Acts 1:9-26  Jesus Shall Come in Like Manner as Ye Have Seen Him go Into Heaven

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Acts 1:9-14  Jesus Shall Come in Like Manner as Ye Have Seen Him go Into Heaven

[Study Aired November 27, 2022]

Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11  Which also said, 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.
Act 1:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
Act 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 
Act 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Act 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

Act 1:19  And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Act 1:20  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22  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.
Act 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Act 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

These are the words of the Lord with which we ended our last study:

Act 1:6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Act 1:7  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The disciples knew the resurrection of their master was a miracle, but they had no idea at this point what was to come upon them as the Lord’s elect. Truly, if they had known, they would not have been able to bear it at this point. We know this is true because Christ had told them the night of His being apprehended by the Jews:

Joh 16:12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Joh 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

It is in the Lord’s great and infinite mercy that He does not show us things we simply cannot yet bear. However, in His time and on His schedule, He will “guide [us] into all Truth”. There was no way these spiritual “babes in Christ” (1Co 3:1) could have received these words at the time they saw the Lord ascend into heaven:

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Christ was a wise reformer, and He knew just when to give His apostles more of His mind on any subject, and He decided when to wait to give them more of His mind. This earliest part of His reformation is not the time He chose to open their minds to the fact that their physical pedigree was no longer ‘counted for the seed’ and that all that mattered now was a new creature in Christ:

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This was the time of reformation, and that reformation was nowhere near complete, and for most it still is nowhere near being complete because most Christians think that God still has a people who are His physical elect. ‘Physical elect’ is not a Biblical phrase, nor is it a Biblical doctrine in the New Testament. For those who can see it, the Jewish Christian church was living under the law of Moses throughout the timeframe covered by the book of Acts. For those Jewish Christians, including the apostles themselves, the depth of the meaning of these words had not yet been revealed:

Heb 9:6  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
Heb 9:7  But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
Heb 9:8  The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
Heb 9:9  Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Heb 9:10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

A reformation does not take place overnight. One might well say that “the time of reformation” began with the ministry of Christ, but as Christ Himself affirmed the same night He was apprehended by the Jews:

Joh 16:12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

After Christ’s resurrection, when the apostles asked Him, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” they still could not bear the depth of the reformation of the doctrines of Christ. The fact is that decades later, after Paul had finished his third journey, he was taken by the Jews who were in the process of beating him when the Romans saved his life and took him prisoner. The Jews attacked Paul just as he was about to enter the temple to offer five lambs, one for his own sins and four others for the sins of four other men who had made a vow. It was all according to the law of Moses under which the apostles were still living all those decades later.

This first chapter ends with the apostles asking Christ if He would at that time restore the physical kingdom to His physical nation. That they did not understand the time was coming when neither at Samaria nor at Jerusalem would they worship God, rather God wanted to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. This question from the apostles was another display of how the apostles were still unaware of the many things the Lord could not tell them because they could not yet bear them (Joh 16:12).

Joh 4:21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Joh 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Joh 4:25  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
Joh 4:26  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

“The hour [was] coming” but it was not yet here, and Christ told His apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they were given the gift of the holy spirit.

Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Act 1:10  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11  Which also said, 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.

Is this true? Will the disciples standing there watching Christ ascend into heaven really see “the Lord Himself so come in like manner as [they saw] Him go into heaven?” We happen to have a verse which qualifies the fact that Christ “Himself” will indeed come again in like manner as He ascended into heaven:

1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.
1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
1Th 4:17  then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (ASV)

The promise that Christ Himself will appear again is intended to comfort us in our struggles, and indeed it does. The “cloud [which] received them out of their sight” and in which He will return symbolizes the saints “God… will… bring with Him” and with whom He will rule this world:

Job 36:28  Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.
Job 36:29  Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
Job 36:30  Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
Job 36:31  For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.

Mar 13:26  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The two men in white apparel (Act 1:10) signify the witness and the righteous lives of those who will freely give the gospel to others as they serve as witnesses of His Words:

2Co 13:1  This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Rev 19:8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The Lord knows that His apostles cannot yet bear the loss of any of the physical benefits of being the physical progeny of Abraham, therefore He simply commands them to return to Jerusalem, which is indeed where both the physical and the spiritual church will have its birth in Him. The church must ‘come out of Babylon’ just as both Israel and Christ had to be called out of Egypt, and Jerusalem signifies the great harlot, Mystery Babylon the great of whom we must come out:

Isa 1:21 How is the faithful city [Jerusalem] become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Hos 11:1  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Now notice how the New Testament writers handle this verse of scripture, Hoseah 1:11, which refers to “Israel”:

Mat 2:13  And when they [the three wise men] were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Mat 2:14  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
Mat 2:15  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

That statement originally and outwardly concerned the time before Israel had become a nation in the promised land. Christ, through Moses, led Israel out of Egypt. Christ had to go into Egypt to physically fulfill that prophecy, and now, in this verse of Acts 1:12, the New Testament church has to fulfill the prophecy of coming out of Mystery Babylon, by returning to Jerusalem which the scriptures reveal as a type of ‘Mystery Babylon… the mother of harlots’:

Isa 1:21  How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Act 1:12  Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey [“A sabbath day’s journey”, demonstrates that the apostles are still very cognizant of the law of Moses].
Act 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Luke uses the phrase ‘the women’ as if everyone knew who they were. Who are “the women”? They were the women who had followed Christ and “of their substance” had supported His ministry:

Luk 8:1  And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve,
Luk 8:2  and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary that was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Luk 8:3  and Joanna the wife of Chuzas Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered unto them of their substance.

In scripture ‘women’ typify the church. The fact that “certain women… ministered unto them of their substance” typifies how the church is to support Christ and His ministers:

1Co 9:13  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
1Co 9:14  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Paul confesses that he ‘lived of the gospel”, but he refused to take anything of the Corinthian church because of those there who were accusing him of preaching the gospel for the money that was in it:

2Co 11:7  Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
2Co 11:8  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
2Co 11:9  And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
2Co 11:10  As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
2Co 11:11  Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
2Co 11:12  But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.
2Co 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
2Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2Co 11:15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Those telling the Corinthians that Paul was preaching the gospel for personal gain were “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ”, and Paul was determined to “cut off occasion from them which desire occasion”.

“The women” of Acts 1:14 are the same women of Luke 8:1 who supported Christ’s ministry and who had followed Him to the cross just a few weeks earlier:

Mat 27:55  And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
Mat 27:56  Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Mar 15:40  There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
Mar 15:41  (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

Luk 23:27  And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

Joh 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Joh 19:26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Joh 19:27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

‘The women’ are mentioned in all four gospels as a type of the church which ministers to those who minister to the Lord’s body. Paul said He would rather die than to be guilty of preaching for personal gain:

1Co 9:15  But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

All the apostles are present in the upper room but Judas, and we will now see how the early apostles used the Words of the Old Testament to deal with Judas’s replacement by Mathias, and how the apostle Peter handled the Word of God in seeking that replacement.

Act 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

The apostles were twelve 12 which signifies foundations. Here is the link to the study on the number 12:

Spiritual Significance of Numbers – The Number Twelve

Twelve signifies foundations both in a positive and in a negative sense. The first mention of this number concerns the twelve princes of Ishmael, the rejected seed of Abraham. It is not a coincidence that the two greatest religions on earth today spring from the seed of Abraham, through whom they both claim the promises made to Abraham. Those two religions are the Christian and Muslim religions, and both began with twelve patriarchs, the twelve sons of Ishmael and the twelve sons of Jacob.

Christ’s church also began with twelve apostles as its foundation and Christ “is the chief cornerstone“ and the head of the foundation of His Church:

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

1Pe 2:7  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

The one hundred twenty disciples who were present in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when the church was founded is ten times twelve, signifying the foundation of the physical church “in earthen vessels” with Christ as “the head of the corner”.

2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, [signified by the number ten] that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Here is the link to the number ten:

Spiritual Significance of Numbers – The Number Ten

The church was not founded by Peter, and Peter was not “the first Pope”. Christ is the first and only ‘Pope’ other than His Father, and it is Christ who is building His Church on the same ‘rock’, the same ‘petra’ on which He admonishes us to build our house (Mat 7:24-25). Christ does not admonish us to build our house on a ‘petros’, a small pebble.

Mat 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [G4074: ‘petros’, a pebble, a small rock], and upon this rock [G4073: ‘petra’, a massive rock] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [He is building His church upon Himself, a massive rock, the same word used when He admonishes us to build our house upon a rock, (G4073: ‘petra’) instead of building it on the sand or a ‘petros’, a pebble (Mat 7:24-25)].

These are the words of Christ:

Mat 23:9  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

On the other hand, Christ is called our spiritual ‘Everlasting Father’:

Isa 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The church of Christ does not need another ‘head’ because it already has a head, and that ‘head’ and that ‘Father’ is Christ Himself, not some carnal man:

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Peter is inspired by the holy spirit to maintain this foundation of twelve apostles:

Act 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

The field was purchased with the money that belonged to Judas. Even if the priests did the actual purchase, they did so with his money, and it was therefore his field, “the field of blood”.

Mat 27:3  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Mat 27:4  Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
Mat 27:5  And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Mat 27:6  And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
Mat 27:7  And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
Mat 27:8  Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
Mat 27:9  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
Mat 27:10  And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.

All of this was common knowledge “unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem” and everyone called the field that was bought with the thirty pieces of silver “the field of blood.”

Act 1:19  And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

All these events being common knowledge in Jerusalem at that time accords with the reaction of the two men on the road to Emmaus the day of Christ’s resurrection:

Luk 24:15  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Luk 24:16  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
Luk 24:17  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
Luk 24:18  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Now let us learn from the apostle Peter how to properly handle the Word of God:

Act 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:20  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Here are the verses Peter references in the book of Psalms:

Psa 69:25  Let their home be made desolate; let no one dwell in their tents.

Does that sound like King David had Judas in mind? Notice that in verse 20 Peter uses the singular pronoun ‘his habitation”, while Psalms has this in the plural, “their home”. Then without explanation Peter jumps over to:

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

Since the pronouns are apparently added in the English, there is no contradiction at all, but how does Peter know that Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8 are speaking of the same person? The answer to that question is that the Lord had made Peter to understand that anything in the Old Testament which typifies “our Lord and His Christ”, will also have the same application to its anti-type in the New Testament. Therefore if King David, a type of Christ, is being persecuted in the Old Testament, King David typifies Christ and His Christ in the New Testament. Psalms 69:25 specifically refers to King David’s enemies:

Psa 69:19  Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
Psa 69:20  Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Psa 69:21  They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Psa 69:22  Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Psa 69:23  Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
Psa 69:24  Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Psa 69:25  Let their home be made desolate; let no one dwell in their tents.

The phrase “mine adversaries are all before thee” justifies the use of the plural pronouns, but whether it is singular or plural is immaterial to the message that the Lord’s elect are being persecuted by their enemies. That is how Peter can jump from Psalm 69:25 to Psalms 109:8 and apply both to the betrayal of Christ by Judas. We should learn to do the same.

Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22  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.

The qualification for being one of the twelve original apostles was that this man had to have “accompanied [Christ and His apostles] all the time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us. Beginning from the baptism of John unto the same day that He was taken up from us.”

The very fact that there were two men chosen who had those exacting qualifications informs us that there are many details that we have not been given about the logistics of the ministry of Christ.

Act 1:23  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Act 1:24  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

The apostles were very prayerful about who they laid hands on to replace Judas. They knew that if they laid their hands on an unqualified candidate, they would actually be taking part in that person’s lack of qualification.

Here is Paul’s admonition to Timothy whom he had ordained as an elder in the church in Ephesus. This is how we are to deal with elders in our midst:

1Ti 5:19  Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
1Ti 5:20  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
1Ti 5:21  I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
1Ti 5:22  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

Elders are afforded the same consideration as anyone else in the body of Christ. We are instructed that we are not to believe any accusation against an elder “but before two or three witnesses”. Those “two or three witnesses comprise the commandment our Lord gives us in Matthew 18:

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

The decision in Acts 15, concerning the question of circumcision being essential for the salvation of the Gentiles, was decided by “the apostles and elders”, and it was expected of the church to stand with and be persuaded by their leaders (Heb 13:17 CLV).

Whether the offence is moral sins stemming from the weakness of our flesh (1Co 5:1-5), or if the offence is spiritual sin stemming from a lying spirit that wants to spread a false doctrine within the body of Christ (1Ti 1:19-20), both will “leaven the whole lump” if left to fester within a congregation.

“Tell it to the church” is the same as “them that sin, rebuke before all” because Paul reminds us that God is no respecter of persons, and elders are no more or less deserving of our mercy and of our judgment.

1Co 2:15  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul was not doubleminded, and he feared God rather than men. Therefore, he charges Timothy and us:

1Ti 5:21  I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Elders are never to be given any special treatment just because they are elders. To avoid such situations we are commanded by the holy spirit:

1Ti 5:22  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

The eleven apostles were given the wisdom to be careful to let the Lord Himself choose who would replace Judas:

Act 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Act 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

How “they gave forth their lots” is immaterial, whether it was the toss of the dice or the drawing of straws or any other way of ‘casting lots’, because this is the fact of how the lots will fall:

Pro 16:33  The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

We do not ‘cast lots’ to settle important matters today because we have the completed Word of God to guide our decisions, and as these same apostles demonstrated at the Jerusalem conference concerning the question of whether the Gentiles should be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, it was a matter to be revealed in its time by a multitude of counselors and by the leaders whom the Lord had placed within His church.

Act 15:2  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you. (CLV)

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