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Upon This Rock - Part I

- What is the other “name” of Peter?

- Who/what is the “rock?”

- What is the Church?

- What does Jesus mean by “the gates of hell?”

 

Aug 07, 2005

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Apostolic Succession Doctrine

Posted by: Administrator on July 26, 1996 7:53:30 AM (8001 Reads)

- What is God’s way of continuing the work of the original apostles?

- Who is the sucessor or replacement for Judas Iscariot? Matthias or Paul?

 

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION DOCTRINE

 

Christianity Today recognizes the concept of apostolic succession. The basis of the doctrine is: Jesus Christ, in order to preserve and to continue His work, delegated His authority to appoint apostles to His chosen Apostles. This is premised on Christ's command before He left them. The following verse is quoted from the New International version of the Bible, which is the same in almost all versions of the Holy Bible:

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

 

This doctrine is further supported by Christ's giving the last sign for the "time of the end." This is the "spread of the gospel of the kingdom to all nations:"

MATTHEW 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; then shall the end come."

 

The Apostolic Succession doctrine is a basic tenet of all Christian religious sects that comprise Christianity Today. All of them trace their origin from the apostles. Unfortunately such claims have become the major cause of present-day religious controversies in the Christian world. Every religious organization asserts exclusivity and therefore the truth. Thus, if one were to ask who the apostles of Christ today are, modern Christians have their ready and positive answer: the leaders of their respective denominations. Hence, to the Lutherans, the Lutheran pastors are the Christ's apostles; to the Westleyans, the Westleyan pastors are the apostles of Christ; to the Roman Catholics, the pope, the cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops, and the priests are the modern apostles of Christ; to the Pentecostals, the Pentecostal pastors are the apostles of Christ; to the Baptist...; to the 7th Day Adventists...; to the Jehovah's Witnesses...; to the Assemblies of God...; to the Pentecostal Oneness, their pastors are the true apostles of Christ; to the Born Again Charismatics..., etc.

 

Non-Bible believing peoples of the world are certainly wondering. How could a book, considered so holy as the Bible, create such great chaos among the very people who believe in it? Everybody claims the truth to the exclusion of the rest!

 

It is not surprising to find modern Christianity believing in and practicing the Apostolic Succession doctrine. The apostles themselves believed and practiced this doctrine before they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! This is recorded in Chapter 1 of the Acts of the Apostles. In fact, this was the first and only act of the apostles after the Lord left them physically, and before He rejoined them spiritually. This is the account as written:

 

ACTS 1:11-26 "...ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then return they unto Jerusalem ...and when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, James, and John and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about a hundred and twenty). Men and brethren, this Scripture must need have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry...For it is written in the book of Psalms,"

 

"Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and, His bishopric let another take."

 

"Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said,"

 

"Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou has chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."

"And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

 

Take note of the time when the apostles excercised this authority of appointing Matthias as one of them. It was before Pentecost! Matthias was appointed in Acts 1:26. Pentecost occurred in Acts 2:1-4:

 

ACTS 2:1-4 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with Holy Ghost..."

 

The following are observed from the foregoing act of the eleven apostles:

 

1. The apostles recognized the need for authority to appoint a fellow apostle. This was realized when one of them was lost. Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord by selling Him for thirty (30) pieces of silver, and then he committed suicide (Acts 1:18-19).

 

2. The eleven apostles were aware of what is written in the book of Psalms regarding the prophecy about their lost companion:

 

ACTS 1:20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take."

 

PSALM 109:8 "Let his days be few; and let another take his office."

 

3. The eleven apostles acted before receiving the Holy Spirit, for this transpired before Pentecost.

 

4. The act of the eleven apostles in appointing another apostle had the semblance of a divine course, for in doing it they prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance. What they missed, however, was the fact that they prayed to the Holy Spirit before they received Him.

 

5. Unwittingly, however, they followed human judgment by selecting a person who was among them "since their baptism by John the Baptist."

 

6. In the eyes of the one hundred twenty disciples (Acts 1:15) who were to receive the Holy Spirit later (Acts 2: 1-4), Matthias, the one chosen by the eleven apostles, became an apostle of Christ.

 

7. The eleven apostles had all the good intentions in appointing Matthias as an apostle. They were sincere in their act of promoting and continuing the work of our Lord. However, sincerity and good intention do not make the act acceptable to God:

 

ROMANS 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."

 

8. However, the apostles, together with the other believers, given wisdom after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, submitted to "God's righteousness and His ways."

 

 

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED BY GOD

 

It is worth considering the following questions before delving into the subject of Apostolic Succession:

 

1. In the Old Testament time, who appointed God's messengers and prophets? Who taught them? From whom did they get their instructions and guidance?

 

2. During the time of Christ, who appointed His apostles? How were they appointed? Who taught them? Who guided them in their work?

 

3. After Jesus Christ left physically, who appointed His apostles according to the Scriptures?

 

How were they appointed? Who taught them? Who guided them?

 

4. Is the authority to appoint Christ's apostles delegated? Is it assignable?

 

5. What is the truth to the command: MATTHEW 28:19 "Go ye therefore and make disciples to all nations baptizing them..."

 

6. Has there been a change in the mode of appointing God's servants:

 

a. In the Old Testament time

 

b. During the time of Christ

 

c. After Christ left physically but before Pentecost, and

 

d. After Pentecost up to the present time?

 

 

THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT TIME

 

In the Old Testament, the Bible is very explicit in the appointment of God's messengers. Let us take some cases:

 

Before God punished the people on earth with a Great Deluge, He chose NOAH to be His messenger:

 

GENESIS 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

 

God made him a preacher of righteousness, solely on God's predilection:

 

2 PETER 2:5 "Spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly."

 

Noah never received instructions from anybody. Everything he did was upon God's direction.

 

When God planned to take His people from Egypt, the land of slavery, He chosed MOSES to lead them:

 

EXODUS 3:1-8 "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law...and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, MOSES, MOSES. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

 

"And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land ... unto land flowing with milk and honey..."

 

Moses was chosen against his will in the beginning:

 

EXODUS 3:11 "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

 

EXODUS 4:1 "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee."

 

EXODUS 4:10-12 "And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."

 

With his appointment, Moses was assured by God of everything he needed in his work:

 

EXODUS 3:12 "And he (God) said, certainly I will be with thee..."

 

EXODUS 4:15 "...and I will be with thy mouth...and will teach you what ye shall do."

 

To all the messengers chosen, God had been the teacher and the guide - not any man.

 

After the death of Moses, God did not allow the Israelites to fare by themselves. He chose JOSHUA as Moses' successor:

 

JOSHUA 1:1-2 "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel."

 

As in the case of Moses, God also had been Joshua's teacher and leader:

 

JOSHUA 1:5-7 "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage...turn not from it to the right or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

 

JOSHUA 1:8-9 "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt medidate therein day and night, that thou mayest observed to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success...be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

 

After Joshua, God chose JUDAH and SIMEON (Judges 1:1-4), then EHUD (Judges 3:15-30), SHAMGAR (Judges 3:31), then DEBORAH and BARAK (Judges 4:1-24).

 

God chose GIDEON to deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the East:

 

JUDGES 6:12 "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Gideon), and said unto him. The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor."

 

JUDGES 6:14 "And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel...have not I sent thee?"

 

Like the other chosen servants of God, Gideon was hesitant in the beginning:

 

JUDGES 6:15 "And he (Gideon) said unto him, O my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."

 

JUDGES 6:17 "And he (Gideon) said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me."

 

But God had always had His reassuring words:

 

JUDGES 6:16 "And the Lord said unto him, surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man."

 

God's deliverance of the Israelites from their enemies under Gideon is a story full of great spiritual message and lessons. Details will be taken in another article.

 

God chose SAMSON, even before he was born (Judges 13:1-25), to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines.

 

God personally handpicked His prophets. Like Samson, God chose SAMUEL even before he was born (1 Samuel 1:1-28). Here is how God called Samuel:

 

1 SAMUEL 3:1-11 "And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; and here the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord...and Samuel was laid down to sleep; and the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle."

 

In his work as a prophet of God, Samuel had always been taught and guided by Him:

 

1 SAMUEL 3:19-20 "And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord."

 

("And did let none of his words fall to the ground." If God were allowed to explain His words, "ground" symbolizes MAN HIMSELF. Gen 3:19 "..till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." God is of heaven, while man is of the earth or ground. For God’s words, therefore, to "fall to the ground" is to degenerate down to the level of the thoughts and feeling of man. Samuel did not allow this to happen.)

 

God's choice of His servants is not based on the physical and intellectual stature of the person.

 

1 SAMUEL 16:7 "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

 

It is based more on his fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is not simply the protestation coming from the lips. It is the fear of the Word, the fear to violate what is written, for the "Word was God" (JOHN 1:1).

 

ISAIAH 11:3 "And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears."

 

With God's foreknowledge, His servants were foreordained. His selection is based on the person's humility and realization of spiritual littleness. This was demonstrated in JEREMIAH:

 

JEREMIAH 1:4-5 "Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

 

The chosen's hesitation is the evidence of this virtue:

 

JEREMIAH 1:6 "Then said I (Jeremiah), Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child."

 

God is the teacher, the guide, and the director of the chosen:

 

JEREMIAH 1:7-10 "But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."

 

The Lord's touching the mouth of Jeremiah is not literal. Spiritually, this is putting the power of God, or putting the Word of God in the mouth of the prophet that he speaks with power and authority.

 

In like manner, that is how EZEKIEL was chosen:

 

EZEKIEL 2:1-4 "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God."

 

Ezekiel was required to eat a scroll or a book. This book, of course refers to the Word of God, indicating that he was to believe, accept, and absorb everything in the word of God:

 

EZEKIEL 2:9-10 "And when I looked, behold, a hand was sent unto me; and lo, a roll of a book was therein; and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without; and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe."

 

EZEKIEL 3:1-3 "Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness."

 

Here is the familiar instruction:

 

EZEKIEL 2:7 "And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious."

 

EZEKIEL 3:4 "And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them."

 

The choice of JONAH, in the chosen servants' reluctance or hesitation to do the work, is a classic. God may prefer the hesitant to that of a willing volunteer for the reasons cited earlier. This may be contrary to the sound judgment of man. God's wisdom based on His foreknowledge, however, is beyond reproach.

 

JONAH 1:1-3 "Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah...saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid a fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."

 

JONAH 1:4-17 "But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us... for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you... so they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from her raging...now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."

 

However, the intended escape of Jonah to Tarshish led him to the very place where he was to preach the Word of God:

 

JONAH 2:1-10 "...and the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."

 

Jonah went to Nineveh, a three-day walk, and performed the task assigned to him by God:

 

JONAH 3:1-5 "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God..."

 

God chose His servants, the prophets and messengers, based on His foreknowledge. The choice is not influenced by the physical and intellectual constitution of the chosen. Foremost consideration in the choice is the meekness and humility of the subject. This is the realization of his unworthiness, his inadequacy, and weakness:

 

1 SAMUEL 16:7 "The Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

 

God does not judge by the appearance:

 

JOHN 7:24 "Judge not according to the appearance..."

 

GALATIANS 2:6 "As for those who seemed to be important - whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance - those men added nothing to my message." (NIV)

 

We have seen in the Old Testament time that it was God Himself Who selected the servants to serve Him. It was God Himself Who taught them...Himself Who guided them...Himself Who inspired them...Himself Who directed them...Himself Who gave them strength. God Himself rebuked them when their thoughts and their actions were not in line with what was set before them. God’s chosen servants had their direct accountability to God and not to fellowmen.

 

 

THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY DURING THE TIME OF CHRIST

 

"And without controversy, great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh..." (1 TIMOTHY 3:16, KJV only).

 

"But to us there is but one God, the Father..." (1 CORINTHIANS 8:6).

 

"God in the flesh" was truly a human being made of flesh and blood and bones, Who was the same in every way as His brethren (HEBREW 2:17). God did this in order to do two things:

 

1. To show the way. Jesus said, "...I am the way..." (John 14:6). To set an example: "...Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:" ( 1 Peter 2:21). That the chosen may be fashioned after Him, the model, called the eldest Son (ROMANS 8:29).

 

2. To fulfill His TESTAMENT by death (Genesis 17:7 in relation to Hebrew 9:16).

 

As in the Old Testament time, in the year 30-33 A.D. Jesus Christ chose His own servants. This was demonstrated in the choice of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew:

 

MATTHEW 4:18-19 "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

 

Also of James and his brother John, sons of Zebedee:

 

MATTHEW 4:21 "And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

 

The cognition of littleness and unworthiness was manifested in the chosen servants:

 

LUKE 5:8-10 "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee which were partners with Simon..."

 

Matthew was likewise chosen:

 

MATTHEW 9:9 "As Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named MATTHEW, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."

 

So was Levi:

Luke 5:27 "And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named LEVI, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me."

 

Philip was chosen like the rest:

 

JOHN 1:43 "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth PHILIP, and saith unto him, Follow me."

 

Jesus Christ was choosing His apostles! "God in the flesh" followed the same pattern in the choice of His servants:

 

EPHESIANS 4:11 "And he (JESUS CHRIST) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."

 

The reasons for Jesus Christ, the "God in the flesh," exercising this function and authority are specifically stated:

 

EPHESIANS 4:12-13 "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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."

 

The following arise from the foregoing facts:

 

1. Jesus Christ exercising authority to appoint God’s servants confirmed the truth that, indeed, (1 Timothy 3:16) "God was manifest in the flesh."

 

2. The pattern for the selection of God's messengers was never altered. Sole authority remained in the hands of the Creator.

 

3. The basis for selection remained the same: It is the real, as distinguished from the counterfeit, humility of the chosen. The chosen messengers' meekness, feeling of littleness, and the realization of unworthiness for the great spiritual privilege - are all revealed through God's foreknowledge.

 

4. Human considerations like intellectual, moral, social, and physical attributes of the chosen are totally excluded from the divine standard.

 

5. The reasons for the divine, not man’s, standard are: (a) "For the perfecting of the saints," (b) "For the work of the ministry," (c) "For the edifying of the body of Christ."

 

6. The outcome for the divine standard are: (a) "Unity in the faith," (b) "Clear and full knowledge of the Son of God." True recognition of the Son goes with it the clear recognition of the Father:

 

John 8:19 "...Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

 

7. The ultimate objective for the divine standard is: "Unto a perfect man to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

 

8. The Human Standard is so subjective that its weakness and flaws are easily exposed. With it, the above results listed under the Divine Standard are not attainable. God and the Father remain a great mystery. "Cleanliness" or righteousness is confined only to the "outside." Jesus Christ called the relgious leaders during His time, "hypocrite."

 

 

THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY AFTER CHRIST

 

The Bible has clearly shown how God's servants were appointed in the Old Testament time. The Scripture likewise demonstrated the "procedure" during the time of Jesus Christ. The question now is, how about the period from the time Jesus left His disciples physically up to the present?

Questions that need to be answered:

 

1. What is the Doctrine of Apostolic Succession?

 

2. Who were/are the successors of the original apostles?

 

3. Who has/have the sole authority to appoint Christ's apostles?

 

4. How were/are they appointed?

 

5. How were/are the chosen apostles being taught?

 

6. Who taught/teach/teaches them?

 

It was discussed how the eleven (11) apostles initiated and practiced the Apostolic Succession doctrine. They appointed MATTHIAS as the successor of Judas Iscariot. To them, therefore, Matthias was the twelfth (12th) apostle of Christ.

 

It is from this example shown by the apostles that the appointment of Christ's apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, and teachers in the different religious sects and denominations that compose Christianity Today is based. Scriptural support for the practice is found in almost all versions of the Bible, except one; among them are the following as stated in:

 

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father..."

 

THE LIVING BIBLE

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father..."

NEW CATHOLIC EDITION OF THE HOLY BIBLE (Confraternity-Douay version)

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father..."

 

Does this mean that the pattern shown in the appointment of God's servants in the Old Testament, and continued during the time of Christ, was to be discontinued? Was it really the plan of God to revise the mode of choosing His messengers called Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers?

 

Who could answer the different questions, but God alone through His Word! The following facts need to be considered in relation to the questions just presented:

 

1. When the eleven apostles appointed Matthias, Jesus Christ was no longer physically present as He had by then ascended into heaven.

 

2. The eleven apostles appointed Matthias before Pentecost before they received the Holy Spirit.

 

3. It was after Pentecost that the Apostles were to be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit:

 

JOHN 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth..."

 

After Pentecost, the apostles should have realized every act they had done which were not in line with the truth. One example was their act of appointing Matthias as the successor of Judas Iscariot.

 

4. Another realization of such mistake was the violation of the command of our Lord in:

 

LUKE 24:49 "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

 

When the apostles chose MATTHIAS as an apostle replacing Judas Iscariot, they acted before receiving wisdom and power from on high. They did not tarry as commanded.

 

5. Without the promised "wisdom from on high," the eleven (11) apostles had a mental lapse as to overlook that it was Jesus Christ Himself Who chose each of them!

 

6. Were they not too ignorant as to miss the pattern set by God since the Old Testament? It is only God, and later "God in the flesh" in the person of Jesus Christ, Who could appoint God's servants!

 

7. Did they not use their human reasoning in usurping the appointing power of God?

 

8. While modern Christians may cite MATTHEW 28:19 "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations" in defense of the act, the eleven (11) apostles are barred from doing so for they knew the truth about MATTHEW 28:19!

 

Why? What is the truth about this particular verse? Let no man venture to take the role of God in explaining the truth in MATTHEW 28:19. There is only one Bible translation which has a different account of the verse in question. This is:

 

THE AUTHORIZED OR KING JAMES VERSION OF 1611

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father..."

 

It is, therefore, a case of one Bible version against all versions. Following man's way of thinking, the majority must prevail. Therefore, man will reason out and conclude that MATTHEW 28:19 must be "make disciples of all nations," instead of simply, "teach all nations." Thus, the birth of the Doctrine of Apostolic Succession!

 

9. How then can this question of "make disciples of all nations,"and "teach all nations" be resolved? God has a way of revealing the truth, and exposing man's tampering with His word.

 

10. This is by comparing what MATTHEW supposedly heard and then wrote, with what is written by another servant of God on the same subject. We are referring to MARK:

 

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

 

MARK 16:15 "He said to them, `Go into all the world and preach the good news to all nations."

 

THE LIVING BIBLE

 

MARK 16:15 "And then he told them, `You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere."

 

NEW CATHOLIC EDITION OF THE HOLY BIBLE (Confraternity- Douay version)

 

MARK 16:15 "And he said to them, `Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature."

 

It is clear in the very Bible versions stating MATTHEW 28:19 "make disciples of all nations," to have MARK 16:15 "preach the good news/preach the gospel to all nations." Could MATTHEW have possibly heard differently from MARK? Is not the Bible supposed to be the Word of God, which should be perfect and free from any contradiction? Take note now how the KING JAMES VERSION OF 1611 expresses:

 

MATTHEW 28:19 "Go ye therefore and teach all nations,"

 

which perfectly concurs with ALL BIBLE VERSIONS!

 

MARK 16:15 "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creacture."

 

11. Jesus Christ has clearly shown through His Word, incorporated in the Holy Bible, that He never delegated His authority, nor entrusted the power to appoint apostles to His apostles! Man tried to usurp this divine power, but he is exposed!

 

12. Did not God reveal for everyone to see the truth that man, indeed, had tampered with the Bible in order to suit his purpose, wittingly or unwittingly? God never permits His Word to be so ravaged as to permanently hide the enemies' wicked design.

 

Events after Pentecost further established the truth just discovered. The appointment of Matthias by the apostles, who did it before they received the Holy Spirit, was never recognized by our Lord! Jesus Christ appointed PAUL, the persecutor of the church, to take the place of Judas Iscariot!

 

 

CHRIST APPOINTING HIS APOSTLES IN HIS PHYSICAL ABSENCE

 

Who appointed Paul as an apostle of Christ? Let it be emphasized that Jesus Christ was no longer physically present when Paul became an apostle of the Lord. By that time, Jesus had already ascended into heaven (ACTS 1:11). Paul was commissioned in Acts 9. But no doubt, Paul was a real apostle of Christ:

 

GALATIANS 1:1 "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)"

 

GALATIANS 1:1 "Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead." (NIV)

 

1. For the Natural Man, it is difficult to comprehend how a physically absent Christ could appoint His apostle. But that was what happened! And it confirmed this truth:

 

EPHESIANS 4:11 "And he (JESUS CHRIST) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."

 

The pattern for the appointment of God's servants in the Old Testament time, later continued during the time of Jesus Christ, and then after Pentecost, has never changed.

 

2. Is it difficult for Jesus Christ to repeat what He did to Paul? Is it difficult for God to appoint His servants in His physical absence? That is precisely what God did in the Old Testament! He was physically absent!

 

3. Can the Natural Man understand that truth never changes - that God never changes as He said in: MALACHI 3:6 "I change not."? Can the Natural Man fully understand HEBREW 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today..." and Jesus Christ is the Word (Revelation 19:13)!

 

ECCLESIASTES 3:15 "That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past."

 

 

GOD'S WAY AND MAN'S WAY

 

ISAIAH 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

 

Man could have been very sincere in spreading the gospel. Unfortunately, to God sincerity is not enough if it is not based on knowledge.

 

ROMANS 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."

 

God's ways are indeed too high to comprehend even by His original apostles before they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Examples:

 

1. Christ's ability to appoint God's servants in His physical absence. The original apostles preempted our Lord in choosing MATTHIAS, a succcessor to their lost brother.

 

2. Christ's preference for Saul of Tarsus, a notorious persecutor of His own followers. This is the account of the notoriety of Paul as an enemy of the truth:

 

Paul at the execution of Stephen:

 

ACTS 7:58 TO ACTS 8:3 "And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit...and Saul was consenting unto his death."

 

Paul's persecution of the early church:

 

ACTS 9:1-2 "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

 

Paul's own account of his destruction of the early church:

 

ACTS 26:9-11 "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."

 

3. Who among the eleven (11) apostles of Jesus Christ, when they held a meeting before Pentecost looking for the successor of Judas Iscariot, ever thought of Saul of Tarsus, their own persecutor as the worthy man in the eyes of God?

 

4. Man's ways are dictated by his thoughts and feelings. These are the faculties that obstruct total trust in God and absolute acceptance of the truth. These are the hindrances for the free movement of God's power in man. No wonder man cannot see God's might in His great spiritual miracles!

5. Man cannot accept that Christ is capable of appointing His servants in His physical absence in our time. Therefore, man takes unto himself this divine role of appointing apostles under the unscriptural Apostolic Succession doctrine. Could this be what Jesus said in:

 

Matthew 24:23-24 "...Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs...and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

 

Man does not realize that this is the cause of disunity in Christianity Today! "Many CHRISTS appointing Jesus’ apostles!"

 

 

HOW GOD'S CHOSEN APOSTLES ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE

 

The pattern for teaching God's chosen servants had been established since Old Testament time. Beginning from Noah, to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the rest, all were taught by God by divine revelation - and not by any man or group of men. Watch now how God continued the practice.

 

1. God manifested Himself in the flesh to show the way. Jesus Christ chose His apostles. He taught His chosen disciples. He was addressed as TEACHER by the Jews, but never did He admit that He was the real Teacher. He confided this to His apostles in:

 

JOHN 16:12-13 "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come,he will guide you into all truth..."

 

2. Jesus "taught" His disciples but things had not been clear to them. Jesus showed the way that, as a human being, He could not make His disciples understand spiritual things. As a human being, Jesus showed that He could not be their real TEACHER or any man or group of men for that matter.

 

3. It is the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, Who was to be their real Teacher, as our Lord told them in JOHN 16:12-13.

 

4. This was proven after Pentecost. It was only then that the chosen people recognized their extraordinary or supernatural knowledge and wisdom.

 

5. It was not Jesus, the man, who made them so, but the Spirit - and "this Spirit is the Lord" (2 CORINTHIANS 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit...").

 

6. At the appointment of Paul, Jesus no longer was in His human manifestation. It was in that state that Paul realized Jesus Christ was the real teacher, as he succinctly put it in:

 

GALATIANS 1:11-12 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

 

Paul never believed Jesus Christ while still in His human body. It was after Jesus' physical absence that Paul recognized Him Who He is! And it was at that time that Paul was chosen as an apostle of Christ. It was Jesus in that state, the Spirit of truth, Who taught him about the gospel.

 

7. Paul was never taught the real gospel by any man or group of men. When Paul studied under Gamaliel, a noted teacher of the law, he never recognized Jesus Christ and did not find the truth.

 

8. It was by divine revelation that Paul acquired spiritual knowledge and wisdom. How many people believe that Jesus Christ is still capable to doing this in our time?

 

9. Paul's discovery of the divine Teacher was equally shared by the other apostles, earlier chosen:

 

JOHN'S REVELATION:

 

1 JOHN 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

 

JAMES' REVELATION:

 

JAMES 1:5-8 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraided not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."

 

PAUL SUMMARIZES IT IN:

 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:13 "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL."

 

10. Nowhere in the entire Bible can we find God directing that His CHOSEN MESSENGERS teach and train, so as to endow knowledge and wisdom on other CHOSEN MESSENGERS. Rather, CHOSEN MESSENGERS receive direct instructions from God, by divine revelation. These are now used by God to convey things about God to His CHOSEN PEOPLE.

 

God is the "SPEAKER." The chosen servants are but the "SPEAKER SYSTEM." Any sound coming from the SPEAKER SYSTEM without the SPEAKER is cacophony or noise. Can we appreciate the similitude? How many people can distinguish the "sound coming from" the SPEAKER and the SPEAKER SYSTEM?

 

11. This is a truth that seems too hard to believe. It is as difficult to comprehend as the revelations about Jesus Christ in this regard:

 

a. Jesus in His human manifestation did not admit that He was the real teacher, but the Spirit:

 

JOHN 16:12-13 "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth..."

 

b. Paul testifies, however, that it was Jesus Christ Who taught him. But notice the time when Paul said that. Jesus Christ was no longer in His human manifesttion:

 

GALATIANS 1:11-12 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but the revelation of Jesus Christ."

 

c. Jesus Christ was identified as the Spirit in:

 

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

 

Who is the Lord referred to here? Who is the Spirit?

 

ISAIAH 42:8 "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."

 

d. Chosen messengers or servants of God need not be taught by any man or group of men:

 

1 JOHN 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

 

e. Jesus in His human manifestation, rebuking the Scribes and the Pharisees, emphasized that there is only one (1) Teacher:

 

MATTHEW 23:8-10 "But you are not to be called `Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ." (NIV)

 

Who is Jesus? Who is the Spirit? Who is the Christ? What is the meaning of the title Christ apart from the general impression? Has Christ existed in the Old Testament time? Who is He? What is His name? What is meant by the phrases, "I am He," "Behold, it is I, that doth speak" found in the Old Testament books (Isaiah 52:6), and in the New Testament books( John 8:24)? The answers are found in article GOD OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.

 

12. EPHESIANS 4:11 states that it is Jesus Christ Who appoints apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. One will wonder whether there could be no contradiction with what Jesus said in MATTHEW 23:10 that there is only one (1) Teacher. Perhaps, the word `teaching and teacher' need to be defined.

 

a. Jesus spoke to His apostles. He "taught" them, and He was called "teacher" by the Jews. But did He admit that He was the Teacher?

 

b. When Jesus "taught His apostles," what does it mean? Did He speak as to make them understand spiritual things, the truth? Or did he simply speak the truth?

 

c. What did Jesus mean when He spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees, who in the eyes of the people were the authority of the Law? Who could make them understand the Law? What did He mean when He said, "and all ye are brethren," and "neither be ye called Masters, for one is your Teacher, the Christ?"

 

d. When Jesus told His apostles that He had many more things to say, "but cannot bear them now; however, when the Spirit of truth will come, he will guide them into all truth," did He admit that He was the Teacher then? Or did He recognize His role as simply "telling the truth" to them?

 

e. Jesus, by not admitting that He was the Teacher, simply demonstrated the work of the apostle, evangelist, prophet, pastor and teacher within the realm of EPHESIANS 4:11?

 

f. Can the reader distinguish the Teacher in MATTHEW 23:8-10, and the teacher in EPHESIANS 4:11? The Teacher in MATTHEW 23:8-10 refers to God, the SPEAKER. The teachers in EPHESIANS 4:11 refer to the SERVANTS, the SPEAKER SYSTEM.

 

g. Can the Servants of God and the Chosen Apostles of Christ teach prospective servants or apostles so as to make them understand spiritual things? Can they appoint servants and apostles?

 

h. Who is the real Teacher that can make the chosen apostle understand the "things of God?" Who has the sole authority to appoint, to teach, to guide, to give strength, to direct the real apostles of Christ?

 

13. With the foregoing Scriptural revelations, did not God expose the eleven (11) apostles, in appointing MATTHIAS as the successor of Judas Iscariot, as usurping the authority of God? No wonder, their appointee was never recognized by Jesus Christ!

 

To summarize, did Jesus promote or ignore the Apostolic Succession Doctrine?

 

 

SIMILARITIES OF THE ORIGINAL AND MODERN APOSTLES

 

Comparing the modern servants of God who became such under the Apostolic Succession Doctrine, with the original apostles of Christ before Pentecost, we can discern similarities:

 

1. Both are deprived of divine wisdom, as evidenced by their mistake of appointing fellow apostles.

 

2. Both are victims of spiritual ignorance: The eleven (11) apostles invoked the help of the Holy Spirit in choosing MATTHIAS even before receiving Him at Pentecost. The modern apostles profess to have the Holy Spirit. Nothing, however, can be further from the truth, for Jesus gave the proof for the truth: "when the Spirit of truth will come, he will guide into all truth." Both the original and the modern apostles disregarded EPHESIANS 4:11.

 

3. The purported divine acts of both are not acceptable to God: MATTHIAS, the appointee of the eleven (11) apostles was rejected by Christ by virtue of His appointment of PAUL as the real replacement for Judas Iscariot. The modern apostles' appointment of fellow apostles does not give glory to God, for this has been the cause of disunity and division in Christianity Today. Every religious sect and denomination asserts exclusive claim to the doctrine. This results in the chaos among Bible-believing people which was absent in the pure and perfect Christianity of 30-96 A.D.

 

 

DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AND MODERN APOSTLES

 

The original apostles of Christ, realizing their mistake, never repeated it. After receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they entrusted all facets of their ministry and the spiritual affairs of the Church to the invisible Christ. The book of Acts and the Epistles bear this out.

 

The modern apostles, on the other hand, refuse to relinquish this function of appointing fellow apostles. They reject the exclusive authority of God through His Word. The following warning, therefore, is most appropriate to those who found the truth:

 

COLOSSIANS 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

 

 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION DOCTRINE

 

Can the modern apostles of Christ admit that the Apostolic Succession doctrine evolved as a religious tradition? Are they aware that the doctrine is based on human reasoning, a product of philosophy that appeals to the emotion?

 

History records its development. The following is an excerpt of its account (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 26, page 512-514, 1967 edtion):

 

"After the 2nd century...special schools for the clergy were established. Such schools arose in Alexandria and Antioch in the 3rd century. In his book on Christian doctrine (De doctrina Christiana) St. Augustine provided a fully rounded theory of clerical training. The Synod of Vaison (529 A.D.) determined that in Spain and Gaul bishops should train suitable candidates for the priesthood in the episcopal residence. At the Synod of Aachen (789 A.D.), Charlemagne prescribed that priests should know at least the Creed, the Lord's prayer, and the Penitentials by heart. Later decrees of the Church demanded detailed study of the Latin fathers and of significant liturgical works. However, throughout the Middle Ages, despite the brilliant work of the universities, large numbers of priests were ill-trained.

 

ROMAN CATHOLIC: The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century stimulated the Roman Catholic Church into renewed activity regarding requirements for the training of its clergy. The Council of Trent, in its decree of July 15, 1563, urged bishops to establish ecclesiastical seminaries for the training of priests.

 

Candidates for admission to the theological seminary have usually completed the course of one of the minor seminaries, or they must offer a bachelor of arts degree from some college of recognized standing, or a satisfactory equivalent. The first two years are devoted to logic, ontology, psychology, natural theology, church history, general history, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, physics, biology, and chemistry. These two years are designed to furnish a sufficient preparation for the rigorous and intensive study of theological subjects of the following four years. The subjects studied during this second period are apologetics (an exposition and defense of the grounds of Roman Catholic beliefs), dogmatic and moral theology, pastoral theology, homiletics, cannon law, church history, and Biblical exegecies. Sociology is offered to provide students an opportunity to secure a thorough knowledge of modern social and economic problems and movements. By constant participation in the ritual, the young priest is trained to the proper administration of the church's sacraments."

 

EASTERN ORTHODOX: For centuries the monasteries of the Eastern Church, like those of the Roman Catholic Church in the West, were centers of theological reflection and study. Dating from 936 A.D., the monasteries on Mount Athos in Greek Macedonia are among the most ancient of these focal points of Orthodox piety, learning, and iconographic art. The early Orthodox monks copied manuscripts, collected books, and often maintained schools. They also furnished the bishops of Orthodoxy and were the group's most zealous defenders.

 

With the erection of the Patriarchate of Moscow in 1589, Orthodoxy's center of ecclesiastical jurisdiction shifted from Constantinople to Moscow. Although the higher clergy was generally well educated, with some of the more advanced clergy since the Protestant Reformation studying at Italian, British, and German universities, most of the Russian Orthodox priests lacked adequate training. The priesthood was often handed down from father to son, with the father teaching his son the priestly craft.

 

When Czar Peter I (the Great) enacted the Clerical Regulations in 1721, he decreed that clerical schools be organized. As a result, by the end of the 18th century, Russia had three academies for advanced theological study and 36 seminaries for the education of the general clergy. Czar Alexander I ordered a reorganization of theological education in 1808 and still another in 1814. Prior to their closing in 1918, there were in Russia four Orthodox faculties: at Kiev (founded in 1632), Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan. There were also 57 seminaires and 185 preparatory schools."

 

OTHER SECTS: The Reformation, with its emphasis on the removal of religious abuses and on the Scriptures as the supreme rule of faith, lent itself naturally to a reform of theological education. Its leaders, Martin Luther (1483-1546), Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), John Calvin (1509-1564), and Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), were all university men. It was logical that men such as these should concern themselves with a wider range of education. The Protestant minister - essentially a preacher rather than a priest - had to acquire a solid theological education.

 

Wittenberg University, where Luther had received his education in the arts and theology, became an international training school for Lutheran preachers, and the Lutheran Marburg University, founded 1527, was the first European school of higher learning to be established without papal privilege. Calvin's followers received the most thoroughgoing discipline in the Academy of Geneva (founded in 1558 and the parent of the modern University of Geneva), and in schools at Nimes, Sedan, Saumur, and Montauban, all in France.

 

Despite the high ideals of the reformers for a well-trained ministry, progress was slow...The development of Lutheran High Orthodoxy, with its concern for doctrinal refinement, demanded a more adequate training. In the 17th century the Pietist movement, led by Philipp Spener (1635-1705) stressed inwardness, spirituality, and practicality in the training of pastors. Halle University, founded in 1694 (amalgamated with Wittenberg University in 1817), became the chief center of the Pietists.

 

Interest in textual, literary-critical, and historical studies of the Bible became dominant in Protestantism generally after 1750, and the enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries gave an impetus to the study of scientific theology and church history.

 

Since 1800 the theological training of European Protestant pastors, both Lutheran and Reformed, has been fairly uniform. Graduation from a classical GYMNASIUM, with a course of seven to nine years, is prerequsite to admission as a student in the theological faculties of the state universities in the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The theological course extends through four years. In addition, postuniversity training in practical subjects, including liturgics, catechetics, religious education, and pastoral care, is given in practical seminaries. This training last from six months to two years. In 1948 the Evangelical Church of Wurttemberg introduced an ecclesiastical year of service (Kirchliches Dienstjahr) in which every aspirng theological student must devote one year to practical work before entering professional studies. One half year of this work must be spent on some home mission project; the other half year in industry. This venture is designed to supplement the onesided academic training so characteristic of the education of most Continental divinity students.

 

In England and Scotland the centers of theological learning have for centuries been the universities. The Act of Uniformity of 1662 excluded Dissenters (Nonconformists) from established universities. As a result, the Nonconformists founded their own schools, including academies at Warrington, Northampton, Hoxton, Hackney, Tewkesbury, Kendall, Exerter, and Stoke Newington. The presbyterians were leaders in establishing this type of theological school, the development of which last for over 150 years. English Baptists established Bristol Academy (now Baptist College) in 1679...

 

In the United States, schools for the training of an intelligent citizenry and ministry were established soon after the settlement of the North American colonies. Harvard College was founded in 1636, Yale College in 1701, the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) in 1746, and Rhode Island College (now Brown) in 1765. These colleges - orginally Congregational (Harvard and Yale), Presbyterian (Princeton), and Baptist (Brown) - were created primairily for the training of ministers."

 

Man devised means to acquire "divine" knowledge. He imparts this to a chosen few he calls apostles of Christ. He formulated a branch of learning and called it THEOLOGY to execute this plan. The following are open pages of history books (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 26, page 516-518, 1967 edition):

 

"Theology is a term compounded of two Greek words, Theos (God) and logos (rational utterance), and it might be taken to mean something like `rational utterance, or discourse about God, or gods.' The term first appears in Plato's Republic (book ii, chapter 18) with reference to poetry. According to Plato norms must be prescribed to which the poetry must conform in matters of theology. In this connection theology means the telling of stories about the gods. In Aristotle's metaphysics (book vi, chapter 1, sect. 19), it is one of the three speculative sciences: mathematical, physical, and theological. Here theology corresponds roughly to what we mean by metaphysics. Marcus Terentius Varro, probably following the Stoic philosopher Panaetius, divided theology into three concepts: mythical, natural (or physical), and civil (or political). Mythical theology was concerned with the myths about the gods and the doctrines implied in them; political theology with the descriptions of the rites and of the religious practices of various cities or states; and natural theology was the science of divinity, the proper occupation of philosophers.

 

In the ancient church, Gregory of Nazianzus (4th century A.D.), in his treatise De theologia (Oratio 28), was concerned with the knowledge of God. The word was also used for the predication of divinity and in particular for the doctrine of the TRINITY and of the divinity of Christ. According to Theodore of Cyrrhus (5th century A.D.) it meant the Old and New Testaments, a usage which we can link up with the pagan Greek mythical theology mentioned above.

 

In the West down to the time of Abelard (1079-1142), the term `theology' was associated with heathenism. Abelard changed the meaning of the word. For him theology was as much the study of the Christian doctrine of God displayed in the Holy Scripture and the church fathers, as the doctrines of God found in writers outside the Bible and the church. With this use, the modern history of the term begins. Thus in the Oxford English Dictionary theology can be defined as follows: `The study or science which treats of God, His nature and attributes, and His relations with man and the universe.' This definition we can take as the starting point of our account of what is meant by theology."

 

Contents of Christian Theology. - Having confined ourselves in principle to the theology of one tradition, we next have to determine its content more precisely. We can mean by theology narrowly a doctrine of God in Himself, a whole body of doctrine, or the study of such a body of doctrine with the literature in which it is contained. This last meaning of the term can be illustrated from its use in the curricula of modern universities which have faculties of theology. In these universities theology will cover the study of the Bible, of the important patristic texts and Reformation documents, as well as the works of modern theologians. It will use the textual, linguistic, literary, and historical disciplines even though its aim is to describe and analyze the doctrines contained in the various works under examination. In addition it will make provision for liturgy, ethics, philosophy of religion, and even the comparative study of religions. Despite this wide range of disciplines, which incidentally makes theology an admirable educational tool, the subject even in academic syllabi retains its unity.

 

If we reflect on such a syllabus we find that we can divide theology into the following branches:

 

BIBLICAL THEOLOGY.- This will cover the doctrines of the Bible as well as the disciplines ancillary to their study.

 

DOGMATIC THEOLOGY.- Dogma is the body of doctrine which has been approved by the Christian church. It is concerned with the distinctive Christian doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the church, the sacraments, and the Last Things. Symbolic theology, which in practice may be regarded as equivalent to dogmatic theology, is concerned with credal documents ecumenically received.

 

MORAL THEOLOGY.- This, sometimes known as Christian ethics, treats of Christian conduct. Casuistry is that part of moral theology concerned with problems of conduct and the principles involved in their solution.

 

PASTORAL THEOLOGY.- In defining pastoral theology we have to preserve the distinction between theology and religion. If we define pastoral theology as the cure of souls, we are, contrary to this distinction, identifying a branch of theology with an activity of religion. Accordingly pastoral theology is concerned with those beliefs and assumptions which lie behind the practice of the cure of souls. With pastoral theology may be associated ascetical theology. This is the theology of the education or training of the soul and differs from pastoral theology only in the greater stress on the element of discipline or self-discipline.

 

MYSTICAL THEOLOGY.- This is the theology of the intercourse of the soul with God.

 

LITURGICAL THEOLOGY.- This is the theology of worship.

 

PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY.- This treats of the philosophical treatment of reality on the assumption that God is part of reality.

 

OTHER DIVISIONS.- While canon law is not properly a branch of theology it has a theological basis which may be said to constitute its theology.

 

Certain studies such as church history and patristics are included under theology but themselves are not theological. They serve the ends of theology, in particular the history of doctrines and the study of doctrinal texts.

PERIODS OF HISTORICAL THEOLOGY.- Just as we can talk of branches in theology, so we can refer to periods in its history. Thus we can distinguish the Biblical theology of the ages before the Incarnation, that of the New Testament, the ancient church, the medieval church, the Reformation and modern times. Such divisions are largely creatures of convenience and must not be allowed to conceal the real continuity of doctrinal history. As an illustration of such continuity we may take certain features of the doctrine of God and Messianic doctrine. In the Old Testament behind the various forms of such doctrines, we may discover two analyses of society. According to one, a simple society consists of two elements, God and people. According to the other, a more complex view, society consists of God, king, people, city, land. In the former view it is God Himself who is the Messianic figure; in the latter view the king is Messiah, a being less than God and greater than his people. TRINITARIAN theology, where the Messianic Son is within the godhead and equal with His Father, touching His divinity, is in line with the former view. Subordinationist Christology and ARIANISM, where the Messianic figure is Son but outside God and less than God though greater than man, is in line with the second. This example displays the continuity of the theology of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the ancient church.

 

It can also be made to demonstrate the coherence of the various branches of theology. As we have just seen, in the TRINITY the Son who becomes man, is equal with the Father touching His Godhead, but in ARIANISM the Son is being less than the Father and more than man. From these differences in their doctrine of God, it is expected that TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY and ARIANISM would develop different CHRISTOLOGIES. So it turned out and the Christology of Arianism is coherent with its doctrine of God, orthodox Christology is coherent with the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

DATA OF THEOLOGY.- Clement C. J. Webb has written of `theology as the science of religious experience.' By `religious experience' we understand the religious experience of ourselves and others...

 

After our own religious experience, much of the Bible is generally recognized, but the Bible is not the sole source of theological data apart from the religious experience of the individual theologian...

 

As the authority of the Bible varies, so does that of Christian theological literature among Christian theologians. In addition, there are considerable differences between the various parts of this literature in the authority they enjoy even with the same theologian."

 

We have seen how man, over the centuries, has fashioned a system of learning for the development of a body of knowledge about God which he calls THEOLOGY.

 

Man has struggled over the centuries looking for worthy apostles of Christ who will spread the gospel to all nations. He devised a system for screening prospective apostles of Christ. Candidates are selected on the basis of: intelligence quotient (I.Q.), aptitude, no history of mental disorder, good moral character, and, in some cases, social standing. Satisfaction of academic requirements is a prerequisite to the formal admission into the apostleship profession. This takes a period from four (4) to twelve (12) years, and even extending to twenty (20) years in special cases.

This is man's way of choosing God's servants and Christ's apostles, which has been adopted by all religious sects and denominations composing Christianity Today. The men chosen must be very attractive, indeed, considering their extraordinary qualifications and training. The "gospel of the kingdom" is being spread by these men, as our Lord said in:

 

MATTHEW 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

 

This is being fulfilled before our eyes by Christ's apostles taught and trained, and commissioned as such, by men of authority. This is made possible by the application of the generally accepted doctrine of Apostolic Succession.

 

On the basis of the Word of God found in the Holy Bible, this great effort of man is not in line with what is written therein. Can man find Bible support for the need for this effort? Is it not written in the holy Scripture that knowledge and wisdom about God all originate from, and are provided by, Him? Does it need great human talents and resources for its development and accumulation?

 

Wittingly or unwittingly, in the process, man had been drawn to the dogmatic Doctrine of Apostolic Sucession. Can man honestly say that he can find Bible support for it?

 

1. Can man find Scriptural basis for this practice of training prospective apostles of Christ?

 

2. Can man accept that, if God was able to teach His chosen messengers in the Old Testament time; if the Holy Spirit was able to teach the original chosen apostles of Christ; if the invisible Christ had appointed Paul and taught him by divine revelation; can not God and Jesus Christ do this in our time? Is it impossible for God to continue what He had begun?

 

3. If man cannot believe, much more accept, that God can choose His chosen servants because man cannot see Him, nor talk to Him directly, does his assertion of faith and trust in God backed up by deeds?

 

4. For man's resistance to the divine truth that the invisible Christ is the sole authority to appoint apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, and teachers, can he be considered "converted into a little child," which Jesus said is a prerequisite to entering the kingdom of God?

 

5. Does not man appear, with his adherence to the unscriptural Doctrine of Apostolic Succession, to be out of the "way" and not passing through the "door?" Therefore, what is he?

 

John 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door ... but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."

 

John 10:9 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved..."

 

John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth..."

 

6. Are not acts contrary and contradictory to the holy Scripture considered "out of the way" and "not passing through the door"?

 

7. Who were the false shepherds in the Old Testament time? Inasmuch as the word of God does not pass away, can they be identified during the time of Christ? Today?

 

Isaiah 56:10-12 "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

 

a. "They are blind" - the blind cannot see the light. Does God refer to physical blindness or spiritual blindness? God, Jesus Christ, is the light. Therefore, the false shepherds cannot even "see" or recognize God and Jesus Christ. And because Jesus Christ is the truth, they cannot see the truth. This was demonstrated during the time of Jesus Christ. The false shepherds were the teachers of the law. Did they really "see" the spiritual light? Did they truly recognize Jesus Christ and the Father? Did they understand "spiritual things?"

 

Can we not ask the same questions today on the false prophets? The false shepherds? Is it difficult to identify them?

 

b. "They are all ignorant" - this indicates being devoid of understanding. Of what?

 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

The false shepherds cannot understand "Spiritual things." Spiritual things are the spiritual meaning and great message of the Word of God. Therefore, the false shepherds were/are still natural men compared with the real shepherds who were/are spiritual men:

 

1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we (the spiritual men) have the mind of Christ."

 

c. "They are all dumb dogs, that cannot bark" - "spiritual dogs" belong to those on the outside:

 

REVELATION 22:15 "Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

 

"Cannot bark" - must refer to the inability to rebuke on the basis of truth, for they themselves do not have the truth. The real shepherds today rebuke as Jesus, the model shepherd, showed the way during His time. Read the whole chapter of MATTHEW 23 on how our Lord rebuked the Teachers of the Law and Pharisees very sharply.

 

d. "Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber" - indicates absence of the "spiritual oil." EMOTIONAL zeal should be distinguished from the "Spiritual Fire."

 

MATTHEW 25:3-5 "They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them... while the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept."

 

ROMANS 11:8 "...God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear..."

 

e. "...they are greedy dogs, every one for his gain" - False shepherds look after their own selfish interest: material, physical, and financial. Selfishness may include egotism which refers to self-exaltation.

 

f. "I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink" - does not mean that false shepherds are drunkards. Wine has a spiritual meaning. It refers to the Holy Spirit. Since False Shepherds could not possibly receive the Holy Spirit, "wine" here refers to the counterfeit Holy Spirit. Religious emotionalism is mistaken for Holy Spirit outpouring.

 

"Wonders" thought to have come from the Holy Spirit radiates emotionalism. Read the topic "Wonders and Miracles."

 

8. To another Old Testament prophet, EZEKIEL, God expressed His rebuke to the false shepherds:

 

EZEKIEL 34:2-10 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.

 

"Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherd search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them."

 

a. "Shepherds of Israel" - are the known spiritual shepherds or religious leaders who are supposed to lead the people of God.

 

b. "Woe to them that feed themselves" - indicates that the spiritual shepherds are working for their self-interest. It may be financial or material, or otherwise, like emotional. Emotional self-interest may refer to self-exaltation. Jesus Christ in His human manifestation showed the way with "nothing of this sort." With many verses, He expressed His deep humility, giving all glory and honor to the Father. John the Baptist who did not become one of the disciples of Christ, by divine revelation, knew about it when he said in:

 

JOHN 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."

 

The "false shepherds of Israel" are exposed to be "feeding their ego" from the flock that they are supposed to care for. Jesus Christ saw this during His time when He rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees, who were typical of the false shepherds:

 

MATTHEW 23:8-10 "But you are not to be called `Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ." (NIV)

 

Even in the Old Testament, glory and reverence for the name of the creator was already recognized. David wrote about it. The title Reverend should never be appropriated by any man:

 

PSALM 111:9 "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever; holy and reverend is his name."

 

Who appropriate the glorified titles of: REVEREND (Rev.), FATHER (Fr.), TEACHER (D.D., PHD. THEO., BIBLE SCHOLAR, THEOLOGIAN, PASTOR? Who are addressed as "YOUR HOLINESS?"

 

c. "Should not the shepherd feed the flock?" - Christ saw this in His time. The teachers of the law, the Scribes, were supposed to "feed" God's people, the Jews, with the Word of God. Did the Scribes feed the Jews spiritually in the eyes of Jesus? Maybe in the eyes of the people, but never before God!

 

Will this truth pass away without being fulfilled today? Has Ecclesiastes 1:9 and 3:15 been revised such that the present time is excepted from this truth? What is spiritual feeding in the first place? Is it synonymous with emotional feeding? Can man distinguish the two kinds of feeding: spiritual and emotional?

 

Ecclesiastes 1:9 "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

 

d. "Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you with the wool" - can the shepherds eat the fat and take the wool without killing the flock? Of course no "right-thinking" preacher of the word will ever physically murder one of his parishioners, just to take advantage of him. But does man see the difference betwen killing before the eyes of God, and killing before the eyes of men?" Can man distinguish between spiritual murder and physical murder?

 

e. "Ye feed not the flock" - God's people are not fed the way He wants them to be fed. God requires spiritual feeding. Are the flock truly spiritually fed with the spiritual Word? Or only emotionally, intellectually, or sensually refreshed?

 

f. "Not healed the sick" - cannot possibly refer to physical healing, for God prefers the soul over the body.

 

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

 

God refers to spiritual healing of the soul, that the flock remain spiritually healthy and deserving of eternal life.

 

g. "Neither have ye sought that which was lost" - Real evangelism shall be distinguished from proselyting. Proselyting simply promotes the interest of a particular religious sect through increased membership. Bigger membership yields greater benefits to the leaders. Real evangelism is the spiritual search for the lost souls that they are led to the "right way" and not to "man's way."

 

h. "With force and cruelty have ye ruled them" -This is "Nicolaitanism" or the dominion of the leaders over the laity. Religious leaders exercise human authority over the members under the guise of religious or church discipline. In real and perfect Christianity, it is the Word that leads everybody in the Church. It is the Word that teaches, that guides, and strengthens, and directs the members of the true Church. Does not this sound foolishness to the natural man? Be reminded of 1 CORINTHIANS 2:14. Read the topic on The Pastoral System.

 

i. "The flock are scattered because there is no shepherd" - Are not so-called Christians scattered to different religious sects, with different belief of the truth from the others?

 

j. "Nor seek or search for them" - real evangelism should be distinguished from proselyting. Jesus Christ rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for proselyting:

 

MATTHEW 23:15 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

 

God's Standard of wickedness should be distinguished from the Human Standard. Goodness under Man's Standard may be wickedness under God's Standard. Example: the beliefs, and the good deeds of the Scribes, Pharisees, and the Sadducees, and the Elders of Israel were righteousness under Man's Standard. This must never pass away, and should be seen in our time, where people are only exposed to Man's Standard.

 

God's promise of deliverance from the hands of the false shepherds is fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the Deliverer. Jesus Christ is the Truth. It is the truth that finally bails out God's people from the Satanic hold.

 

JOHN 8:31-32 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

We have seen that the Holy Bible is not as simple as prose and poetry conceived only to cater to the mind and inner fervor of man. It is not as simple as a history book that records past events, with the characters no longer resurrected. Rather, the Word of God is alive for it represents God Himself as, "the Word was God."

 

It is alive, that is why it hurts. It is alive because the characters, and events, and circumstances in the Old Testament time can be identified during the time of Jesus Christ, as they could also be perceived today. It is for this reason that the caution given by the apostles in the first century is like a fresh warning to us today. False apostles are positively identifiable:

 

2 TIMOTHY 3:7 "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

 

Sincerity is good but it is not all that qualifies man to the divine function:

 

ROMANS 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."

 

Warnings are poured upon the people of God to separate them, as He separated the Israelites from the Egyptians, Jebusites, Hittites, Amalekites, Cannaanites. Jesus Christ separated His chosen few from the Scribes, Pharisees, and the Sadducees; as the Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats:

 

EPHESIANS 4:14-15 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."

 

Jesus Christ's revelation to John the apostle in the island of Patmos is as fresh as the morning dew to the real people of God:

 

REVELATION 2:2 "I know thy works, and thy labor, 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."

 

Jesus Christ, continuing with His exhortation, gives a refreshing strength that will carry the "delivered" to the end:

 

REVELATION 2:9 "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich; and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 

 

WHO ARE THE REAL APOSTLES

 

1. Like the model Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and the real apostles of 33-96 A.D., they are obscure and unsung. They do the FUNCTION, but never appropriate the TITLE, HONOR, AND GLORY.

 

2. They are never taught or appointed by any man, or a group of men, as Paul testified. Paul was taught and appointed by the invisible Christ:

 

GALATIANS 1:11-12 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

 

John had the same revelation:

 

1 JOHN 2:27 "But the anointing which you have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you..."

 

They will never train prospective apostles or appoint one, for they recognize the sole authority.

 

3. They will never think of formulating doctrines, for these are already "founded" by Christ:

 

ROMANS 15:20 "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation.

 

1 CORINTHIANS 3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

 

4. They accept the Word of God like "little children," not philosophizing and looking for ways to elude the bitter truth.

 

5. They can be identified with the perfect Christianity that the original apostles espoused, they being the foundation of the spiritual Church:

 

EPHESIANS 2:19-22 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone."

 

6. They are chosen by God to give real spiritual nourishment to His people, and not the counterfeit emotional and intellectual feeding that only appeal to the senses:

 

JEREMIAH 3:15 "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."

 

JEREMIAH 23:4 "And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord."

 

Bearing in mind thast Jesus Christ is the Word (REVELATION 19:13), and He is the truth (JOHN 14:6), the real spiritual Shepherd is revealed:

 

REVELATION 7:17 "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

 

May the great spiritual message of God remain forever in the heart of the reader who accepts the Word like "a little child:"

 

Ezekiel 34:16 "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will trengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment."

 

And may the reader who cannot understand spiritual things be reminded that "feeding with judgment" is not executed literally-physically. Jesus Christ demonstrated this when He gave the sentence to the Scribes and Pharisees when He called them in

 

Matthew 23:33 "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"

 

Physically, they even enjoyed popular support, and won the respect and praises of the majority of the people. In their own eyes, they were even "blessed" with prosperity of all kinds, social and political elitism, and material and financial aristocracy.

 

When Jesus Christ was referred to in: John 10:20 "And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?" Many people believed the religious leaders. Spiritual "feeding with judgment" can never be understood by the natural man for, indeed, it is foolishness to him.

 

 

THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL

 

The last sign given by our Lord for "the end" is the "preaching of the gospel of the kingdom in all the world." True to the prophecy, there are no "apostles of Christ" today representing the different religious sects and denominations who do not preach the "gospel of the kingdom."

 

Unknown to many people, however, the true gospel by the REAL APOSTLES will not be heard in "all the cities of Israel."

 

MATTHEW 10:21-23 "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my NAME'Ssake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, YE SHALL NOT HAVE GONE OVER THE CITIES OF iSRAEL, TILL THE SON OF MAN BE COME."

 

Jesus Christ was not simply referring to the ministry of the original apostles. The condition points to some period in the future, "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child..." These did not happen during the time of the original apostles. These events are expected to happen as the true gospel is preached.

 

In contrast, with the spread of the "gospel of the kingdom" in MATTHEW 24:14; the TRUE GOSPEL, preached by the REAL APOSTLES, will not be heard as extensively as the COUNTERFEIT GOSPEL being spread by the FALSE APOSTLES!

 

Jeremiah 22:29 "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD."

 

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