Paul and Barnabas at Antioch along with the desire to provide for the poor, so this could be the first meeting between Paul and these people and when the right hand of fellowship took place. The Galatians text leads us to believe that the first meeting occurred in Jerusalem, so it might not have occurred here, but there is no mention of the dissension similar to what we saw in Acts 15.

If the first meeting did occur here, Peter could not have been present. Where was Peter at this time? In Jerusalem speaking up boldly for the Gentiles. (Acts 11:2 and following) According to the beginning of chapter 12, Peter went to jail in Jerusalem at that time (Acts 12:3), and Paul and Barnabas left Antioch (Acts 13:4). So if this Cephas is Peter, and this was the first meeting (which it might not have been), then he could not have been there at this time.

Others claim that the argument between Paul and Peter took place during another of Paul’s visits to Antioch:

Act 18:22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch. 23 And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

There is no mention of any dispute here or of any visit by Peter, so why should we think that the Galatians 2 dispute took place at this time? There is no reason at all except for the fact that this is the only time Peter could have been there, which carries the presumption that the person Paul confronted in Galatians 2 was Peter, and that is the idea in dispute.

Another problem is that Peter, at the time of Acts 18, would have to completely go against what he had so boldly stood for.  It would be totally contradictory for Peter to do that. In fact, throughout the book of Acts, Peter stood up for the Gentiles’ reception of the gospel. Ever since his call by God to preach to Cornelius in Acts chapter ten, Peter was unwavering in his support of unfettered access to the gospel for the Gentiles. There is no evidence in Acts that Peter ever strayed from this steadfast support.

Yet another problem with the idea that the Galatians 2 man was Peter is that Paul indicates that people who do what the confronted man did are not even true believers.

Gal 2:4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.

Paul questioned Cephas – ”How is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” To compel someone to live like Jews is an attempt to bring people into bondage. Since Paul indicated that such people were false brethren, they weren’t true believers, so it’s reasonable to conclude that Cephas wasn’t a true believer and certainly not the same person as the apostle Peter.

The evidence, both biblical and historical, is overwhelming that the man Paul confronted in Galatians is not the apostle Peter. That man was named Cephas, likely a Jew who sympathized with the Judaizers.

Because of Peter’s faithful defense of the Gentiles and their reception of the true gospel at every turn, it is important to make sure we do not denigrate Peter’s legacy with the false charge that he dissembled in Galatians chapter two. After the Holy Spirit indwelt him at Pentecost, he was sure and steadfast. Let us honor the truth about Peter and clear his name in the church, especially among those who have so greatly benefitted from his faithful stand for our inclusion in the faith.

More from Galatians (my addendum to Bryan’s excellent article)

Yes, Paul indicates that people who act like the criticized Cephas, are not even saved (unless they repent of course). Is Paul really saying that the apostle Peter is a false brother and not saved?

Gal.2:But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage5To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

All of the below comments about circumcision would be warnings for people who act much like the man Cephas (and not Cephas the  apostle Peter who wrote contributed to our New Testament):

Gal. 5:Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9Alittle leaven leaveneth the whole lump10I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be11And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12I would they were even cut off which trouble you.

Curses against people who act like Cephas:

Gal. 1: 6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Gal. 3:O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

The answer to the above question is not ”Peter did”. The Cephas spoken of in Galatians 2:14 is likely not Peter the apostle but another Cephas.