We concluded our study on March 11th by asking:
Just who was Paul?
What is he all about?
Just WHAT is his authority?
We allowed Paul answer for himself:
(1) Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
an apostle G652 . Mat_4:18-19; Mat_10:5, Rom_1:1, 1Co_1:1 (Act_18:1-17); 1Co_9:1-2, 2Co_1:1.
Who was the replacement for Judas?, Act_1:12-26
The remaining 11 Apostles accepted Matthias as Judas’ replacement.
Could it be Paul?
Rom_11:13 – indicates Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles.
In none of these Scriptures does Paul claim to be Judas’ replacement, but rather as a standalone apostle.
not G3756 of G575 men G444 . Gal_1:11-12; Gal_1:17, Jer_1:9; Jer_14:14 Act_9:3-5; Act_22:6; Act_26:13-14, 1Co_11:23; 1Co_15:8-9.
neither G3761 by G1223 man G444 . Act_1:15-26; Act_13:2-4.
but G235 by G1223 Jesus G2424 Christ G5547 . Mar_3:14, Joh_3:27, Act_1:2; Act_9:6; Act_9:15; Act_9:16; Act_20:24; Act_22:10; Act_22:14-21; Act_26:16-18, Rom_1:4-5, 1Co_9:1; 1Co_11:23, 2Co_3:1-3; 2Co_10:8, Eph_3:8, 1Ti_1:1; 1Ti_1:11-14, 2Ti_1:1, Tit_1:3.
and G2532 God G2316 the Father G3962 . Mat_6:9; Mat_28:18-20, Joh_5:19; Joh_10:30; Joh_20:21, 1Th_1:1, 2Ti_1:2, Tit_1:4.
The divine source of his apostleship is emphatically stated, and thereby the infallible authority for the gospel he taught.
who raised G1453 him G846. Joh_2:19; Joh_2:21, Act_2:24; Act_3:15, Rom_1:4-5; Rom_4:24-25; Rom_10:9; Rom_14:9, 1Co_15:4; 1Co_15:8-12, Eph_1:19-20; Eph_6:23, Php_2:11, Col_3:17, Heb_13:20, 1Pe_1:21, Rev_1:5; Rev_1:18; Rev_2:8.
from G1537 the dead G3498 . Php_3:11
Paul claims to be an apostle (Rom_11:13), albeit “to the Gentiles”.
If he was an apostle, what about Matthias (Act_1:12-26)?
If he was, were there 13 apostles?
Reviewing the situation, after Judas’ betrayal, there were only 11 apostles.
During the 40 days between Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension to heaven, Yeshua, Himself, appointed no replacement.
Sometime between Yeshua’s ascension (Act_1:9-11) and Pentecost (Act_2:1), Peter proposed that Judas’ apostleship be filled, not because of his death but, rather, because of his betrayal, based on the Scriptures quoted by Peter. (Act_1:15-22; Psa_69:25; Psa_109:8.) OTOH, when James was put to death, there is no record of anyone wanting to appoint another to fill his position of apostle. (Act_12:1-2).
Peter also instructed that anyone filling the position of an apostle of Yeshua must have the qualifications of:
having been personally conversant with Him,
having been an eyewitness of His works, His miracles, and
an eyewitness to His resurrection. (Act_1:21-22)
Clearly, with these conditions there would come a time when apostolic succession would become impossible, unless YHWH stepped in to provide the required prerequisites.
At this point in time, there were men meeting these requirements, and two were nominated.
Remembering Pro_16:33, lots were cast, and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Act_1:23-26)
Casting of lots seems like gambling to us, but was normal in matters of importance in those days, after offering a prayer.
We are not certain today the exact mechanism of this.
Matthias is included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Act_6:1-2), and even Paul includes Matthias in referring to “the twelve” in 1Co_15:4-8.
But what’s all this about “lots”?
The Hebrew word used in Pro_16:33 is H1486 which refers to stones which were cast to get a decision.
- Original: גּרל גּורל
- Transliteration: Gowral
- Phonetic: go-rawl’
a. lot – pebbles used for systematically making decisions
a. lot, portion (thing assigned by casting lots)
b. recompense, retribution
- Origin: from an unused root meaning to be rough (as stone)
- TWOT entry: 381a
- Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine
- Strong’s: From an unused root meaning to be rough (as stone); properly a pebble that is a lot (small stones being used for that purpose); figuratively a portion or destiny (as if determined by lot): – lot.
Total KJV Occurrences: 77
• among, 1
Neh_10:34 • lot, 61
Lev_16:8(2); Lev_16:9; Lev_16:10; Num_26:55; Num_26:56; Num_33:54(2); Num_34:13; Num_36:2; Num_36:3; Jos_14:2; Jos_15:1; Jos_16:1; Jos_17:1; Jos_17:14; Jos_17:17; Jos_18:11(2); Jos_19:1; Jos_19:10; Jos_19:17; Jos_19:24; Jos_19:32; Jos_19:40; Jos_19:51; Jos_21:4(2); Jos_21:5; Jos_21:6; Jos_21:8; Jos_21:10; Jos_21:20; Jos_21:40; Jdg_1:3(2); Jdg_20:9; 1Ch_6:54; 1Ch_6:61; 1Ch_6:63; 1Ch_6:65; 1Ch_24:5; 1Ch_24:7; 1Ch_25:9; 1Ch_26:14(2); Est_3:7; Est_9:24; Psa_16:5; Psa_125:3; Pro_1:14; Pro_16:33; Pro_18:18; Isa_17:14; Isa_34:17; Isa_57:6; Jer_13:25; Eze_24:6; Dan_12:13; Jon_1:7; Mic_2:5 • lots, 15
Lev_16:8; Jos_18:6; Jos_18:8; Jos_18:10; 1Ch_24:31; 1Ch_25:8; 1Ch_26:13; 1Ch_26:14; Neh_11:1; Psa_22:18; Joe_3:3; Oba_1:11; Jon_1:7(2); Nah_3:10
Casting lots is a form of divination in which the assumption is that YHWH will determine the cast and thus provide the answer (usually yes or no) to the question under consideration.
The clear implication from Pro_16:33 is that YHWH decides the final outcome of the cast lot(s) – it is not left to chance.
The casting of lots for divine decision making was widespread in the ancient world.
In one form, persons, places or things names, or “yes” and “no” would be written on stones and shaken (not stirred) until one stone fell out.
Some suggest that the priestly Urim and Thummim (Exo_28:30; 1Sa_14:35-45) were lots, and the answering of yes-no questions by YHWH in texts like Jdg_20:28 likely reflects that “casting lots” was used.
Lev_16:1-9 – Choosing the goats.
In secular use, the lot is a form of gambling, as when the Roman soldiers “cast lots” for Christ’s garments (Mat_27:35; Mar_15:24; Joh_19:24).
Historically, these lots may have been anything from specially shaped or colored stones, to cubes or slabs of wood with numbers or other unique markings on them.
Lots were used by the sailors on Jonah’s ship to determine who to throw overboard (Jon_1:7) (Jon_1:1-16 for context).
It was reported that lots were used at Masada:
As Judaism prohibits suicide (although not specifically prohibited in the Torah), Josephus (see Notes from (01/14/2021) reported that the defenders had drawn lots and killed each other in turn, down to the last man, who would be the only one to actually take his own life.
The Wars of the Jews, Book 7
(389) Now as Eleazar was proceeding on in his exhortations, they all cut him off short, and made haste to do the work, as full of an unconquerable ardor of mind, and moved with a demoniacal fury. So they went their ways, as one still endeavoring to be before another, and as thinking that this eagerness would be a demonstration of their courage and good conduct, if they could avoid appearing in the last class; so great was the zeal they were in to slay their wives and children, and themselves also!
(390) Nor, indeed, when they came to the work itself, did their courage fail them, as one might imagine it would have done, but they then held fast the same resolution, without wavering, which they had upon the hearing of Eleazar’s speech, while yet every one of them still retained the natural passion of love to themselves and their families, because the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them;
(391) for the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their children into their arms, and gave the longest parting kisses to them, with tears in their eyes.
(392) Yet at the same time did they complete what they had resolved on, as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers, and they had nothing else for their comfort but the necessity they were in of doing this execution to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies.
(393) Nor was there at length any one of these men found that scrupled to act their part in this terrible execution, but every one of them dispatched his dearest relations. Miserable men indeed were they, whose distress forced them to slay their own wives and children with their own hands, as the lightest of those evils that were before them.
(394) So they being not able to bear the grief they were under for what they had done any longer, and esteeming it an injury to those they had slain to live even the shortest space of time after them,-they presently laid all they had in a heap, and set fire to it.
(395) They then chose ten men by lot out of them, to slay all the rest; every one of whom laid himself down by his wife and children on the ground, and threw his arms about them, and they offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office;
(396) and when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves, that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine, and after all, should kill himself. Accordingly, all these had courage sufficient to be no way behind one another in doing or suffering;
(397) so, for a conclusion, the nine offered their necks to the executioner, and he who was the last of all took a view of all the other bodies, lest perchance some or other among so many that were slain should want his assistance to be quite dispatched; and when he perceived that they were all slain, he set fire to the palace, and with the great force of his hands ran his sword entirely through himself, and fell down dead near to his own relations.
(398) So these people died with this intention, that they would leave not so much as one soul among them all alive to be subject to the Romans.
(399) Yet there was an ancient woman, and another who was of kin to Eleazar, and superior to most women in prudence and learning, with five children, who had concealed themselves in caverns under ground, and had carried water thither for their drink, and were hidden there when the rest were intent upon the slaughter of one another.
(400) Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number, the women and children being withal included in that computation.
(401) This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan].
NOTE: Temple destroyed in 70 AD; Masada fell 73-74 AD.
Anybody notice anything significant about that date?
Archeologists have found “lots” with names on them, including Eleazar’s.
Today, in the Near Middle East, men and women still wear jellabeya (pronounced: gallabaya), which are long flowing garments.
When a person sits down, s/he can cast lots, ie, throw dice, stones or whatever, using the jellabeya as the gaming table.
The result: someone wins, someone loses, or an important (or not so important) decision is made by the randomness of the lot being cast.
“The die has been cast” is an expression not heard often today, but refers to this process where a decision has been made and there are no do-overs.
For us in the West, we have the Magic 8-Ball.
We’ve all done it and I daresay, everyone of us, at one time or another, followed the advice of that random answer we received.
But the Pro_16:33 seems to be teaching us that under specific conditions, that to help make a decision, we humans are free to throw dice, cast lots, flip a coin, tarot, Quije board, pull the short straw, blindfold ourselves and pitch a dart, consult a Magic 8-Ball, put out a fleece (Gideon’s strategy (Jdg_6:37)), or any other “great idea” that comes into our puny little brains, and no matter how we attempt to manipulate the cast, only YHWH’s purposes will prevail, at least in the “grand design” and especially for His people.
But let’s climb back out of this rabbit-hole and return to our 12 apostles:
When Pentecost arrived (Act_2:1), it seems clear that there were 12 apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel formed on that day could rest.
It does not seem that Matthias was a mere apostle of the Jerusalem congregation, any more than the remaining 11 apostles were.
His case is different from that of the Levite Joseph Barnabas who became an apostle of the congregation of Antioch, Syria. (Act_13:1-4; Act_14:4, Act_14:14; 1Co_9:4-6)
Other men also are referred to as “apostles of congregations” in the sense that they were sent forth by such congregations to represent them. (2Co_8:23)
And, in writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “your envoy (messenger – KJV) [ G652 – a·po′sto·lon] .” (Php_2:25)
The apostleship of these men was clearly not by virtue of any apostolic succession, nor did they form part of “the twelve” as did Matthias.
Around 34 C.E., Saul of Tarsus was converted and became referred to as Paul.
It appears beyond contradiction that he did become a true apostle of Christ and was the direct choice of the resurrected and ascended Yeshua Messiah. (Act_9:1-22; Act_22:6-21; Act_26:12-23; Act_13:9)
He reasoned in defense of his apostleship and presented as his qualification – his AUTHORITY (to answer the third question) – the fact that he had seen the resurrected Christ, that he had performed miracles, and that he had served as a channel for imparting the holy spirit to baptized believers. (1Co_9:1-2; 1Co_15:9-10; 2Co_12:12; 2Ti_1:1, 2Ti_1:11; Rom_1:1; Rom_11:13; Act_19:5-6)
Many Bible scholars believe that the apostle James (the brother of John) was not killed until about the year 44 C.E., because “the twelve” were yet alive at the time of Paul’s becoming an apostle.
Paul never includes himself among “the twelve,” and at the same time he acknowledges no inferiority in his apostleship compared with that of such ones. (Gal_2:6-9)
It appears that Matthias’ and Paul’s apostleships were both valid for the purpose for which those men were “sent forth,” yet when the apostle John saw the vision of the heavenly New Jerusalem in Rev_21:2 (given about 96 C.E.) he saw only 12 foundation stones and on them inscribed “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Rev_21:14)
The testimony of the Bible is clear that the apostle Paul was never referred to as one of “the twelve.”
OTOH, Paul did, eventually, meet all the criteria laid out by Peter for apostleship.
For some, the penultimate conclusion is that twelfth name of “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” inscribed on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem is that of Matthias and not that of Paul.
For others, the penultimate conclusion is that twelfth name of “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” inscribed on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem is that of Paul, especially in light of his works and humility.
Regardless, we can all agree that it’s YHWH’s choice, not ours.
The ultimate conclusion is that the vision of the apostle John is of the condition that existed at the beginning of the Christian congregation on Pentecost, 33 C.E.
Paul’s apostleship seems to rest on the fact that while other religions’ foundations are of philosophy and metaphysics, it is the empty grave in the garden is the keystone and the cornerstone (Eph_2:20; 1Pe_2:6) of Paul’s religious arch, as it were.
If the fact of Christ’s resurrection cannot be maintained, as it was in the first century church, then the whole superstructure crumbles into a pile of rubble.
But it can be maintained.
There is even more evidence for it than for any fact of modern history.
It is easier for Mankind to refuse to believe in the wars of WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet-Nam, Desert Storm and Afghanistan than in Christ’s resurrection.
The testimony of Paul is most important, because he knew all that could be alleged or argued against it by the Pharisees.
Truly, he had himself once opposed Christian belief (Act_7:58-59, Act_8:1-3, Act_9:1-2)
But after his conversion and into his apostleship, note how he uses, “not I” in 1Co_15:10, 1Co_7:10 and Gal_2:20.
Then, we will continue discussing how the Greek text teaches about the “Curse” of the Law.
We can now accept Paul’s APOSTLESHIP and AUTHORITY, therefore we may ask:
So what does Paul say about the “Curse” of the Law?
(10) For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse G2671 : for it is written, Cursed G1944 is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
In particular, we’ll read for context and discuss:
To gain a clearer and more accurate understanding of:
Gehenna (Mat 10:28) – as defined in the Bible – How does torment affect those mentioned in the Bible.
(Luk_21:28 KJV) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
to gain a clearer and more accurate understanding of these terms, we will study: