Tag Archive | disciple

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).

Do we sin because we are sinners, and are we righteous because Jesus is righteous for us?

Here is what someone wrote (not sure if he got this from someone else or if he made it up himself):

”Did you know even if you had never sinned you would still be a sinner? The act of sin is only a result of what we are. Did you know that if you never did anything right you are righteous in Christ. In Christ righteousness is not a result of what you have done it is who you have become”

I can’t think of a more dangerous teaching than this, but I can very well imagine that this message is incredibly POPULAR in our churches today. I’m sure this IS what people would like to HEAR, so the chances are high that they would also choose a church with this type of convenient teaching.

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

It might be soothing for your conscience to be told that you can have your sins and your salvation too, and this is what the statement above (not the verse) is actually teaching us – even if the person who wrote this might not be aware of it. This type of message in the wrong ears could absolutely be soul-damaging and that’s why we must react. When we DO react, it’s a risk we will be charged for ”causing a division” but it’s the one with unbiblical doctrines who is the one causing a division even if he has lots of fans who praise him. What if someone who battles sin starts to take this message at face value and take it to heart? There is a HUGE risk he will feel comforted in his sins and become less motivated to let go of certain sins he has often battled with. Moreover, during various tempting situations in his life he might be more prone to give in for the temptations due to this type of message ringing in his ears. Do we really help a person who lives in sin, by patting him on his back while assuring him that he is still righteous because Jesus has been righteous for him, and that ”we are all sinners anyway and no one can be perfect”? He might subconsciously start to be convinced of this:

  • We are apparently always sinners no matter what we do, so what would it matter if I told a little white lie once in a while, or stole a few minor items from work that no one would be missing anyway, or slandered someone who really deserves it? I mean, when the temptations are too hard to overcome? I’m not more than human, and we are all sinners…
  • It’s a good thing to know that no matter how much sin I do, I’m always righteous in Christ! Of course I don’t seek to sin but it’s good to know that my soul is always secure even if I would give in for temptations once in a while and sometimes the temptations are indeed very tempting… I’m really glad that my pastor tells us (albeit in between the lines) that we can serve two masters and still be saved. Not that I seek to sin (of course not) but I can still afford to if the going gets tough, and sometimes I feel it gets very tough….I’m not more than human, and humans sin! My pastor tells me so.
  • I’m glad I can also afford to refuse to forgive a mean and nasty brother, deny Jesus if I would end up in tribulation and even take the mark of the beast without risking my soul (or perhaps not that last thing because my pastor tells me I will already be raptured away before I have to deal with the mark of the beast). Of course I will strive to NOT sin in such a way (I’m a christian!) but it’s good to know that Christ will still accept me the way I am despite my disobedience and I will not lose my salvation in any way. My aim is of course to never sin, but at the same time my pastor repeats that we are ALWAYS sinners no matter what we do, so a few extra sins could not possibly change this status. I can’t be more than a sinner and I already am! Whether I do good or whether I do bad, I’m always a sinner. So doing good works is only connected with the upcoming rewards in heaven and has nothing to do with my salvation – if I only believe in Christ.

And don’t say that ”A true Christian would never reason in such a way! True christians don’t seek for loop holes or excuses for sins”. Even King David (a man of God’s own heart) sinned severely for about a year, so true believers DO risk to fall for temptations and sin – for weeks, months or years. Some might repent sooner or later, but some won’t.

Even if you are a person who side with the statement in question and still succeed to live righteously and show lots of good fruit, what about OTHER Christians who are weaker than you? Do you think that perhaps a weak christian might be more prone to give in for temptations if he knows he is always eternally secure no matter what he does? I truly believe that is the case. If a weak christian understands that sinning is actually not a big deal (because we are always sinners no matter what we do, and we are always righteous in Christ no matter what we do) then OF COURSE it’s even more tempting to stick with his sweet sins, and of course it could be a slippery slope into sinning even more! He trusts in his fire insurance and that he can live in his flesh once in a while on earth, and still make it to heaven. But what if this is nothing but a big DELUSION? As christians, we wouldn’t want to  be part of equipping others with a false sense of security, but we would want to guide people away from sin so they can save their SOULS. Not leading them TO sin by sugar-coating the gospel! Temptations are hard enough as they are, and sinners don’t need our help whispering in their already very itching ears that ”Jesus is righteous for you so you don’t have to be”. It’s the devil who tries to convince us that sinning will not make us die, but the truth is that sinning does lead to death, even for christians.

I pray that we will be stay alert and encourage each other to be obedient to Christ and to expose teachings that suggest that we cannot live holy but must continue as sinners until we die when DEATH finally comes and saves us from our sin. It’s true that some people with this type of dangerous teaching are simply deceived themselves, but the problem is that they will still deceive others (who in turn will deceive others) so we must help them out to see how and where they have misunderstood the scriptures. We all need to be encouraged because this world can be very tempting and we need to stick close to God in order to get the strength needed. I’m confident of that we would see more victory when it comes to preaching and evangelizing if we spoke more about the need for true repentance and that sins separate us from God. Most of us long to see huge revivals but what if sins are in the way?

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Jesus started out his ministry by speaking about repentance, and so did John the Baptist before him. Here is also what Jesus said while giving us the commandment that we must go out in all the world and make disciples:

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

And what is it that Jesus has commanded us to do – which he here asks us to teach others? For instance this:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.21 He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, is he that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him.—23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son WILL NOT SEE LIFE, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Matt. 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

John 5: 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth;they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation

Jhn 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and DOETH HIS WILL, him He heareth.

Matt. 16: 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

So we are told to go out and preach the gospel and to TEACH people to obey the word of God, and they are all included in the ten commandments. Jesus also tells us who the greatest in heaven will be, and they are the ones who obey the commandments and teach others to do the same:

Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

To get back to the statement in question. We are not born sinners (that is originally a gnostic teaching popularized by Augustine) and Jesus righteousness is not imputed into us (that is a teaching from Martin Luther). We are sinners IF we sin, and we are righteous if we live righteously. First we must of course be cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus and that happens when we repent for our sins. But it doesn’t say ”once righteous always righteous”. There will be a falling away, and immorality is getting worse.

1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron

Finally, it’s also true that some christians might sit at home, reading lots of theology books, getting increasingly wiser and possessing all the right doctrines but STILL decline to be a fisher of men, whereas other christians might believe in all kinds of incorrect doctrines but THEY GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES. The best combination is of course to go out and make disciples AND having the right doctrines 🙂 That’s the winning concept!

When should we rebuke and when should we show meekness and gentleness?

Jesus rarely used strong words 

There are only a few occasions in the Bible where we can see Jesus using some ”strong words” and where he called people ”names”, but unfortunately these rare occasions are often used by christians to justify their own usage of strong wordings and bad names whenever they feel like using them and regardless of circumstances.   What about all other cases where Jesus did not use such strong words and simply corrected people with gentleness? If we are supposed to throw insults around us when preaching and call people names, then it’s odd that the Bible doesn’t seem to encourage this kind of behavior, and Jesus himself didn’t act that way. Maybe it’s just ONE particular sermon (Matt. 23:13-33) which people use to support their own sometimes harsh behavior when evangelizing. 

Once Jesus did turn over of the money changers’ table but this is only one example (and an unusual one) where Jesus took severe actions, and he had good reasons to be upset when these people turned the temple of God into a house of merchandise (den of thieves).  Jesus had the right to cleanse his own Father’s house.  We are never told to act in a similar way. We are not told to enter a church and grab a christmas tree we might find there and throw it out while shouting that the entire church must repent. If we would like people to LISTEN to us and IMPROVE, there are likely better ways to handle such situations.  It’s a risk that our gospel causes a stir even if we are nothing but polite and respectful, so to make matters worse by being insulting or loud doesn’t make much sense. We would risk to find closed doors instead of open doors, when we try to reach people.

It’s true that Jesus called certain scribes and pharisees (and lawyers as per the gospel of Luke) for ”hypocrites” and ”fools and blind”, but he made sure to explain why he felt they were so both they and other listeners would understand the reasoning and the risks involved, and so they would LEARN something. There are lots of negative things we could call a person and we wouldn’t necessarily be unbiblical by doing so, like calling someone greedy, slanderous, lazy, argumentative, proud, dishonest, etc but we would be in error if we used these adjectives without legitimate reasons and without explaining WHY. It’s not always clever to put words on what we THINK about a person – or to blurt out ”you jerk” – because it wouldn’t result in anything beneficial for anyone. The idea is to make people LISTEN and not to make them so upset that they leave and miss out on important information that you might have for them.

We are told to treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and if we are to be criticized personally (not in groups) we would likely prefer to be corrected privately and by close friends and in LOVE. At other times rebuke is more appropriate, but that usually concerns repeated offences and/or pastors/teachers who have committed serious sins and must be openly rebuked. Jesus of course knew exactly when to correct people in meekness and when to rebuke, but it’s clear that many of us miss the mark. With common love and respect we can get far. See below that Jesus made sure to explain the reasoning behind naming the scribes and the pharisees ”hypocrites” (I left out some verses) so that all involved could LEARN and UNDERSTAND.

Matt. 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.—17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?.19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?20 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon–27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.—33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city

John the Baptiste was the first one who used the term ”generation of vipers” but also John explained what he meant with this description, and so did Jesus who used the same term. Dishing out insults without providing explanations is very distant for holy men.

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matt. 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas

In another situation Jesus did not choose to say ”woe to you pharisees” but gently explained to a pharisee named Simon what was wrong with his attitude. He corrected him in love without using name callings, but also without compromising. Jesus also called Herod a ”fox”, and this fact is sometimes used by christians to justify all kinds of humiliating names for others. 

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.37 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Luke 13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.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.

Also Paul ended up in many situations where he could rebuke people but still chose not to. He also warned against vain discussions, but at times discussions are profitable and Paul himself spent a good deal of his time doing so in order to convert people. We can read that he reasoned with people and disputed with them.

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Acts 17:16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 19:8And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts. 20:.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Acts. 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

On March Hill in Athens Paul could have rebuked all those people who believed in false gods, but he used a different approach. He didn’t shout ”Repent, all you wicked sinners” nor told them that they were a bunch of heretical idolaters who were on the way to HELL. He managed to get their attention without humiliating them, and he just informed them that they were too superstitious and then he proceeded to explain why they were off the mark. He was smart enough to start off his talk by linking their worship of false gods to the real God. In that way he did not stir up anger or caused hurt feelings but made people listen. Naturally Paul did not compromise with the truth, nor was he watering down the gospel. It’s equally important to explain to people that they are in a lost condition due to their sins, as well as telling them how they can get saved.

Acts 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

The Bible says it’s the one who spreads  heretical views who is the one causing a division

If you’re in a group of  ”christian heretics” and you try to correct them and exhort them, then YOU are not the one sinning by ”causing a division” because the division has already happened. (But of course you are responsible for correcting people wisely, if you feel a correction is needed.) As soon as christians start to teach things which are contrary to the Bible, there is a risk for divisions and if the result is that the majority start to side with a certain heretical view then they might feel that a person who opposes them is the one being a trouble maker and who causes a division among them just because they themselves are in the majority and because they are not the ones correcting/rebuking anyone. But it’s always the one who promotes falsehood (against the Bible) who is the one causing a division or strife, even if he/she happens to be supported by an entire church or a large scope of churches.

It’s not always wise to keep quiet in order to be friendly and to avoid causing a division. Sometimes it’s unbiblical to NOT correct others – and even rebuke when necessary.  We are responsible for not letting dangerous teachings spread among us. If we don’t react, there is a risk for that even more people will be deceived by false teachings and this could lead to LOST SOULS and we might get blood on our hands.  It’s not loving to tell a person that all is well with his soul when it isn’t. It’s likewise unwise to rebuke people when the situation doesn’t call for it.  We just have to pray to the Lord that we get wisdom about this so we won’t hurt people or make them feel that we are condescending towards them.

GENTLENESS and MEEK CORRECTIONS IN LOVE

Matthew 18:15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

1 Tim. 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

1 Tim. 3:This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;—Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

2 Tim 2:23But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,25IN MEEKNESS instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

1 Thess 2:7 But we proved to be GENTLE among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

Colossians 3:12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear

Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.—16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil

2 Cor. 10:1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you

Ephesians 4: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.—31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Phil. 4:Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

REBUKING and CORRECTION in The New Testament

Luke 12:51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.

Luke 17:3-5 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.

Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from AMONG YOURSELVES men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to DRAW AWAY THE DISCIPLES after themselves.–31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENCES CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly (selfish desires/appetites); and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

1 Tim 5:1 Rebuke not an ELDER, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren

1 Tim 5:19Against an ELDER receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (Note that this is instructions when it comes to ELDERS)

2 Tim. 4:2-3 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Colossians 1:27-29. Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Titus 1:9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE THEM SHARPLY, that they may be sound in the faith14Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; 11Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will SECRETLY bring in DESTRUCTIVE heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Jude 1:Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

REBUKING and CORRECTION in The Old Testament

2 Chronicles 19:10 ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.

Malachi 2:17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

Ezekiel 13:22 Because with lies ye have strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.

Ezekiel 3:20 Again, When a RIGHTEOUS man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast NOT GIVEN HIM WARNING, he shall DIE IN HIS SIN, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at THINE HAND. Nevertheless IF thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy SOUL.

Proverbs 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, eventhey both are abomination to the LORD

Proverbs 19:25 Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

Proverbs 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear

Proverbs 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

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. 

Why did Jesus say ”I pray not for the world” in John 17:9?

I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine (John 17:9) 

The above verse is sometimes used as an attempt to prove that God does not want everyone to be saved and that Jesus did not even bother to pray for all people for this reason. However, in the same chapter we can also read:

20NEITHER PRAY I FOR THESE ALONE, BUT FOR THEM ALSO which shall believe on me through their word 

The world” is often contrasted with christian believers, and often stands in relation to Satan’s dominion and to all which is evil. It is obviously not a sin to be born into this world and to live in it, but we must make sure to not live OF this world by blending in with it – or love it more than God. This present world is considered to belong to Satan and in this sense prayers for it would not accomplish much since it i represents the root of all evil. Why spend time praying for Antichrist when we already know the future result of his evil actions against God’s plans? Prayers for individuals would make more sense – that they will be able to escape the temptations of this wicked world and turn to Jesus Christ – who does not want anyone to perish. As Paul says to the Ephesians ”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world”. If all things were already determined (individuals chosen for heaven or hell before the world began), then of course there would be no reason to wrestle against anyone, nor to pray at all.

Isaiah 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

Jesus is in this particular passage focusing on his disciples (apart from Judas who has already fallen), just like we sometimes focus on only some of our family members or friends in our prayers. Jesus sends his disciples on a mission to be the light of this dark world, and this of course requires lots of strength and prayers. Jesus is not giving ”the world” this particular task because the world is against him and everything he stands for. The world is the reason why believers, like his disciples, need to be protected. By reading the rest of the passage (v. 2–8), we can see that those who the Father has given Jesus are those who have passed certain requirements:

  • They must KNOW the only true God
  • They must KEEP THE WORD
  • They must RECEIVE the word
  • They must BELIEVE that the Father has sent the son to the world

2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.3And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.—6I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and THEY HAVE KEPT THY WORD.—8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and THEY HAVE RECEIVED THEM, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and THEY HAVE BELIEVED that thou didst send me.

Even though certain people are ”given” Jesus and thus very special, they still need to be prayed for so that they will be kept and so that they may be ONE as Jesus and his Father are one in thoughts and goals. It is not a certainty that they will be kept, and we already know that Jesus lost one of his disciples given him – Judas Iscariot. Moreover, Jesus did not pray that his disciples would be taken out of this world but he prays that they will be KEPT while still living in this world. So Jesus prayers concerned his disciples who were with him (v. 12), but not all disciples were with him from the start. In. v. 20 he continues to pray also for all those who would believe on him through their words.

11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12While 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. —15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Jesus also prayed for others besides his disciples, like those who would be hearing the gospel from the mouths of the disciples.

20NEITHER PRAY I FOR THESE ALONE, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 

One of many prophesies in the OT about Jesus is that the Messiah would be praying (make intercession) for his transgressors:

Jesaja 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Obviously Jesus prayed also for non-believers. If we are to believe that Jesus never prayed for anyone else but a certain lucky crowd (the elect), should we take his example and pray only for a select few? No, the Bible says that we should even pray for our enemies.

Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

You can read verses that say that Jesus died for the whole world in this blog article