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The Judas Iscariot Replacement  
The common confusion in Christianity of who was the valid replacement-apostle for the betrayer of Jesus (Matthias or Paul) exposes a serious lack of understanding of both the essential nature of the Christian Church, and of the spiritual gifts of God given at that post-resurrection Pentecost.
This lack is in essence a lack of respect for the text of Holy Scripture itself as given in its own context.
did not invent the term 'apostle'. It was used in His time for those emissaries of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, the ruling religious body of the Jews, which were sent out to the synagogues of the Jewish Diaspora throughout the Roman empire and beyond, to ensure continuing consistency in the Jewish faith.
Jewish Apostleship
It is in this sense that the Lord Jesus appointed twelve to be with Him in practical training and to go out ahead of Him in an expansion of His ministry to the representative portion of the nation Israel. Jesus described these twelve as those who, in addition to the coming witness of the Holy Spirit, would bear witness of Himself as the Christ of God to Israel –
"because you have been with Me from the beginning"
John 15:27.
"beginning" is referred to again and specifically defined in Scripture by the Apostle Peter as –
"beginning from the baptism of John until the day when He was taken up from us –
one of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection"
Acts 1:22.
The eye-witness testimony of these twelve foundation-apostles continued until the Sanhedrin's public stoning death of faithful Stephen at Jerusalem, after which, when the Apostle James was subsequently executed by king Herod, no one filled his place, and so these twelve, as a special leadership group, phased out of existence. As as example of this, the Apostle John later presents himself in the last book of Holy Scripture not as an apostle but as bearing the ministry of a prophet. So the twelve, as representative of Christ's ministry to Israel, came to an end.
Revelation 10:11.
Christian Apostleship
On the day of Pentecost something had changed that was more than a devotional experience.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit that day was a change in their relationship to the Spirit of God that brought all disciples of the Christ into the same relationship to the Spirit of God which had set the Christ of God apart from all the preceding prophets of God. As a group they now constituted His presence on earth and the continuance of His anointed ministry was therefore distributed amongst them.
Romans 12:5;
1 Corinthians 10:17;
11:29; 12:12.
It is
for this reason that the Apostle Paul later describes the fellowship of the Christian believers as the Body of Christ and so emphasizes the complementary nature of the varied spiritual gifts/enablings of the Holy Spirit within the perspective of their unity expressed in the act of Holy Communion/Eucharist.
Within this context, the ministry of the Spirit of God through Christ is distributed variously in His Body as He chooses, which includes a gifted leadership function which is also called "apostle". The use the the same term as for Jewish apostleship indicates a recognised common factor, which was well expressed in an early Christian church manual known as the Didache in which its traveling characteristic is emphasised to guard against the fraudulent.
'first' is geographic
scope not status
Didache XI:4-5.
So, in
contrast to Jewish apostleship, Christian apostleship, as most clear demonstrated for us in Paul, involved neither organisational recognition nor appointment. But, as it sadly became necessary for him to say as a result of the Judaizing of the Galatian Christians (the churches of central Anatolia), he wrote and the Spirit of God preserved for our instruction –
"Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man,
but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead...
I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother
[who was not one of the twelve]...
And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) –
those, I say, who seemed influential
[such as the Apostle Peter, etc] added nothing to me..."
Galatians 1:1,19;
Understandably, because of the prestige status of the twelve foundation-apostles, it was a sought after image (as today) and so needed direct correction. The Bible therefore makes it very clear that this special spiritual gift of Christian apostleship was first given at Pentecost and not before.
"...When He ascended on high He led a host of captives [the believing dead into the presence of God],
and He gave gifts to men... And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ..."
Ephesians 4:8-13.
it was Matthias who was the legitimate replacement for the dead betrayer, Judas Iscariot, and therefore the subsequent widespread activity of the Apostle Paul years later had no relation whatsoever to any so-called 'Judas gap' in the council of the twelve Jewish apostles appointed in the founding outreach of the New Covenant of the Christ to Israel.
perspective is so important – for an inadequate grasp of the nature of the Christian Church as the Body of Christ will miss the strategic significance of its spiritual maturity to complete the commission committed to it by its Lord – upon which the end of this age turns.
Matthew 24:14.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord
are being transformed into the same image
[as Christ] from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

The Jerusalem Works of Jesus The Gifts of the Spirit The Body of Christ Common 'Christian' Fallacies
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